Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Talk About Scams

I don't have a landline. 

My children, ages 9 and 10, have a cell phone they share.  I allow them to take it with them while they are outside playing.  It is used for emergencies when they are home with a babysitter.  They also use it to talk to their friends.

In order to have unlimited text messaging on my phone, I had to have it available on all of my phones.  Recently, I discovered the kids' phone was receiving text messages from a "love advice" messager.

Without my knowledge, one of my children sent a text to a number advertised on the TV, and subscribed to this text messaging advice line.

I called my wireless provider, and they said that I am responsible for all costs affliated with this subscription.  Whether I gave permission for them to subscribe or not. 

I did some research online to determine what to do about this "subscription" and was shocked by what I found.  While I can block all premium texting (that's the technical term for these subscriptions), I have to contact the company that issues these texts to dispute the charges.  I am fortunate, my charges are not in excess of $20.00.  I happened to catch this in time.  But I still am disputing the payment.

Here is what else I found out.   The company is called CellFish Media.  The Girl and her friends got the number off of Cartoon Network.  The service "PersonalLoveco" is the same as 21222 and "CellFish Media" They advertise themselves on Cartoon network telling kids that if they text to 21222 they can chat about love relationships, etc.  This is directed to children! You can text 21222 with the word "cancel" to cancel the service from your child's phone, but you can expect two final charges, one text plus a reply from them about the cancellation.

I received a telephone number from my wireless provider, allowing me to call and talk to them about the charges.  I was unable to reach a live person and instructed to leave a message.  The message said to expect a call from a customer service rep within two business days....  We will see...



P.S. I think I will also be writing an email to the Cartoon Network advertising department regarding the content of the advertising they are selling... 

11 comments:

The girl with the flour in her hair said...

Wow, that's insane. I can't believe they're getting away with something like that. On the cartoon network??? Seriously? Holy crap.

Hope you get the charges disputed.

Erin said...

That's super scary to me, seeing as we watch a lot of the Cartoon Network. Fortunately my kids aren't old enough for cell phones (yet). Keep us posted.

Mommy Taylor said...

Wow, I hope you can get those charges dropped. I see those kind of commercials all the time. It tells you to text to a certain number... and in the very fine print at the bottom of the screen it will say that you're agreeing to a monthly subscription for like $9.95/month! It's ridiculous! Shame on Cartoon Network for advertising to kids like that!

Daffy said...

That is terribly wrong on MANY LEVELS! I have no doubt there are organizations out there that need to take this issue on!

I'm not hopeful you'll get a return call. Keep us posted!

-KA- said...

Holy crap. My daughter has a cell phone for emergencies and I laid down a whole bunch of rules but I never even thought about that. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

Mike said...

I guess the adult swim commercials are swimming down stream. Well it's a good talk to have with your kids cause there are tons of those ads everywhere.

Senorita said...

Wow, is all I have to say. Marketing that kind of stuff to CHILDREN is despicable. It's such easy money, I know. Especially since children are so vulnerable and it's best to catch them early while they are developing. But c'mon, there has to be some limits here.

MindyMom said...

That ssssuuuuuccckkksss.

How low these scammers will go is appalling.

Carol said...

Good thing the kids are safe in front of the TV watching cartoons - NOT!
Anything for the mighty buck!

adrienzgirl said...

WTF? Anyone seen Adult Swim on Cartoon Network? I was seriously pissed when I saw it the first time! Like my head spun Linda Blair style and I went ballistic!

kys said...

That is horrible! I think we bloggers should get a little pr going on this issue. Send some letters? Let some organizations know what's going on?

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