Mobile companies are looting its customers by trapping them to choose their junk (unwanted) services. Most of the victims are prepaid customers. Its actually a clever trap. A kind of USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) message comes to your mobile phone with an “OK” and “Cancel” options.
Here is the message
PICK of the DAY!Click OK to ACTIVATE or press exit to CANCEL.Rs30/month
Most probably you may not get any voice indications when such a message comes. I still don’t know what kind of messages are these. Are they USSD / Push or something other? God knows! After a while, when you take your phone and unlock the keypad, without knowing the trap, you may have accidentally okay-ed to that message. You will get a notification message just as follows:
Hi! You will now receive Live Astrology on your phone. You have been charged Rs. 30 for next 30 days. To Stop alerts, SMS STOP LA to 54321
So Rs. 30/- has already been debited from your account. Hundreds of thousands of customers are looted daily in this way. Just drop into a Tata Docomo Store, you’ll see that majority of the customers come to the store only to raise such complaints. In many other occasions, even without an accidental key press, you may lose money for such unsolicited services.
Yesterday (Sunday, 25 August 2013) I got such an experience in one of my prepaid mobile phones. The name of the unsolicited service was Dus Bahane. I got the following message.:
Hi! You will now receive Dus Bahane alerts on your phone. You have been charged Rs. 10 for next 7 days. To Stop alerts, SMS STOP DB to 54321
I called to the Tata Docomo customer care from a post paid phone. It was their reply that they cannot fix the complaints for Prepaid customers. Instead I have to call another toll free number – 18602665555. Well, I called that number instantly, the customer care executive lady received the call and after I presented my complaint, the line was hung up without any notification. I tried at least 12 times after that, but all those customer care dudes were too busy attending other calls. So I decided to complaint through email.
Here is the mail
Sub: Please remove the unwanted service and return money.
Ref: Mobile number : 1234567890
I have been debited Rs. 10/- today for an alert service named “Dus Banana Alert” which I have not requested by any means. Hence I request you to credit back Rs. 10 and deactivate the so called service as earliest as possible. I do not want any such junk services hereafter. Please deactivate such service offers in my mobile to prevent such instances in future.
Alternate Number : 9876543210
I Send the mail to the following mail ids:
I haven’t got any email replies from them; instead I got their SMS after one hour at last, stating that :
Hi! Thanks for sharing your balance related concern with us. An amount of Rs. 10 has credited to your account.
Anyone can get back the lost money by calling the customer care by demanding our money back. Or if customer care is not accessible, send an email to the customer care and appellate cell. But many customers won’t take much efforts to get back their money. These robbers loot the money of poor customers in a large scale. Imagine how much money can they loot @ Rs. 10 from a one-hundred-thousand people?
However the unsolicited service is not still terminated. I will raise another complaint to stop that service. Wondering why TRAI ignores such day light robbery done by the mobile companies.
Its 10th October 2013 today.
At least one and a half months after this post has been published, today I read a news in some leading news portals that finally TRAI has pushed a new regulation to control against this day light robbery. Now subscribers can complaint against the unwanted services. Here is the news:
TRAI launched, or rather forced operators to introduce a common number which works across different networks, and which can be used to stop unwanted services. Mobile users can now dial 155223 from anywhere in India to deactivate. We tried this service using phone numbers from different operators in Bangalore and Mumbai, and consistently found that the IVR was prompt. – See more at: http://www.techtree.com/content/news/2915/deactivate-unwanted-mobile-services-calling-155223.html#sthash.86q0W63p.dpuf
Now that’s a real good move. Please copy the number in your mobile right now – 155223. But still there is no action has been done against the trapping nature of the messages sent by the company. Either the subscriber get the option to reject all such messages (not DND, if someone activated it, he losses many online services right now) or there must be a confirmation option should be included if the subscriber accidentally clicked OK button.