At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

Mentor

At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

I got a spam SMS from 31850 asking me to sign up for some quiz, I just ignored it, I've always heard not to reply 'STOP' to spamers because then they know your number is real and being spammers they don't care what you reply. I've seen messages on this board where people reply 'STOP' and it does no good.

 

Anyway, I just got my bill and AT&T let this "third party" (it's in quotes because they have to be in cahoots with at&t for this to happen) charge me $9.99 for their subscription. I don't have time to deal with it now but I'll probably have to take time out of my day monday call At&t.

 

I usually don't get upset over stuff but I can't believe that AT&T lets someone sign me up for a  $9.99 a month charge without consent, without a password or pin or an email or anything.

 

By the way, you are all now signed up for my subscription service.  Please read this sentence to confirm.

 

Message 1 of 94 (16,669 Views)
Expert

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

call and have a purchase block placed on the line

 

you really want a carrier or a charge company to call you every time that a 3rd party charge is attempted on your account? As with online credit card tranasctions if the retailer has all the information needed to process the charge the online retailer will not contact you to verify that you actually authorized the charge, unfortunatley all the information is avaialble to the disreputable firms that practice this via public domain search sites. I can take a phone number, do a RNL (reverse number lookup) on it and find out exactly what carrier the number belongs to, the geographical location that the number block is issued to and if I had a subscription or was willing to pay a one time charge the billing address of the number in question

Message 16 of 94 (15,424 Views)
Mentor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

What I really want is a carrier that doesn't allow third parties to charge me without my permision, It's only happened to me once so I wouldn't mind if they called me every time but an email confirmation or a password would be fine, just like with apple or every other honest company, you can't even sign up for a free email newsletter without a confirmation. or an internet forum. I don't remember but when I signed up here I probably had to confirm by email.

 

as for online retailers, I generally use paypal I have to give them my password and then I get an email receipt instantly. My credit card number isn't as available as my phone number. Amazon does have my credit card information but they ask for a password if I buy something.

 

AND I DON'T GET CHARGED FOR SOMETHING FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT COMPANY I DIDN'T ASK FOR OR IT'S FRAUD. but in AT&T's case they think it's perfectly fine.

 

Someone did get my credit card info once and tried to charge me for some Girls Gone Wild videos they sent to my house, they also signed me up for a Disney movie club and some book club. My credit union blocked it imediatly and never charged me. and on two other occasions a purchase out of the ordinary they called me to confirm.

 

 

here is what the contract states.

 

'I understand that wireless devices can be used to purchase goods, content, and services (including subscription plans) like ring tones, graphics, games, and news alerts from AT&T or other companies. I understand that I am responsible for all authorized charges associated with such purchases from any device assigned to my account, that these charges will appear on my bill (including charges on behalf of other companies), and that such purchases can be restricted by using parental controls available from an AT&T salesperson, at att.com/wireless, or by calling AT&T.'

 

notice it says "all authorized charges" I would take this to mean I authorize them somehow with at&t, not 'anybody in the world that has my phone number can authorize them' . if that's going to be the case, purchase blocks should be opted out of, not in, you should have to call to have it removed, not added.

 

If AT&T is going to let third parties charge us they should vet them the way apple does AND require us to put in a pin or password.

 

there are two more  customes in this thread this has happend to without them doing anything to authorize it. I'm not the only one who doesn't like this practice.

 

Message 17 of 94 (15,422 Views)

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

 


johnray wrote:

 

AND I DON'T GET CHARGED FOR SOMETHING FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT COMPANY I DIDN'T ASK FOR OR IT'S FRAUD. but in AT&T's case they think it's perfectly fine.


 



Noone likes 3rd party charges, but they exist and until they are gone the only way to prevent them is through the purchase blocker. AT&T doesn't condone these charges, please stop trying to imply that. Every carrier has to deal with these third party subscriptions, I have verizon and have had one show up on my bill. I've had cricket and had one show up on my bill. These exist and who knows how long they will continue to exist, this is old news.

