If the email spam plague and the sobig virus weren’t enough, the quantity of unsolicited txt msgs I receive on my mobile phone seems to be creeping up recently. For example, I got this last night:
As a valued customer, I am pleased to advise you that following recent review of your Mob No. you are awarded with a £1500 Bonus Prize, call 09066364589
Sent: 27-Aug-2003 22:41:04
09* Numbers are Premium Rate, and cost £££ to call, and I’m sure I remember a factoid that this information had to accompany any solicitation to call one. No such information in this message. Also, the ‘From:’ number looks forged to me, but I didn’t dare call it. If this were an email, we’d call it spam, because that’s what it is. I think that this kind of promotion of premium rate services is underhand – I can’t believe the claims that I’ve won lots of cash from someone who doesn’t even have the courtesy to identify themselves. It’s clearly an attempt to get me to call their expensive phoneline. Now I wouldn’t usually bother, but it annoyed me enough to make me want to complain to someone.
I should probably start by informing my service provider, mmO2. A bit of digging through their website brings up some advice on how to deal with nuisance calls, which seems to cover text messages as well. Searching for ‘spam’ brings up nothing. Before calling customer care, I’m going to do a bit more checking around.
I recall seeing something on this topic at the BBC recently, and a search over there pulls up an item discussing measures being taken by vodafone to combat txt spam. Not much use for me, but they also mention the ICSTIS (the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services (phew!)) – which is “the industry-funded regulatory body for all premium rate charged telecommunications services”. Looks good, so let’s surf on over.
The ICSTIS FAQ on unsolicited promotions (PDF) states clearly that:
Call charge details and any other information, which is likely to affect a decision to
participate, should be clearly stated. In the case of text messages, information required
under the Code of Practice should be stated before the premium rate number.
So I filled in their online complaint form. Wonder if that’ll do any good? They say it might take up to 12 weeks to reply! I’ll probably never find out, because I gave ’em my work email, and I’m gone in five weeks… Still, it’s the thought that counts.
(Hmm. Interesting way to spend one’s lunch break.)