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New Contributor mik099
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Who do I contact to resolve a premium service rip off scam?

 

 

 

On my last recharge ($20) I found I had no credit, 1 minute after the recharge.

 

I was told by support it was because a company named Gamifive – Buongiorno has been extracting $15 per recharge on a (normally) $26 recharge...since Feb 2016. I recharged and they got their cut right away.

 

I didn't know who Gamifive – Buongiorno are or what they do, like so many as I am finding out.

 

So the operator on live chat placed a complaint with Gamifive – Buongiorno and they contacted me today.

They offered $120 refund for the $405 taken from the account.

 

I asked Gamifive – Buongiorno if they could provide documented proof of a contract. They could not.

 

So after research I find Optus has commercial argreements with these scammers.

 

I am now also seeking the same proof from Optus before I take this to the TIO, both companies in separate disputes.

 

You see the TIO will ask Optus for some documents on agreements, just how does one explain how another company is allowed into a customers account, with you would think a Optus blessing, and the customer not knowing about this "arrangment"?

 

Tricky, I will enjoy watching how this "contract" is possible to prove in actual documents dating back to Feb 2016.

 

Someone better provide me some proof quick because there are no emails, txt messages, letters in the mail, zero documentation on how a third party came into a supposedly secure Optus account and removed funds without my consent.

 

Optus has failed to provide me with how this occurred, the help desk eluded it is not their doing, they even demanded I pay another recharge to fix the issue.

 

That is what rates as support at Optus... so you recharge to $20 and get zero calls, that’s not how it was advertised.

There is a word for that support I got, its called stealing.

 

Shouldn't it be labelled with a fine print warning Optus?

$20 recharge *

* You may find a recharge does not work because you got scammed by a partner of ours, never mind just throw us more money.

 

So Optus... one chance before I fire off a TIO complaint about your part in this profit making scam.

 

Tell me, does Optus benefit from this arrangement? What’s your cut in the scam? 30% like Telstra gets?

 

Is that why you set and still set the Premium services at $200 per month as the default for all customers?

Then you bury it deep in an app or an online account page and not tell anyone you can be changed up to $200 and not know until you run out of credit?

Isn't it about time the customer came first?

 

Why are you in partnership with a scammer? Can someone at Optus categorically deny that Optus does not make any money in these arrangements?

It seems the Optus support team wants me to believe that Gamifive – Buongiorno are to blame here… and of course the old help desk stinker… “its the customers fault”.

 

Optus… you are setting the default setting at $200.

Optus… you are getting a cut from these scams.

Optus… you are letting us all down.

 

Set the default at zero for Premium services, also don’t tell your help desk that you have made a complaint against a third party, you let them into my account and took a cut after all.

 

Optus you are a problem.

 

Before anyone gets cute with "should of checked your account more often"... I have your answer.

On a prepaid... are you nuts?

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Honoured Contributor
Honoured Contributor

Re: Who do I contact to resolve a premium service rip off scam?

Yeah those scamming premium numbers (don't get me started)

 

As I understand it, technically both you and Optus are victims in this scam. The money has changed hands long ago and by asking Optus for it back now you are essentially asking them to cover you for your losses. There is a period where you can object to the funds transfer and get your money back. I'm frankly a little surprised Optus offered $120 as that would seem they're going back a fair way in scam fees. 

 

I'm not sure how effective the TIO will be. They are really only concerned with you getting your contracted rights and you did sign up for all this for example:

 

14 a (iv) "You acknowledge that we do not exercise any control over, authorise or make any warranty regarding any charges which a third party may impose on you in connection with your use of their services accessed via the service"

 

There's another seemingly unrelated clause about having six months to object to pricing changes, but that might explain why Optus are offering $120 though.

 

That said, the premium content process is (I believe) meant to require a two stage opt in (which Optus have now apparently started doing for new premium contracts) So to date the scammers tell optus they have your agreement. Optus takes that on face value and transfers the money. If you complain Optus ask the scammers for the proof (which is obviously not there). Then either the scammers refund the amount or Optus recredits your account (not sure who).

