View Full Version : Dangerous Loophole

Lee Koepke
03-04-2008, 4:45 PM
OK ... never ranted here before, so here it goes !!!

My wife has been getting random telemarketerlike text messages on her cell phone lately. We have unlimited in plan and like 50 out of network.

So, I tried to call my provider to block or report these calls. There is nothing they can do about it. So, basically ..... these wireless providers are reaping a profit for telemarketers randomly texting phone numbers.

Now I put some thought into this. Computer programs can generate and send these text messages, and use incorrect call back numbers. That renders them virtually untraceable.

So, my options are ... pay for unlimited text messages. Stop the service (that she likes) .. or pay the fee for any overages we have. With no recourse.

I am quite angry, and have tempered my language and judgement in hopes that I am not the only one that has experienced this and there MAY be some other solution that my rage has prevented me from seeing.

Thanks for your patience. :cool:

Matt Meiser
03-04-2008, 5:20 PM
I dont' have a solution--but I was getting marketing messages from Sprint. I called and asked them to stop and got about 20 "unsubscribe" text messages. When we got the bill that month I was charged for them. :( I also had a problem where my phone would ring and I'd answer and the person on the other end thought I had called them. Sprint said there was nothing they could do about that. The people on the other end got quite nasty and said they were going to call the police--I said please do. Not too long after, the calls stopped.

Eric Franklin
03-04-2008, 5:24 PM
I've never been happy the way they charge for text messaging. You pay if someone sends you a unwanted message or you pay way to much money to allow unlimited text messges.

$20 a month for cryptic messages is way to much money.

Chris Padilla
03-04-2008, 6:37 PM

Well, that basically goes like a good dust collector: it SUCKS!! I think you should CANCEL the TMs for maybe a month or two and then go back and see if that helps. Maybe returned TMs (if that really happens...not sure) will get your number removed but I'm just guessing here. Seems the phone company could care less.

Or, threaten to change providers if they don't help you out. I have AT&T/Cingular (whatever name they are using this month) and I've only gotten 3 or 4 TMs from them in 2-3 years of using them so no biggie on my end. Who is your service provider? You can't be the only one complaining about such things. This must go along with the "DoNotCAll.gov" type of lists that are out there but I heard they aren't covering cell phones with this "law" just yet...but they will have to soon, I think.

Greg Cuetara
03-04-2008, 6:38 PM
Maybe I don't understand the whole text thing but do you don't read the text message do you still get charged for it? I thought it was kind of like a phone call...if you don't pick up you don't pay for it. So basically dont' read any messages from number you don't recognize. Please correct me if I am wrong here but that is the way the verizon guy described it to me....

The other thing is that telemarketers are not allowed to call cell phones. Something about the fact that we are paying for the call not them. When they call the cell phone I tell them it is a cell phone and I don't hear from them again. But again I could be wrong...it has just been my experience that telemarketers call the house phones and not the cell's.

Joe Pelonio
03-04-2008, 7:08 PM
Whenever someone fills out a contest entry form it's giving permission to be called by telemarketers, and those names/numbers can be sold to other telemarketers. For example, if you fill out a form to win a hot tub at the state fair, and give your cell number, you are asking for them (and others) to call you on that cell phone. This is how they get around it. I have a window company customer that had 150 telemarketers calling every day, until the "do not call" list. Now he sets up displays to "win merchandise" at various hardware stores, and they call people that fill out an entry slip.

Just to be safe I have registered all of our cells with the "do not call" list whether or not they say it's included, they did accept the numbers.

Lee Koepke
03-04-2008, 7:19 PM
Greg, thats a good suggestion ... I will look at the fine print and see if thats the case.

Fortunately we havent exceeded our limits yet, but I tend to be proactive ( in my anger .. haha )

I currently have Verizon, and my phone is company phone, so I got wife and kid verizon so we can conserve the minutes we would never use !! haha

Its amazing what the 'creative' marketing types come up with.

Thanks for the good responses ....

Matthew Poeller
03-04-2008, 7:40 PM

I had the same problem but it was worse. One of the phones on my plan (my brother's) was recieving text messages, the third party type, the one like the horoscopes and stuff that cost $9.95 a text. Well I got that bill and was very angry. I first yelled at my brother and told him that he owed me a ton of money and he was off the plan. He pleaded with me that it was not his fault so I called Sprint....

I am not sure who your provider is but Sprint has a way to block unwanted text messages. I think that it cost them lot of money to implement or something because it took me 3 seperate calls and 2 levels of tech support to get to the guy that could do something about it. Long story short, my brother still has text messaging and all the third party stuff has stopped. I think after they credited my account about $150 they decided they had to do something about it. I cannot remember, about a year ago but I may have had to shut down his text messaging for a week or so for them to flush out the problem.

