by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

 


@James_B wrote:

Hi @moog and @muggles708,

 

As mentioned earlier in the thread, any complaints about charge to mobile services should be directed to the Phone-paid Services Authority.

 

Posting a boilerplate response like this doesn't make it true.

 

At present I'm looking at the evidence, and while nobody from EE has produced anything to support their view. @moog has produced a statement by OFCOM, and I have been able to find statements from Phone-paid Services Authority in support of his view.

 

Can you back up your position with some supporting documents please?

 

A clear answer as to whether Mobitrans, Bounce Games, LVFOOD and other services available only to EE customers are 'own portal' services would be a great start.

 

According to OFCOM there are only two ways a company can get a consumers number and make a charge to their account without them having to key in the number

  • Payforit
  • 'own portal'

 

@In the case of the customers who have complained, EE have never sought to claim that they keyed in their numbers, but that they clicked on a link which supplied their details to the 'service'. EE say, and @moog does not dispute that these are not Payforit services. So how did these 'services' obtain your customer's numbers if it was not through your 'own portal'?

 

At present I am merely trying to understand the facts, in order to be able to provide proper advice to affected customers. Is there additional legislation that I am unaware of? Or is there a third class of service which allows subscribers numbers to be passed to a third party simply by them clicking a link?

 

Why are these services not available to subscribers of the other major networks? Why do all the complaints about these services come from EE subscribers?

 

Please take the time to make a reasoned and coherent response, as previous responses from EE staff on this thread don't make a lot of sense to me, and do not address the above issues

by csuwi1 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness



These are really good and well made points, @muggles708. I'd love to hear a clear answer from EE on this but sadly the characterisation of the responses so far is spot on: EE staff keep rolling out a boiler plate company line, even when it clearly doesn't actually stack up with what the facts are and what everyone else has said.

 

Come on, EE, give us a response which actually takes into account what we've presented you with rather than just fobbing us off.

 

by eesucks12lots Contributor
Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

Please don't hold your breath.. You will go blue, but I hope by keeping this link alive someone with more time and anger will be able to get a answer, and I will get some recompense for the 24 hrs of my life lost to ee. 

And in the mean time, every day and In any way I spread the word to how bad ee actually is. To those who might listen.

by moog Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

Hi James_B,

 

Can you please repsond to @muggles708 latest points please or escalate this to someone who can answer with authority. Please be aware that there is a point of law at issue here so simply making a cold statement is not good enough. Your customers deserve a fully qualified response with external references.

 

 

 

 

by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

@moog& @csuwi1

 

I’m hoping that the long delay in getting a response to this means that at last there will be a clear statement from EE.

 

I have been in contact with PSA, and it would appear that EE have voluntarily submitted these services for PSA regulation. This means that PSA can now consider complaints about these services.

 

I have asked PSA for more details, including the date with effect from which the regulation of these services changed and the legal basis for this change. Unfortunately, now that PSA is involved, the ombudsman will not want to adjudicate on these scams.

 

It seems to me that while PSA will now regulate these services, they remain ‘own portal’ services as defined by OFCOM. Thus EE are still wrong to tell you to deal directly with the ‘service provider’.

 

It would be good if someone could take a case against EE to the small claims court to test the legal position. However, I suspect that in such a case EE would back down and pay up.

 

PSA are a regulator, not an ombudsman. They will not take on individual cases, but will investigate if they get enough complaints against a particular company. They can order refunds to be paid, but been shown to be unable to enforce this order. They are funded by the industry, so are hardly impartial.

 

I became involved in this matter while doing research after my wife was scammed. This scam involved a rogue App signing her up to a premium service via Payforit. Thus I have little regard for the security of any of these ‘direct to bill’ payment mechanisms.

 

It seems to me that your phone number is like your bank account number. Using it on its own as an authentication method is downright dangerous. There needs to be an additional authentication, a PIN or something of that sort, required to confirm that the consumer is knowingly consenting to the charge. The burden of proof also needs to be moved away from the consumer and on to the ‘service provider’ to show robust proof of consent.

by moog Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

The good news is GDPR will kill this practice stone dead from 25th May. After that date EE can no longer dodge the bullet. Your mobile number is classed as PII ( personel identifiable information) and it will be crime to continue to use it as they do. ... because ( ironically) it allows a third parties  to identify and target you. I work in ecommerce and everything is about to change regarding data protection and about time. 

by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness


@moog wrote:

The good news is GDPR will kill this practice stone dead from 25th May. After that date EE can no longer dodge the bullet. Your mobile number is classed as PII ( personel identifiable information) and it will be crime to continue to use it as they do. ... because ( ironically) it allows a third parties  to identify and target you. I work in ecommerce and everything is about to change regarding data protection and about time. 


