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Pesky SMS

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A pesky mosquito is annoying and dangerous as it not only sucks blood for free, but drains the victim of his energy.

The pesky SMS is the mosquito biting into our money supposed to be in “safe custody” "pre paid" of the service provider.   The service provider is responsible for the customers’ money. He cannot give away the money to any tom dick and harry without explicit consent of the mobile customer. In fact who is he to disburse our money? Is he a banker licesed to deal with our money so that he can earn by way of commissions?

I was told that it is possible to claim the money illegally collected by the pesky SMS sender. But that is besides the point. It is high time that these smart / petty (?) thieves are put behind bars.

The service providers role in enabling the mosquito bite is also an issue.

Comments

murali772's picture

anyone else faced this problem?

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Anantram saahibaru called to explain this new form of cheating the consumer. Apparently, he has been receiving SMS's from not readily known sources offering certain services for a monthly fee, with the rider that he should send an SMS to a certain number if he doesn't want to subscribe to the scheme - meaning that he is automatically subscribed to the scheme, if he doesn't send the SMS. Like with any normal human being, he initially ignored the message, thinking that the service providers would have enough in-built protection against such unfair schemes. But, lo and behold, he found his balances (under pre-paid scheme) disappearing in no time, even with sparse usage of the phone.

This is certainly a misuse, and the service provider is also culpable. Has anybody else experienced this? If yes, perhaps we need to take it up with the TRAI.

Muralidhar Rao
sanjayv's picture

Faced this issue

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My relative faced this issue.  So I trolled the TRAI website and found the guidelines.  We followed it and chased these guys until they resolved the issue and sent our money back.

So my suggestion is the following.

1. Lodge a complaint with the service provider call center and get them to give you tyhe complaint number. They are REQUIRED to send you this by SMS even if you do not ask. They are also REQUIRED to give you a time frame by when this is to be resolved.

2. If the problem is not resolved or resolved unsatisfactorily in the time period, you can escalate it to an Apellate officer (info available on provider website, or ask the customer service center_, with the docket number of your complaint.  They again have a certain timeline to act on complaints.

Fortunately for us the problem was solved at this stage and money refunded and no unsolicited value added services have been imposed since.  And I have proof of one complaint already going in.

3. Final step I think is to approach TRAI if the apellate officer does not solve the issue.

Finally, TRAI has to step in to solve this issue.  It is patently illegal to do an auto enrolment and keep you there if you do ot opt out.  A consumer court would be an excellent place to go fight also.

psaram42's picture

Thanks Murali sir and Sanjay Ji

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Land line telephone is comparatively safe as there is no text messaging involved. However Short Messages can be sent in bulk using computers by private operators once your mobile number is added to their list. That is where the prepaid concept is coming handy for these “Pesky” operators. They send a message like:-

Your devotional Subscription is renewed@ rs 29/- valid for 29 days. To unsubscribe sms UNSUB kkdevo to 54300

For a person not very conversant with messaging, it is a pain to be doing these for ever blooming offers. The service provider has to transfer the amount from the prepaid money to the pesky operator. This shows the pesky nexus between service provider and the operator of unwanted services. I think this menace can be there for post paid case too. 

The onus of Acceptance / renewal of an offer should be with the consumer. Not vice versa. 

PRAJA need to take it up with the TRAI, Murali sir!

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