Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Security The Almighty Buck

Verizon Offers Refunds For Fraudulent SMS Messages 55

itwbennett writes "Verizon has filed a lawsuit against a group of people and related companies that it alleges duped people into signing up and getting charged for premium short message services. Because some of the short message programs the defendants set up complied with Verizon's rules, Verizon says it is unable to identify which customers didn't know about the charges for the services. As a result it has set up a Web page where customers can file a claim form and get reimbursed if they were wrongly charged for the services."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Verizon Offers Refunds For Fraudulent SMS Messages

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    premium sms is a kind of robbery with the benevolence of phone companies and the goberments that do not prohibit them

    • I wish I could block texts altogether - most of the exchanges are really faster with a phone call. Also the concept of charging for this chunk of data per byte/whatever_unit many magnitudes higher than their internet/voice stream is nonsense.

      I don't want to pay for $20/month unlimited SMS service, wish I could block the damned things rather than being charged $0.05 for each one I receive. I wonder how many other private companies in the US can charge you for recieving something you simply don't want. Bac

      • by emj ( 15659 )

        I stance is that SMS is very good to let people know what is happening. E.g. "I'm going to be at bla bla at 13.00 meet me there I'll leave at 13:15", it's horrible when you get into the discussions like "well are you sure you mean 13:00 and not 01:00 am?" "oh you mean foo bar not bla bla, right?"

        But considering I've met many people who send more than 50 texts per day, so they are clearly very good at comunicating with texts.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "I'm going to be at bla bla at 13.00 meet me there I'll leave at 13:15",

          That's allright, if it's 13:00 in 1 week. There's no guarantee that an SMS will be delivered at all, much less on time. Usually, they guarantee that they will deliver the message within 7 days, or not at all. I've seen SMS with christmas wishes arrive at new year's eve.

          • by RulerOf ( 975607 )
            My Motorola E815 (on Verizon) had this "Send Later" option for SMS where you specified a time. It never worked right.

            Ironically, the two times I tried to do it, I was with the people I messaged when it finally showed up.... a week or two later.
        • But considering I've met many people who send more than 50 texts per day, so they are clearly very good at comunicating with texts.

          Nah, they're usually just too ADHD to talk to one person at a time.

          SMS is great for avoiding conversation while communicating with others, and that most definitely has its merits. However, I remember that, as a teenager, I often talked to girls using instant messaging because it allowed me to compose myself without saying something stupid. Unfortunately though, the stuff it left out eventually taught me that flirting via IM was a foolish and questionably effective endeavor.

          Conversation is as much a game

      • In Europe you do not get charged in any way for receiving text messages.
        You do not pay anything to receive calls either...

        You pay to send messages to people and you get charged for calling, but not for receiving.

        • In the UK at least you do pay to receive some texts. Watch late-night satellite TV and you'll see lots of ads for dating services which they say in the small print will keep sending you texts costing something like £1.50 each until you stop them.
          • Yeah, that is a special case for non-free services.

            What you pay when you receive these text is not a charge by the phone company for delivery but a service charge from the provider of the service in question. That distinction is important.

            As I understand it from conversations with american friends, if you used such a dating site and it cost 1 USD per message received from the service, that would be 1 USD + provider charge (1 sms off your balance or 0.05USD or somesuch).

            So no, we do not pay for being deliver

        • Paying for incoming calls and texts should only be allowed if you in exchange get free caller ID so that you have the option to reject calls and texts you don't want.

          • Um... you mean you dont see the number of whoever is calling by default without PAYING for it?....

            All Norwegian cell service providers have had that feature (for free..) since the days of the first GSM phones...

          • by Kosi ( 589267 )

            What provider is that, and how can they get away with charging for something that is usually a built-in feature of every phone service? And how come that such provider has more than 0 customers?

        • by Vlado ( 817879 )

          In Europe you DO pay if you subscribe to SMS service.

          SMS texts that are sent to you from your friends or in general are not charged. But if you subscribe to a service you can be charged quite high sums per every SMS you receive.

      • by Kosi ( 589267 )

        I don't want to pay for $20/month unlimited SMS service, wish I could block the damned things rather than being charged $0.05 for each one I receive.

        And how exactly did they force you to sign such a contract?

        • by Kosi ( 589267 )

          LMAO, my parent got modded "Troll"! WTF?

          I mean who else is to blame than the moron who signed a contract (or uses a prepaid card), where he has to pay for receiving(!) an SMS or a call? (Excluding international roaming fees, which are not allowed for SMS in the EU, because you can't choose to receive one or not like you can do with a call)

      • I have AT&T and they block them I was paying for incoming spam.