@moog 

I really hope that you are right about this, but the telecoms industry has so many exemptions, and I don't expect this legislation to be any different.

I had hoped that the Payment Services Directive v2 which comes into force this month would force greater accountability from the networks, but they appear to be exempt from it!

It is unfair that other payment services have to comply with this legislation while 'direct carrier billing' is exempt. I could understand the exemption when it applied to voice services like directory enquiries, but it make no sense when applied to the purchase of digital content.

by moog Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

You will be able to go direct to the data controller if there is a breach of the basic tenets of GDPR. The one the networks will fall foul of is 'Consent'. From may 28th all companies must gain clear and explicit consent from customers for service signups,  passing data to third parties, tracking etc. The networks are currently in beach at two levels.

 

1 customers are not even aware their accounts can be billed directly by third parties... no explicit consent. They may be hiding these details in the  T&Cs but that is also no longer allowed.

2. A single button click by an unknown user of a phone  is not clear explicit consent and there is no authentication.. e.g a child or rogue afiliate can sign you up. 

 

I also doubt they will be able to pass your phone identifier in http web request headers as they are currently doing since you can no longer openly distribute PII.

 

As far as Im aware there are are no exemptions. 

by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

I have had a conversation with PSA on this matter to try to get some clarity in the absence of any definitive statement from EE It is reproduced verbatim below;

 

Thurs 15:19

Me

I wonder whether you are able to clarify something for me. EE offer a number of services unique to themselves which can be signed up to by clicking a link on a web page. An example would be food<dot>mpay<dot>uk. (Interestingly Facebook won’t even let me put these URL’s into a message!) It is clear that these are available only to EE customers as the text says “Charges added to this EE mobile bill”. Are these services regulated by Phone-paid Services Agency?
This article suggests not: https://www.cable.co.uk/news/ee-customers-stung-by-accidental-premium-rate-charges-700001013/
However the article is old and EE are referring complaining customers to you.
Can you clarify whether you regulate these EE ‘own portal’ services or not?

 

Fri 11:44

PSA

Yes, we do regulate them.

 

Fri 14:36

Me

That's really helpful, Thank you. Can you tell me when the regulation changed, or whether perhaps your spokesman was quoted incorrectly in the article linked in my previous message? If the regulation of these services has changed, can you refer me to relevant documentation/OFCOM statements/legislation?

 

Mon 11:31

PSA

We were misquoted. From January 2016 we started regulating own-portal services. There is no official documentation/Ofcom statement/legislation available.

 

Mon 15:41

 

Me

 

Erm the article is dated 8th September 2015 - before you started regulating these services. Was it an accurate reflection of your views at the time? Why were you not regulating these services prior to January 2016? I'm not being difficult, but I want to understand what changed in January 2016 and why there was no announcement or legal basis for what appears to be a fairly significant change of policy.

 

Wed 10:55

Me

Sorry, to clarify we don’t regulate own-portal services. What happened towards the end of 2015 was a re-assessment of whether a number of services should be considered own-portal or not. As of 1 January 2016 these services were deemed not to be own-portal and were therefore subject to PSA regulation.

 

Wed 17:00

 

Me

Thank you, that's much clearer, although I'm still not clear as to what happened to trigger this re-assessment, and why there seems to have been no announcement of it. Consumers of these services are understandably confused, and most appear unaware of this change. It is important. As I understand it, while these services were treated as 'own portal' services, EE could be held to account for problems. As 'Payforit' services they cannot. be held accountable in any way, making it almost impossible for consumers to get redress. I think consumers maybe had more protection when EE couldn't hide behind the cloak of PSA regulation. Is this correct?

 

11:04

Again, to clarify the re-assessment we referred to was not a policy one but one related to individual cases. The Phone-paid Services Authority (PSA) does not make announcements on assessments or re-assessments relating to individual cases.

The PSA regulates all Premium Rate Service (PRS) (including services using Payforit) that have been placed into its remit by Ofcom through what is known as the PRS Condition. However, the PRS Condition excludes ‘own portal’ services and the PSA therefore does not regulate them. These services fall under Ofcom’s remit. Please note that Payforit is not a service, it is a form of payment used by PRS providers to charge for PRS content and services (i.e. directly on to a phone bill). Where complaints suggesting consumer harm fall within our remit (as the complaints to the reassessed services did) the PSA will take appropriate action against the provider of the service itself and not the affected customers’ mobile networks. This is because the PSA is not permitted to do so under the Communications Act 2003. However, in such instances Ofcom may be able to investigate those networks under other provisions of that Act or other legislation.