Message 18 of 94 (15,418 Views)
Mentor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

I'm not trying to imply anything, I'm stating as a fact that at&t could set up a system to send me an email so I can confirm a third party charge before they apply it to my bill. I'd be happier if they didn't let a third party charge me at all, the third party can bill me, that way if it's a scam I just ignore it and not pay instead of having to call at&t, and I wouldn't have people telling me I did authorize it and then tell me it's just fine if at&t lets some third party claim they sold me a product and then at&t bill me for it without my authorization.

 

if for some reason there is some strange law that says they have to let third parties bill us, I can't imagine that the law says they can't confirm it with us first.

 

I don't care that every service provider does it, that doesn't make it right.

 

why does it have to be a purchase blocker? why can't it be a purchase confirmer, and be there from the begining?

 

 

I bought a phone from at&t's website a long time ago and had it added to my bill, I had to enter my password for that and I don't remember but they probably emailed me a receipt instantly.

 

 

Message 19 of 94 (15,416 Views)
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Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent


johnray wrote:

I'm not trying to imply anything, I'm stating as a fact that at&t could set up a system to send me an email so I can confirm a third party charge before they apply it to my bill. I'd be happier if they didn't let a third party charge me at all, the third party can bill me, that way if it's a scam I just ignore it and not pay instead of having to call at&t, and I wouldn't have people telling me I did authorize it and then tell me it's just fine if at&t lets some third party claim they sold me a product and then at&t bill me for it without my authorization.

 

if for some reason there is some strange law that says they have to let third parties bill us, I can't imagine that the law says they can't confirm it with us first.

 

I don't care that every service provider does it, that doesn't make it right.

 

why does it have to be a purchase blocker? why can't it be a purchase confirmer, and be there from the begining?

 

 

I bought a phone from at&t's website a long time ago and had it added to my bill, I had to enter my password for that and I don't remember but they probably emailed me a receipt instantly.

 

 



it is a confirmation - to accept the charge and allow it to go through to your phone bill you need to enter a PIN that you get  for confirmation, they just call it a "purchase blocker" for the simple fact it blocks the purchase unless you confirm it.

 

Why is it not there? Who knows, why do you have to activate a number of features that carriers supply at no charge, becuase that is the way things work, companies will drop it to the lowest common denominator to make it easy for the end user to do something.

Message 20 of 94 (15,401 Views)
Contributor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

[ Edited ]

I just got the corporate bill today, and 6 of our 40 lines were hit with a third party charge, $ 9.99 each, and all from different companies.  I went online, placed the charges in dispute, then called AT&T billing.  They refunded all of the charges, including taxes, and then offered to put block on all 40 lines to prevent it from happening again.

 

While the call took a while for all the lines to get blocked, it wasn't that bad.  AT&T should still evaluate the benefit of doing business with these scammers, if not for the customer satisfaction issues even the cost of tying up a rep with me for that long.

 

Just for fun, we did call the third-party, who claimed they "helped people manage their cellular phone service", but could not explain how to use their service.  The nice, if not frustrated, lady said that she could only take a message or cancel the service, not actually provide any service.  At least she has a job in this economy.

Message 21 of 94 (15,276 Views)
Tutor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

I don't get why a few of you are not comprehending that the OP got charged through no fault of his own. It's pretty common knowledge that you should just ignore spam messages but here, ignoring it got both him and me charged. My charges came from short code 25870 but it is basically the same thing. AT&T refunded my money but something needs to be done about these shady companies charging without permission. Not replying does not mean it's ok to charge me.

Message 22 of 94 (15,262 Views)
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Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent


Killbomb wrote:

I don't get why a few of you are not comprehending that the OP got charged through no fault of his own. It's pretty common knowledge that you should just ignore spam messages but here, ignoring it got both him and me charged. My charges came from short code 25870 but it is basically the same thing. AT&T refunded my money but something needs to be done about these shady companies charging without permission. Not replying does not mean it's ok to charge me.


