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Occasional Contributor
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Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

On Feb 2017, I received a text message informing of my subscription to Hip Fun, which was probably triggered when I was browsing articles on the internet. The message said that to OPT OUT, send STOP to 19789169.  I promptly sent out a STOP text message and it came back with a reply that my subscription was terminated and no further charges will apply.

 

I did not realise that I have been charged an extra $10 monthly due to this for a couple of months not until I have examined my billing.  I thought the extra $10 was for late payment charges.  Anyway, so after discovering the extra charges, I contacted Optus and have asked about the why I was being charged extra charges without my authorisation and right after I have stopped the unauthorised subscription.

 

The Optus customer service informed me that while I have terminated the subscription, I am still incurring charges because the premium SMS services wasn't deactivated from OPTUS end.  (Pretty sneaky if you ask me as we are not told of this detail.)  Also, the customer service informed me that the charges are not from OPTUS... but from a third party provider.  They just pass on the charge to the customer.  This is the part that I don't understand.  The billing is coming from OPTUS.  OPTUS cannot just simply was their hands off something and tell their customers that it is not their charge, but someone else's but guess who issues out the invoice.  Isn't OPTUS responsible for whatever amounts that goes on their invoices?  And please do not tell me that OPTUS does not derive any revenue from these third party providers because they do!  Of course they do.. (having worked in a telco, I know for a fact that these amounts have a percentage sharing between the content provider and the network provider and the telco of the subscriber).  But it is pretty underhanded for the third party provider and for OPTUS to defraud their customers... And OPTUS washing their hands off or hiding behind the content provider is less than impressive.  So after a lengthy debate, I rescinded.  I was asking intially for my $10 extra payments that I made for a couple of months to be credited back to me as it was not worth my time and stress.  The OPTUS customer representative told me that what she can do for me is to zero out the premium SMS charge but it would mean that I can not access any other premium SMS messaging to prevent further charges, which I agreed to.  She assured me that I will no longer be charged extra for any SMS messaging.  This was the case last month.

 

When I got my bill for this month, imagine my surprise, when I was not only charged $10 extra.  I was charged an extra $70 for charges from MIASPHERE again, despite the OPTUS customer service agent assuring me that I won't get charged anything extra.

 

So, what's the deal OPTUS?!?!?!  I'm very disappointed.  I only switched to OPTUS because of the EPL.  I have put up with unreliable signal but now that's the least of my worries.  I had plans of bringing my other telco subscriptions over to OPTUS but I guess I won't be doing that anymore.  VERY VERY DISAPPOINTED.

 

I would like all those extra charges reversed as they are unauthorised and OPTUS did not hold up their promise that no more extra charges would be incurred when I raised the complaint. If this does not get resolved,  I'll be sending a letter of complaint to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and judging from a quick search of this forum, this is not the first time this issue has been raised.  So my question is, why isn't OPTUS doing something about it.

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RetiredModerator
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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Hey Nylle - not good to hear, we can follow this up for you if you'd like to send your mobile number, full name and DOB in a private message? Can get how frustrating this would be for you. 

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Honoured Contributor
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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Premium SMS is an industry (world) wide problem. Optus isn't really responsible for items charged via them (unless Optus themselves made a mistake). 

 

That said, it is widely abused by scammers. For one thing even though you send STOP you'll usually have "signed up" for X weeks worth of the "service" and the scammer will charge them anyway. 

 

Optus should IMO set all new customers monthly Premium SMS limit to $0 by default. If people want to use the service it should be for them to OPT IN rather than find out the hard way ($$$) they need to OPT OUT.

 

The good news is Optus will generally reverse any of these charges if you ask. So it might take another email or call but you should see the items removed from your bill.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

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Occasional Contributor

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Hi,

 

I understand that you may have different agents may work on a single issue.. But just a little feedback.. I'm not sure the Private messaging platform works in terms of having the history of the complaint to have a problem fixed...  (either the CSA selectively reads through my message or is not able to see the entire thread.) also, the last person looking at my query... just acknowledged my feedback and did not say anything about an action to resolve my issue...  (once again.. selective reading.)

