If a premium rate number operator like Zamano which manages the number 57030, take credit from your phone without your permission, you can get it back! You will need to text STOP to unsubscribe from the service, you will then need to contact your mobile phone operator, you should also contact the operator, and finally I would suggest contacting the very helpful Comreg. For further information regarding premium rate services, please check out the Comreg website www.phonesmart.ie .
On the 12th April 2011, I was walking briskly to my 10 AM appointment. My phone was in my pocket. I got an unsolicited text message from a premium rate number. I don’t know what button I pressed next. I just wanted to get rid of the message from the screen. Later that evening I checked my phone credit and thought it was a bit low. I went online to check it out and learned that 57030 charged me €5.95.
I texted STOP to 57030.
I then googled 57030 and found PhoneSmart.ie which allows you to put in the number and find out who is the Operator. In this case it was Zamano. A helpline and email address was listed.
I emailed my mobile phone operator letting them know what happened and that I wanted my money back as a matter of principle. A few days later when I had not received a response I rang them. I pretended to be extremely irate. The customer service person was obviously sympathetic to my case. She advised me to text STOP to the premium rate operator. However, when I suggested that the premium rate operator was offside and should not be sending unsolicited texts, she was very supportive of them pointing out that they were a legitimate operator. I could sense the vested interest! She advised me to contact the operator directly. She did warn me that their helpline was extremely expensive to ring.
After that call, I emailed Comreg to tell them my story and ask them for any assistance that they could provide. (I got a very helpful email back the following day). I sent a short email to the premium rate operator letting them know that money was taken without my consent and that I required a refund. I sent it to them a few times. I also told them that I had contacted my mobile phone operator and Comreg. I got a standard response from their customer services on the 17th of April with a reference number.
A week or two later I got a call from the premium rate operator asking me for my address. Someone else from the premium rate operator rang me again the following day to ask me for my name and address. A week or so later I got a cheque in the post for €5.00. I have since lodged the cheque and topped up my credit again. So if money is taken from your phone without your express permission by a premium rate provider, you can get it back.
I hope this post is of benefit to someone in the future. All comments welcome…
Donncha Hughes (@donnchadhh)
If you have an interest in this issue please check out this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/textstop
Update One – September 2015
Your post “How to reclaim your money from 57030?” has proved a godsend as I am going through the same issue with the shower of *****. As it was easily found online, and very useful, may I ask you to add 2 notes to it?
1) On sending my email, I got an immediate autoreply stating I hadn’t included the premium number or my own mobile number in my initial email. (I had included both details.) But this seems another delay tactic. And you can’t reply to the autoresponse, so need to loop back to your original email, highlight the details and resend. (A nasty little way to increase the “fail and quit” rate of complaints, I assume.)
2) I cc’d my initial email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ComReg, to create a paper trail. and ComReg contacted me advising that I resend the email, requesting, “on ComReg advice” the log files of how my number ended up on Zamano’s system.
Both pieces of info might make people’s complaint journey a little shorter. And rather than putting it someplace else, it makes sense for it to go with the initial information.
Thanks for posting the info online. It really helped when I was frothing at the mouth.
A Note to Blog – September 2015
I wrote the article above in 2011. The post is on my business blog but has nothing to do with my business. It is one of the most popular posts judging by the volume of comments. I presume that they are all real.
But the post has come at a cost. At least once a month I get a phonecall from someone extremely irate who rings asking who I am and what I know about the money that was taken from their mobile phone. On a few occasions I had people ringing demanding that I give them their money back. You might think this is funny and if I was not self-employed it would be somewhat. Every time I get a call from an unrecognised number, there is a chance it is such a call.
Unlike my earlier story which has a happy ending, this saga is ongoing and unlikely to be resolved to my satisfaction.Here are some of the detail in chronological order:
1. It started with fairly innocent calls from people who said that their operator had given them my mobile number on basis that I would help them get back their money. Most of these I chatted to but explained that I could not help and that they should read my blogpost – most of the detail of this post I have actually forgotten because so long ago.
