Mysterious charges on cell phone bills

Surprise ! Your cell phone bill may include another one…against your will. Koodo customers discovered it for the past few months without really understanding what was going on. And especially without knowing how to get a refund.

Posted at 8:15 p.m

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 wireless service provider. The transaction can therefore be carried out very quickly as there is no need to give your credit card number and billing address to another company.

The principle is theoretically effective. Clever even.

In practice, however, direct mobile phone billing not only makes people happy.

Koodoo, a Telus low-cost subsidiary, has plenty of testimonials from frustrated customers complaining of being scammed. The stories are all the same: one day they saw suspicious charges on their bill.

“I’ve had it for three months [des] Third party app charges on my bill and I have no idea where they came from. What should I do ? asks one of them.

Another customer writes, “I was charged $13.99 for PBM.CX usage fees [Pay by mobile] that I have never ordered. How can I get a credit and how can I ensure these charges are reversed on future bills? I don’t understand the scheme. »

We also wonder about Koodo’s responsibility. “My 79-year-old mother received a mysterious [note] $14.99 off his July phone bill. The description reads “in-app purchase” which according to billing history took place at 3:51am on July 3rd, which is absolute nonsense. She never uses her phone around this time […] To me it looks like these third party apps are scamming Koodo users and Koodo should never let this happen. »

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

  • Message from a Koodo customer

    EXCERPT FROM THE KOODO FORUM

    Message from a Koodo customer

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Alexandre noticed something was wrong before he even received his monthly bill.

“When I was browsing the internet on my iPhone, I saw a pop up I’m wondering if I want to subscribe to the streaming app Live football club (by PM Connect LTD) for $13.99 per month. I quickly weighed the ‘X’, but immediately got a text message saying I was now subscribed and the total would appear on my next bill,” he told me.


SCREENSHOT PROVIDED BY A KOODO CUSTOMER

Received SMS from Alexandre

Searching the internet, he discovered that PM Connect had already made headlines in Belgium for its “forced subscriptions”. Again, internet users who pressed the “X” had to pay for the service.

In other words, if you encounter ads, there is no way out!

Consumer protection group Test Achats denounced the company’s practices last year, which had led to more than 300 complaints. In a report by Belgian public broadcaster RTBF, Test Achats also deplored the stance of mobile operator Proximus, the operator most affected by complaints, who blamed it for being charged without warning.

In Quebec, the Consumer Protection Agency (OPC) has never heard of direct mobile billing. The same applies to the Complaints Commission for Telecommunications and Television Services (CCTS). The principle is not known there, even if “misleading and aggressive sales practices are closely monitored,” reports spokesman Mathieu Pierre Dagonas. The CRTC has not responded to my messages.

At Telus, we “allow certain app aggregators such as Boku, Infomedia UK and PM Connect to offer their customers a simplified online payment experience,” I’m told.

The affected applications are accessible via advertisements displayed online and cannot be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. “They are responsible for obtaining payment consent from their users and indicating that the fees are collected through their telecommunications provider,” said Telus spokeswoman Stéphanie Dussault.

But obviously the question of consent is not on point.

The issue of reimbursement is equally vague. Telus promises to facilitate the process with the aggregator by submitting the coordinates of the latter. But you can imagine that these overseas based companies are not easy to reach. What a waste of time!

Despite the many testimonials from unsatisfied customers on the Koodo website, Telus claims that it ensures the quality of its interactions with merchants. “If there is a problem, says Stéphanie Dussault, we freeze their accounts until the problem is solved. »

Bell and Videotron customers have the advantage of not getting caught because those two providers don’t allow direct cellular billing, they told me. Like Telus, Rogers allows it.

It’s true that direct mobile billing makes checking out easier… but a little too much.

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