Flycell Downloads and PlayPhone Inc.Unauthorized Mobil Purchases & Downloads

I was reviewing my March 2009 AT&T cellular phone invoice and noticed two(2) monthly subscription charges.
One (1) Subscription-'Digital Content'
Content Provider-'PlayPhone Inc' for $14.99
short code#77888
Type-MT

One (1) Subscription-'Flycell Downloads'
Content Provider-'Flycell' for $19.99
short code#69999
Type-MT

I contacted AT&T and inquired to what these charges were for, the AT&T employee informed me that they were communication charges for two (2) separate subscriptions. I informed her that no one had authorized any subscription orders for our account, she informed me that she would process a cancellation order and credit request, but I would have to pay the full amount of the current invoice and receive a credit for the credited charges on my next invoice.

I informed her I was unhappy with doing this but I would, I then asked how such unauthorized charges could be processed on my AT&T invoice and she informed me that it was probably due to an unanswered text message to this cell phone number, that automaticly processes a subscription if the recipient does not respond to the text message.

I then informed her that there must be some type of marketing connection between ATT&T and these subscription company's and definitely was not happy hearing that this type of senerio could even exist and stated I was would like to cancell my three(3) cell phone accounts also. I asked to speak to some one who was directly affiliated with this marketing operation technique, she then asked me to hold for a moment, she returned and informed me that the credit would be applied within 48 hours and the cancellation and future block would be initiated on all my phones. I thanked her for time and assistance.

This type of marketing procedure is nothing more then "fraudulent sales' and needs to discontinued by AT&T immediately.

Responses

  • Mo
    Moose Mar 16, 2009

    I don't know that it has anything to do with AT&T. I was looking at my current month's Sprint activity and there is a charge of $14.99 from "PlayPhone Inc." just like you describe. The person who has that particular phone says she got a text yesterday and she responded with 'stop' which is a common way to stop the random marketing-type texts. I'll try calling Sprint, but I also plan to call the number I found for PlayPhone (866-853-9793) to see what can be done.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
    karollocke Mar 16, 2009

    I don't want this please take it off my phone

    1 Votes
  • Ka
    karollocke Mar 16, 2009

    We Don't Want This!!!

    1 Votes
  • Lh
    lhughes Mar 18, 2009

    The same situation happened with my AT&T account with the subscription charge of $19.99. I was told it might take up to three billing cycles before I get the credit. If AT&T is going to deal with these third party companies then there needs to be some type of protection established. The account is in my name but my daughter who uses the phone is a minor. They need to start thinking twice before they're sued.

    0 Votes
  • Pa
    Patience Apr 06, 2009

    I absolutely agree. This type of marketing cannot be legal. I've been receiving what I consider "junk" emails on my cell phone and have not paid attention to them other than to delete them. I now have a charge of $19.99 for Flycell Downloads on my cell phone bill. I have "STOP"ped the subscription and will now start on getting the credit. I use AT&T.

    0 Votes
  • Hr
    hrithikjc100 Apr 09, 2009

    I agree too. I was looking at my ATT bill for the month of March and i saw a FLYCELL downloads subscription charge for 19.99 which i never accepted too. I even sent a STOP msg when i remember i got this msg for acceptance. But they still charged my account. i need to get this credit from damn ATT guys.

    0 Votes
  • Tp
    tpurler Apr 13, 2009

    I too was looking at my ATT bill and noticed that there was a flycell downloads charge for 19.99. When it started downloading I pressed stop and nothing happened. please take it off my bill and out of my phone

    0 Votes
  • Db
    dbl Apr 15, 2009

    I also had this happen. A 14.99 change showed up on my bill. When I called AT&T and explained that I did not authorize the charge they immediately credited my account and suggested I put a block on my numbers to prevent this from happening in the future. I give AT&T a A+ in how they handled this. These content providers like playphone should be dealt with harshly by the FTC.

    0 Votes
  • Wd
    W Davis May 04, 2009

    Add us to this PlayPhone scam list. We got hit for $9.99 x 2, plus tax for nine months!!

    0 Votes
  • Fe
    femmedepomme May 06, 2009

    I also just had this happen to me. I was reviewing my May bill for AT&T and noticed a $19.99 charge for Flycell. I looked them up on the internet and tried to get some answers from them first. They told me that the min. it took me to text back the stop message constituted a subscription and they would not refund the charge. The man I talked to was very rude and told me there were no supervisors available. Ridiculous!!! I then called At&t to see if they could help me. I told them what happened and they refunded the subscription charge and were very helpful. This is ridiculous, there has got to be some BBB that we can report flycell to.