No, what you do not understand is that the majority of the 3rd party companies that engage in this practice embed their verbage for the end user authorizing it in many ways -- from "Get a free ringtone / music / wall paper" with a 2 page agreement before it downloads that someplace in it has "I understand by downloadig this rigntone I agree to a monthly subscription cost of XX.XX that will be billed through my carrier" statement - and it works becasue the majority of the population does not take the time to actually read what they are agreeing to. Or my personal favorite since my daughter got hit with it - a mobile survey on facebook that if you took it you agreed to a monhtly reoccuring subscription service.

 

As far as "not replying" it depends on how the 3rd party company words the agreement - properly worded in the correct terms it IS valid as a agreement, it happens all the time in some issues that send a email stating "If I wish to opt out of this I understand I must send in this document, if I do not send it in I agree to it".  No response is as valid as a response, it happens evey day in life.

Message 23 of 94 (15,254 Views)
Teacher

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

This happened to my mother. She got the texts, ignored them, and started to get billed. In fact, the texts arrived while she was asleep.

She didn't sign up for anything (near as we can tell) and doesn't even have a facebook account.
Message 24 of 94 (15,170 Views)
Teacher

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent


Killbomb wrote:

I don't get why a few of you are not comprehending that the OP got charged through no fault of his own. It's pretty common knowledge that you should just ignore spam messages but here, ignoring it got both him and me charged. My charges came from short code 25870 but it is basically the same thing. AT&T refunded my money but something needs to be done about these shady companies charging without permission. Not replying does not mean it's ok to charge me.


I get it. I agree with you.

 

You know what I'd like? I'd like ATT to show me the agreement they say they read in circumstances like this.

Message 25 of 94 (15,170 Views)
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Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent


wingrider01 wrote:

Killbomb wrote:

I don't get why a few of you are not comprehending that the OP got charged through no fault of his own. It's pretty common knowledge that you should just ignore spam messages but here, ignoring it got both him and me charged. My charges came from short code 25870 but it is basically the same thing. AT&T refunded my money but something needs to be done about these shady companies charging without permission. Not replying does not mean it's ok to charge me.


No, what you do not understand is that the majority of the 3rd party companies that engage in this practice embed their verbage for the end user authorizing it in many ways -- from "Get a free ringtone / music / wall paper" with a 2 page agreement before it downloads that someplace in it has "I understand by downloadig this rigntone I agree to a monthly subscription cost of XX.XX that will be billed through my carrier" statement - and it works becasue the majority of the population does not take the time to actually read what they are agreeing to. Or my personal favorite since my daughter got hit with it - a mobile survey on facebook that if you took it you agreed to a monhtly reoccuring subscription service.

 

As far as "not replying" it depends on how the 3rd party company words the agreement - properly worded in the correct terms it IS valid as a agreement, it happens all the time in some issues that send a email stating "If I wish to opt out of this I understand I must send in this document, if I do not send it in I agree to it".  No response is as valid as a response, it happens evey day in life.


I called ATT customer support. They were able to (repeatedly) confirm what it is that we are witnessing:

 

Any third party can arbitrarily bill me (you) without any prior consent. Really. The response? "Because they are a third party, we at AT&T have no control over that. You need to contact the third party to dispute the charges." Yes, even in cases like we are decribing, where texts arrive with no prior associated action and where no response was given.

 

As wingroder01 stated, you can easily stop this from happening by calling customer support and getting the Purchase Blocker put on your line(s). It is free, and details about it and other controls can be found by looking up Smart Controls and/or Parental Controls on AT&T's site. (I'm not allowed to post HTML links here.)

 

I asked, and was told that AT&T makes no checks at all what agreements have been made between the user and the third parties in situations like this, contrary to what use wingrider01 is certain is the case. Even the rep that I spoke with at AT&T agreed that this was a pretty foolish policy and was equaly baffled as to why AT&T did it this way. (AT&T is not the only provider with this policy/practice. Near as I can tell, it is pretty standard across the industry. 

 

There are many ways in which this can happen. A great many examples are ones similar to the IQ test floating around Facebook and other sites. In these circumstances, the user via some level of carwelessness winds up agreeing to something that allows these bills to be put in place. I'd go so far, based on nothing but my unscientific observation, to say this is probably true in a majority of cases; just as wingrider01 stated.

