/ Money

Scam watch: have you been stung by a games subscription?

Mobile bill

​One sharp-eyed Which? member spotted an unexpected charge ​on his phone bill ​for a mobile phone game that he didn’t sign up for…

Which? member Ian Darling from Rochdale wrote to us about an unexpected charge on his phone bill:

‘When checking my bank statement, I spotted that my monthly mobile phone bill had increased significantly. My account listed this charge as ‘games subscription services’.

‘Unknown to me, I’d been signed up for two games at £7.50 plus VAT per week. My account listed a contact number and email address for the company involved. I emailed to contest this charge, and received two separate replies, both stating that my subscription had been cancelled, although by this time I’d been charged for several more weeks.’

Our advice on mobile games subscription services

We’ve seen many complaints about mobile games companies like this one. They send phishing texts to trick mobile users into signing up for services. There are also suggestions that they can send fake confirmations to mobile providers to get further payments authorised.

If you’ve been hit by one of these charges then contact the games company that billed you to ask for a refund. If this is unsuccessful, contact PhonePayPlus, the regulator for premium-rate services. Mobile providers should be able to block any further charges from the company. If you never use premium-rate numbers, your provider can also block them all from your phone.

When was the last time you looked carefully at your mobile phone bill? Have you ever spotted any charges you weren’t expecting?

Comments

Some people will look but others do not bother or even care about the money they are throwing away.More money than sense

D Smith says:
10 June 2016

I am using pay as you go, had no problems to date, that does not mean there will not be any in the future.

*****************************************************************************************************************
EE enable third parties to use the direct debit arrangement set up between EE and it’s customers to take money without permission.
*****************************************************************************************************************

Beginning in January of this year we saw a steady increase in charges for our 4G Broadband router (Osprey box). The unexplained amounts were shown on the bill as ‘Payforit’ – no description of what the charge was for or who had initiated it. A £30 per month charge over three months has risen to nearly £1,000.

We spoke to EE who said they would investigate and a few weeks later responded with a list of the third party companies whom EE had permitted to take monies from our back via direct debit. EE told us we would have to chase the third parties down – we’re still doing this (with not much success – these companies do not answer the phone or respond to email, yet they are allowed to take money from our account via EE being a trusted user of the Direct Debit system….

Even though we have been unable to recover the amounts, EE are sending threatening ‘debt recovery’ letters. As well as this EE have still to offer an explanation as to how our account / broadband circuit was compromised, worse still they have not offered any assistance technical or legal to help us trace the perpetrator.

In one conversation between myself and EE they told me that “I should have been offered the option to prevent this from happening when I purchased the modem” – I’ve since been in a shop and tested this assertion – the EE shops just don’t do this…….

What I think should be done here:

EE should have their direct debit ‘license’ revoked or suspended – yes it will cause them serious harm, but their actions undermine the trust we all put in direct debit. I’m sure their cognizant of the trust placed in them by consumers who sign their direct debit agreements – they are abusing consumer trust.

EE should not be allowed to license ‘anonymous’ third parties to piggy back on the trust of consumers.

EE should issue transparent bills – they currently do not ( I can send copies).

EE should conduct the investigation and resolve the issue and cancel our debt to them.

The third parties are licensed by a group ‘Payforit’ owned jointly by the operators (i.e EE O2, Vodafone etc) – one can only assume the operators get revenue from this, so no wonder EE aren’t enthusiastic about helping here.

Finally the legal view here is that EE is operating outside the ‘substance’ of the law – which implies there is a loophole here or operators are skirting close to the edge…..

Help?

Nick

*****************************************************************************************************************
EE enable third parties to use the direct debit arrangement set up between EE and it’s customers to take money without permission.
*****************************************************************************************************************

Beginning in January of this year we saw a steady increase in charges for our 4G Broadband router (Osprey box). The unexplained amounts were shown on the bill as ‘Payforit’ – no description of what the charge was for or who had initiated it. A £30 per month charge over three months has risen to nearly £1,000.

