Print 14 comment(s) - last by theapparition.. on Apr 22 at 10:12 AM

A media company is in hot water for charging customers for services they didn't want

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed its first case against mobile "cramming," where companies bill mobile phone customers for certain services without their knowledge.

The FTC has launched a lawsuit against Wise Media, LLC, and its owners Brian M. Buckley and Winston J. Deloney. The company sent services like horoscopes and love tips to random mobile customers around the U.S. and secretly billed them repeating charges of $9.99 per month. Concrete Marketing Research, LLC, has also received money from the operation and was listed in the FTC complaint.

The customers received text messages that insinuated that they were subscribed to the service, but had no idea about the $9.99 monthly charges. Many ignored these texts from Wise Media and assumed they were spam.

Even those who replied to the text messages saying to unsubscribe them were continuously charged. 

Wise Media snuck its third-party charges to customers' billing statements under an abbreviation so that they wouldn't understand what the charges were for exactly. Many had no idea it was a third party charge and paid it anyway.

For those who were curious about the charge and inquired about it, finding Wise Media's contact information was difficult, and even when they found the phone number, the company's representatives promised refunds that never came.

This is considered mobile phone cramming, and the FTC is out to stop it. 

“The concept of ‘cramming’ charges on to phone bills is a not a new one,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “As more and more consumers move to mobile phones, scammers have adapted to this new technology, and the Commission will continue its efforts to protect consumers from their unlawful practices.”

The FTC has asked the court to freeze Wise Media's assets immediately and order them to stop their deceptive business. The FTC is also seeking a permanent injunction that would force the defendants to give up the money they've made unfairly from mobile phone customers so they can be used to provide refunds to the victims.

Source: Federal Trade Commission

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Fraud
By theapparition on 4/19/2013 9:53:28 AM , Rating: 4
In this case, fraud should be defined exactly as "using deceptive practices to take property from another."

Under those terms, almost every Apple ad ever made was deceptive. Some call it marketing, but let's face it, there were plenty of outright lies in their marketing. They've had to do plenty of retractions, pulling commercials, and even printing apologies.

And most car ads, where a car is the best in it's "class", and they don't really tell you they redefined classes and it's the only one there.

What about the local corner store near me that advertises "The worlds greatest potato salad"?

I get what you are saying, and most of the examples above can pass a common sense test, but we all know that the legal system is rife with abuse. How bad do you think the litigation abuse would be if you opened the door with ambiguous language.

RE: Fraud
By dgingerich on 4/21/2013 9:11:18 AM , Rating: 2

it's not ambiguous language, it's direct and straightforward. If it's deceptive, it's wrong. Plain and simple. If a business owner can't make money without being deceptive, he or she is incompetent, and should be doing something else. The sheer volume of deceptive practices in this country show just how far off course we've gone.

RE: Fraud
By theapparition on 4/22/2013 10:12:53 AM , Rating: 2
If it's deceptive, it's wrong.

The litmus test for "deceptive" is the problem. Who defines what is deceptive?

I understand what you are thinking, but in reality you are opening the door to lawyers for the interpretation of "deceptive" tactics.

As a wise dead man once said "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

"DailyTech is the best kept secret on the Internet." -- Larry Barber

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki