BEWARE: Operator run charge-to-bill SCAM affecting 3G/4G browsing on Friday nights

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Captain Jack Sparrow

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Wow, 800GB! I have used GiffGaff in the past and they were pretty good, but my data usage was relatively low. Time to start making more use of WiFi! ;)
Public Wi-Fi?! Uhh, no thanks - I absolutely hate public Wi-Fi. I'll even go out of my way to avoid using it.

I hate it because most public Wi-Fi hotspots straight-up do not work.

If they do, then they want you to pay through your nose for it, or at least register your details so that they can spam you with adverts.

Some even track and log all of your web activity. In extreme cases, web filtering is applied. They might even inject their own adverts into legitimate websites.

And don't even let me get to the security issues. Most public Wi-Fi hotspots use no encryption!! Anybody else connected to the network can eavesdrop and capture your data packets.

Now if somebody set up a public Wi-Fi hotspot that uses WPA2-Enterprise encryption (NOT WPA2-Personal - that offers little to no protection against this) then I will reconsider my position against public Wi-Fi.

So yeah, I won't be using public Wi-Fi in a hurry.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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@Captain Jack Sparrow Yep the chap on the line refused to give me a refund so I said I would file a legal complaint to the company and he passed on to what seems to be his supervisor and he agreed to give me a refund.

Yes I will file a complaint to PhonePayPlus and file a complaint about TapVids and Txtnation as well. Funny thing is, I left a voicemail for TapVids and they actually got back to me and said that they have told Txtnation to issue me a refund, although they haven't.

I'd suggest calling Txtnation and TapVids again and try demand a refund. Hopefully it'd work out for you. Enjoy the Canary Islands and have a great holiday.
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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@Captain Jack Sparrow Yep the chap on the line refused to give me a refund so I said I would file a legal complaint to the company and he passed on to what seems to be his supervisor and he agreed to give me a refund.

Yes I will file a complaint to PhonePayPlus and file a complaint about TapVids and Txtnation as well. Funny thing is, I left a voicemail for TapVids and they actually got back to me and said that they have told Txtnation to issue me a refund, although they haven't.

I'd suggest calling Txtnation and TapVids again and try demand a refund. Hopefully it'd work out for you. Enjoy the Canary Islands and have a great holiday.
I don't really want to call Three or Txtnation while I'm over here, firstly it'll cause me more stress, and secondly it'll come out of my roaming allowance, and I really can't afford to waste it on things like that!

To be honest, this holiday has not had a very good start. It all started when the plane touched down, it was very violent! Once I had got to the resort, things haven't got better, as I've been faced with 2 massive live cockroaches in the bathroom of my apartment! It kills me to use insecticide on them, which kills them very slowly and painfully, but I just can't live them things!
I'm only one day into this holiday, I think this might be TripAdvisor worthy! :lol:

Roaming with Three costs nothing over here (as long as you don't run out of allowance), Fuerteventura is part of the Canary Islands. I can call to the UK with my inclusive minutes, send 5000 texts and use up to 12GB of data.

They only seem to have 2G EDGE over here, and 3G H+ on the odd chance. Even when using EDGE, my roaming data connection is still faster and more reliable than the resort's Wi-Fi. The computer-to-access-point speed is only 6Mbps! This should be 150Mbps (802.11n) at least, so it'll be hard for me to post here until I'm back. I might keep ya posted every now and again, depending on how much of my 12GB roaming data I have left.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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To be honest, this holiday has not had a very good start. It all started when the plane touched down, it was very violent! Once I had got to the resort, things haven't got better, as I've been faced with 2 massive live cockroaches in the bathroom of my apartment! It kills me to use insecticide on them, which kills them very slowly and painfully, but I just can't live them things!
I'm only one day into this holiday, I think this might be TripAdvisor worthy! :lol:

Oh goodness, that doesn't sound good! I hope you're able to enjoy the holiday despite that. We went to the Canary Island earlier this year, although we were in Gran Caneria not Fuerteventura. Bet you've got better weather than we've got here ;)

Re public WiFi, I agree with you that you wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole. However you can bypass potential issues using a secure VPN, have you tried it?
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Oh goodness, that doesn't sound good! I hope you're able to enjoy the holiday despite that. We went to the Canary Island earlier this year, although we were in Gran Caneria not Fuerteventura. Bet you've got better weather than we've got here ;)

Re public WiFi, I agree with you that you wouldn't want to touch them with a barge pole. However you can bypass potential issues using a secure VPN, have you tried it?
Another day, another cockroach. This time it was already dead, in the shower and seemed to be much smaller than the couple from last night, they were huge!

