The Netherlands - Consumer Authority issues warning about misleading Valentine's messages
The Consumer Authority is warning against misleading Valentine's messages. During the Valentine's period, young people in particular send and receive (secret) messages of love and many SMS service providers are cleverly taking advantage of this trend by sending out messages via social networking sites. As these messages are not recognised as commercial messages, consumers may unintentionally find themselves entering into subscriptions.
SMS service providers advertise on a large number of websites aimed at young people, such as MSN and Hyves. The Consumer Authority has also placed advertisements on these websites in an attempt to highlight risks and provide tips. Many of the commercial advertisements are packaged in such a way that it appears that you have received a personal message (in your mailbox) from a 'secret' admirer. These messages come in various forms and frequently require the user to enter their date of birth and other personal details in order view the secret message. The user may then find that he/she has unintentionally subscribed to an expensive SMS subscription.
Through its information desk ConsuWijzer, the Consumer Authority has issued the following information with regard to risks and tips:
- In most cases, Valentine's messages from commercial providers are not personal messages but a standard message with just one aim, to set up an expensive subscription for an SMS service.
- If you do not want to enter into an SMS subscription, do not enter your mobile telephone number and do not reply to SMS messages that ask you to send 'OK' via SMS to a five-figure short code.
- You can also block your mobile telephone number for paid SMS services using a link on ConsuWijzer.nl.
- If you would like to cancel an SMS subscription that has been set up incorrectly, see the link on ConsuWijzer.nl. Here you will find information on how you can cancel a specific service.
For more information click here.