Tuesday, June 18 2013, 10:14 AM MDT
Cell Phone Bills Crammed With Unwanted "Premium Services"
By Matt Gephardt
Produced by Cindy St. Clair
Edited by Ryan Malavolta
Photography by Brian Morris
(KUTV) Kristen Henderson has taken steps to avoid surprise charges on her cell phone bill.
“I blocked the internet so I didn't get unnecessary charges,” she said.
Still that extra effort wasn’t enough to keep Kristen from, indeed, getting slapped with a surprise charge. According to her T-Mobile bill, she's being charged $9.99 per month for something called “Premium Services.” Those ‘Premium Services’ don’t come from T-Mobile. They are being billed by a third party company, MyWirelessNeeds.com.
Kristen says she never signed up for anything and when she called MyWirelessNeeds they agreed to send a refund. Months later, that refund has never arrived.
“I'm frustrated with these scammers,” she said. “For me who takes extra precautions to not get scammed, to protect my information, that I still get duped into paying an extra 10 bucks.”
Kristen decided to Get Gephardt.
Get Gephardt began investigating MyWirelessNeeds.com and quickly learned that the website’s owners do not make it easy to locate them. The website is registered anonymously and lists a post office box in Pennsylvania for anyone that wants to reach them. The Better Business Bureau says the real company is actually called My Service and Support, Inc. based in New Hope, Minnesota.
When we called the company, we were told that Kristen had been issued a refund check and that it must have been lost in the mail. A spokesperson promised to send another one and sure enough, a few days later, Kristen's refund finally arrived; A check for $9.99 to pay her back for the service charges she says she never wanted. How Kristen got signed up for the “Premium Service” in the first place remains a mystery. According to MyWirelessNeeds.com, they provide SMS text alerts and games to their customers.
The Federal Trade Commission has begun cracking down on companies that sign people up for these random services without their knowledge.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)