/ 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
Guest
Peter Butler says:
1 June 2016

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

Guest
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.

Guest

*****************************************************************************************************************
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

Guest

*****************************************************************************************************************
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