 

Its been suggested Optus has been negligent in not demanding the second level of proof . Not sure if the TIO would agree.

 

All this is not to say as an organisation Optus' behavior in this area has been nothing short of reprehensible. The ACCC have recently fined Telstra some pretty big $$$ for their part in this scheme (Telstra has since completely shut down the entire premium service they offer). But Optus continue in enabling scammers (albeit most recently they tightened up considerably) and taking their cut at the direct expense of their customers.

 

Regards

 

Peter Gillespie

 

PS And yes you got me started.

New Contributor mik099
New Contributor

Re: Who do I contact to resolve a premium service rip off scam?

Peter I have to correct you here... "As I understand it, technically both you and Optus are victims in this scam."

 

This is a Optus partner. There is a relationship with Gamifive Mobivillage spanning back to 2015 from what I can see.

June 2015 The New Daily : Optus admits to handing out phone numbers

Australia’s second-largest telco has admitted giving its customers’ mobile phone numbers out to ringtone sellers and mobile game websites.

The scale of the disclosures could not be revealed on Wednesday night as Optus staffers were busy getting to grips with the issue.

 

So even before you visit, or even don't visit that website Gamifive Mobivillage already have your mobile phone number, given to them by Optus their business partner. 

 

From a privacy perspective Optus need to answer for giving out my phone number. I will be taking that further action on this as I cannot get a response out of Optus on what companies have my personal details right now.

 

It should be a easy task, but maybe Optus don't what to give me details on who they sell my private information to.

 

I am in a negotiation with Gamifive Mobivillage at the moment, I am not yet refunded and will only accept a full refund. However, they have promised a full refund... I will believe that when I see it as they say it will take 3-4 business weeks.

If they think that promise will be enough to stop an investigation they don't know me.

 

Currently my Optus account shows the suspect transactions in my billing page as "resolved" it is not as no refund is yet issued by Gamifive Mobivillage and Optus is even worse, I had to pay a further recharge just to get my phone to work.

 

In other words... Optus made a profit out a scam involving them and a known business partner.

 

Optus is still going to the TIO until I get a refund for the extra recharge and get an answer on what other companies have my phone number and personal details and if those companies have embedded code to pick up my details and "subscribe" me to a premium service.

 

That method is described here and it is obviously still active.

 

I do not trust Optus to manage my settings after this, these settings are network based and can change status if they upgrade the system.

Gamifive Mobivillage had better pay up.

 

The partnerships with dodgy companies are still in play in 2018. It seems Optus will continue to put us in harms way for sly profits.

 

Look at this article about a new Optus partner...

Catch.com.au is set to enter the telco market in partnership with Optus, this is despite the business having a questionable track record when it comes to security and the protection of customer information.

Called Catch Connect the business will offer mobile and data services despite the Companies operation in the past being subject to an investigation by The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

In the past it took the company three years to report data breaches with some observers who were working for the Company at the time, claiming that the Company deliberately tried to cover up the breach.

 

This company has red flag written all over it.  A company that takes three years to report a data breach... an Optus partner?

 

SERIOUSLY OPTUS?

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Honoured Contributor
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Re: Who do I contact to resolve a premium service rip off scam?

I did not think I'd find someone more annoyed at this Optus practice than me (I suppose I haven't actually ever been bitten by this scam so its more a empathetic outrage than a visceral one)

 

This is murky stuff and its amazing Optus seems to still be trying to keep it going just a little while longer. The scam morphed a fair bit about a decade ago when the ACCC investigated and found many people being rorted for up to $1000's and refunds just refused. Now days they charge smaller amounts and usually refund on request (pocketting the majority that don't request). Given your approach it wouldn't surprise me if they do provide a full refund (no harm. no foul, scam gets to go on)

 

In the middle of this are customer service people that have to deal with irate customers. 

 

The solution is very (very) simple. Optus should do the decent thing and shut down Premium SMS now. Failing that they should set ALL customers to a Monthly Premium SMS limit of $0. Anyone who want's to Opt In to being scammed is free to do so.

 

Good Luck.

 

Peter Gillespie

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