I don't remember signing up to the popular ITV programme, "I'm not a Celebrity, but get me OUTTA here anyway!" :lol:

The weather isn't much warmer than the UK over here. Maybe 3-5 degrees warmer. Quite hot in direct sunlight but it's also a bit breezy over here. I bet it's lovely in the UK right now. According to the Football, it does look like nice weather back home.

Back on topic anyways...
Some Wi-Fi networks actively block the ports required for VPN connections.

Using a VPN is out of the question over here, the Wi-Fi is totally unusable. This backs up my point that most public Wi-Fi networks simply don't work at all. I'm posting this using my roaming data allowance.

Using a VPN in the UK over 3G/4G would probably prevent the scam mentioned in this topic from working. However, setting up a VPN at home to connect to while on the go is very difficult because of dynamic DNS, and most routers only allow for a PPTP based VPN. My BlackBerry does not support PPTP because it was compromised a long time ago.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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Thought it's about time to update this ongoing discussion. So here goes...

Three contacted me earlier today, while I'm in Fuerteventura. They wanted to know why I raised a complaint against them, and also wanted more details on how the charge was made. After a long conversation (on the beach :D) with the customer relations team, they told me that the £0.00 limit on my monthly plan doesn't apply to "3rd party charges", and that there was "nothing more" that they could do. They then informed me that they were closing my complaint without my consent. I guess Three really won't take this any further, and want to wash their hands of it as soon as possible. They seem to be insistent that I completely consented to the charge being made, and that they are following all of the rules and regulations with regards to complaints. Uhh... yeah right! (external link, Ofcom)

Running out of options, I then proceeded to ask for a Deadlock Letter, which they refused :wall:, saying that they don't do this kinda thing. Now I'm getting really angry, as this letter is needed to escalate the complaint to the Ombudsman Services. I will send, in writing, one final request for a Deadlock Letter via recorded delivery, and if they still do not respond to this, then I will take this directly to the Ombudsman Services.

I will keep you guys posted in the coming weeks, but to summarize, I STILL DON'T HAVE A REFUND!

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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Damn :(

You can still go to the ombudsman without the deadlock letter though, especially if they consider the matter closed. Would be worth having things in writing now though, so you've got plenty of evidence to forward on :).

Hope you still enjoy the holiday and can tackle this when you get back!
 

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That's really terrible of them, I was really hoping you were going to get a positive outcome here :(

Still, if you have to have it out with customer services then I suppose being on the beach is a nice setting to have! Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday.
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Damn :(

You can still go to the ombudsman without the deadlock letter though, especially if they consider the matter closed. Would be worth having things in writing now though, so you've got plenty of evidence to forward on :).

Hope you still enjoy the holiday and can tackle this when you get back!

That's really terrible of them, I was really hoping you were going to get a positive outcome here :(

Still, if you have to have it out with customer services then I suppose being on the beach is a nice setting to have! Hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday.
I returned to The Black Pearl from Fuerteventura during the early hours of Sunday morning. Just my luck to land in the UK when it's wet, cold and windy!

Spoke to Three again and was passed accross many different departments. This time however, I recorded the call (with their consent, of course!).

Firstly I spoke to the billing team who explained that they can't refund me and again contacted the company who said "three to five working days, we'll call you back". There's more chance of me getting a first at Uni than them actually calling me back!

I then decided to speak to the direct sales team. Not only did they offer me a plan which was more expensive than my current plan, they also gave false information that applying a cap on the plan would prevent third party and PayforIT charges. I had a cap on this plan all along, so that's a blatant lie. He said he was "suprised".

Next, I decided to speak to the complaints and customer-relations team. They clarified that this was wrong, and that there was no actual way to stop the charges, basically a company invoices Three, and they pay it without even consulting the customer. I then said "So if I asked you to jump off a cliff, would you?". I apologized as this was over-the-top, but I hope he can understand my frustation with this matter.

A long conversation later, about how this has happened with many other customers and that they will investigate the agent who gave false information, I still am without a refund.

