Flycell Scam Thru Your Cell Phone Carrier

My phone bill was a bit more than I expected so I went down to the AT&T store for clarification since it was a new plan this month compared to my previous AT & T plan.

They pointed out a $9.99 charge for this month on a “Flycell club pack” subscription that had also been applied in my previous months’ bill. I asked if this was an AT & T service to which I was told “no?” The rep encouraged me to call AT & T customer service about it and could not tell me what the Flycell Club pack even was.

So I called customer service. The phone rep said that third party companies will send out texts asking for your subscription and if you don’t text “no” they “think” you want the subscription and notify AT & T to bill you on it. He also added that these “subscriptions” work the same way for all carriers (i.e. Verizon, Sprint, etc)

I replied, “How can I billed from a 3rd party on my AT & T account on a subscription I never authorized?” At first, the rep tried to “let me down gently” with the “bad news” that what they were doing was within the text messaging regulations of the SEC (Really? Which politicians got paid off to legalize this scam???)

I then responded by saying “It may be legal, but you guys apparently have a serious hole in your ability to protect your customer when a 3rd party can add a charge to my AT & T account without any authorization on my part. Since when does a “non-answer” to an “unsolicited sales pitch” equal a “yes?” That’s not how the real world works.”

(Apparently there is a “parallel text messaging universe” being created as we speak where businesses can volunteer you to sign you up for their service via your cell phone carrier)

His tune quickly changed and he credited me back my $20 and put a “blocker” on my phone and my wife’s for these type of subscriptions (Why isn’t this a standard feature again?).

I also commented I didn’t even know what service I was paying $10 a month for. The rep looked into it and couldn’t figure it out himself either… Flycell must be really proud of their services that nobody can recognize, notice or articulate.

After getting off the phone I looked thru my text messages for the day the charge was applied including the previous days. Didn’t find a thing. All the texts were from friends. Still don’t know how they got to me (possibly Facebook who also has my number).

After some Internet searching I’ve learned what a Flycell Club Pack is, Flycell’s 800 number takes you to Delhi, Flycell has an online reputation for scamming people (some people up to $19.95 a month for more than a year before realizing it), and Flycell has a multitude of complaints with Consumer Affairs ( http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/flycell.html ).

I’m glad I really didn’t lose anything (it’s the principle that has me all fired up), but I’m posting this rant to vent a little and to encourage all of my friends to do two things:

1. Check your phone bill for any misc charges from 3rd party subscriptions including (but not limited to) “Flycell.”

2. No matter what, call up your carrier and add a “blocker” to your phone accounts for these types of ridiculous subscriptions.

Although AT & T eventually provided satisfactory customer service, I find something fishy about the fact that carriers enable this type of transaction. I can only speculate if the carriers make a little money too from this whole setup???

Thanks for letting me vent. God bless America : )

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Comments

  1. Peg says:

    I too was bitten by flycell. I looked at my sprint bill a month ago and noticed that it was higher, found the flycell text and replied ‘stop’ per the instruction to stop. Got the text again today, and yes, it was on my bill so called the 1-800 number and got “Andy” from Delhi. He started giving me a sales pitch on why I wanted to keep the service, but I was adament. I now have a text unsubscribing me from the service, but after reading yours and many other posts am thinking a call to Sprint might be in order. Sheesh… thank you for letting me vent, and not feeling so stupid for getting caught up in this scam.

  2. Morgan says:

    I too got hit by flycell. However, now when you call AT&T about this they are very aware of it and give you no trouble about a credit to your account and placing the blocks on the phones. Or at least I had no problems at all. Matter of fact they were so quick in doing it and telling me what they had done I almost could not keep up. lol

  3. M says:

    I just got the text from flycell today indicating that my subscription had been auto-renewed. I’d never heard of these people. I contacted AT&T and they agreed to refund the full amount. It turned out I’d been being charged for 7 months and had no idea. I didn’t even know there was a separate billing for mobile purchases.

  4. D says:

    Results of an online chat I just had with Verizon rep below… parts redacted, but the rep had even been charged by scam flycell and had the blocker in place, so I had to share:

    Please hold for a Support Representative to assist you.
    Thank you for contacting Verizon Wireless. My name is Jacquette, how may I assist you?
    D: Hello Jacquette
    Jacquette: Hi D. How are you?
    D: I am good, thank you for asking… how are you?
    D: I wanted to ensure that I had a “blocker” set up on my account so that no 3rd party subscriptions are able to charge me simply by sending me a spam text message
    Jacquette: I’m great. Thanks for asking!
    Jacquette: Sure, I can check that for you, no problem.
    D: for example, there is a scam company called “flycell” that charges people by a monthly subscription without their consent using a loophole in SEC regulations
    D: i want to ensure that “flycell” and other 3rd party vendors cannot add anything to any of the cell numbers on my account
    Jacquette: I’ve been charged with that before as well. I also have this block, so I’ll definitely check that for you.
    D: thank you
    ………………………………………………….

    Jacquette: And I was also able to add that block on each of your lines for you.
    D: may i ask, why isn’t the block a standard feature?
    Jacquette: Because some people use Premium Messaging for things such as Bank Alerts or Media alerts as well.
    Jacquette: But that’s definitely why we offer this option for free for you.
    Jacquette: Do you have any further questions or concerns I may assist you with?
    D: oh okay
    D: no, i think that is it… will the block show on my account at all?
    Jacquette: It will, if you view your features online, you’ll be able to see this as a feature. You’re also able to change your blocks from My Verizon as well.
    D: perfect… what is the block titled on My Verizon?
    Jacquette: It should say “Premium Messaging Block.”
    D: great!
    D: thank you Jacquette

  5. Mason says:

    Glad to see the word is getting out :)

  6. Kit says:

    I just got off the phone with ATT – they were not so kind with me. I had to fight to get the full 12 months taken off – and was told than when it is reviewed, more than two months might not be allowed.

    Att clearly knows about this – and does not warn its customers. There is no doubt that they get paid – as the flycell bill is paid via my att account. I didn’t let them get away with the third party story. There is no arms length here – they are providing a service to flycell!!

    I am reporting this to Washington state’s attorney general – not on line or via a complaint form – but in person. The amount of money that is being bilked from cell phone owners is staggering!! There needs to be a class action. It doesn’t matter what laws there are on the books – laws are frequently contested, and can be struck down. Laws can be used wrongly, and the courts can adjust that. Loop holes can be closed.

  7. Henry says:

    estos son unos ladrones, porque lo engañan a uno para cobrar descaradamente un servicio engañoso

  8. Henry says:

    como cancelo este engaño y robo a amano armanda, ladrores sinverguezas

  9. Leia says:

    Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just posting videos to your blog
    when you could be giving us something informative to read?

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