10 signatures reached
To: Mobile phone consumers of Australia.
DISMANTLE THE BROKEN AUSTRALIAN PREMIUM SMS SYSTEM
Dear Telco Employees, Telco Executives and Federal MPs
Please support community efforts to dismantle the current Australian Premium SMS system that has, for at least a decade, resulted in unauthorised charges appearing on mobile phone bills of thousands, if not tens of thousands of Australian mobile phone users.
We demand that mobile service providers are legally prevented from adding a charge to a mobile phone bill in respect of a Premium SMS service unless they can provide independently verifiable proof that the customer has used their own mobile handset to opt-in to the service with an SMS text.
We demand that until such proof is obtained by the mobile service provider no such charges should appear in a customer's account, even briefly.
We demand that the burden of proof is reversed from the victim of an unauthorised Premium SMS charge (the consumer) to any entity making a claim that such a charge was authorised.
We demand that mobile service providers are required to follow the same standard of addressing consumer disputes that mature and respected payment processors, like Australian banks, adopt as a matter of course - no questions asked.
We demand compensation for every person who has found the costs of pursuing corrective action in respect of disputed Premium SMS charges far outweighed the initial unauthorised impost, costs which themselves directly benefited the bottom line of mobile service providers themselves.
Why is this important?
The Premium SMS system, as it operates in Australia, is a poor man's payment processing system where the mobile service provider apparently has no legal obligation to obtain positive confirmation of a customer's authorisation to allow a Premium SMS provider to bill a mobile service.
For years, industry standard practice for mobile service providers has been to deny any responsibility for assisting the customer in the resolution of Premium SMS billing disputes and to instead refer all such complaints to the 1300 "help lines" provided by the Premium SMS services themselves.
The costs of the lengthy calls to such numbers are automatically added to customers phone bills in addition to the disputed Premium SMS charges. Sometimes these charges are up to 4 times the cost of the originally disputed Premium SMS charges. Disgustingly, the mobile services have no financial incentive to fix this system since they are direct financial beneficiaries of the current broken state of affairs. Given this, legislation must be introduced to ensure that they have a legally enforceable obligation to pro-actively protect their customers from unauthorised Premium SMS billing attempts.
The present system stinks to high heaven of the lazy complacency indulged in by mobile service providers who apparently see no legal, ethical or moral obligation to proactively protect their customers from unauthorised Premium SMS billing attempts or the predictable and inevitable costs that are then incurred when the customer follows the mobile service providers' own advice and attempts to seek redress from the Premium SMS providers directly.
The current Premium SMS system is fundamentally broken. It has been for years, It is beyond repair. It must be dismantled.
Demand action now - Parliament must act!