 

This makes things a little clearer. Note, that although these services are now regulated by PSA, this does not prevent the consumer holding EE liable. Legal responsibility is not the same as regulatory responsibility.

These services are not ‘Payforit’ services. EE are directly responsible for the decision to provide these services as they are provided through their own portal. I do not believe that a court would allow EE to escape their responsibility in this matter. This is different to the case with 'Payforit' services where the mobile networks are collectively responsible, making a case against the network much more difficult to pursue.

 

by moog Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

Thanks for that, seems the PSA and the networks are free to make things up
as they go along... isn't self regulation fantastic.

So these services have been now been determined to NOT be Own Portal
Services event though they are offered through EE's Own Portal and they are
not PayForIt. This decision go's against the PRS specs and makes no
sense...... I give up.

I would advise all EE customers to end there contracts ASAP and go over to
Tesco who who openly allow and promote charge capping / transparent billing.
by Neilnutt
Visitor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

I have had a similar experience with PM Connect regarding being fraudulently and against my will being signed up for a subscription service. I received a full return of funds stolen from my account a few weeks ago but it took ages and was a real faff. Do not take any nonsense about it being their policy to only return the last 10 payments, theft is theft plain and simple. Despite numerous requests PM Connect has not been able to provide me with evidence of how I subscribed and they have not contested my belief that they acted fraudulently when given the chance to do so. I am currently in the process of taking them to the small claims court to recover interest, my time and expenses.

 

One thing that really annoys me is that Deloitte has certified PM Connect as a "Tech Fast 50 Company" for its rapid growth. I have written to Deloitte to flag that they have awarded what I see as a very questionable company but they don't seem to care. Perhaps a few emails to dcobb@deloitte.co.uk might encourage Deloitte to withdraw the award?

by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness


wrote:

I have had a similar experience with PM Connect regarding being fraudulently and against my will being signed up for a subscription service. I received a full return of funds stolen from my account a few weeks ago but it took ages and was a real faff. Do not take any nonsense about it being their policy to only return the last 10 payments, theft is theft plain and simple. Despite numerous requests PM Connect has not been able to provide me with evidence of how I subscribed and they have not contested my belief that they acted fraudulently when given the chance to do so. I am currently in the process of taking them to the small claims court to recover interest, my time and expenses.

 

 


Hi @Neilnutt

 

This thread has gone rather quiet. I'm sorry you got scammed by PM Connect. From what you say you have done everything right so far. I assume that you have complained to PSA as well as taking your own action to recover your losses.

 

As I would have expected, PM Connect folded when faced with the prospect of legal action to recover your 'subscriptions'. I'd love to be able to bring a case where the scammer had refused a refund.

 

However, it's unfortunate that PMConnect have repaid the full amount they took, as this will make it more difficult to pursue them through the Small Claims Court. You can try to make a claim for your consequential losses, but it will be up to the court whether it accepts such a claim. You would have been on much firmer ground if you were able to claim for the funds already taken.

I wish you well with this. Although Small Claims cases don't make legal precedent, a success with this might encourage others to pursue their consequential losses, making these scams much less profitable.

Paul

payforitsucks.co.uk

by l0f5x011 Contributor
Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

I cannot believe this is still going on with EE after all this time. The only one that can stop this in its tracks is EE and they seem to contiinue to allow these scams to exist. When i sign up for a phone account i expect nothing but phone charges to be on my bill and I left EE because I was caught up in this scam. They are seemingly unaware the damage this is causing to their reputation.

by csuwi1 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness


wrote:

...
I left EE because I was caught up in this scam. They are seemingly unaware the damage this is causing to their reputation.


I think, sadly, they are very aware how much damage this is causing to their reputation and the answer is a cynical "not enough to be worth the effort of fixing it."

 

The only time I've seen any action or comment or attempt at damage limitation from EE, or Mobitrans, or any of the parties involved, is when someone does manage to start getting media or social media attention.

 

The bottom line is that it — by which I mean the complaints from customers and the toothless response of the regulators — is not a big enough problem for them that they need to anything but stonewall. It's costing us, not them.

by muggles708 Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Some good news

It would appear that, at last, EE are doing something about these subscription scams.