 

Telstra has a customer service system where you only speak to one person when you have an issue to resolve and it is soooo much more efficient than this one where I feel I'm getting nowhere.  Telstra has improved on their customer service... by leaps and bounds...  maybe you will want to take a few pointers from them, Optus.

 

 

 

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

From: Gen_R

Sent: ‎2017-05-13 05:11 AM

Your messages are being picked up by different agents as we're a 24/7 team and the next person who picks up your PM will reply to it. We here your feedback and will ensure to pass it on. Gen

 

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

From: nylle

To: Marie

Sent: ‎2017-05-12 09:13 AM

Read: Not Yet Read

Hello,

 

Why do I have different people looking in this situation?  I'm not sure if you've read my complaint clearly so I'm going to explain once again.  Granting that the charges are issued by the third party, I am not disputing anymore the charges that I have paid prior to me calling out these charges to Optus. Although I do not agree in principle, I've already conceded that I won't be able to get a credit for those charges prior 27 Mar. What I am disputing is the charges issued after I have raised the complaint and the customer service agent assured me that they have zeroed out the premium spend control so I will no longer be billed any charges.  Doing it for one of my service (mobile) and not doing it for my broadband service is negligence on Optus part and it is just (pardon me for using the word) stupid.  Surely, when the CSA looked at my account, they would have seen that I had 2 services...  and they should have known that they had to do it on the 2 services.  Because I was clear in saying that I do not want any unauthorised charges anymore in my account.  Account meaning all the services under it?

 

Don't you think Optus has fallen short in executing what I've asked them to do in the first instance? Why should I be punished and charged extra because someone in Optus did not do their job properly.

 

I'm sick of Optus not taking action in this situation and hiding behind the third party because this is not the first complaint you've had... so clearly... something is wrong in the process.  The default option for the premium SMS spend should be set to zero unless the customer wants to have this lifted.

 

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

From: Marie

Sent: ‎2017-05-11 10:02 PM

Hey Ellyn, I'll certainly be passing your feedback on about this experience.

 

I've disputed the charges with the provider for you and they will follow up within two business days.

 

As the charges have come from the provider we can't waive them on our end however it is something they'll certainly discuss with you when they call you about the charges.

 

 

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

From: nylle

To: Toomey

Sent: ‎2017-05-10 06:31 PM

Read: Not Yet Read

Hi, 

 

I don't understand why there are subscriptions in my iPad as far as I know, they have different numbers and I did not get any text saying that I have subscribed to the Miasphere service (accidentally).  Also, when I raised that issue on the 29th of March, Optus should've zeroed out everything because it is essentially same thing.

 

I would've thought that zeroing out my content spend should be done in its entirety on my account across all my services?

 

My bill is due and I'm only inclined to pay what I legally owe Optus.  I won't be paying for these unathorised extra charges.

 

Thanks,

Ellyn

 

 

Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

From: Toomey

Sent: ‎2017-05-10 12:17 AM

Hey Ellyn, thanks for sending this through, terribly sorry for the run around you've had to do to get this sorted.

 

I can see the issues on your mobile were resolved on 29/03/2017, but there is also a subscription on your iPad.

 

I have reduced the content spend to $0 and raised a dispute with the provider. We should hear back within a few days, please let me know if you have any questions. 

 

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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

I'm sorry that this has been your experience nylle, we do try to manage our customers from end to end as much as we can however as we're not all here 24/7 usually 8 hours 5 days a week we can't always be here to answer an enquiry. I'm happy to pass your feedback on about this experience and do understand that it's certainly not been the greatest experience. I can assure you that I did dispute all charges on your account regardless of the timing as I can understand that on the mobile broadband service you didn't request this service. We've certainly been following these charges up providers as we do see a high number of customers advising that they didn't request a service an their being charged for it. As Gen advised we'll certainly pass feedback onto the agent you spoke with initially about changing your spend limit on the mobile account, to ensure moving forward they're aware to ask about all services and not just the one the customer is asking about.


