sms.ac is a scam!!! (resubmission)

Logick

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May 13, 2005
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okay... i had to resubmit this since due to technical problems, my thread was deleted...

Many people i know (including myself... yeah, u could write "TIT" across my forehead) have fallen prey to this piece of trash "free" sms site.

sms.ac is a scam!!!!!!

They basically offer you 5 free sms's a day to any service provider on the globe... this is their excuse for calling it a "free" service, when infact, apon signing up, you get sms'd from other members (some of which i think are bogus) via the site, wanting to befriend you. These are INCOMING messages to your phone that you have no control over.
Turns out you get charged R2 for each of these... and this works out quite costly... imagine if i hadn't signed into vodacom4me to check my statement?
I've only been a member of the site for 3 days, and already have been charged a healthy sum.
Upon suspicion of the web code behavior too (contstantly being logged out every 2 seconds, being blocked from deleting users from "friends", inability to update account details, etc.) I turned to google.com for answers...
Instead I found a healthy hate community scattered across the web toward sms.ac due to the huge, and unexpected phones bills, and sms.ac getting into email address books of members and spamming all in it.
Wait... there's just too much to say.
I'll provide links rather:
http://www.russellbeattie.com/notebook/1008290.html
http://joi.ito.com/archives/2005/02/03/apologies_for_spamming_friends_with_smsac.html
http://www.zephoria.org/thoughts/archives/2005/02/22/****_smsac.html
http://www.jeffooi.com/archives/2005/03/smsac.php
There's lots more... but hopefully that is enough to keep you away from them... or if you are already with them... to delete your account.
You may not have been scammed yet, but eventually you will.
Oh by the way... various people have various types of difficulties in trying to delete an account, such as webcode resetting, "delete account" page link not visible to some, etc.
I had to get a direct address link from someone who was lucky enough to see the link (when her page actually loaded that is) and then deleted my account... Scary part is the site said that it would take 24 hrs to be effective... *dreads amount of sms's that can be received in 24 hrs*
 

Logick

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Joined
May 13, 2005
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4
i'm gonna paste a portion of my online statement from the vodacom4me site:

1 Online Content 2005-05-12 19:42:57 - - - R -2 No
2 Online Content 2005-05-12 19:22:07 - - - R -2 No
3 Online Content 2005-05-12 19:18:07 - - - R -2 No
4 SMS 2005-05-12 18:26:14 - 083blahblah - R 0.80 No
5 SMS 2005-05-12 16:49:40 - 083blahblah - R 0.80 No
6 Online Content 2005-05-12 14:02:30 - - - R -2 No
7 Online Content 2005-05-12 13:33:50 - - - R -2 No
8 Online Content 2005-05-12 13:30:01 - - - R -2 No

Those "Online Content" charges just happen to coincide exactly with the times of the sms's received from the site.
 

DFantom

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May 20, 2004
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just wondering out loud, but how does vodacom justify those costs? I mean I could start a service that spams every cell phone number from 0820000001 to 0829999999 hitting them for 50c and make a killing?
 

Logick

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May 13, 2005
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well i think these guys cover themselves during your signup and code athentication sent to u via sms to complete registration.
 

Debbie

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Mar 17, 2005
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(I emailed the cell providers about this and asked for a response - post was lost)

Still waiting for a reply from Vodacom, MTN and CellC.

I got an automated reply from Vodacom.
 

kilps

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Sep 6, 2004
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You could use www.msg.co.za - only local, you only get a couple of messages and its pretty slow but when u only have R0,07 of airtime ....
 

Debbie

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Mar 17, 2005
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Contact this person and ask him to cancel your sms.ac account:
Aja Patterson
Customer Support Specialist
apatterson@corp.sms.ac
www.sms.ac

By the way, I am still waiting for a reply from the cellular providers. It really pisses me off that they have not replied yet, but lets give them a full week then I'll follow up, as this is unacceptable.
 

guest2013-1

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Aug 22, 2003
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19,804
Okay, i understand that you guys can't "Afford" contracts and such, but going prepaid... you DO realise that you're being ripped off big time with prepaid don't you?

Around 45% of the actual recharge voucher goes to commission paid out to whoever sold you the phone. I've seen companies make around 500k a month JUST on people recharging. Thats not even compared to the couple of thousand starter packs they sell and earn around R150 commission on.

I've seen people recharge R500-R1500 per month (and some even up to R7000) Question is, if you spend so much on a damn prepaid phone, go get a cheap-ass contract. It's much easier to control your spend + its in more ways than one cheaper. Plus, if you need it, you can use it.

