MyBroadband was recently contacted by a Vodacom customer who claimed that Vodacom subscribed him to a WASP service without his consent.
He stated that to the best of his knowledge, he had never activated a WASP subscription on his account and had measures in place to automatically unsubscribe his number from any WASPs.
The customer had set up an automated system which unsubscribed him from WASP services every day via SMS.
He noticed that R10 was being taken off his airtime per day, however, despite receiving messages stating that he was not subscribed to any WASPs.
Upon calling Vodacom, though, he was told there was a WASP subscription on his account and that he was not using the correct unsubscribe SMS.
The customer said the call centre told him he needed to use the *117# USSD menu to unsubscribe from the WASP.
To deter any WASP subscriptions, the Vodacom customer had set up an automated system using IFTTT to send a STOP SMS to 31050 every day at 08:00 over the last six months.
This would theoretically unsubscribe him from any WASP subscriptions every 24 hours.
He also recorded all the SMS replies he received in a spreadsheet to monitor responses for unusual activity.
However, in all cases the automated STOP SMS returned the following message:
You are currently not subscribed to any WASP service. Should you have any further queries, please call Vodacom Customer Care on 135.
After calling Vodacom to determine why his account was continually depleting, the network told him he had an active VLive WASP subscription.
This charged his account R10 per day over 35 days and seemed impervious to the automated STOP SMSs sent by the customer’s system.
Vodacom cancelled the subscription and refunded the customer for the amount debited from his account following his enquiry.
To find out what caused the subscription, MyBroadband asked Vodacom why its VLive WASP was not unsubscribed by the customer’s STOP SMSs and whether there is a separate unsubscribe option for VLive services.
Vodacom said it ensured that the subscription was cancelled following an investigation, and refunded the customer.
“In line with our approach of effecting refunds on these services before concluding the related investigation, we have ensured that this subscription has been cancelled and provided the customer with a full refund.” Vodacom spokesperson Byron Kennedy told MyBroadband.
“We have also apologised for the inconvenience this has caused.”
Kennedy said that Vodacom’s systems had evolved since the launch of the SMS unsubscribe option for WASPS.
“The short code number 31050 was initially launched for customers to unsubscribe from WASP services,” Kennedy said.
He said that in order to unsubscribe from WASP and VLive subscriptions, customers should follow the steps below:
- Unsubscribing VLive – For self-service VLive Subscriptions on the VLive Portal, navigate to the VLive portal and log in on your phone or via the web. You can also unsubscribe from VLive services via USSD by dialing *117#.
- Unsubscribing WASP – For self-service WASP Subscriptions, visit the MyVodacom Web Portal and login, or SMS “STOP” to 31050.
Kennedy added that Vodacom customers can also visit a Vodacom store or call customer care for help unsubscribing from these services.