johope71 Yesterday I received the dreaded Wapstar text thanking me for signing up for their free trial and I would be charged £4.50 per week unless I send a STOP text message to 83463. That one came in overnight and I've just seen it. I've tried to send STOP to the number but it bounces back NOT DELIVERED? I am set up for a monthly recurring goodybag and pay for this through PayPal. Any advice please, would be most welcome! 🙃
If you have no airtime credit, Wapstar won't be able to take any money. It's still a good idea to take action to stop the charges though, in case you need to top up at some time in the future. The charges would then be taken!
Wapstar is a well known Payforit scam which has been reported many times on the giffgaff and O2 forums and on Twitter. It is clear that they have found a way of circumventing the protections introduced in May this year by O2 and giffgaff.
It is despicable and negligent that O2 and giffgaff “turn a blind eye” to this obvious fraud that they are facilitating (presumably because of their 30% cut of the fraudulent charges!). The company behind this scam are Remote Games Ltd, who have previously been fined £70,000 with £15,000 costs by the regulator for operating similar scams. https://psauthority.org.uk/for-business/adjudications/2015/2/remote-games-ltd-18639-adjudication-by-consent-adaf414e-59a1-e411-a529-00155d051116
Your first step should be to stop further charges. You can do this by sending a STOP message to 83463 (which will cost about 12p) or by ringing 0330 053 5841 during working hours Mon-Fri. This number is a standard rate number included in giffgaff goodybags and O2 bundles.
Once you have stopped the charges you should insist on a FULL refund from Remote Games Ltd. Best to use email for this if possible as it will provide you with evidence that you "have discussed your dispute with the seller" as required by the Payforit rules.
If you are dissatified at this point you can escalate the dispute to giffgaff who really ought to be doing some work for their share of the proceeds of these disgusting scams. The Payforit rules place a clear obligation on networks to resolve disputes in this situation, but sadly giffgaff and O2 routinely ignore this obligation.
When dealing with the scammers, if they refuse a refund, saying that you consented to the charges, ask for:
• Screenshots of the subscription workflow where you were alleged to have signed up for this service.
• A description of what the service you are supposed to have subscribed to provides? Is this a newsletter, access to a web portal?
• Any evidence that after supposedly signing up for the service, you actually used it
• The complete web server log of the subscription, including the User Agent strings containing all device details (browser, device type, device IP address) together with dates and times.
• If the subscription started after 11th May 2019, auditable proof of the additional authentication used (as required to comply with O2/giffgaff rules)
• Full company details of the company operating the service, country of registration, full name of company, company number and registered company address.
• Details of the Accredited Payment Intermediary(API) which handled the payment
• Details of the company’s disputes procedure, including any ADR scheme you can refer the matter to if they fail to provide a full refund.
You should also report the scam to the regulator, the Phone-paid Services Authority(PSA) here: https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/report-an-issue
Don't be misled though, PSA are a regulator and not an ombudsman. They won't help you get refund, but will investigate "services" they receive a lot of complaints about.
That giffgaff continue to cooperate with companies that are proven scammers is little short of a disgrace. However the law is on the consumer's side. It is for the scammers to prove that you consented to the charges and NOT for you to prove that you didn't. Ultimately, as Remote Games are a UK based company, you can use the Small claims procedure to recover your money.
You need to be aware that when you use mobile data to access the internet, giffgaff leak your number to “trusted third parties”. These companies are then allowed to make charges to your account without providing any evidence that the charge is lawful. If you have an O2 account these charges are applied directly to your account and O2 will refuse to reverse them (or to provide any evidence that they are lawful!). O2 will allow you to place a “charge to mobile” bar on your account which is effective at blocking Payforit charges.
If you are with giffgaff, the charges are taken from your airtime credit. If you have no airtime credit the charges cannot be taken. giffgaff offer no other mechanism, so any airtime credit will always be vulnerable to this form of fraud.
As an aside, there ARE ways of making chargeable calls without having airtime credit. Consider using a service like 18185 for these, or even using Skype. If you really need to have airtime credit then giffgaff is probably not for you - the risk of Payforit fraud is too high!
giffgaff still represents good value for money, but too many members are seeing their airtime credit stolen because giffgaff cooperate with these thieves. More information about Payforit scams and how to deal with them are on the Payforitsucks website. Google "payforitsucks giffgaff faq"
Wapstar Phone number: 0330 053 5841
Wapstar Email: assist<at>careformobile.com
Service Operated by: Remote Games Ltd
PO Box 5501
Payments processed by Tap2Bill:
Phone No: 0333 003 0599
5 St. John's Lane