Nov. 23, 2004

cell phone scams

always the victims, aren't we?

i woke up this morning with my mentally unhinged cheap radio (will tell you more about the insane nippon japan am/fm radio i picked up somewhere at home some other time) accidentally tuned in to 104.3, which had June Keithley (yes, June Keithley) on air hosting a morning program of sorts. she was furious about her newly acquired Globe sim, and her magically disappearing credits.

the topic was first brought to my attention by a friendster bulletin post from a high school kabarkada, Danica, who's currently in CAL. she said something about her credits getting drained despite her not having a text life at all. actually, i kinda felt for her - subtext A: wala siyang katext; subtext B: hinuhuthutan pa siya ng Globe.

in her post, she said that despite not having texted or called anybody, still there were deductions from her load. which was weird, really - all she was ever receiving were these globe infotexts of sorts. so, subtext C: sinisingil siya ng globe for unsolicited info texts!

naturally, she was furious, so she called up Customer Service, asking them what this was all about. apparently, globe ASSUMES that their users WANT these services like a DEFAULT mode of sorts, so you'd have to reply NO for them to stop. subtext D: siningil ka na nga kahit di mo hiningi, sisingilin ka pa rin para lang tumigil sila sa kakasingil. tanginang yan.

hay. isn't it that it costs at least P2.50 to reply to ANY message from the providers (like 2333 or something?) i think she also mentioned having to pay another amount (i remember an amount between 200-250) just to have them stop altogether! subtext E: walang libreng paraan para makalabas... aarrrrggghhh...

okay, so i admit i dismissed that as my unfortunate friend being a victim of an unfortunate glitch in the system, which i hope was a minor one. was wrong. I mean, June Keithley herself was furious. and the other callers who phoned in similar experiences. so, 3 people? not so major but definitely not coincidence.

What made me raise a brow was June Keithley's account of her experience with Customer Service - who claimed it was a "Value Added Service". They were getting at least P15 deducted from their credits EVERYDAY by "services" they did not ask for. sabi nga ni Ms Keithley, it's worse than SPAM - at least, SPAM you can block. but how could you BLOCK something from Globe (or Smart, for that matter)? in the worst case scenario, they can text you WHENEVER they want their quick incomes. think about it. this is oppression... on a telecom level of sorts.

and so i proceed to ask - WHY? i think it's true since more or less, Globe has been issuing somewhat STANDARD messages to their complainants. i mean, hello?! this is mass theft! how many people actually have the time to go to a globe office to complain? or, i guess, the bigger question should be, how many people have actually noticed this? for all we know, marami jan ang kampante na walang bayad ang narereceive nilang mga infotexts since they didn't ask for it. we don't need an economic theory to know that consumers spend on things they want to spend on - NEVER unconsciously.

what's worse is that the people more likely to notice this anomaly are those running on prepaid - therefore, those that hold their credits dearly. yung mga naka-plan, yung mga mejo better off, nahahalata ba nila? i doubt. (i'm starting to think about the info messages my father has been receiving a lot from SMART. will go check on him this weekend...) but just because relatively "mayaman" sila doesn't mean na 1) wala silang pakialam where their load goes and 2) may karapatan na ang mga panginoong-may-cellphone-company na huthutan sila nang hindi nila alam under the cover of "value added services". infuriating.

it's deception, it's mass theft - there's a lot of explaining that Globe owes us, its subscribers most especially. kinakabahan ako, ano kaya ang gagawin ko kapag nakatanggap ako ng info text (SMART ang server ko)?

sana naman sa SUN walang ganito... (well, SUN is an entirely different subject altogether...)