on 21-03-2018 19:19
on 23-03-2018 22:31
I have suffered the shock of this company debiting my account to the tune of £300. I did manage to fix it though, here’s how.
Bit of history.
Long winded but incredibly satisfying.
I first noticed this company had been debiting my bank account in March 2018, on closer inspection of my O2 invoices it became clear that this company had been debiting my account since 2016.
I had given my wife my old iPhone 4 after an upgrade to the then newer iPhone 7 sometime around 2015-16. My wife only wanted the phone for emergencies as she is a technophobe. I purchased her a simple sim with free text small amount data etc. she was very happy with it. Being a technophobe, I always advised my wife to simply delete any messages or text she didn’t recognize for security. I never felt the need to check my account with O2 as she rarely used it to phone many friends, it was only my phone I kept an eye on online. Until by chance I viewed my account for her number in March 2018. Ouch.
On viewing invoice history, it became apparent SB7 mobile Ltd had been debiting for texts sent to her number since 2016 @£4.50 per text? Sometimes 5 texts a month. Grrr. I was very angry.
The Fix (Tip: stay calm stay civil)
I composed a letter to this company demanding a refund for the monies debited from my account. I complained that they had obtained her mobile number illicitly and underhandedly.
I advised that if I had no reply within 7 days to my complaint I would pursue a claim through county courts. I had no reply from this company to the request sent.
I made a claim to the county court regarding this matter around 16th March 2018. On the 23rd March 2018, I received via post confirmation of my claim through the post from the County court.
The same day I also received the first answer from SB7 regarding my complaint with an offer of £180 as compensation without excepting responsibility. I refused stating that I had already started a court summons and that it was my intention to pursue full settlement of my account debits plus the expense of the court £325.27.
SB7 subsequently revised their offer to compensate for the full amount £325.27 to be paid via the post office message system. I agreed to this on the proviso that I would only close my claim with the courts on receipt of cash owed.
So, I now await the post office text message from SB7 mobile Ltd for a full refund.
Advice for you if you want to recover monies owed by unscrupulous companies.
Be polite but firm, state your complaint, request a resolution, give 7 days’ notice. If you get no answer take out a court summons, you can do this online (£25).
Do a search google (for company info Directors etc) Glean a home address for a director or Directors and include this address within your county court claim.
Hope this info helps someone, if I can do it so can you!
on 23-03-2018 23:21
That's certainly one way to do it and very well done for your actions. I hope you get the money soon now.
Whilst I commend you for giving others the way to pursue this through the small claims court, one of the big lessons to learn is the importance of checking bills every month.
on 25-03-2018 07:31
I agree with you totally, in an ideal world I would we would all be checking our accounts regularly.
Unfortunately, most of us live in the real world where we are just trying to earn a living and get on with our daily lives. I, for example, have a joint account with my wife? There is no way I’m going to start challenging her for any expenses she makes? Lol
This scam isn’t about debiting large amounts of cash from individuals although this can happen as I have proved!
This scam is about understanding modern lifestyle and Volume? By these companies.
How they glean our phone numbers is irrelevant, but they have them? They have probably purchased them via a data exchange. Who knows.
I am betting nobody here with a complaint will bother to peruse a claim if it is of small amount let’s say £10 or even £20? Most people will text STOP to the relevant number and that will be that. A few of us will contact the company directly to complain and may receive compensation. But not many? These companies know that.
It’s the sheer volume of customers who have had this type of attack that matters? You can prove this searching google for company information and viewing the turnover? Unbelievable!
What’s needed is proper regulation by government and accountability by the scammers.
on 28-03-2018 12:41
30-03-2018 20:59 - edited 30-03-2018 21:00
The MNO’s are generally very complacent about these scams. For every customer who has posted on the thread there will number of others who have been affected but haven’t reported it. They can't all be lying when they say they have no idea how they got 'subscribed'. Some, who don’t check their bills properly, could end up paying for months. Of course, if the rules are being followed correctly, regular spend reminders should be sent by text.
The impression given by O2 is that only reputable companies are allowed to make charges to your bill, but the truth is that all sorts of dubious companies are able to use Payforit to make charges. The Phone-paid Services Authority is supposed to regulate this market, but is actually funded by the scammers. For this reason it has allowed these subscription scams to proliferate. Remote Games Ltd, SB7 Mobile, Abacus Synergy, Buongiorno and many others have been allowed to scam customers of all the major networks for far too long.
EE have finally taken action by requiring two step authentication for all subscription services:
This should put a stop to these scams, at least on one network. The regulator is under pressure to take action and will be re-assessing the rules for subscription services this year. At present the rules require two step authentication only for services costing more than £4.50 per week.
If the regulator doesn’t act, these subscription services could go the same way as they have in Australia following pressure from the public:
The method of header enrichment used in Australia to pass the consumer’s number to the third party is different to Payforit, but the effect is the same. The consumer’s number is passed to the third party, often without them being aware that this has happened.
I accept that there may be a small number of consumers for whom these services are of value, but I can’t find any. Searching for the name of any of these companies only brings up complaints of unauthorised charges. Making ‘charge to bill’ opt-in rather than opt-out would protect consumers who don’t want these ‘services’ whilst increasing awareness of the risk of fraud amongst those who do.
It is time that the MNO’s, who are ultimately responsible for Payforit, reformed this outdated and insecure system.
In the meantime everyone affected by a 'payforit' or 'charge to bill' scam should make sure they register a complaint with the regulator as well as insisting on a full refund.
The steps to take are (with links to detailed instructions):
- Stop further charges being made
- Get a refund of any charges already taken
- Complain to the Phone-paid Services Authority
- Protect yourself from further 'charge to bill' scams
Let me know if can offer any further help or advice. These scams are a disgrace to the mobile communications industry.
Help put a stop to 'Payforit' scams. Respond to the Phone-paid Services Authority Consultation
on 30-03-2018 21:17
Well done EE.
OnePlus 6 (O2 & Sfr), Z3 Tablet (Three UK), iPhone7 (EE)