March 31, 2011
Partner Gonzalo E. Mon was quoted in the Chinese News
article, "Mobile Content Scam: Is Subscribing System Deceptive?" The article discussed the claim made by a Chinese News
reader that she was billed for third party charges for mobile content she allegedly consumed - a short code program called SendMe.
Premium mobile content such as ring tones, wallpapers and mind quizzes is delivered wirelessly to consumers and billed to their wireless company. As of recently, there have been many instances where customers have been billed for charges unknowingly when downloading the mobile content. Countries like Canada, have industry guidelines in place that short code program providers must abide by, in order to protect consumers from subscribing to services that they unintentionally authorize. And wireless companies like Verizon Wireless, have found that several short code program providers in the U.S. used deceptive cloaking software to direct consumers to websites that hide price information from consumers, a practice not in compliance with industry guidelines.
"Marketers would be well-advised to following the Guidelines closely when planning their offers. Failure to do that could lead to rejection from the carriers or worse-lawsuits and attorney general investigations," said Mr. Mon. He added that the fraud schemes could cause regulators to pass more restrictive laws. "Expect regulators to pay close attention as the technology develops, and to pass new regulations or challenge practices they consider deceptive."