We spoke to EE who said they would investigate and a few weeks later responded with a list of the third party companies whom EE had permitted to take monies from our back via direct debit. EE told us we would have to chase the third parties down – we’re still doing this (with not much success – these companies do not answer the phone or respond to email, yet they are allowed to take money from our account via EE being a trusted user of the Direct Debit system….

Even though we have been unable to recover the amounts, EE are sending threatening ‘debt recovery’ letters. As well as this EE have still to offer an explanation as to how our account / broadband circuit was compromised, worse still they have not offered any assistance technical or legal to help us trace the perpetrator.

In one conversation between myself and EE they told me that “I should have been offered the option to prevent this from happening when I purchased the modem” – I’ve since been in a shop and tested this assertion – the EE shops just don’t do this…….

What I think should be done here:

EE should have their direct debit ‘license’ revoked or suspended – yes it will cause them serious harm, but their actions undermine the trust we all put in direct debit. I’m sure their cognizant of the trust placed in them by consumers who sign their direct debit agreements – they are abusing consumer trust.

EE should not be allowed to license ‘anonymous’ third parties to piggy back on the trust of consumers.

EE should issue transparent bills – they currently do not ( I can send copies).

EE should conduct the investigation and resolve the issue and cancel our debt to them.

The third parties are licensed by a group ‘Payforit’ owned jointly by the operators (i.e EE O2, Vodafone etc) – one can only assume the operators get revenue from this, so no wonder EE aren’t enthusiastic about helping here.

Finally the legal view here is that EE is operating outside the ‘substance’ of the law – which implies there is a loophole here or operators are skirting close to the edge…..

Help?

Nick

Hi there, I’ve just noticed an additional charge of £12 on my Vodafone bill. When I queried it, they said it was a 3rd party services provider and that I needed to contact them. Vodafone gave me a number and an email address to contact. So I rang the number and they were weren’t the 3rd party service provider Chillax games. The man said they were an independent subscription phone line and he gave me the same email address that Vodafone gave. He said to email them and explain I had unauthorised charges and I did not consent or give permission to such charges. He said they usually refund if they know you will take it further. Does this sound right? Does anyone have a template letter that I can use? I’m so annoyed that this is happened especially when I cant even use or see the service they are saying that I subscribed to! Can anyone tell me if I will get a refund? Or direct me the way on how to proceed please?

Hi,
we have had the same problem recently lots of transactions for chillax games? Daughter doesnt even play games but does surf the net? So is confused what these charges are for, it’s naughty how it happens, vodafone told me it is from a 3rd party and it can be from a pop up accidentally clicked on and that’s that you end up paying £16 for that error? It’s not right legally surely, you would think there should be a click to accept subscription if they want to bill you repeatedly as then you have signed up & agreed for this, but not through a innocent surfing the internet
Sounds dodgey to me, hoping if I ring the number providing by vodafone this is rectified & refunded, vodafone have now put a bar on so this can not happen again, shouldn’t have happened in the first place

Forgot to ask how did you get on, did you get it resolved
Ange

This has just happened to my husband with Vodafone. It went on for a few months before we noticed because the messages about the bill went to a different phone and he is not always in the country. None of us have ever used these games. The total charge amounts to 114 pounds. The PSA say they can’t do anything and Vodafone have agreed to refund half the cost (does that mean they are getting a cut?) They must be in on the scam for it to happen to so many customers. Chillax have offered 4.50 as a refund. I believe this is fraud but there really is no body with any power to complain to.

Yes I clicked on an advertisement that said IQ Test that had been popping up for days on my phone. As soon as I clicked on it, it mentioned chillax games and I saw something about charges so I immediately went off the the page. I received a text message straight away although I never signed up to anything or entered my number. The next day I received 7 text messages from the number and it has taken 18 euro of my pay as you go credit. I am very reluctant to ring the number provided but this is most definitely illegal and it is awful that there is nobody who will investigate this further.