    0 Votes
  • Jo
    john May 09, 2009

    Same here on play phone. i dont remember a getting a text or anything just the charge on my bill. Att took it off no questions asked. Im on a no call list on my land line sure as hell dont want to be aggravated on my cell.

    John
    Wildlife photos plus @
    www.wilkersonphotography.com

    0 Votes
  • Ho
    holspen May 11, 2009

    I just got off the phone with AT&T for the reasons stated above. There was a $14.99 charge from Playphone Inc. At&T took this charge off my bill and won't accept anything else from this company. I hardly ever use my phone for text messages and the only ones I ever get are from At& T.

    0 Votes
  • Br
    Brian R May 13, 2009

    I also was billed by this Flycell - I did not even know what it was. I reviewed my account online since I had done a lot of traveling and wanted to see how my usage was, when it popped up as a charge. AT&T did remove the charge and credited me for this month, where the charge had already been applied. I also now have the lock and pin on the phone where these charges can no longer be placed, however my concern is how did they get the number to begin with and under what authority are they able to place these bogus charges on an AT&T bill. That question was not answered at all, and it should be the main concern of all us. This is beyond an invasion of privacy for the consumer. In my conversation with the AT&T rep, she stated that she handles over 15 calls a day about Flycell - those are just from the consumers who have looked at the bill carefully and questioned the charge. I can't even imagine how many corporate or other accounts this charge is being placed on monthly and paid without any question. There must be some sort way of blocking such a practice, certainly these are not good guys doi9ng this. I was also informed in case anyone wants to know that Flycell is a game - who in the right mind would pay 19.99 a month for a game when they can legally download games from the Itunes store for 99 cents to maybe a max of 9.99 without a monthly charge?

    0 Votes
  • Re
    rexexdesign May 22, 2009

    Hi,

    I luckily just checked my AT&T bill and noticed a 19.99 charge on my account. I found this site, called AT&T up and they put a block on my phone to prevent this from happening again. I can't believe that they can do this. It's like walking into a car dealership and because you took a brochure you bought the car! Anyway, they refunded me the money within the hour and I should be protected for the future. DAMN Flycell!

    1 Votes
  • Ph
    phoenix Jun 10, 2009

    Same thing. I got this when I followed some stupid "quiz" on Facebook and they asked for my cell number to send me the results. Like an idiot I gave my cell number. I then got a text message saying I would be charged a monthly fee UNLESS I sent back a "stop" message. Which of course I did immediately.

    3 weeks late I am reviewing my bill and see the 19.99 charge from Flycell, with a renewal charge set for a week from now. I called them and was told that even though I stopped my account immediately I was still charged. They offered a "courtesy" of the service for free for 2 weeks (!)

    When I could finally get past all the "courtesys" they wanted to extend to me and found out I was eligible for a refund, I was told the only way to get it was to send a fax of my iPhone receipt - and make sure it included my phone's serial number and other information!!! WTF???

    Where can we complain about these ###s?!?

    Hopefully I have luck with ATT tomorrow when I call during business hours...

    0 Votes
  • Da
    Darkside_Hero Jun 12, 2009

    Same just happened to me. Never got a text message, when I sent "stop" to 69999 I got a reply saying I don't have a subscription service! AT&T removed it and refund the charge and placed a block so it wont happen again..

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Charles C Jun 15, 2009

    Hi All,
    I got the same billing for Flycell Downloads @ $9.99 a month. I never even ask for this service. Now time to call AT&T. Grrrrrr! These people.

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    PR1ME Jul 19, 2009

    I just found out I've been pick-pocketed the same way: I took a Facebook quiz and had to give info to get the results. I never received a text msg about needing to send "stop". Clearly they don't send that msg consistently, nor do they intend to.

    Well, the very nice AT&T rep (Ariana Lozario) refunded my two monthly 'service' charges, each of $14.99, and set me up with the free "purchase blocker".

    On my bill PlayPhone gets lumped in with "Credits Adjustments Other Charges". If you wonder if you've been pickpocketed, look for this stuff in the itemization:
    Subscription Name: Digital Content
    Short Code: 77888
    Type: MT
    Content Provider: Playphone Inc.
    ID: 6055

    Those Playphone people are criminals and need to be arrested. What can we do to make that happen?

