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Unexpected Porn Bills on your phone A/c? Read this

  1. Noticed a week or so ago that a few Hotcopperites have been experiencing a problem with charges to their telephone accounts for porn services that you didn't (presumeably) use.

    If you are fairdinkum and haven't just been sprung by the other half you might find the following interesting.

    Last school holidays two of my boys then 8 and 5 went to their grandparents for a week of the school holidays. The 8 year old is really getting into computers and the internet.

    Several weeks after they got back the grandparents got their Telstra bill with nearly $500 worth of charges from a 1900 number for internet porn. Now as much as I know they might be following in their fathers footsteps re testosterone I think eight is probably a little early and thinking that they must have been accessing it through spam from their hotmail account I went off the deep end.

    Thing is though that it just didn't make sense. They both were a bit intimidated about what had happened but said they never stayed on the sites after they came up AND in fact had no idea how the sites appeared.

    Telstra of course told me to get stuffed (not in those words but you know what I mean) and when I said I would not pay they indicated that this would result in suspension of service. I think this is where most people give up, yes ?

    On principle though I decided to take it on a bit further.

    I sat down with my 8 year old and asked him to show me exactly what he had done.

    What he had done was to try to show his younger brother the website of a popular BBC kids show. Without naming any names he had entered the web address but had slightly mispelt it in a way that a kid would phonetically.

    Sure enough when I entered this address it was automatically redirected and up pops a site called "Raw Sex" with an autodialler window which locked the internet page.

    With this on screen I decided to find out who the 1900 number belonged to. Telstra complaints were happy to inform me it was a Sydney based company which was a complete stroke of luck as I had feared it would be an overseas co or non-contactable (again no names).

    So I telephoned the State Consumer Affairs office and told them what had happened. At first they misunderstood the spelling issue. Then when they tried it out said that there was a very interesting case possible for deceptive and misleading conduct.

    They did however suggest that I try to mediate with the company involved directly.

    So I telephoned the company and they immediately said that they got calls like this all the time and how could I prove that it wasn't in fact me who had been using the service and now just trying to get out of paying for it.

    So then I described how the redirect to their site worked and the gist of my conversation with Consumer Affairs.

    The bill is being refunded in full.

    If you have had a similiar experience of charges and cannot work out how they got there, I strongly suggest you take the time to talk to your kids about what sites they have been trying to get into. Maybe they aren't the smutty little grubs you thought - just the victims of completely pathetic money makers who have no moral boundaries.

    If you have had this problem and if I can be of any help, email me via clicking on my Alpha signature.

    Cheers

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