make WWAY your homepage  Become a fan on facebook  Follow us on twitter  Receive RSS Newsfeeds  MEMBERS: Register | Login

TroubleShooters: Cell phone scam

READ MORE: TroubleShooters: Cell phone scam
BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- One Brunswick County father noticed an extra $20 charge on his son's cell phone bill. We found out a company called M-Qube put it on there. And it's a company that's currently under investigation. Dale Geddings pays his son's cell phone bill. But when he noticed a mysterious charge for $19.99 from a company called M-Qube he called his wireless provider. Geddings said, "They acted like they were expecting a phone call from somebody, acted like they already heard this story before, been through it before and said we'll immediately delete that and we'll delete you from the service." Then Geddings found out it was a monthly subscription fee. "I said, 'what service?' They said, 'Well, you have subscribed to a service on your phone.' I said, 'not that I know of.' So I spoke to my son Matthew about it and Matthew said, 'I haven't signed up for anything." IT turns out some of those free ringtones, horoscopes or jokes you sign up for actually enroll you into program that charges a monthly fee. We discovered M-Qube has racked up a ton of complaints. On the better business bureau's website, there are nearly 150 of them. Geddings said, "There's no identifier from M-Qube who exactly they're paying. And all these complaints where in there, so I was like, maybe I'm not the only one suffering." And he's not. The attorney general in Florida is investigating M-Qube. Our own attorney general, Roy Cooper, has also received some complaints about the company and he wants to know if there are more out there. Cooper said, "We're investigating this particular case and been able to help others....if this happens to you let us know, we want to go after companies that take advantage of people." And most importantly, do what Geddings did: call your cell phone provider and ask them to remove the charge. According to several websites, there's also been a class action lawsuit filed in Massachusetts against M-Qube. If you've noticed a charge from M-Qube on your bill, and you didn't sign up for any service, call Attorney General Roy Cooper's office at 877-5-NOSCAM.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

»

What's really bad...

What's really bad is that some of these sort of things can be done over the internet. Someone I worked with registered for this free myspace tracker and used my cell phone number. I started noticing that I was getting charged $9.99 for something on my cell bill that I had not ordered. I had my provider take it off as soon as they told me it was some ring-tone thing. Sadly, it took me a few months to realize the charge on my bill so I was out about $40.00 that I will never get back.

Cell Phone Scams

As an employee for a major wireless company, I would like to comment on tonights Troubleshooters. The thing a lot of customers do not realize is that these charges are coming from 3rd party billers and its not something the wireless company can actually remove. For example: The commercials that are advertised on TV to text the word "JOKE" to 99777 (or similar) and get daily jokes, horoscopes, weather, etc are the same companies that have websites that tell you to enter your cell phone number in to get free ringtones. The only way the customer can actually get these charges removed from their bill is to either 1)Text the word "STOP" or "QUIT" to the 5 digit number that shows up beside the charge on their bill or 2)Go to that companies website and send an email to request removal from their list. As a customer service representative in the wireless industry, I see bills on a daily basis with these types of charges on them. 9 times out of 10, the child or young adult has inadvertantly signed up without realizing there would be a monthly charge. I don't agree with these companies misleading the customers, however, the reporter made the comment that if viewers noticed charges on their bills to contact their cell phone providers to have them removed and that's not something we can just "take off". Thank you.

You are spot on!

This has nothing to do with the cellular carriers. It has everything to do with companies that make their earnings from immature, teenaged brains and extremely dim-witted adults. Before you sign up for that latest, hottest ringtone, ask yourself, "Why would they GIVE me this for free? What's in it for them?" There's no such thing as a free lunch. If you are so desperate that you believe a ringtone will make you cool and aren't the least bit suspicious about the fine print on those commercials, you deserve exactly what you get.

Charges

It would seem that cell phone carriers are in bed with these crooked companies to rip off the general public.

Why can't you providers take

Why can't you providers take them off? You put them on there, right? I know that they are third party fees, but you guys are the ones who generate the billing on their behalf. I find it hard to believe that you can't refuse to do that and remove the charge from the customers bill. I know on my home phone, I have had fraudulent charges removed. Maybe it depends on the cell phone provider you go with.

These charges aren't "fraudulent."

The people actually sign on for this service. Read the fine print. It tells you right up front about the monthly charges. You may have to hire a very talented eagle or a hawk to read it, however.

Of course the carriers can take the fee off the bill

Here's the scoop folks: there are hundreds of content and marketing companies that offer mobile content and services as subscriptions to consumers. Because the carriers dont have the capacity to integrate these companies into the carrier billing system, they look to technical intermediaries such as mBlox, mQube and others to do the technical work. When a customer signs up for a ringtone, a message is sent from the content provider to the mBlox type company who then tells the carrier to bill the customer. The bill should really read the name of the content company but becuase the carrier systems are antiquated the bill says "mQube or mBlox or Qpass etc." The customer gets annoyed becuase they never heard of mQube and thinks they are being scammed when in reality mQube is just passing information in between the content company and the wireless carrier- both of whom are quite capable of elminating the charge.

"bill shock"

Communication devices used to be the everyday need of people from all walks of life. Therefore, development programs and projects for this sector is necessary. Recently, lot of cell phone users were shocked on the news regarding the additional cell phone charges. The phenomenon called “bill shock,” where individuals unexpectedly discover out their cell phone bill is hugely inflated, has infuriated millions of people. The cellular carrier market and federal regulators have just reached an agreement that could keep it from happening anymore, as companies have decided to start giving more advanced notice. Article resource: Cell phone carriers and FCC reach agreement over bill shock