    0 Votes
  • Se
    semcgl Jul 23, 2009

    I just had a charge from Flycell for 19.99 and AT&T says they can't credit me because it was a mobile download from my phone. Reading this forum I have obviously been lied to because they have given credits to people who have posted above. It really makes me mad and I told them that I was willing to cancel my phone service with them if they did not take it off my bill. Their response was that they were sorry I felt this way and I would have to pay the remainder of my contract to opt out. This is crazy! What a scam!!!

    0 Votes
  • Me
    melissap Jul 30, 2009

    I just happen to be looking at a recent bill from which our company pays the bill. I had upgraded and was really the only reason i noticed a difference in my cost, but it was substantial, over $100.00 for one bill, so i started to look closer. Turns out after calling the ATT rep we had been paying for flycell for 3 months not having a clue what it even is. I wonder how long we could have paid these charges without noticing had i not upgraded and paid attention to this. It irritates me to no end that these places can get away with this. I am sure that we are not the only ones that try to get bills paid without taking the entire week to look through each invoice.
    Upon noticing this i also decided to start looking at other bills. Low and behold i found several inacurate charges on other bills as well. All total my time spent getting credits back was 9 hours by the time i called and got through all the holds, getting to the right person and automated systems within all different utility companies. Needless to say, i lost money either way. I spent 9 hours of my time where i normally make much more money then i was credited back, however, it is a principal that i believe in that people should not get my hard earned money for nothing! Do they know this and just take advantage of people weighing out the time spent as opposed to time earning more? It is ridiculous! The att rep told me they had a lawsuit in progress so i highly doubt they are in on the whole scam, but who knows how long it will take to get something to block this stuff. If i sifted through each illegal text i get on my phone i would have even more hours lost. I wish people would just learn how to earn an honest living instead of more ways to rip people off.

    0 Votes
  • Ca
    Carlo Amalfitano Aug 01, 2009

    Thanks for this information. Called AT&T and got Flycell charges dismissed. Thanks again for posting this information on the Internet. It was worth $40 for me, plus the priceless pleasure to get even with a scammer.

    0 Votes
  • Dm
    dmbennett Aug 03, 2009

    I have the exact same thing happening on my AT&T account. I called last mth, installed a block on my entire family network and sure enough, there they are again with Flycell for $19.95.

    This type of fraudulent sales is very annoying, not to mentioned expensive. I may have gone mths without noticing, except that my bill went over $400 and caught my attention!!

    0 Votes
  • Jl
    JLREYNOLD Oct 26, 2009

    I found the $19.99 charge from Flycell Downloads on my bill - called and AT&T agreed to take it off my bill pronto.
    Turned the bill over and there was another charge on my AT&T cell phone bill for PlayPhone, Inc. Another fraudulant charge that I never knew anything about and certainly did not order. AT&T graciously agreed to take that charge off also. This stuff is down right fraud with AT&T participating with it in collecting a percentage from these companies for adding the charges to our bills. AT&T should be prosecuted along with the companies doing this stuff.
    Joe Reynolds

    0 Votes
  • Su
    susanleigh1 Dec 07, 2009

    I will be attempting to pursue this through my attorney. Maybe it will eventually turn into a class action. This is absolutely ridiculous, and for those of us who do auto-pay, it's a real hassle.

    1 Votes
  • Ja
    jason's frustrations Jan 05, 2010

    Just got off the phone with At&T, and they did just what they've done for everyone else here and cancelled the fee of 19.99. They also put a block on purchases from the cell phone and gave me a pin, so that if for any reason, I wanted to buy a ringtone or something from the phone, I just put the pin in and then I can make a purchase.

    What I'm wondering is, if they see that this is an ongoing problem then why doesn't a giant behemoth like At&T squash a small company like that? I mean, if it's not a scam that at&t is running, then they must be getting billed by these 3rd party companies, right? The charge just doesn't magically show up on the bill without at&t's knowledge, they have to put it on there. The rep was very nice, but kept insinuating that this was MY fault for not being careful on social networking sites such as Facebook and MYspace, She said that I should pay more attention to where I give my number. I don't play any of those apps on FB or MS, so, I don't see how this could be MY fault...