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Occasional Contributor
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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Hello,

 

Just wondering if there's an update to my complaint.  Someone promised me in a private message which I have posted on this thread that there will be a a followup within 2 days.  It's been 22 days already, I still haven't had a call from Optus or a followup from the third party.

 

Meanwhile, I have short paid my bill and did not pay the disputed charges.. I've been paying the extra charges already for months and I do not want to pay for the unauthorised charges any longer.

 

And I have received a message from Optus asking me to pay for the disputed charges, which I have ignored.  It was an automated text...  But I am getting worried that they would charge me additional fees on top of the disputed charges.

 

Do I still need to do anything at my end (which I don't think anymore is required from my end but just asking so I've covered all the bases) or do I need to followup again with Optus?

 

Can someone from Optus let me know if there's any update or a resolution to my complaint?

 

Thanks!

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Honoured Contributor
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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Hi Nylle,

 

You have been scammed. Optus has been scammed. The dollar amounts aren't huge and you could just pay it. But if you choose to sort things out then you need to be proactive. Not paying bills and waiting 20 days after a deadlines past to post a query is just a recipe for stress.

 

Optus billing isn't aware of your dispute. They just know you haven't paid your bill. Posting a question here isn't covering any bases. If it was 100's then perhaps drawing a line in the sand is needed but for this situation I suggest you pay your bill. Optus can usually reverse the charges down the track (Its a well known scam).

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Thanks for your insight Peter...

 

Someone from Optus has already said that they've raised a dispute, so I was thinking that they would have raised an issue in the Optus Billing already.  I paid for my bill, I just did not pay the disputed charges, and if I've paid the last disputed charges.... I would've paid already over a hundred dollars in total from the months that they have scammed me that I wasn't aware of.  So this is where I draw the line, from the moment that I made Optus aware.

 

I am not already disputing the charges that happened up until the time that I have already informed Optus of the unauthorised charges.  My issue is they have assured me that my premium control spend on my account has been set down to zero, but the other charges was coming from my mobile broadband service bundled with my mobile, which I think is negligent on their part because when they told me that they've zeroed out my premium control spend.  They should've done it across all my services.  The customer service agent handling my case back then should've done their work diligently and made sure that the premium control spend on my account was set to zero as I have requested.

 

Optus should reverse the charges based on the negligence and not being able to fulfill what I have asked them to do in the first place.

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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

Just an update to my complaint,

 

I have received a text message from Optus that my services will be restricted over the non-payment of my disputed charges.

 

Meanwhile, my current bill stitll contains charges from the Gameslive.

 

I dutifully called up Optus regarding this, and explained my non-refusal to pay the disputed charges.

 

So the customer representative said that she will escalate to the credit case management and assured me that there are going to be no more charges from 11 May when my content services has been reduced to zero.  I contested that the date should be 27 March, when I first asked Optus to zero out my premium content spend.  She said that someone from Optus would get in touch with me on 8th of June to speak to me about this.

 

And for the threat of  restricting my service.  She has applied for a protective order for 14 days for my services to not be restricted.

 

45 minutes well spent and still the disputed charges are not credited.

 

As soon as my contract is done, I'm moving out of Optus...  this issue and the patchy service in the city.  I experienced on several occasions my 4G has been on SOS mode.  And whenever this happens, I get nervous because my friend's bank account got hacked and her phone went on SOS mode when this entire thing happened. Money was eventually returned but the grief she went through, she immediately moved out of Optus.  Had I known this before hand, I would not have switched.

 

Getting EPL for free is not worth all these trouble.  I'd rather pay an extra $15 for monthly EPL access than waste my time.  I'm already counting down the days.

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Re: Unauthorised Charges from MiaSphere

And by the way, because there is no option for Billing Complaint when calling up Optus.  Billing enquiries would just put you forward to a series of automated responses on your account.

 

You need to choose cancel service when you want to speak to a customer care representative.

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