I recently opened a Photobucket account. I had no idea that I had to watch my back so carefully with Photobucket, because they have always seemed to be a reputable, aboveboard company. I was wrong, and I now consider them criminally deceptive. In a yellow box, implying that it was REQUIRED information, Photobucket asked for my cell phone number. I'm ill and on medication, and I was not thinking clearly enough to differentiate between PHONE number and CELL phone number, or question a yellow box on a form. I gave Photobucket my number, assured by their deceptive "we won't call you!" Immediately I got a spam text message from RingAZA, informing me that I was subscribed to get ringtones for $9.99. I closed my phone, but the message remained until I replied STOP.
I then got a message saying I was "unsub" from RingAZA. I don't believe it. I believe I will be fighting a FRAUDULENT charge on my phone bill, courtesy of Photobucket's criminal scam partners, Ringtone Channel, or whoever they are. I blame this on Photobucket. It has been extremely difficult to track down anyone at Photobucket who's willing to say anything. I went to their help forums and got a lot of doubletalk from low-level troubleshooters who simply gave me useless 800 numbers for the scamming company, where I spoke to a rude, ditzy phone worker who informed me "WE DON'T HAVE TO HELP YOU." I filed complaints online, and got form letters saying "We are sorry you do not like our associates' offers" and giving me the same useless 800 numbers from the scam companies. Photobucket's first tier offers nothing but resistance and false "help."
I dug around in their website and got some names, and got their Palo Alto office's number from Directory Assistance. I reached what appears to be their liason with Photobucket Pro users. She called back and has courteously assured me that a higher-up will call me tomorrow. She expressed total shock and dismay that this is going on, but you know... THIS IS NOT HAPPENING BY ITSELF. I want to see accountability.
Photobucket, at some high level, decided to partner with these scammers who attach fraudulent charges to users' phone bills simply for being stupid enough to enter a number in the yellow form box. The form is one of the most deceptive things I have ever seen on the Internet, and it is absolutely disgusting that it's being used by a "reputable" company.
I'm sick (stage IV cancer) but I'm VERY angry, and I am strong and resourceful enough to fight this. $9.99 is merely an annoyance to me, but I worry about nicer people, the elderly, for example, many of whom may be on very limited budgets. I worry about people who don't know how to pursue such things. Students, housewives, people whose first language is not English. Photobucket and its criminal partners must be making a killing by stealing from such people, who never intend to pay $9.99 for a ringtone, but may not have the ability to fight it when it appears on their phone bill.
Every time I think about this, I get angrier. I want Photobucket to PAY. I want to see this practice completely exposed.
I want every person who works at Photobucket to THINK about how these fraudulent $9.99 phone bill charges may hurt some little old lady who needs that money for food or medicine, and who can't begin to fight these creeps. They make it extremely difficult to track down anyone who knows anything about this, and the low-level techs I reached on the forums were obviously under orders to keep a lid on customer outrage.
Photobucket must be stopped. At this point, I want to see them fined heavily and publicly exposed for this practice.