• Report: #486547

Complaint Review: Mobile Messenger

  • Submitted: Fri, August 28, 2009
  • Updated: Sat, August 29, 2009

  • Reported By: CPT — Bryn Mawr Pennsylvania USA
Mobile Messenger
MOBILEMESSENGER.COM Internet United States of America

Mobile Messenger Text 89623, Text 44999 IQ Test - This company preys on teens who have cell phones and who don't understand repet billing scams. Parents can control credit cards, but this company uses cell phones to scam unwary kids. INTERNET

* : It's YOUR responsibility....

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Recently, I looked at my mobile phone bill and noted data charges of $20.18 per month associated with my daughter's cell phone number.  I called my service provider and asked about the charges which were labeled Premium TXT Services and was advised that I had been charged $20.18 per month for the past three months and that the charges would be taken for the coming month per a recurring charge authorization.  I asked my daughter about the charges and she told me that she had taken an online IQ test a while ago and she was shocked to learn about the charges. 


The company preys on kids who don't have the savvy to understand an online agreement written in legalese, and who assume that they are agreeing to some harmless arrangement based on the marketing lure of what appears to be an innocent IQ Test.  The company asks for the kid's cell number and sends the kid a pin to be entered online together with acceptance of the terms and conditions that provide for monthly recurring charges of $10+/-.  Of course, the instructions are provided that inform the user how to stop the service, but the whole presentation is done in a way to focus attention on the fun part of the deal and not the business terms. 


I have since asked the phone company to block such services for our cell phones, but I think that there should be a warning to parents with kids who have cell phones about this operation.  I also think that transactions initiated by kids should be subject to a full refund of all charges.  Moreover, the company should not accept orders from under age parties. 


This company already settled one class action suit, but it still persists in using these unsavory practices to scam kids whose parents are unwttingly footing the bill.


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/28/2009 10:12 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Mobile-Messenger/internet/Mobile-Messenger-Text-89623-Text-44999-IQ-Test-This-company-preys-on-teens-who-have-cel-486547. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1

It's YOUR responsibility....

AUTHOR: ReactorCore - (Canada)

You are the one who is responsible for teaching your child, who is using a piece of telecommunications equipment under your name, about the pitfalls of these "premium" type services, no one else's.

People, especially parents, need to stop relying on "someone else" to do the job they should be doing in the first place. Far too often, parents allow their kids to just "do their own thing" without taking an active role in what their kids are absorbing and doing when it comes to consumerism, and it needs to stop.

I ran into this situation just a few days ago, in fact. My youngster, who I've just given their own cell phone (pay as you go only), since they're becoming more socially active and spending more time out of the home, was watching TV behind me in the living room, when one of those ads came on for the same type of service. They run all the time on daytime TV when the kids are out of school.

Once the ad finished, I turned to the kid and explained how these "services" work, how they put a recurring charge on your cell phone bill and how they entice you with the word "free". I told my kid about that "fine print" they run at the bottom of the screen (and it does stay on long enough to catch that $10+/mo. fee they'll charge), taught them how to question something that seems too easy or good to be true and warned them about the consequences of not reading such things as fine print and contract details.

The talk took all of 5 minutes out of my life, insulated my kid against the temptation of "trying" such a service and gave them a valuable lesson in being a smart consumer and always looking beyond the surface of something offered.

You say; "The company preys on kids who don't have the savvy to understand an online agreement written in legalese", but the legalese you refer to isn't all that involved in the first place, and not to put too fine of a point on it, but why isn't your kid savvy in the first place? I'll tell you why: YOU.

Step up, take the responsibility... know what new marketing tricks are being trotted out on a regular basis, learn how they work, investigate them yourself and pass on your knowledge to your kid before they do something really stupid, like order a $1.95 "Free Grant Money Kit" from some shysters online.

Don't expect any other individual or government body to do the job you should already be doing and then wring your hands and whine about how no one is looking out for your kid and they fall for the sucker pitch.
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