2. Then in August 2014 when I was on holidays out of the country. I got an irrate text message from a Meteor customer who said that Meteor told them that I was responsible for taking money from their credit. I responded on my return to explain my situation and to categorically state that I was not responsible. Thankfully the person believed me and kindly obliged me by sending me an email to confirm that Meteor had indeed told them to contact me to secure a refund. I wanted written testimony.
– When I contacted Meteor, initially I was told that they could not talk to me about my complaint because I was not a customer!
– I contacted Comreg and they said that they could not do anything. They told me to contact the Data Protection Commissioner.
– When I contacted the Data Protection Commissioner, I was told that the operator was only giving out information which was publicly available on my website. I was advised to take the number down from my website.
– I went back to Comreg but again no joy and wrote to Meteor and never heard from them. The only good outcome is that I have never heard from a Meteor Customer again.
3. I do still regularly get calls from Vodafone customers. They are usually very annoyed and tell me that Vodafone have referred them to me. I am very careful to ask people what exactly Vodafone have said, and in fairness, they say that Vodafone just say to contact me and that I will be able to help them.Vodafone have never inferred to anyone that I am responsible for taking the money – I think they just want the person off the phone!
– The first time I contacted Vodafone, I sent an email forwarding a copy of the email from their customer outlining the issue. I purposefully did not give them the name of the customer in that email. Their response was that they investigated and that it never happened. When I went back and asked how did they know it never happened and what exactly did they investigate, the complaint was escalated. The next response was that they could not investigate as it was against Data Protection rights of their customer. This is despite the fact that I have an email from their customer allowing me to pass on their name, email and phone number.
– This has happened a few times. I generally request an email from the person who rings. We usually chat for a while, I explain why I need the email and they willingly give it to me. But a lot of people say that they don’t want to get involved, haven’t the time, and only want to get their own money back. When I get an email from the person I duly send it to the operator. One memorable response from Vodafone was an email from someone in Legal saying that Vodafone wouldn’t give out such details as staff as trained not to, so it didn’t happen. This is without any investigation and despite my proof that it did. I have been asked do I know the people who have emailed me and how can I show their ‘bona fides’. This has me stumped – these are people who ring me out of the blue (as if they have nothing better to be doing!). They are after all Vodafone customers so I can only presume that they have ‘bona fides’.
Sorry for the big long spiel. I decided some time ago despite all the above, not to take down the original post – life would be simpler if I did. Why? Because of the comments. It is my own little protest against what I deem a complete SCAM. One which no one in officialdom really cares about – at least not enough to tackle. I suspect that the operators gain revenue from the premium operators so there is a financial incentive not to curb them. BTW, did I tell you I contacted the Department of Communications. I spoke to a lovely man who rang me and assured that what happened could not have happened. He said he would talk to the Regulator and Comreg. I never caught his name as I was in a shop with the kids when I took the call, and he said he would email me immediately. I never heard from him again. The other reason not to take it down is that the calls are a minor inconvenience. Actually I got legal advice on the issue and the consensus is that the operators have no case to answer as there was no damage done to me. Fair point but that doesn’t mean it is fair and should be allowed to continue.
You have probably lost interest by now but if not, here are my requests:
a. Please don’t ring me even if Vodafone or Meteor tell you to – a premium rate number like Zamano would not have a mobile number that anyone can ring! And please understand that I definitely did not take your money.
b. But please follow the instructions and don’t let them keep your money. I wholeheartedly recommend the Phonesmart website. And the comments attached to this post are worth reading too as some are more up to date and more comprehensive.
c. If you work for an operator, I would strongly suggest that you write a post about Zamano and 53070 and knock me of the top of the SEO list for this topic. It would be a service to your customers – that is if you care about those!
If you have an interest in this issue please check out this Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/textstop
Finally, to end on a funny note. I got a call from my sister one day about 57030. She had money taken, had rang the operator and got a very confusing response. So she googled it and was surprised when she found my post. I don’t think she even knew that I had a blog. It was funny because she had not read it, and wanted to know what I do, and all I could do was say:
READ THE POST!
She did and got her money back! And so can you. Best of luck!