Smses cost me 23cents after my free 510 a month, plus I get 300 free any time minutes for less than R600

Please people! do the math! :D
 

Karnaugh

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Jul 23, 2003
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Who cares, its convenient for some people.

Okay, i understand that you guys can't "Afford" contracts

Not at all, but unless you work for a specific company and get a set pay check its a mission and a half to get a contract - when instead of all the irritating bother you can just buy a phone and get prepaid. And it isnt that expensive.
 

seburn

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Apr 25, 2005
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generally the money spent to buy the phone is the same as the total amount payed for the contract over two years, But you get the extra minute sms ect.

Work it out next time. If they don't allow you to get one well then thats that
 

seburn

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BTW I developed a s/w solution that chooses the correct contract based on price usage ect and prepaid was included but neva showed up. This excluded the cost of buying a phone.
 

Perdition

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Dec 17, 2003
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Yep contract definitely works out better assuming you get the right package for your usage, a little homework can save you a lot. Prepaid is great for people who don't make a lot of calls. Prepaid is not great if you run out of minutes in the middle of an important business call ;)
 

guest2013-1

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true, but how many people use prepaid to sms and stuff? It's crazy how much people recharge just to sms, nevermind make a call. I know this one chick who averages R500 a month. For 500 bucks she can get SO many more smses (at least a 1500 for that price)
 

ajax

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Oct 29, 2003
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noone said:
true, but how many people use prepaid to sms and stuff? It's crazy how much people recharge just to sms, nevermind make a call. I know this one chick who averages R500 a month. For 500 bucks she can get SO many more smses (at least a 1500 for that price)

I agree with noone, people just don't do the math.

My wife only sends sms. But its just not enough to warrant a contract. Unless I don't have all my facts straight. She uses the sms prepaid vouchers from Cell C, and it works out R20-R30 cheaper in a month compared to if she had a messenger contract on Vodacom for example.

Prepaid is great if you only want to receive calls and sit in front of a pc all day that is permanently on the net to send sms.

Anyone know of any contract where it will work out cheaper if you only want to send 3 to 4 sms per day and maybe make 3 minutes of phone calls during the month?
 

surreytj

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May 3, 2005
Messages
238
Thanx for the info I just cancelled my sms.ac account and it told me it would be cancelled in 24 hours. I thought it would be cool bec I could sms my friends in SA which would cost nothing but now you're saying you pay to receive. I'm in the UK so it would have been worth it for me to use the service. Anyway I'd rather pay the 20p to send text messages than pay to receive crap
 

Debbie

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Mar 17, 2005
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Well well, some interesting developments on this story....I just received a call from the US about this. Will post in more detail after Survivor :)
 

nocilah

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Sep 2, 2004
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i used sms.ac... horrible service... even though i ticked keep my details private i still got sms's coming through from 'friends' all over the world, needless to say people i did not even know.
 

Debbie

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Mar 17, 2005
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Okay, so this is where we are at.

I sent off an email to MTN, Vodacom and Cell C about sms.ac. I received no word from any of them. My original email was posted here, but the post was lost in the Great Post Loss of 2005.

Anyway, I had registered for sms.ac a few months ago. I never confirmed my details, and thus my registration remained in a 'limbo' kind of state. As a result, I never received nor did I send any sms's via sms.ac.

When I read the first post in this thread, I immediately went to cancel my sms.ac account. I struggeled for over 30 minutes trying to find out exactly how this was to be done. The website kept signing me in and out, and as far as I can remember, I finally gave up. A few days later I received an email from sms.ac telling me that my account with them had been cancelled, as per my request.

I had still received no word from Vodacom, MTN or Cell C. Then, this past weekend, I received the following email:

Subject:SMS.ac
Date: Sat, 21 May 2005 17:59:45 -0700
From: "Anthony Paster" <xxxx@corp.sms.ac>
To: xxxx@xxxx
CC: xxxx@xxxx


Hello,

Please know that your satisfaction is our top priority.

I apologize if any information on the service was unclear during your
registration process. Information on services and pricing for any
premium services is available from every page on the web site. Before
completing the registration process the user must read and acknowledge
understanding of the services to complete the process. Please visit
that page here - http://reg.sms.ac/registration/RegFinal.aspx (this is
an example of the final page in the registration process.
Country/Carrier differences may apply to pricing.) If this information
was unclear at that time, please refer to the refund request form
below.

SMS.ac will offer a refund of charges incurred during the last 30 days
of activity, up to a maximum of the cost of 50 premium messages (100
ZAR).

