Beware Blinko and all other ringtone providers. I recently discovered a 7.99 charge on my son’s part of our many paged cell phone bill. He’s a clever guy and insisted he’d been very careful about avoiding sign ups for paid services, so it appears he was either scammed by a ringtones provider or we were slammed with a ringtones subscription. Sprint actually confirmed that we had not downloaded anything with the service and – incredibly – could not tell me the company that had signed us up.
After getting Sprint to remove last month’s charge another appeared this month. Texting 42222 appears to have “unsubscribed” us from the service we never subscribed to in the first place and Sprint removed the current new charge but refuses to remove older charges I’d not noticed. I think I now got them to block the possibility of this happening again, but I’m very pissed that Sprints “default” position seems to be to assist these scamming Ringtone S.O.Bs.
I’ve learned that ringtones and downloadable phone content is a 4 BILLION dollar global industry (yes – four billion). Incredible, especially since so much of this industry is driven by teens who are either scammed into subscriptions or foolishly spending their parent’s money.
The industry is plagued by scams, the most common of which gets teens to sign up their phone for a ‘free’ ringtone but then have the account trapped in the fine print to pay a monthly charge. If this isn’t bad enough the phone companies, who are making huge profits themselves off this garbage, are not at all helpful in tracking down the scammers or applying appropriate credits.
UPDATE: Class Action Suit against Blinko:
Blim & Edelson, LLC
53 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
UPDATE: Based on all the comment I recommend anybody affected by these Ringtone Scams contact the FCC commissioners as follows. Be sure to indicate your phone company and detail how they failed to address your complaints. In my opinion it should be illegal to bill these services without a written, signed authorization from the account holder.
Chairman Kevin J. Martin: KJMWEB@fcc.gov
Commissioner Michael J. Copps: Michael.Copps@fcc.gov
Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein: Jonathan.Adelstein@fcc.gov
Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov
|To Obtain Information via E-mail|
General information, inquiries & complaints: email@example.com
Freedom of Information Act requests: FOIA@fcc.gov
Comments on FCC Internet services: firstname.lastname@example.org
Elections & political candidate matters: email@example.com
|To Obtain Information via Telephone|
1-888-225-5322 (1-888-CALL FCC) Voice: toll-free
1-888-835-5322 (1-888-TELL FCC) TTY: toll-free
1-866-418-0232 FAX: toll-free
(202) 418-2830 FAX on Demand
(202) 418-1440 Elections & political candidate matters
FCC Phone Directory
Have you figured out how to stop them?
I have been billed twice that I know of …
I also did not request any ring tones.
Do you know of any way to report this to the State’s Attorney General? I refuse to log onto BIinko’s website. Sprint agreed to block Blinko from contacting us so get back on the phone with Sprint and make them block these guys.
We need to go to the US Attorney General but thought we’d try the State first.
Has anyone been able to find a real address?
Dan – first text to them to stop and tell your phone company you want those charges credited! I think it’s outrageous that Sprint and others process these charges with no follow up or verification that they were done legally/intentionally.
Tim I think there are good anti scam rules in CA but not many other states. I’m thinking this is a form of international/ interstate fraud and should be reported to the Federal Communications Commission or US Senators.
I just got my T-Mobile bill and 19.00 is for Blinko….I called T and was told that it was downloaded when I did the Treasure Hunt show contest on TV. Guess they don’t tell you when you call in that this stupid Blinko will attach to you. I called them at 10-800-971-2271 to sent unsubscribe, and T-moble told me to to on their site and their search content…go to Gateway and put in 4222 and it will be on a black list to stop the charges. I was also told if you do American Idol the same thing happens. Someone should report them………
Wow! I just went through the same nightmare with Verizon. (I’m in PA, btw)
After reviewing my bill, it seems I am being charged $9.99 TWICE ($19.98) due to Blinko charges. After going round and round with Verizon, they said they couldn’t, WOULDN’T remove the charges because they were valid. Here’s the kicker. Not only can someone supposedly “sign up” by responding/sending a text to them, but apparently one can sign up by simply inputting your cell phone number on certain websites.
I asked the Supervisor if it was possible for anyone to enter anyone else’s phone number and she said it could happen but that it was “highly unlikely that’s what happened to me.”
Unbelievable. After 45 minutes on the phone and speaking with another Manager I finally got last months charges removed. But, something has to be done about this. I’m going to start with my local Congressman, and a letter to the editor of my paper, and go from there.
Follow -up to above. I called my local AG office and was directed to their website where I could file a consumer complaint. The PA website is http://www.attorneygeneral.gov but you might need to call around to find out what it is in your State. At any rate, you should be able to file the complaint on-line.
Verizon in Georgia did the same thing to my phone bill. After being told they would NOT take the $9.99 twice off the bill, they gave me a 1-866-626-2823 number to call at Blinko. Call the number and you can hardly hear the recording so you don’t know if you stopped it or not. This is a complete scam and we should tell everyone we know.
