Sunday, June 8, 2008


- an expensive lesson in reading the small print.

Kevin saw a competition on TV about a month ago. You could win an iPod by answering simple questions by text message on your mobile. Because he doesn't know how to text on his phone I got the job. I sent off the message on my phone to a number and thought nothing more of it.

After about 4 messages there was one that said each response would now cost $5. Blow that, I thought, and promptly deleted every new message.

Friday I got a warning from Telstra (I have a prepaid plan) that my credit was now less than $10. Saturday I went to call Helen and was told I didn't have enough credit to make the call. What the ?????

When I went to recharge I heard the option of checking the last five calls. I did so and found that there were 2 data calls. Data calls? What are they? I don't have internet connection on the phone. I checked the inbox and there were 2 messages from the number. The data calls must be those but why had they caused my credit to drop so quickly?

Anyway I recharged the phone then did some searching on the internet. I was able to download my last month's history. This is part of it:
0:00:30 Voice Main Balance 0.45 0.5
0:00:30 Diversion Main Balance 0.05 0.06

0:02:00 Voice Main Balance 1.28 1.41

500 cents Premium SMS Main Balance 4.55 5

500 cents Premium SMS Main Balance 4.55 5

500 cents Premium SMS Main Balance 4.55 5

So for the "privilege" of receiving messages that I promptly deleted I was paying $5 a pop? And I had done this 10 times in the last month according to the statement. What was a Premium SMS anyway? On the Telstra web site I found the FAQ which explained that it was probably a ringtone download and how to unsubscribe and promptly did just that.

But I was really angry. We had thought we were entering a competition. There was no fine print that we could read on the TV screen and definitely no voice over warning.

Kevin did some googling and found the "competition" website. There is some small print - very small print- there.

So because we didn't see that we were downloading a ringtone with every message we are $55 out of pocket and could have been more if I had recharged without checking. A very tricky little scam.

2 comments: said...

I guess you are ripe for some Nigerian scamster now.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you had played along you could have "won" that Ipod for about the same price as a new one. Its a bloody cheek, ain't it!