Automatic Text Charges


(Jonathon) #1

Not Monzo-related but I appear to be a really uninformed chap on this topic.

So I was browsing the internet on my phone (nothing pornographic, as my colleagues are now joking about) and a new tab opened randomly as a popup and then closed and then I got a text message thanking me for signing up to a learning languages service for £4.50 per week.

I literally entered no details in any website at all. I immediately texted STOP to stop the service, but it is showing on my phone bill now. Only the one charge but still.

Firstly - how could this actually happen? It seems really bad that I can be signed up for a service when I didn’t give my number out or authorise anything.

Secondly - is this even legal?


(Tony) #2

This will be the charge. A popup can’t gain access to your phone number, no web browsing could accomplish that. By sending a text to some random number you’ve opened yourself up to a charge (yes, you can get charged for sending a text to a number) and also confirmed your phone number.


#3

I hate these things. You can easily sign someone up to one if you know their number.


(Marcus Nailor, Hot Coral Detective) #4

I had this happen once :grimacing: I was unable to get a refund from Three for this unauthorised charge!

I was on a site and got auto-redirected by an ad or had a large popup (I don’t recall) so I clicked the ‘X’ to dismiss the add and instantly received a text informing me of a £5 charge :grimacing: I didn’t believe it at first but I went to the Three app and the charge had already appeared on my bill :eyes:

The next few days were spent calling Three with zero success. I even had a 3 way call with Three & the company charging me, which was also useless :thinking:

In the end I had to pay the £5 and the 25p “STOP” text as it was a recurring payment :fearful:


(Marcus Nailor, Hot Coral Detective) #5

This might not be the case anymore but I can certainly vouch for this being possible. I didn’t enter a single letter into the site I was on :sweat_smile:

I know that Google have been working on making Chrome immune to attacks like this but it happens ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


(Jonathon) #6

They already had my number as they sent the original text message saying I had signed up and within that text was the phrase that to stop I had to reply.


(Jonathon) #7

I’m now contacting EE to see what happened.

I literally did not enter my details, number, anything on the website. It was a Google search and clicked on a website and it popped up and closed instantly, followed immediately by a text message.

I certainly didn’t authorise it. I didn’t even click a X like you did - zero clicks! (Other than the one from the Google search page).

The company that run it are http://j1media.net/ - is it worth contacting them? Pretty sure there’s no consent here at all. Well, certain.


(Tony) #8

Yes, sorry, I must have missed that. Weird. How do they get your phone number for the initial contact, though? AFAIK it’s impossible to get it via the browser.


(Jonathon) #9

Exactly, so this is why it’s a mystery to me. I wouldn’t ever enter my data into a random website. Ever. It’s completely bypassed this and signed me up via a popup or website. I don’t know how.


(Jonathon) #10

EE have filed a complaint to the company and have refunded the charge, and put a block on premium rate subscriptions.

Still no idea how it happened.


(Rika Raybould) #11

If they’re partners with your carrier, there are ways that they can. :disappointed:


#12

I think there is a program called Charge to Mobile, in which mobile operators will send an HTTP header with (essentially) your mobile phone number when you visit the websites of participating companies.


#13

Yeah O2 cocked up a few years ago and were putting users’ mobile numbers in the header to every website visited on a 3G connection


(Jonathon) #14

Perhaps similar? I noticed that it was on 4G and not wifi as usual - I had turned wifi off accidently.


#15

Are you sure the charge wasn’t from the text you sent?

So this company just trys ‘cold texting’ random numbers to see who replies stop and they are a premium number?


(Thomas Horne) #16

I believe that the Phone-paid Services Authority are the regulatory body to complain to if you wish, who are over at: https://psauthority.org.uk/

One of the first things I did when I signed up for a phone contract was to cap my charges at £5 more than I pay for the contract per month and select that premium calls and texts are unable to be sent or charged.


(Jonathon) #17

It wasn’t the text as they texted me initially without me entering any details. They had access to my number.

It came immediately after a popup came up and went away. So perhaps they cold called, but I don’t think that’s legal?


#18

I suspect it isn’t legal but what is legal and the likelyhood of them being caught are two different things


(Kolok) #19

Same happened to me, they can charge your number through carrier billing, clicking on some ad was probably the ‘authorisation’


(Jonathon) #20

Firstly I don’t think it should be that easy to sign up to something!

Secondly I only clicked on the link direct from Google - no advert was clicked. Anyway I’m sure it was that click that did it but I still think it’s insane that can sign me up for something - is that even vaguely GDPR compliant?