 

However, I am also inclined to agree with the OP and others here that there are most certainly cases of the end user being an unwitting and unparticipatory victim. In other words, it is possible for the end-user to do nothing at all and get "slammed" with these charges on their bill, oustide of the end-users control. I think they are telling the truth, as I'm pretty sure that *I* am also being truthful. I've witnessed it first hand. And, as you can see above, my conversation with an on-duty rep of AT&T confirmed it.

Message 26 of 94 (15,167 Views)
Contributor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

It happened to me too! It probably happened to most people. Why can't ATT clearly present " purchase blocker" as a free option not under parent control? Or even set it as default? I'm sure most people hate those unauthorized charges, or were unaware this until some of the charge is noticed. I'm sure ATT reps spend a lot of times deal with angry customers who found out those charges, I had to deal with it more than a couple of times with different accounts.
Message 27 of 94 (15,146 Views)
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Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

jorn_k, yours was the best response in the thread. I encountered the same thing today in looking at my bill. Mine was a $9.99 charge for horoscopes. I got a spam text several days ago about this saying to reply STOP if I didn't want it. As someone else said, I ignore spam rather than use UNSUBSCRIBE and I did the same thing here. There was no user agreement for free ringtones or anything like that that others suggest I agreed to. There was simply a spam text that I ignored. I called AT&T and, to their credit, they immediately removed the charge.  When I asked how this could happen without my authorization, I got the same answer you did. My failure to text STOP in a reply was interpreted as my agreement to the charges. She said that unlike email spam you don't want to simply ignore text spam like this.

 

She suggested and I agreed to Parental Controls on my phone. I also had it added to my wife's phone. AT&T then sent emails with PIN codes for each phone that would allow a purchase over the phone. I've never made a purchase (on purpose) using the phone so I don't know how it works. The PIN issued isn't very convenient so I'm trying to find out how to change it which is how I ended up in this thread in the first place. Not having much luck so I guess it's another call to customer service.

Message 28 of 94 (15,120 Views)
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Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent


gary11112 wrote:

jorn_k, yours was the best response in the thread. I encountered the same thing today in looking at my bill. Mine was a $9.99 charge for horoscopes. I got a spam text several days ago about this saying to reply STOP if I didn't want it. As someone else said, I ignore spam rather than use UNSUBSCRIBE and I did the same thing here. There was no user agreement for free ringtones or anything like that that others suggest I agreed to. There was simply a spam text that I ignored. I called AT&T and, to their credit, they immediately removed the charge.  When I asked how this could happen without my authorization, I got the same answer you did. My failure to text STOP in a reply was interpreted as my agreement to the charges. She said that unlike email spam you don't want to simply ignore text spam like this.

 

She suggested and I agreed to Parental Controls on my phone. I also had it added to my wife's phone. AT&T then sent emails with PIN codes for each phone that would allow a purchase over the phone. I've never made a purchase (on purpose) using the phone so I don't know how it works. The PIN issued isn't very convenient so I'm trying to find out how to change it which is how I ended up in this thread in the first place. Not having much luck so I guess it's another call to customer service.


You did agree to something in some way shape or form, the companies have been challenged and each time they have been able to supply documentation on the agreement - do a little search engine scanning.

 

 It can be something as simple as "by taking this survey / quiz you agree to a monthly charge to be submitted to your carrier"  or By downloading this ringtone you agree to a monthly subscription charge to be added to your phone bill"

 

A purchase block would have done the same thing that parental controls do also - it requries a PIN to authorize purchases

Message 29 of 94 (15,104 Views)
Tutor

Re: At&t let a third party charge me $9.99 without my consent

This is crap.  The DEFAULT should be the purchase blocker and then allow us to purchase with a password or somehting.  I would think this would be a more pro-active move on the part of AT&T and show that they actually cared about their customers, and didn't cater to the third-party billing.  It's not like they get something financially for this - OR DO THEY???

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