Check your cell phone bill carefully, very carefully…

In this world of paperless bills it is getting increasing difficult to keep on top of your bills every month.  I would advise you though to check your electronic bills every once in a while just in case… I did the same on my Rogers cell phone bill recently and noticed a “Third Party & Other Rogers Charges” charge of $9.99.  Upon further investigation it seems that I somehow subscribed to Gamifive Mobivillage, a monthly gaming service run by Buongiorno.  I was totally taken aback since neither I or nor anyone else in my household remembered signing up for this monthly service.  The only correspondence that I have received on this are a couple of SMS messages stating that I am enrolled in the service (I noticed these after the fact).

I immediately did a Google search on this and found that many other people have “inadvertently” subscribed to this same service.  Apparently this sort of practice is known as “cramming”, in which a 3rd Party takes advantage of a loophole in the Local Exchange Carrier (LEC) billing that allows them to start charging you for their services through your carrier, all they need to know is your phone number.  They seem to be taking advantage of the fact that many people don’t check their text messages, especially if they are coming from unknown numbers.  As well, most people don’t check their monthly bills on a regular basis.

So what can you do about these charges.  Well, you can call Buongiorno Gamifive directly, their number is given on the bill as well as on any text messages that you have received from them.  You can also Text “Stop” in response to their text messages.  This has resulted in varied success for the people reporting on them on the internet.  You can also call your carrier (e.g. Rogers, Bell, Telus) and ask the Customer Service Representative (CSR) to remove the charges.  Their knee jerk reaction to this request is to say that they can’t do anything about the charges and that you would have to phone the 3rd party directly.  If you are persistent they will credit your account but in most cases you will have to talk to their manager or Customer Retention Representative before you get a positive response.  You should be persistent, since no matter how much they say they are not responsible for the charges and have nothing to do with them, they are no doubt taking a percentage of that monthly fee going to Buongiorno.

In order to prevent this from happening in the future, you should ask your carrier to block 3rd party charges to your number, to all your numbers.  You should also verify all of your electronic bills regularly to make sure the company you are getting services from has not made any changes to your bill without properly and fully informing you.

Source: Shawn Dunn’s Tech Blog

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