      • You should switch to Verizon! (No, seriously, they will let you put SMS and data blocks on your account. I have family members that have them set.)

  • Does this mean the guy I was talking to isn't an Albanian prince and I'm not get my gold bars?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How many people have complained that Verizon representatives gloss over fees and other costs associated with the plans you choose?

    It's overly complicated BECAUSE they can use that complication to make more money off you. Now Verizon has a company that's doing the very same thing they do...and they are driving out the competition with a lawsuit.

    How much more complicated have Verizon plans gotten in the last few years?

    Last time I looked, they had categories of phones. Regular phone, Multimedia phone, Smart

    • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Thursday March 10, 2011 @10:02AM (#35442136)

      ow you buy a multi-line plan....say a family plan consisting of 5 lines.

      Last I looked, the family plan doesn't require five phones. A family plan was simply shared minutes with two or more phones. The problem is, its actually more expensive until you get five phones on your plan. Verizon's family plan actually makes no sense. Traditionally, shared minutes was a means of cheaper service. But with Verizon, you actually pay a premium for cheaper service until you have reached five lines and then its only slightly discounted.

      If you are a Verizon customer and on a family plan and do not have five phones on the account, very, very, very likely you can save money by moving away from the family plan and converting to individual plans without shared minutes.

      Texting is so much less data being sent in small packets while voice requires so much more infrastructure

      Its even more insulting than that. Text data is actually carried by the control channel which every phone must have to register on the network. All they did was increase the packet size of the control channel messages. That's why there is a text message size limit. The RF portion of transport is really what costs them and their extra cost for carrying SMS is literally, almost zero. On a busy tower, they can fit 9 SMS messages into a single ethernet frame which means. SMS is the most expensive data for consumers and the cheapest for carriers. The fact SMS isn't a completely free service is mind numbing.

      • I just don't see that as true. Let me give you a breakdown of my 4 line family plan:

        I have a base price of $110. This is for 1400 minutes and unlimited cell phone talk (any provider) and unlimited text messaging and 10 "Friends and Family" numbers that you can call free.

        The price is then $10 per additional line, so an extra $30 bringing my total to $140.

        Now, the cheapest voice plan, without text messaging, is 200 minutes for 29.99. This does not include friends and family. Multiply that by 4 and
        • I went through this a little over a year ago. Last time I went through the numbers, it was break even at line four and discount at line five. Obviously things vary based on the exact options and time associated with you plan.

          Please do note I said, "likely". I specifically avoided absolutes here.

          The primary purpose of my post was to get people to look. Its very possible they can save money with multiple, individual plans rather than a family plan if they are not maxing the number of lines.

          unlimited text messaging

          Unless you're a tee

          • If we didn't have an unlimted text plan, you're right we wouldn't text.
            We both have smart phones, but still use text due to ease of use. I haven't found a good IM interface yet for Android.
            I personally have used 384 text messages so far this cycle (Ends on 3/26).
            Daughter's used 759
            Wife: 422.
            I think we pay something like $20 for unlimited text messaging. Since VZW charges in and out, that puts us at 1.27 cents per message so far with still 16 days to go in our cycle. We do pretty well. Again, if I
            • For IM on Android what's wrong with Google Talk? It works great in my experience.

              • Honestly, didn't think about it... I could use that for communicating to my wife and daughter yes, but most of my online friends are on yahoo or irc. It would be great if Pidgin could port over. I'd always be on my IM then.
      • If you are a Verizon customer and on a family plan and do not have five phones on the account, very, very, very likely you can save money by moving away from the family plan and converting to individual plans without shared minutes.

        That's total bullshit. I suggest you go to their website and do some simple math.

        A single plan with 450 minutes and unlimited texts is $60/month.

        A family share with 2 people sharing 700 minutes and unlimited texts is $100/month, or $50/month/person.

        Yeah, you get fewer minutes, but, In my experience, the number of minutes have never been a limiting factor. In the three years I've had such a plan, I've never gotten close to going over, much like I've never come close to using my 450 minutes when I ha

        • I suggest you go to their website and do some simple math.

          I did. That's how I came to that conclusion. Why do angry over simply math. You may not save money with your options but it can be done. I didn't say in absolute terms.

          Why it is so hard for supposedly smart people to actually use their head? That's rhetorical.

