Premium Text Messages: “fine print is a little too fine”

ptmBack in March we wrote a short article on how the CRTC was looking into “Premium Text Messages” and if they cross the line of being illegal. To date nothing has been done. Some individuals are still being billed between $16 to $35 a month for the opt-in text messages such as IQ test, jokes of the day, quizzes, surveys, horoscopes.

The CBC has an article that states “The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association regulates the premium text companies and said everything is above board, but adds that consumers have to read the fine print before signing up… sometimes the fine print is a little too fine”.

Montreal-based Union des consommateurs is leading the charge to have clearer and stricter rules for the premium text messages. Yannick Labelle of the Union des Consumateurs “It’s very difficult for the consumer to find the terms and conditions. We have done it for various websites and often you have to click 17 or 18 times before you get to the terms and conditions”.

The CWTA says that it’s up to us consumers to educate ourselves about exactly what they’re signing up for and that the Premium Text Message companies who offer the services must meet strict guidelines and criteria. CWTA President and CEO Bernard Lord said “It’s a simple process. It’s very easy to use and we’ve set it up in a way to protect consumers. This is a business transaction where people can sign up for the service. They have to sign up twice before they get the service”.

Not to sure if this is “protecting consumers” if months go by and people are still getting billed for a service that they didn’t opt-in for. More importantly, when they request the messages to stop, some users cannot find the contact information to end the messages from coming in.