I reminded Three that what they're saying is being recorded, and asked one last time for a deadlock letter. He had to consult his manager on this one, but came back and said "We don't issue deadlock letters for this type of complaint". I said not a problem, I will take this to Alternative Dispute Resolution, or Ombudsman Services, and they gave me their blessing to do so. I'm glad that Three get charged every time a complaint is made through Ombudsman Services, maybe this will make them think twice about fobbing me off.

I will call Ombudsman Services tomorrow, and update this accordingly within the next few days. I am also considering setting up a Wordpress site under the name of payforitscam.wordpress.com in order to make more people aware of this, and to document the journey I've taken while attempting to resolve this. I know it's only £4.50, but it's not about the amount that was charged, it's about how it was charged.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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The website is officially live!

Bear in mind that I haven't had much time to make it look glamorous yet, but if you can't wait, have a look here: https://payforitscam.wordpress.com/ (external link, WordPress)

I may use images from this thread (after removing personal details, of course) on this website, so I hope you'll give me consent to do so. Rest assured, I will continue to update this thread first, the website is set up purely to raise awareness, explain how it takes place, and what avenues consumers can pursue to get their money back.

UPDATE:
It pains me to say this...
payforit-and-mobile-casinos-the-ultimate-guide-15-638.jpg

But I've just discovered that now, not even being with a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) will save you from this scam!!

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Captain Jack Sparrow

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I called Three again today, and immediately asked to speak to a manager of the customer relations team.

Was put on hold for quite a long time, listening to a-ha - Take on Me, Calvin Harris - How Deep Is Your Love and Bruce Springsteen - Dancing In the Dark (all of which are pretty good tunes). Finally when I managed to get through, I did not specifically ask for a deadlock letter, this time I asked for written confirmation that my complaint with them has been closed without my permission. I was very firm this time (but not nasty or angry), and they actually agreed that a letter will be sent to the billing address. But they also mentioned that this could take up to the 17th October! :wall:

Ombudsman Services insist that they cannot get involved, unless a deadlock letter is provided, or 8 weeks since the original complaint date have passed. Hopefully Three will send written confirmation that the complaint has been closed, so that I can fast-track this complaint to the Ombudsman Services.

My plan with Three (and phone number) will be completely disconnected on the 5th September, and I don't yet have a replacement lined up. So if anybody knows of any UK operators offering unlimited data (or a LOT - 25GB or more), for £25/month or less, I give you permission to temporarily go off topic if you can give me any recommendations. If I can't find a suitable replacement, it looks like I'll have to go without service for a while.

I've also ordered a Raspberry Pi. It appears that this type of scam can be immobilized by setting up a VPN, which uses a residential or fixed-line broadband connection, and routing all your 3G/4G traffic through that, as websites are unable to request your phone number in this scenario. Now, I just need to go and learn about IKEv2, IPsec and PKI/certificates. YAY... FUN! :sleep:

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 

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I've also ordered a Raspberry Pi. It appears that this type of scam can be immobilized by setting up a VPN, which uses a residential or fixed-line broadband connection, and routing all your 3G/4G traffic through that, as websites are unable to request your phone number in this scenario. Now, I just need to go and learn about IKEv2, IPsec and PKI/certificates. YAY... FUN! :sleep:

Good plan :nod:
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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SUCCESS - Finally got my money back! (well... not quite!)

I spoke to Three on Thursday again, this time through the webchat. I asked if they could offer any cheaper deals for my current plan, as I have been with them for over 6 years.

They told me to call Three customer services, and request to speak to the renewals/cancellations team. I ended up speaking to a lovely indian woman (who actually spoke very good English) named Shweta M**** (surname removed as per forum rules).

She immediately realized that my plan with Three was due to terminate on the 5th September. She didn't want me to leave Three, and I made it clear that I didn't want to leave either because of the unlimited data, and the fact that zero roaming charges were incurred during my recent vacation to Fuerteventura.

I normally pay £20 a month for unlimited data, texts and 200 minutes. She said that this plan has already been discounted, as it costs £26 per month at retail (I have verified this myself), therefore it could not be discounted any further. With the TAPVIDS £4.50 charge, this month's bill would be for £24.50.

She requested the permission of her manager to place a credit of £5 on my account. That would take this month's bill to £19.50 payable, and the next month's bill to £20.50. This effectively cancels out the TAPVIDS charge. She offered this as an exceptional circumstance, on the basis that I have been with Three for over 6 years, and I didn't want to leave Three, just as much as Three didn't want me to leave them.