Just checked my Vodafone bill and found a charge of £12 from Demon Games for a weekly subscription of £3. I immediately contacted the company by e-mail and demanded a refund and to stop making the weekly charge. I also text STOP to the number indicated but it keeps saying it is undelivered. What is the point of that. Waiting to hear from Demon Games.
In the meantime, I will be contacting Vodafone to block all premium rate and Direct to Debit sites on my number. I will also make a complaint to the PSA. It is an absolute disgrace that these companies can make money from unauthorised subscriptions by simply sending a test message.

I have just had the same issue. Noticed the £12 charge for last month and thought it was an extra on my bill For something, same thing this month. I do seem to remember a text message and trying to put a stop in, you just don’t think that in this age of GDPR any company could enter you into a contract without something more substantial in place. Blocks now on phone contract and email sent requesting refund. Phone companies should block these as a matter of course and message the customer asking if they are aware and agreeing to it before allowing payments to be made through a private transaction/contract they hold with the customer. Very odd!

Neil says:
24 October 2019

Me too I have a subscription and three mobile is being used as a collectee of the money no permissions given the company red27 mobile says I did sign up and provided some sort of proof which to me is no proof more phishing. I will press on and try and get my £40 odd back disgusting i will report three mobile too

Neil says:
25 October 2019

Well I got a result from three and the red27 mobile company they are both refunding the charged money at first the gaming company infinity games offers £4.50 which was way off the mark that was taken then £20 then £50 so accepted that also a full refund with three as I said you broke the contract I had with you by allowing a third party to scam you and not protecting the customer.. so I threatened them with action… it had to go higher up the food chain but got there in the end…
For everyone else dont take no for an answer… I’m still complaining to the PSA and omubusman for the practices off the two companies…

Hi Neil, exactly the same has happened to me! I am also with three and been charged by red27 for an infinity games subscription i did not even subscribe to, could you let me know the best way/person to contact regarding a refund.

Your help would be much appreciated.

Any luck with PSA so far ? I had the same problem and vodafone refused to do anything about it and they do not accept the responsibilities. I am furious and need to see what i can do if i don’t get the refund

Kazma says:
21 October 2019

I’ve been stung twice first time I contacted voda who supposed to have barred the number then again this month £12 a month, they say it’s bcayse you click on pop ups but I never had any trouble when on contract only since been sim only and don’t do anything different on my phone than before, I’m supposed to be getting refund on next bill

Yes I’ve had the same problem with Chilax subscription charges that I have not given permission for. They are on my sons phone which is linked to my account and he has to ask permission for charges. Vodafone have given me a number to call to ask for a refund. I’ll take this as far as necessary and I’ve told Vodafone that I’m not impressed.

Same thing happened to me from Demon Games. Vodaphone are my provider and I have been having a lot of issues with them as I couldn’t get into my account to log on and see my itemised bill. I noted extra charges and called them and they said it was for international calls. I have since found out if was Demon games and have paid out over 70.00 I the last 6 months! Tried to call ghe number provided by Vodafone but surprise surprise it did not work. Told now to email and when I did that Demo games got back to me to say it was my fault as I’d clicked on their message so had to pay. This is just robbery and now will have to spend more time chasing this. How is this allowed?its just theft plain and simple.

r hammond says:
15 April 2020

I’ve had the same issue with Red27mobile who have taken £15 from my vodaphone account. After threatening them with legal action they have offered a refund by email, but it has not materialised. Will attempt to get my money back from Vodaphone now.

Ger says:
4 June 2020

Red 27 are still scamming. Caught for 30 euro. Will take them to court if necessary

Robin says:
11 June 2020

INFINITEFUNSTUFF.COM
Offer £1 3 day FREE trial for software app, so you have to give a card detail. Of course everybody forgets this and they auto deduct the monthly charge and unless you check bank accounts regularly then this gets deducted on and on.