I’ve filed a complaint with the FTC against m-qube who sent me a message that http://www.blinko.com was charging me for services. I’m over 40 and never call any 1-800 number, never subscribe to ringtones. This is out and out fraud.
Edward that was out case as well. I think affiliates of Blinko are signing up numbers without authorization or perhaps just not checking when people sign up that they entered their correct phone. This type of fraud is scandalous and the FCC needs to get involved immediately.
Blinko… the devil’s son.
They charged me $3.99 for a ringtone and $9.99 for text alerts. Sprint charged me an additional $2.10 for text message Blinko sent me. What the hell! I never signed up for this crap. I DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE… hello. Sprint does not want to refund the charges. They gave me (800) 971-2271, to call Blinko. I did… It is fully automated,no live person whatsoever. Their website tech support does not work. I got a SQL error when trying to submit a request for a refund. This is fraud… It is criminal and the phone carriers are supporting this by not putting an end to it. I had Sprint completely block ALL text messages on my phone. I will be filing claims against them on every government site as possible. I am in Pittsburgh so I will be filing for PA.
Here’s Blinko’s info I found from networksolutions.com:
Registrant: Make this info private
Buongiorno Vitaminic S.p.A.
Il Girasole,Marco Polo 324
LACCHIARELLA, MI i-20084
Domain Name: BLINKO.COM
Administrative Contact , Technical Contact :
Buongiorno Vitaminic S.p.A.
Il Girasole,Marco Polo 324
LACCHIARELLA, MI i-20084
Phone: +39 02 90096202
Fax: +39 02 90096234
Record expires on 26-Jan-2011
Record created on 22-Jul-2005
Database last updated on 22-Jul-2005
Here’s my email to the FCC… Use it if you wish. Sorry for posting so much.
Hello humbled Chair and Commissioners of the FCC,
I am writing this email with deep concern about an Italian company, Blinko, whom does business here in the US with our cellular phone carriers. Blinko has been illegally charging customers from various cellular providers without the consent of the customer. I am a recent victim of this scam. Certain cellular providers refuse to reimburse their customers for the illegal charges.
They charged me $3.99 for a ringtone and $9.99 for text alerts. Sprint charged me an additional $2.10 for text message Blinko sent me. I never signed up for this service. I DO NOT TEXT MESSAGE… Sprint does not want to refund the charges. They gave me (800) 971-2271, to call Blinko. I did… It is fully automated, no live person whatsoever. Their website tech support does not work. I got a SQL error when trying to submit a request for a refund. This is fraud… It is criminal and the phone carriers are supporting this by not putting an end to it. I had Sprint completely block ALL text messages on my phone. I have filed a claim with the Pennsylvania Attorney General as of today.
Here is a sample website with blogs by other concerned citizens hurt by the dubious practice of this Italian company Blinko.
Here’s Blinko’s info I found from networksolutions.com: **I posted the info in my last post. I cut it out of this post for obvioius reasons**
Thanks Remash. I also wrote to the FCC chairpeople noting what a problem these ringtones have become.
No problem Joe. After many tries I got Sprint to refund me some of the money. The rep said they get tons of complaints about this and they are spending countless hours on the phone because of it. So, this is a terrible cost to the carriers and could get passed on to us at some point. She shot me a clue that they are trying to do something about it as a company. She blocked the 42222 code from my account so Blinko cannot charge me anymore. I suggest you all do the same. Have your carrier completely block that code and any others that you know of. But everyone needs to report to the FCC… everyone.
I was charged $29.97 from Blinko for three seperate downloads. I never asked for, nor received any of their services. Verizon was kind enough to credit me the charges after I explained to them that it was a scam. The lady I talked to admitted that there were many complaints about Blinko. She suggested texting the word “STOP” to their 42222 number, as well as calling the 800 number given above for any subsequent charges.
Make sure you guys report this to the FTC also.
I had problems with Blinko as well. They are a bunch of crooks. No one had the guts to call me. They text msgd me and told me that I had signed up for “free” ring tones and that there would be a charge on my bill. After several emails and threats to report them to the FCC they finally offered a refund of 50% ($7.00). I found this site, looked at the postings, called Cingular and asked them to block all charges from Blinko. The lady did block the number for me so it will be interesting to see what charges show up. They also told me that I should call and they will remove any charges from my bill if they occur in the future.
I am going to contact Google and file a complaint with them and ask them to remove the adverising.
Same exact thing happened to my son. The first time T-Mobile removed the charges from my bill. It has now happened a second time and T-Mobile is not offering to remove the charges. T-Mobile has also said that they cannot block them. This is horrible.