    At&t should sue those companies on the behalf of their customers, or maybe a class action lawsuit could develop...
    jas

    3 Votes
  • Ju
    Juniarti Suryakusuma Jan 15, 2010

    I just happened checking my phone bill and notice a bill from Play Phone Inc for $ 14.99.
    Then I went back to all my bills and found out they have been charging me since May 2009.
    I am very mad and disappointed with the way people do business now. That we have to keep checking every single detail on every bills otherwise they may charge something that you may not even realize.
    The ATT Rep is very nice though with this issue, I just disappointed with those company that try to rip people off.
    What happened to those who never check their bills and not paying attention on the bills or seniors, they are the victim of this marketing scam.

    1 Votes
  • Ca
    Cayo Hueso Feb 26, 2010

    I recently found this same charge on my corporate account. This the letter I just sent to my AT&T rep.

    From what I have been able to research these items come to the cell phone via text message and if you don’t explicitly send a reply saying deny or No they get added to your cell phone bill. I have to tell you this is a class action law suit waiting to happen for AT&T once enough AT&T customers get fed up with it. I don’t see how AT&T allows this sort of thing to occur. Just think about this, I the customer call AT&T to find out information or add services to my account, when I do I am asked to verify who I am in order to get this information or add or remove services. My wife can’t even gain access to my personal account without the proper credentials. How can AT&T allow a third party vendor to add services to my account without the same level of verification / authorization? This leads everyone to assume, and I know we should not assume, that AT&T is in bed with these third party vendors and is receiving a certain percentage of these charges. Why else would AT&T allow such an invasion of their customers privacy / security to their accounts. Which leads me to wonder what personal account information are they also helping themself to?

    1 Votes
  • Sa
    SaraBella Mar 15, 2010

    This happened on my bill too!! I got charged $19.99 for PlayPhone Content, Short Code 77888

    1 Votes
  • Ge
    Gedgant Apr 29, 2010

    The same thing happened to me where I also took a so-called "free IQ test" on Facebook, which I would never on just any internet site but I wrongly assumed that Facebook had some sort of screening.

    Anyway, I go thru the IQ test which never one mentions a subscription or any charge of any kind. I get to the end, where it says to enter my cell phone and they will text me the results...which in hindsight was stupid but I figured that what harm could my cell phone number alone do.

    I then get a text message back with a PIN number to enter into the web site to reveal my test results. On page #1 of the text message is a PIN number and instructions to enter this on the web page...and it appears to be the end of the message but on a 2nd page (which I did not even check if there was a 2nd page because the 1st page seemed like a complete message)...there is simply listed "$9.99/mth othr chgs may aply txt."

    After entering the PIN, I get a text message back with my results of the IQ test and there is no mention of any subscription or confirmation that I have just purchased something.

    Later, I get another text message with what is clearly listed as a solicitation to join a subscription. At which point, I do not reply as upfront I thought it was a quote "free" (the vendor's own description of their test on the Facebook ad), and since I do not want their service, I figured that was that and the end of it.

    A month later, I get my cell phone bill and it seems higher than normal...though the extra charge is not individually listed on the main page of the bill so it would be easy to miss. I got to the body of the bill and I see a section called "monthly subscriptions".

    At which point I call AT&T and report that someone improperly charged me. They start to tell me that I signed up by not sending "STOP"...and we go around a few times...but I keep saying that why I should need to stop a subscription I never authorized in the first place.

    After ~30 minutes on the phone, they agree to remove the charge and put a block on my phone that prevents a 3rd-party from billing my account.

    A month later, my next bill shows a "past due" balance where they never credited my account...so I spend another ~30 minutes on the phone...and this time they say they really did remove the charge.

    I then press this further asking why AT&T allowed third party vendors such as PlayPhone to perpetuate such obviously deceitful practices. I ask if they have a fraud division or dept that looked into these matters...and they say this was not fraud...


    At which point I go looking on the internet under the key words "PlayPhone Scam" which brought me to this site.


    Now...you can say that I was stupid for responding to the text messages in the first place but PlayPhone clearly designed their ad and method for signing me up in a way that is anything but clear and upfront.

    PlayPhone is not a business, it is a criminal venture...that is funded by a network of vermin who are ###...who are allowed to perform this under the auspices of a "legal" venture...

    Write your congress person!!!

    No business should be allowed to sign you up in such a manner where there is anything but a clearly labeled and explicit sign-up confirmation.

    0 Votes
  • Te
    terryhi44 May 12, 2010

    File a complaint against them with the Better Business Bureau: http://sanjose.bbb.org/ComplaintDetail.aspx?CompanyID=226800

    Don't know how they ever achieved an A+ rating with these kind of fraudulent practices! Time to bring that rating down to an "F"!

