Surprise ! Your cell phone bill may contain another…against your will. Koodo’s customers discovered it in the last few months without really understanding what was going on. And above all, not knowing how to get a refund.
Posted yesterday at 20:15
Direct mobile billing is still very little known in Quebec. But it has already claimed victims.
This payment method allows you to subscribe to paid applications and be billed by your mobile service provider. Therefore, the transaction can be completed very quickly as there is no need to provide your credit card number and billing address to another company.
In theory, therefore, the principle is effective. Smart, even.
In practice, however, direct mobile billing doesn’t just make people happy.
On the forum of Koodoo, a low-cost subsidiary of Telus, one can read a lot of testimonials from frustrated customers who complain of being scammed. The stories are all similar: one day, they saw suspicious charges on their bill.
“For three months, I have [des] Third party app charges on my bill and I have no idea where they come from. What should I do ? one of them asks.
Another customer writes: “I was charged $13.99 for PBM.CX usage fees [Pay by mobile] that I have never asked. How can I be credited and how can I make sure these charges are paid off on future bills? I don’t understand the schematic. »
We also wonder about Koodo’s responsibility. “My 79-year-old mother received a mysterious [note] $14.99 off your July phone bill. The description says, “In-App Purchase,” which according to billing history, was made at 3:51am on July 3, which is absolute nonsense. She never uses her phone at this time of night. […] It seems to me that these third party apps are scamming Koodo users, and Koodo should never let that happen. »
Alexandre realized something was wrong even before he received his monthly bill.
“While browsing the internet on my iPhone, I saw a arise I was wondering if I wanted to subscribe to the streaming app. football club live (from PM Connect LTD) for $13.99 per month. I quickly weighed in on the “X”, but immediately received a text message telling me that I was already subscribed and that the amount would come out on my next bill”, he told me.
Searching the web, he discovered that PM Connect had already made headlines in Belgium for its “forced subscriptions.” Again, Internet users who pressed the “X” were forced to pay for the service.
In other words, if you come across advertising, there is no way out!
Last year, the consumer defense association Test Achats denounced the practices of this company, which had given rise to more than 300 complaints. In a report on the Belgian public channel RTBF, Test Achats also deplored the attitude of the cell phone provider Proximus, the operator most implicated in the complaints, judging it responsible for the costs billed without prior notice.
In Quebec, the Consumer Protection Office (OPC) has never heard of direct mobile billing. The same occurs with the Telecommunications-Television Services Complaints Commission (CCTS). The principle is not known there, even if “misleading and aggressive sales practices are closely monitored”, reports spokesman Mathieu Pierre Dagonas. The CRTC did not respond to my messages.
At Telus, we allow “certain app aggregators, such as Boku, Infomedia UK and PM Connect, to offer a simplified online payment experience to their customers,” they told me.
Affected apps can be accessed through advertisements displayed online and cannot be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. “They are responsible for requesting payment consent from their users, indicating that fees will be collected through their telecommunications provider,” Telus spokeswoman Stéphanie Dussault said.
But obviously, the question of consent is not on point.
The issue of reimbursement is just as vague. Telus is committed to facilitating the process with the aggregator by transmitting the latter’s coordinates. But you can imagine that these companies established abroad are not easy to contact. What a waste of time!
Despite the number of testimonials from dissatisfied customers on the Koodo site, Telus claims that it guarantees the quality of its interactions with merchants. “If there is a problem, says Stéphanie Dussault, we suspend your accounts until the problem is resolved. »
Bell and Videotron customers have the advantage of not getting caught because these two providers don’t allow direct mobile billing, they told me. Like Telus, Rogers allows it.
It is true that direct mobile billing makes payments easier… but too much.
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