          • Please prove your point with examples, otherwise I'm not seeing where you're drawing this conclusion from. Give just one example where going to a family share plan does NOT save money.
            • Please prove your point with examples, otherwise I'm not seeing where you're drawing this conclusion from. Give just one example where going to a family share plan does NOT save money.

              It's possible that the parent post is arguing that since the total number of minutes available goes DOWN on a per-line basis, you have to add minutes back in to make it balance out. This would bump you up to the next tier, and cost more.

              My own experience is that you end up calling the other numbers in the plan for free, so t

    • I don't disagree with some of your ranting (text messaging being so expensive for one) but I don't think that my plan prices are complicated at all. The VZW reps were very up front about all fees and what was required for the phones I wanted. They answered all of my questions and gave me a breakdown of charges before I signed the contract. All of the reps I've dealt with (different reps in 2 stores and various on the phone) have been very nice and forthcoming with information. Sometimes all you have to
  • that was/is practically their business plan. they didn't care even if the sw they were selling was obviously fraud or almost fraud(with the defense that because the adverts are colorful you shouldn't take them seriously.. so you shouldn't have sued them for selling you a subscription in order for you to get a mosquito repellent software that couldn't even technically work like the advert said).

    so how surprising is it that there's copycats for it? not at all. also the sms billing and fleecing business around

  • They couldn't make the claims page part of the main verizon website? The css and layout are so different, I was asking myself "Is this a scam?" Even the url is dubious. It appears genuine, but if people were smart (which they aren't) they would be careful about where they type in their personal information. Seems like a pretty nice scam to me: Set up registration form somewhere on the web. Submit inflammatory articles to slashdot linking to said form. Steal all the email accounts you want.
    • Stuff like this is always weird, I think it's because the legal team handling this gets the page set up, not Verizon corporate. On a side note, there was probably a press release linking to that site, or you could likely call customer support to verify it.

  • As part of the special Verizon refund program, you have to scour your wireless bills (this could be up to 5 or 6 years ago) and provide the date and time of the text which signed you up for the service. If they were serious about refunds wouldn't they know who was charged and who wasn't? It's practically a joke.

    (shortened version of the terms)

    • Be able to identify the charges for which you are seeking a credit or refund... know the name of the content provider/merchant behind the charges... also include the
    • Premium SMS shows up on VZW bills under the data charges section. Since its a monthly charge, you dont have to scour your bill, you just have to look for a $9.99 charge under data.

      The reason they want customers to tell them which ones were unsolicited is because sometimes people do request the service. Not often, but sometimes. In the 2 months I was doing inbound customer service for VZW, I had to deal with people being pissed about premium SMS numerous times and only had 1 person admit to requesting the se

  • My older son was being billed for $9.95/month and when I called Verizon and asked about it, they gave him a refund and blocked out the ptxt service. One call to 611 got the whole thing worked out. It was annoying, but Verizon fixed the problem.
    • I had them charging for premium text services on a phone that had no SMS capability and a line that had data blocking turned on. Like you said, I called them and it got corrected, but why should we have to call on a line that is supposed to block all this stuff?
      What I have noticed is that every time you make a change to your account, change your phone, click your mouse button, or whatever, that triggers premium blocking to be turned back off, and so at least every couple of months I am back on the phone as
      • A data block does not block premuim SMS. You need a premium SMS block. And no, the blocks dont get removed everytime you make a change to your account, but some changes, such as going from regular phone to smartphone or multimedia phone will auto remove the blocks and if you dont tell the rep that you want to keep the blocks, they dont re-add them. Also, if you make the change yourself on your account website, you have to make sure the blocks are still in place.

        Also, they are not interested in having this f

    • Had a similar problem a few years ago with Sprint and a company called Blinko. All Sprint would do was tell me the name of the company that stuck the 9.99 charge on my bill. They said they could not prevent these sorts of charges. Took about 3 months but I did get the money back, no thanks to Sprint. Needless to say Sprint and I parted ways as the next opportunity.
  • A few years back, I got slammed with something like this when I stupidly let someone use my number cause they didnt have a phone. After calling Verizon, they refunded my money and put something on my account to block the possibility of me being signed into any of this shit ever again.
  • I interviewed with these guys a couple of years ago to run their IT department. They were really vague about what their actual service was. I let the interview early as nothing felt right. Though they did seem to have tons of $.

    They're now going by the name of Jawa and are at http://jawa.com/ [jawa.com] . They're pushing a happy charitable face but doing the same crap as they were before.


A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.