The links below relate to changes being required by EE for subscription services using Payforit. Essentially EE are now requiring two step authentication for all subscription services using Payforit. This means it will no longer be possible to become signed up to these services just by clicking a link.

https://blog.impulsepay.com/post/170580247572/ee-flow-changes-15th-february-2018

https://clients.txtnation.com/hc/en-us/articles/360000656991-UK-Changes-to-PFI-payment-flow-on-EE

 

What isn't clear is whether EE will apply these requirements to it's 'own portal' services (which don't use Payforit).

At least one of the networks appears to be taking some action to stop these scams.

 

Paul

payforitsucks.co.uk

by hmv04196 Investigator
Investigator

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Some good news

For your information - the company behind Bounce Games is PM Connect, 4th Floor Colmore Gate 2-6 Colmore Row Birmingham West Midlands B3 2QD. Website - www.pmconnect.co.uk/


Their managing director is James MacFarlane. This is his linked in page - www.linkedin.com/in/james-macfarlane-87913114/

This is PM Connect's linked in page - www.linkedin.com/company/pmconnect/
by madi86 Investigator
Investigator

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

I'm in the same boat. So shocked to see how many people has been scammed by these companies. I just created a new post explaining my scam story

 

https://community.ee.co.uk/t5/My-bills/SCAMMED-Third-party-charges-on-my-bill/td-p/691887

by moog Established Contributor
Established Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

Enjoyed watchdog last night (Series 39: episode 6). Expensive night for the networks and helped expose this issue for what it is... and it's not customer accidentally clicking things.

 

One thing struck me though... in all the examples on the show mirrored what is being said in forums accross the networks.... the unwantd charges are almost always for one of the following servie types:

 

  • Games
  • Fitness
  • Recipes
  • Wrestling

This seems to mirror the four offerings from PMConnect Ltd that are the 3rd party that do the own portal arragment with networks instead of the Industry standard PayForIt mechansim that most 3rd parties use that ha the double opt in etc.

 

Here is the list of the PMConnect offerings;

 

Bounce Games - http://games.bounce.mobi

iFitness - http://fitness.bounce.mobi

LV Food - http://food.mpay.uk

WWE - http://wwe.mpay.uk

 

Check the forums and these services come up again and again.. ~given the sheer number of services out there.. this alone must ring alarm bells.

 

I'm convinced that the payment mechanisnm that this PMConnect uses has been compromised. They all so use affiliates heavily so there is an incentive for click fraud. EE should e investigating this.

by alext Investigator
Investigator

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

I’m another victim of EE’s willingness to facilitate fraud, and yes i should have checked my bill sooner and/or not ignored the text messages that looked like spam, telling my wife that she was paying for the “service” provided by Bounce Mobile Games.

After probably 5 hours of my time and much complaining, Bounce finally paid 65 of the £70 they stole from me, and i’m left wondering if it’s worth another few hours for the sake of £5. 

 

My personal irritation aside at being out of pocket, i’m astonished that EE think it’s appropriate to allow third parties to charge their customers an egregious sum based on no evidence of the victim giving consent (certainly none Bounce could provide me with). I’ve written to EE and received a boilerplate letter back containing several odd lines that don’t relate to my complaint to them, but wanted to ask the forum what, if any, options i have. 

 

I would like EE to stop facilitating this, as i am sure that most of my more elderly family members, for example, would never know this was happening. They contend that “EE and all other networks are obliged to allow customers to use their handsets to the fullest, including ‘pay for it’ services”, and that “as a lot of our customers find these new services easy and convenient to use, they are quite happy to allow these services to paid for through their network billing”. Surely this is complete rubbish? Who on earth enjoys paying £2+ a week for a useless subscription.

 

So, EE have pointed me towards two authorities that this forum suggests are toothless; the Phone-Paid Services Authority and the Ombudsman Services : communication. Is there any point going down this route?

 

Ultimately, while annoyed about the £5, this has become a point of principle for me. I cannot believe that EE genuinely think they’re not betraying their customers’ trust for some commission (i assume!). How do we stop them doing this and get them fined and or to apologise for this? OFCOM? The ICO? I’d love them to pay a fine to charity for this nonsense. It’s theft, and EE facilitating it then claiming people want it is just nonsense. 

 

Please help me!

by eesucks12lots Contributor
Contributor

Re: Unwanted EE store subscription charges: Bounce.mobi iFitness

Easy... Walk. I took 4 accounts with me, and have told so many people about this, I'm sure there will have been more.

Don't try sittiso the fiver... Just leave them and tell them why.

Giff gaff are rather good.

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