Please note:

* Refunds cannot be applied to your mobile phone account due to
carrier technology limitations. Refunds are applied electronically via
PayPal, a secure third-party payment system. If you do not have a
PayPal account, you may sign up for one at www.PayPal.com. Go to
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webs...sPayPal-outside
find out more about PayPal.

* For security reasons, upon requesting a refund your account will
be deleted and you will be unable to reactivate for 3 years. ***Please
note that the system will not allow you to create a new account with
the
same or other phone number.


To expedite your refund request, please take a few moments to complete
the Online Refund Form at: http://www.sms.ac/refunds/Refundlogin.aspx

The following information will be needed in order to log into the :

Your mobile number with country code: xxxxxx
Your confirmation number: xxxxx

Please allow 2-4 weeks for processing and delivery. Should you chose
the Post option when completing the Online Refund Form, please allow an
additional 4 weeks for processing and delivery.

Thank you in advance for your patience.


Please contact me again with additional questions you may have.

Thank you,

Tony Paster
Customer Service Representative
SMS.ac
www.sms.ac


Message:
Hi guys at Vodacom,

I am writing to request Vodacom's cooperation in an SMS scam. The
website www.sms.ac asks users to sign up to be able to send three free
sms's each day from this website. What they do not make clear is that
once a user signs up, the user receives numerous incoming sms's from
people they do not know.

These sms's are charged at R2 an sms. Deregistering from the site is
near impossible.

This is an internet sms scam, and I request that Vodacom do something
to protect their consumers. The website may be of legitimate use for some,
but for most, it simply leaves them out of pocket. A simple Google
search will reveal more information.

Please Vodacom, do something about these scammers and protect your
brand's integrity and your customers! Don't support them.

I am sending a similiar email to MTN and Cell C. I ask that a
representative from Vodacom get in contact with me and let me know
their opinion on this scam. You can contact me either through
xxxxx or xxxxxx.

Thanks, and please get in contact with me! I have posted this email on a
lively SA discussion forum (www.myadsl.co.za) and will be follow up this
post with Vodacom's comments. The forum is desperate to know what the
cellular providers have to say on this issue.

Many thanks,
Debbie Love

It seems Vodacom took notice of the email I sent them, and obviously contacted sms.ac about this. Please note, neither of the other two cellular companies have responded at all.

Anyway, as I had never confirmed my account details with sms.ac, and because my account with them was therefore in limbo, I had not received any sms's (nor I had I sent any). I therefore had no claim to make. But as those who read my posts which were lost in the Great Post Loss of 2005 (I'm hoping the name will stick!), my intention here was never to claim a refund. I hoped to engage the cellular companies and ask them for more security to be provided for their customers. (Sorry, I was going to post the above email here tonight).

A little unhappy that Vodacom had not contatced me directly (not to mention MTN and Cell C), I fired off another email to Vodacom on Sunday night. But Vodacom's website was down, and, as far as I know, my message was never sent.

This evening I received a call from Tony Paster of sms.ac. He was calling from the United States for two reasons: 1) To ask if I had received the email he had sent me about sms.ac's refund policy; and 2) To ask if I had any suggestions on how to improve sms.ac's service/security/make customer's explicitly aware that some services are charged for.

The line was not too good and kept breaking up. After 5 minutes of struggling to communicate with a horrific line, Tony said he would email me. Within a few minutes I had received an email from him:

Subject: RE: SMS.ac
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 10:55:05 -0700
From: "Anthony Paster" <xxxx@corp.sms.ac>
To: xxxx@xxxx

Debbie,

This is just a follow up on the 'broken' phone call we had earlier.

I really appreciate your feedback on how we can improve the security of
our service, both for ourselves and for our prospective members.
Pricing information is available for all of SMS.ac services before,
during and after the registration process. If you have any thoughts or
ideas on an opportunity to improve the authentication process, please
reply with as much detail as you would like.

If there is any other concerns I may address, please reply with those
concerns.

Thank you,

Tony Paster
Customer Service Representative
SMS.ac
www.sms.ac


Ok, so that's where we are at. I will be sending an email back with my suggestions, and we can take it from there. In the meantime, I am going to give Tony the link to this page. If you have suggestions or comments of your own that you would like to make sms.ac aware of, please do so here.

(Can you imagine that a service primarily based overseas actually makes an international call to my cellphone to engage one-on-one about my concerns?? I'm pretty astounded at this. I dream of the day Telkom is forced to be as responsive - Fat chance, eh?!)
 
Last edited:

MaD

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Nov 5, 2003
Messages
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Now thats what customer service is all about.. as a solution to this debacle, SMS.ac should, in its *first* sms, express to people that they will be charged for each message. Only fair.. especially with prices what they are.
 
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