Should customers be held accountable for signing up for services or should the courts step-in an stop unconscionable contracts?
Oklahoma personal injury lawyers report mobile services may be charging customers mystery fees. However, people also claim that these fees were associated with allegedly free services; at least they thought! The most common fee is $9.99, which may include daily inspirational text messages delivered directly to your mobile phone.
Similar to identity theft, scammers know that certain 3-digit numbers following the area code are allotted to mobile phones. A scammer may try random number sequencing, which automatically compiles a list of hits. InspiraCell, has charged Sprint customers using “auto dialer” type scams for text message campaigns.
Website pop-up advertisements invite mobile users to sign up for text messages by clicking on their pop-up ads and entering a pin number. Examples include horoscopes, ringtones, sports updates, lyrics, new alerts and other information. Sidebars on websites, such as www.facebook.com, utilize “text-message” advertisements. Companies, like Iawa out of Arizona, sell “text messaging” campaigns to high-traffic sites in order to increase their customer base. However, Iawa does not properly notify parties of the pricing terms when they sign up for the service.
Recently, Verizon Wireless filed 36 lawsuits against Iawa-like companies involving text-messaging campaign charges. The lawsuits allege that cell phone “cramming” is illegal. Iawa and the other defendants bury the monthly charges in small print, in neutral-colored areas or in irregular locations. Services include a monthly charge of $9.99 that people do not realize exists until their bill arrives. Verizon argues that the test-campaign companies are strategically maneuvering around Verizon’s monitoring programs. Interestingly though Verizon earns $.30 on each transaction, which equals approximately $30 million since 2008.
However, Iawa, filed a cross-complaint claiming requiring the customer to sign up twice, “double opt-in,” shows that the company is not “tricking” anyone. Also the company claims that Verizon is discouraging their business by manipulating information. Also, the company claims that its money-back guarantee satisfies its customers.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PREVENT ILLICIT CELL-PHONE CHARGES?
Check your bill each month.
Premiumsrefunds.com allows claims for illicit charges.
Contact your service provider and block certain types of data services.
Myt-mobile.com has help-yourself tools for cell phone issues.
Avoid 900-number calls.
Read the fine print before you sign up for services.
Sprint will block text-message campaigns if asked. Also, Sprint has an email for cell-phone campaign abuse: [email protected]
For more information, contact our Oklahoma personal injury lawyers.