Text Message Subscriptions Costing Consumers Big Bucks - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Text Message Subscriptions Costing Consumers Big Bucks

"I think that if you're responsible enough to carry a phone, then you have to be responsible enough to read the fine print," says Mary Styer. "I think that if you're responsible enough to carry a phone, then you have to be responsible enough to read the fine print," says Mary Styer.

   You might want to take a closer look at your next cell phone bill for charges raked up through third-party text messaging services.
    It's a problem we first read about online.  After asking around, NewsChannel 10 realized it was a bigger problem than we first thought.
   "My son was looking for a ringtone and he tried to download the ringtone and he wasn't aware that when he downloaded the ringtone it also subscribed him to the service that they offered," said Mary Styer.
   Styer said her son was trying to look for a specific ringtone on a website when he approved a subscription. She said she was charged $39 for the first month, and then $15 for the next two months.
   It wasn't until she called her service provider that she got rid of the charges.
   An employee of NewsChannel 10 said she fought back and forth with another service provider when the same thing happened to her son.
   The text messaging service is easy to subscribe to.  Several websites came up when NewsChannel 10 searched for them on google.
   The Better Business Bureau says while the sites may be legitimate, the consumer should always read the fine print to make sure what they're getting themselves into.
   Styer agrees.
   "I think that if you're responsible enough to carry a phone, then you have to be responsible enough to read the fine print. We can't have companies policing for us. I think you have to take responsibility for yourself," Styer said. 
   NewsChannel 10 made calls to AT&T, Sprint and Alltel.  Only AT&T got back to us.  They gave us this advice for parents worried about their child's cell phone use.
   -AT&T's MEdia Net service, the portal to the wireless Internet on most AT&T devices, contains Parental Controls.  The feature consists of a Purchase Blocker and Content Filter, which may be used independently or together. 
   -In addition, AT&T encourages customers to be careful about where they distribute their wireless phone number. For example, if you sign up online to receive text message alerts of some sort, be sure you understand the privacy policy concerning treatment of your wireless phone number, exactly what sort of messages you will receive, and how you can unsubscribe.

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