It's a no-brainer really. Lose £4.50, or lose a customer who has stuck with you for 6 years. She filled out the form, as each member of the cancellation team "can only offer this kind of credit to one customer every 2 weeks", so I'm glad that she chose me. Her manager was able to approve this action while I was still on the phone call with her. I'll be watching my bill closely to ensure that this has been applied.

She closed the complaint with my permission, and assured me that the credit has been applied to my account. Next, I requested for my phone number to be changed, as txtNation/TAPVIDS will have my number on record.
She informed me that a £10.21 charge is payable in order to have your phone number changed, but she also agreed to waive this charge. It will be debited from, and credited to my next bill because this is "the only way that they can do this".

Happy with the outcome, I informed her that I plan to stay with Three for the foreseeable future. She then cancelled the termination notice on my account.
I must say, Shweta M**** was very helpful, and a pleasure to work with. I wish I could have said the same for the rest of Three's customer services. I guess it's not about how much you complain, it's about which team member you speak to. Shweta M**** admitted to me that she has been conned out of the equivalent of £750 via a similar direct-to-bill scam running in India right now, so she could empathize with me. At that point, I felt a bit guilty persuing a £4.50 charge, but she also reassured me by saying, "It's not about the amount taken, it's about how it was taken!".
Shweta M**** deserves a pay-rise.

Remember that txtNation/TAPVIDS will still get the £4.50. It's just that Three is picking up the charge so I don't have to pay it. This isn't how it's meant to be. I will continue to persue txtNation/TAPVIDS independently from Three, because they aren't entitled to that money, I am.

I will continue to add content to my Payforit SCAM! website.
Last night I went clubbing with a few mates, to get over the post-vacation blues and to celebrate the end of this matter. I learned that one of my closest mates had been scammed in the same manner via Payforit, and was charged £9 per week. He didn't notice this for two months, so he ended up paying a total of £72 before he was able to stop the charges. That made my blood boil. Although he did tell me that he was visiting one of the most well-known adult content websites at the time, so I guess he deserved it :lol:. I never visit adult content websites, pornography is hideously overrated anyway.

In the meantime, I will drop my complaint against Three with Ombudsman Services, however I will continue to uphold my complaint against txtNation/TAPVIDS with PhonepayPlus. If you look through the history of txtNation on PhonepayPlus, you can see that txtNation have previously been fined 4 times by PhonepayPlus (external link, PhonepayPlus). It says it all really, I'll be so happy if I'm the one who gets them fined a 5th time :p.

As mentioned, a VPN tunnel to a fixed-line broadband connection is the only sure-fire way to prevent the Payforit scam from working. My Raspberry Pi has arrived, but I can't do much with it, as I've just realized that I actually don't have a USB keyboard :wall:!!
Yes, we only use PS/2 keyboards, we've never had a need for a USB keyboard until now. I think our oldest keyboard is from the 90s and it's an AT type, hooked up through an AT to PS/2 adapter. Still works wonderfully though :D.
But if anybody in the Bedfordshire area has a spare USB keyboard lying around, please let me know!

I will continue to keep you all posted on any further developments relating to this topic.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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muckshifter

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a 'result' of sorts ... :)
 

Becky

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Glad to hear that you got your money back! :dance:

What will your contract with Three be going forward? Are you able to stay on the £20 per month deal?

I hope your complaint against txtNation/TAPVIDS is also successful :nod:
 

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Glad to hear that you got your money back! :dance:

What will your contract with Three be going forward? Are you able to stay on the £20 per month deal?

I hope your complaint against txtNation/TAPVIDS is also successful :nod:
Hi Becky,

As far as I know, my £20 plan shall continue as it is.

Remember that txtNation / TAPVIDS are a shady company so it seems unlikely that I'll be able to get my money back. Obviously they aren't open until Monday, but I shall continue to try anyway.

- Capt. Jack Sparrow.
 
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Unfortunately I too have been scammed tonight (Friday) into this tapvids subscription via a WordPress site called tvoox. Everything Jack Sparrow has described about how the scam works has matched my experience and I am understandably annoyed!

Not looking forward to the merry-go-round Jack has described here in his efforts to stop this subscription & get a refund.

The scam seems to be shifting around under various identities now, so beware!
 
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Becky

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Sorry to hear this scam has affected you too @Betamax77, but welcome to the forum! :)
 
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Hi guys, bump into this forum after receiving the "tapvids" message. This is a silly question but do I need to text "STOP" to that given number? Does it work? Please advise…
 
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