Update for my case. Tell me to wait 48 hours, Zero phone call from Optus or from the third party cool4Mob. I have contacted and sent email to firstname.lastname@example.org, they sent me an email and mention will refund $45.00 in 30 days. However I have paid $60 for the extra service charge! I give up and agree the refund. I will change my plan to Vodafone later. I really don't want to make the complain, but I have to.
I suggest that we all put in complaints with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
The Optus material on these 'premium' services states that there are two ways to subscribe:
Via either method, customers are supposed to "receive a confirmation subscription via SMS with access to your content, customer service helpline and opt-out details". This appears to comply with the Australian Communication and Media Authority guidelines on premium services.
Leaving aside the fact that I obviously didn't click, SMS or call anyone, this confirmation and opt-out didn't happen and yet Optus is happy to apply the subscription charges. In my case my data-only SIM can't even send or receive SMSs! So Optus are clearly in breach of their own processes here. However, there is the larger issue of Optus essentially being complicit in this scam and leaving customers to sort it out with dodgy entities ripping customers off while being happy to pay staff to give us the all the runaround - seriously take a look at how many Optus reps have replied to this thread. I wonder what the transactions are worth to Optus and what their contractual arrangements are with these entities - it must be financially worthwhile.
To make a complaint, you can visit the Lodge a complaint page at the Telco Industry Ombudsmen website. It's best that you get hold of a case number that you can quote in the "complain reference number" field - you can ask an Optus rep for this.
I agree, i am very surprised at this situation for a few reasons;
1. Data only sim card shouldnt have premium SMS enabled by default. I didnt even know it could send/reeieve any SMS'es
2. I certainly did not authorise the recurring billing through any form (online or sms reply), especially on a data sim. My wife and i use our standard phones several hours everyday, and have never (in 20 years) experienced this, so its not like we inadvertantly clicked on an ad...
3. How did this company get the mobile number in the first place?!? I didnt even know the number until i read the exta charges on the bill.
Its all very suspicous.
i have already raised complaint to TIO. Ref # 2017/03/11566
(if you need it)
I chatted with optus again today, very helpful person (Adam) barred Cool4Mob charges towards my services, ensuring i wouldnt be charged again.
He then rang the 1300 number, and rang me back on my mobile when an operator was available (and xferred me to the call).
I provided my details, got an sms asking me to email claims@... with a specific ID. Emailed it, and just received the following response;
Thank you for sending us the requested documents & supporting details.
1300Support.com is an independent Australian based helpdesk that resolves technical inquiries; customer complaints and customer refund claims on behalf of Conversion Factory Sdn Bhd (AU).
In order to be charged for this service, you must (or someone using your phone) reply "OK" by sending a text message (SMS) as a response to the free message that was sent to your phone.
In the majority of cases your phone number was submitted on an online (internet) based marketing campaign, for instance: " Win a gift card".On the marketing page where the participant fills in their phone number, the T&C's and the costs to participate in the campaign must be clearly stated.
After the Conversion Factory Sdn Bhd (AU)'s systems register the phone number, a free SMS message is sent out to the entered phone number. In this message the user is asked to SMS back " OK" in order to participate and to confirm that the entry made online was in fact made by the user.
This "double opt-in" mechanism prevents someone subscribing a phone number to a competition without their knowledge. Again, in this free SMS message, the costs, how to opt-out and the game's helpline details must be clearly stated.
When the phone user sends in the "OK" SMS reply, the user will receive a subscription confirmation SMS detailing the costs, how to opt-out and the helpline number. At this stage the quiz or trivia game starts.
The "OK" SMS message that is sent from that phone, is then independently registered by your carrier (e.g. Optus, Telstra, Vodafone), the SMS gateway provider and Conversion Factory Sdn Bhd (AU)'s systems.
Please note: The "OK" message can only originate from your mobile phone, by going to the SMS text editor, typing in the word "OK" and pressing the "send" button on the phone. By no other means can you be subscribed to these games.
The Quiz/Trivia Game:
The first question may look like this:
$Msg: 1st Q: The Cha ChaCha is a what? A. Dance B. Dog, Reply A or B NOW! Player with most points wins! Help?1300xxxxxx.
Please Note: Because these services are subscription services, the user will be charged for receiving a question. Deleting after receiving a question will not stop further or existing costs.
After registering the first response, the next question will be sent:
$Msg: CORRECT! Score:936.Next Q:How many colours in a rainbow? A.2 B.7? Reply A or B!Conversion Factory Sdn Bhd (AU) Help? 1300xxxxxxx. ($5.00 if u answer). (Conversion Factory Sdn Bhd (AU))
This message states "$5.00 if u answer" and a helpline number if you are unsure or have questions.
Every time a user reaches an accumulated spend of $30, a courtesy message stating "You have spent $30" will be sent to the users phone. This message, again, must include the opt-out instructions, helpline number and weekly price for the subscription.
I can't recall playing the game:
If you can't recall playing the game, it maybe that someone else who has access to the phone has engaged with the quiz/trivia game,i.e. a family member or a friend has used the phone to enter the competition, without informing you,the owner of the phone.
In order to resolve your case we take into consideration the following:
I am now being provided a refund cheque (to be sent within 30 days) to the amount (slighly under) the amount that was charged.
I still refuse to believe there is any way possible of signing up for the service when the device doesnt send/receive SMS's, nor did i know the device number.
Good to see you're getting something back! However, I find it interesting that even though I did as instructed and emailed email@example.com outlining my situation etc, I never got a reply nor a call back. It was only after further discussions with Optus that I was told I was being refunded for the FULL charges and that the credit would appear on my next bill.
So I didn't get the email you got, and I did not receive a cheque but direct credit on my bill.
The whole thing is more evidence that the whole situation is dodgy and that Optus has no proper processes for dealing with the situation. How can data-only customers possibly opt-in via SMS (they can't!) and how come customers are being treated differently (cheque vs bill credit)?
I have made a complaint to the Telco Industry Ombudsman: Ref# 2017/03/13748.
Optus should be compelled to:
I've also got some half baked promise of being emailed a cheque by the premium content provider.
Oddly I didn't give optus my consent to provide that party with my name and address which is concerning (given their propensity to commit what I view as fraud).
Awaiting confirmation as to why optus thought this was a good idea.
When i I have time I will also be making a TIO complaint where I will be seeking permission to terminate my contract early
and shift providers.