I received an SMS message today which was spam for a Vodafone MMS promotion, linking back to a page on the Vodafone site. Basically the message and the site urges you to upload photos and hopefully win prizes; they send you a daily sms with the topic and you take photos and upload them, all of which you pay for – “each MMS you send will cost only 55c incl GTS”. I guess with GST on top, you pay 60c total 😉
I decided to make an issue of this; after all, I didn’t opt in to any spam. I rangÂ billing – a trial itself getting past “Lara” to a real person – and asked why I was getting spam from Vodafone, and would I get more? and was I getting billed for anything? and what list was I on? and how could I get my name off that list? The idiot claimed that this was not Vodafone’s doing, but some third party promotion, and I’d have to contact them myself, and that I wasn’t billed for the SMS I’d been sent (true) and that there was no list (odd that he’d know that if it was a third party operation).
After pressing him about how some third party had my number on a list, if Vodafone hadn’t given it to them (“oh, we wouldn’t do that”), and telling him that I’d never signed up for any spam and never authorised my details to be given to anyone (“well someone else must have used your phone” – no), and that it was time and money on my part to get off any list, he credited me with 5 SMS messages and said that I just needed to reply to the SMS with the word STOP . Maybe it was also me mentioning that I wondered how legal it was sending unauthorised text spam, and what would consumer affairs think, that caused the change in attitude.
I know it’s not the same as the abusive behaviour of the daily horoscope and adult dating text services, but it’s still basically minor extortion on Vodafone’s part – sending you annoying messages (and some kids will take them up on it) asking you to send them money in the hope of winning a some of it back – or else charging you a (admittedly small – 25c) fee to stop getting the messages. I bet there’s a new promotion from a new number next week and I’ll have to pay to stop those messages too 🙁