Check those phone bills

The other night I was wondering why our phone bill is so damned much.  I mean, $160 for two cell phones?  What gives?  We signed up for a joint account to save money.  Well, after looking it over I discovered that we had a mysterious charge tacked onto the very end of the bill under DirectBill Download Detail.  It was for something called BlueFrog purchased via a merchant called Mblox.  Wha…?

BlueFrog sounded familiar, though, so I did some Googling.  Sure enough, these are the scumbags who coaxed zillions of people in the UK into downloading that horrifically asinine “Crazy Frog” ringtone.  These people later found that they had been subscribed to an expensive monthly service.  The way they were “informed” about the subscription was apparently with quickly-scrolling text on their tiny phone screens while the idiotic Crazy Frog danced around as a distraction.  Gotta love those marketing asshats.  So I began looking at my past bills, and here’s what I found.

September’s bill:   One of us purchased a ringtone.  Nothing unusual about that…

October’s bill.  What’s this?  A $30 subscription to something called Mblox.   What’s that?  Good question.  There’s no way in hell either of us would have agreed to something like this had we known about it.

November’s bill.  WTF?  The charge is still there!

And here we are in December, with yet another charge…but suddenly it says BlueFrog instead of Mblox in the description.

So basically we’ve been getting bilked for $30 for the last three months and had no idea!  And please…before anyone lectures me on reading my phone bill (you know who you are), let me say that it’s something I normally do.  But now we’ve got a joint account, which means two phones and a phone bill twice as long to look at.  And anyone who’s seen Cingular’s phone bills can tell you that they’re not so easy to decipher.  This particular item was the very last item on the last page of his part of the bill, very easy to miss.  Obviously there are many other things we’d rather be doing than auditing everything Cingular puts on our bills every months, but it looks like we’ll have to start.

So in order to get detailed information on these “direct bill” items, you have to sign up for a whole new online account.  Because, you know, providing this information on Cingular’s website under my Account screen would be far too convenient and might cause me to catch stuff like this more often.  You can’t even see this on the Account Summary, you have to click Show Full Bill and scroll all the way to the bottom.  Shady.  Anyway I finally got logged into this new, unnecessary account and found that not only had the charges been going on since October, but each one says “Do not renew on…”  And yet each one did renew.  Bastards.

I did attempt to get a refund using the Cingular site, but it was immediately denied…as if nobody even considered them.  I really don’t want to have to call, but I may have to.  I also left a note on the Mblox website requesting refunds for October and November, so maybe they will respond.  I’ll keep y’all posted.

In the meantime, if you ever purchase games or ringtones, CHECK YOUR BILL NOW.  Look for anything that says BlueFrog, Mblox, Jamster, M-Qube, or anything else you can’t identify.  These are scams…you’ll find a wealth of info on Jamster Scam, the website where I finally found out what’s really going on.  I can hardly believe it’s legal for cell companies to allow this, but apparently they all do.

0 thoughts on “Check those phone bills

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  1. I won’t lecture about reading your phone bill, but I will ask WHAT WERE YOU THINKING? You should have seen that one coming from 5 miles away.
    21st-Century version of an old proverb: There is no such thing as a free ringtone.

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  2. Clearly we were thinking that the advertised charge of $2.49 would be the only one we’d receive. No other costs were mentioned at the time of purchase, so how could we have known? I guess it’s asking too much to not have scummy strings attached to everything. Neither of us have ever bothered with ringtones so we were unaware of the hazards…and it sucks that such a simple purchase had to lead to such a headache with this asshole company (partnered with Cingular).

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  3. Greedy fucking America… my wife and I just got back from vacation, and we flew US Airways… I don’t fly very often, and this is the first (and if I can help it, last) time I’ve flown with this airline, but they charged 5 bucks for shitty food (a 5 hour flight – the only thing free was two drinks and a teeny bag of peanuts), and they ran out of all the food except for some shitty “fun pack” of candy bars and other nutritionless crap… and they cram advertising for their US Air credit card down your throat – waving applications in your face. While the captain SHOULD be flying the plane, they have him giving a spiel about a fucking credit card! Don’t get me started with them rolling out the duty free cart after having to listen to a three minute commercial over the speakers…
    Commercialism all over is getting out of hand!
    Sorry… I forget… this is YOUR blog…

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  4. Yeah, this is downright robbery! But then again, Cingular will be the first provider that will offer the Apple iPhone. It looks really neat-o!

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  5. I’ve become a luddite when it comes to cell phones, pda’s, iPods, etc.
    I want my cell phone to make phone calls. I don’t want to take pix, videos, surf the Web, check my email, download ringtones or any of that other BS they shove down your throat so they can nickel and dime you to death with their “fees” and extortion, accompanied by totally brain-dead support if you can wait for a real human to answer your call.
    As soon as I retire (7 years from now if all goes according to plan!!) I’m going to cancel my cell phone. I can hardly wait.

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  6. Randy, you mean you’re one of a group of early 19th century English workmen destroying laborsaving machinery as a protest? I didn’t know that about you!

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