    0 Votes
  • Au
    audiracer May 15, 2010

    we just also found out that we were getting these charges..att stated it was a third party download through text messaging.i wonder if the fcc knows whats going on?? att did fix with the purchase blocker and did refund the charges...consumers shouldnt have to deal with this crap...now i always compare my paper bill to the online account info, some of the charges do vary between the different bills...

    0 Votes
  • Br
    Brandy1401 Jun 06, 2010

    My husband and my phone are on my moms account so i hardly ever bother to look at the bill and she never does. I just found a charge on the last bill for playphone inc on my husbands phone for $14.99. I went through the past bills and found out that we have been charged this fee from playphone inc since 3-12-09, over a year. I tried calling At&t but i needed some info of my moms that i dont have so Im calling back tomorrow. I know for a fact he didnt give his cell phone number online for anything. So we have no clue what this charge is for and he doesnt even have the same phone anymore...

    0 Votes
  • Go
    goodbad Jun 23, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am not sure how some of you got your refunds back. I was not so fortunate.

    At & t are not refunding the Fraudulent transaction made to my mobile & the person whom I spoke to was constantly pushing the blame on me, saying I actually subscribed to this.

    I am really cheesed off with this whole thing. I will try my luck once again to get a refund on that transaction.

    Also hasn't the law taken any kind of action against these robbers???

    0 Votes
  • Ol
    old blue Jun 25, 2010

    Received by wireless bill this month showing a down load charge. Did not authorize this and called about it. Was told I need to pay and would receive a credit in 1 to 2 billings. Was told if I did not pay my service could be interrupted for failing to pay. Talked to a manager he adv. me not to pay and it their was an interruption to call him and he gave me a phone number to call and he would take care of any problems that might happen.
    I do not understand why or how unauthorized charges can be added and not just taken off just like they are put on. I can not run my business like this I would lose all my customers in a heart beat.

    0 Votes
  •         Jun 25, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    i was charged overnight at 3 am on my att Pay as you go GO phone from playphone as well when i pulled up my account on a computer, I saw the 9.99 charge from playphone listed as ringtones games applications. there were several more charges because texting costs 20 cents for each sms message i send or receive. I called the att #611 and got a live person and she was nice enough to reimburse the 9.99 and 40 more cents for the text messages. if this happens to you, please investigate your phone records online if possible and call your phone company and they might could help in eliminating the scam charges.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    chuck miller Jul 13, 2010

    i never text and never read any texts sent to me. got bill with 14.99 charge from playphone. this is ridiculous..these scam artitists need to be dealt with...any suggestions?

    0 Votes
  • Vi
    Visionaction Jul 25, 2010

    Playphone Inc just showed up on our AT&T bill. Never received a text from this company. Anyway to start a class action lawsuit?

    0 Votes
  • Da
    DallasDave55 Aug 09, 2010

    The amazing thing about this is IT IS STILL GOING ON!!! Wake up AT&T and tell this company they aren't authorized to bill through your company. Or are you whores at AT&T to well fed by this fraud!

    0 Votes
  • Pr
    princessaccfbb3 Aug 20, 2010
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I agree totally. My husband and I have wondered why our bill had jumped up almost 40 dollars a month, I finally looked over the detailed bill and found monthly subscriptions to things we had not subscribed to. I just got off the phone with AT&T and she was able to get me credit for 3 months worth of the charges for both lines. She was able to look back and found that the charges went back at least 6 months, but their system only would let her credit for three, I wasn't even expecting that, so thanks AT&T. I am going to make sure that from now on, I review our bill and make sure that the charges are correct every month instead of just paying it.

    0 Votes
  • Do
    Don't be a victim Jan 20, 2011

    There is no way this can work if there is not a connection between the companies, the average Joe or business could not get these charges processed if they did not have the connection, remember this is a phone bill not a creidt card bill, do you know of anyone who could force the phone company to collect money on their behalf. If you have the charges on your bill and have not paid them then simply omit that amount from the bill, this is a non-regulated charge the only recourse is that the service(s) will be stopped and if you are like most you did not want it anyway!!! Your second step should be to call and get the service terminated immediately, otherwise you will most likely have to go thru this again and again. If you have paid then yes ask for a refund of all unauthorized charges, I think most likely you'll be sucessful. Final step is to put parental controls in place which does not allow any purchases for these types of services without entering a code.

    0 Votes

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