I have found much like everything else where you have a choice (except natural gas, cable and electricty) though, the longer you have been a subscriber and the more money you spend with them (I have 5 phones on my plan, power in numbers) the more you can bully them around.

If your provider is Sprint tell them that you are going to leave. They lost billions of dollars since the nextel merger and a hurting for subscribers. Tell them that you are going to cancel service and not pay them cancelation charges because of breach of contract on their part if they do not take care of the problem.

Lee Koepke
03-04-2008, 7:47 PM
Thanks Matthew.

They do allow blocking of "premium text messages", thats the 9.95 ones, ringtones, American Idol voting, etc ... I did that because we do have teenager on the plan :D

They cant block specific numbers. The other issue is if the texts are generated via computer that complicates the matter further .... its frustrating and hopefully enough can be stirred up and something can be done.

Matthew Poeller
03-04-2008, 7:55 PM
Ya, sometimes my brother, 27, acts like a teenager.

Ouch, I guess that is a little different then. I hope that I never have that problem.

Although the only plans that have text messaging on my plan are my brothers, which is unlimited and mine which is free for the next two years because they messed something up royaly on my plan when I switched phones.

Sprint is one of the only companies I actually enjoy calling to annoy them. If I have had a bad day at work my wife tells me to call Sprint to take out my frsutrations. I never yell or anything like that because I think that is just rude but I argue until they give me something free. Funny thing is the last time I called the lady told me that she could not do anything without a managers approval because I had recieved to many credits and my account was flagged. HMMMM....Maybe I am the reason they are in such dire straights.

Mike Cutler
03-04-2008, 8:31 PM
Check with your state attorney generals office, or visit their website.
I had the same problem with eMails. My phone can receive them, but it's not advanced enough to display them. Providers solution was to upgrade my plan and get a new phone, my solution was a little different.

In CT you cannot be billed, or charged, for a service that you didn't contract for, and yes they hate this answer when you give it to them at the store.

From the Consumer affairs website.

"The “materially adverse change” clause

It is an understatement to say that your contract is tipped in favor of your carrier; it's not tipped -- it's turned on its head in favor of the carrier. However, the news is not all bad: all major carriers have what is called the “material adverse change” clause.

That clause provides that, in effect, if your carrier adds a new charge to your plan, they have changed the terms of your contract. They must give you notice and then you’ll have at least 14 days to bail out without paying an ETF. If you continue to use your service beyond the “get out” date specified by your carrier, that is an indication (called negative option) that you accept their changes.

As more people have become aware of this clause, carriers have grown stricter in what they consider a “materially adverse change.” You might have to ask for a supervisor and read to them the exact wording of your notice. Make sure to use the words “materially adverse.”

In any event, this clause alone gives you a good reason to read every notice sent to you -- promptly. If you miss the notice and the 14 days passes, you're out of luck."

Rich Engelhardt
03-05-2008, 7:33 AM
Not that it helps any - but - I've been having the same problem for the last 4 weeks.:mad: with Verizon.
My plan doesn't allow me to cancel text messages - even though I don;t use them.

James Stokes
03-05-2008, 10:43 AM
My wife had that problem. She had all text messages blocked on her phone. Alltel did not want to do that but they finally did. I still have the text messaging on my phone. (Do not know why I do not use it.)

Bryan Rocker
03-05-2008, 4:41 PM
While beating up the company for these unwanted text messages do not forget to lodge a complaint with the FCC. You may not always see the fruits of your efforts but if enough citizens complain out something they are usually forced to deal with it.

Michael Gibbons
03-06-2008, 3:46 AM
Phones were invented to actually TALK to people-not to text, or play poker or watch porn or to take videos. Get rid of all that crap and you'll eliminate the problems. PERIOD!!! If you think you need to type something to someone, go on the computer, type your message, print, put in envelope, address it, put stamp on it then mail it. I read a story in our local news about a young kid who got into a car accident because he fell asleep due to the fact that he was on the phone for any reason with the longest break between calls was no more than 15 minutes in a 24 hour period. What is everyones problem with cell phone addiction? Are we that insecure that we feel we need to have that thing stuck in our ear all the time? I see numerous people at traffic lights with phone in hand-not talking to anyone mind you- just in hand- like they can't let it go. I saw one guy tapping it against his head- like he was getting anxious that he had no one to talk to. :confused: How did we manage without them for decades?

Keel McDonald
03-06-2008, 8:38 AM
Funny you should mention this. My wife received an unwanted text message last evening. I called Verizon this morning. They not only removed the fee for the text, but also helped me to block all text messaging from both of our phones. Then she kicked in an additional 2,000 extra minutes for my trouble. Now that's service.