My daughter went onto a site last year, planetringtones.com, and gave them her credit card for a all inclusive, one time payment, use of their site. This site was later converted to unlimitedringtones.com. This site utilizes “subscriptions” and my cell phone bill had two $9.99 charges and were identified as being from m-Qube. I notified Cingular that this was a fraudulent charges and wanted them reversed. Cingular reversed them and claimed the charges would not appear again. The next two months the charges again appeared. Again, I gave Cingular one more chance to undo the damage. They credited the account. In the meantime, I contacted Verisign, the company that owns m-Qube. I notified the legal department that the m-Qube charges were fraudulent and wanted them to stop. Verisign’s legal department forwarded the letter to the legal department of m-Qube on July 27, 2006. On September 29, 2006, I received a 3 page letter from legal counsel of m-Qube who tried to insinuate that my daughter had “subscribed” to the monthly service and actually listed her credit card, password and computer info to “prove their point.” This was information she had given to the original company for their one-time charge. Now m-Qube was acting as if they had the right to convert her one time payment agreement into their subscription service. It is important to note that on March 20, 2006, Verisign purchased m-Qube and perhaps they felt they needed a better bottom line on March 14th when they pulled this stunt. I will be following this very closely. My husband and I are attorneys with our own law firm and this disgusts us. In the four months that we dealt with this matter, we were billed just shy of $80. What about those poor individuals that don’t notice for a year or more or never. If you’d like to send me any information you’ve encountered, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading.
When do you think ringtones will be gone and phones will just be like mp3 players?
Hi .. this is a brilliant find. Thanks for
sharing the great info with me.
What’s interesting for me is the more
I read your stuff the more I find this
blog (post) so helpful……
Also it’s great to read other
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Google’s largest advertiser group outside of Ebay wildcard ads are ringtone fraud companies.
This is serious- as in “destroy the company” serious. Yet Google (and msn, and yahoo) can’t just ban this activity because a 15% drop in revenue would destroy their stock price- and keeping the stock price high is the #1 priority at any public company.
So- how long until some GOOG or MSFT or YHOO execs go to jail over this? The billions lost are far greater than worldcom or enron. It can’t just be “not a problem” for much longer.
Debra JC – another outrage where the big guys are protecting their own fraudulent interests in keeping the scams going. How long is this going to go on?
I agree it’s a case where the stakes at the personal level are small enough that many probably just absorb the cost, don’t know how to fight, or don’t even realize they are getting billed. Argghhhhh!
I too was hit by Blinko while doing some research on Google.
Anyone know names and email addresses/phone numbers of the Google Executives? There’s a mutitude of blogs on this subject that include Complainants’ email addresses. It would be pretty easy to organize an email and phone calling campaign to the Google, Mobile Companies,etc… Executives, as well as the FCC and consumer agencies.
Target a specific day/week and get everyone you know to start calling and emailing. It’ll get someone’s attention pretty fast.
Thanks for posting this. I just received my first Verizon phone last Monday and started receiving text messages from Blinko (4222). At first I didn’t think I would be charged for this service since I didn’t subscribe to it. I finally had a chance to call Verizon last night and was told that the messages came from Blinko and that I would be charged 9.99 for the service. If I wanted the service cancelled, I was supposed to call the 800 number. I told the rep right away that there is no way I’m going to pay for something I didn’t subscribe and that Verizon and Blinko will have to prove that I’m the one who signed up for it. If they can’t prove it, they better not charge me. So I called Blinko anyway. I asked them to unsubscribe my brand new phone number from their service. She didn’t even hesitate one bit and unsubscribe my number. I asked her when the service started. Turned out that it started sometime in May 2006, way before I got the phone number. Talk about inherited headaches. Now she wants me to fax over my service agreement to confirm my Verizon service start date. Yeah, I’m faxing over my information to these guys. I told them they will here from Verizon since this should not be my problem. Lets see what happens next.
Good Erwin – at least you aren’t getting the charges though make sure they don’t persist on the account like mine did even after I had them removed.
What’s so frustrating is that they are asking you to provide paperwork. It’s the telcos that should have to prove, with a signed statement, that people signed up for the ringtones. Minors should not be able to sign up for them at all IMHO.
I have had two frustrating calls to Verizon to get credit for Blinko’s charges. I am sure Verizon is making making money in this scam. They simply tell me that they have no control over these charges althoug they show up on their bill. Is this a good case for a legal action? I do not think anybody should have to go throuh this!!!
This is incredulous – what a SCAM!! I just found 2 charges from the Italian parent company of BLINKO for 9.99 each / in checking my Sprint account, this has happened for 2 other months.
I’m on the phone right now with Sprint and am being told they can’t provide a refund, they only collect the fee from me and forward it to these third party companies.
I will definately be contacting the FCC. This is a HUGE MESS!!!
I to was scammed by blinko for the exact same thing I was billed $9.99 for a text message sent to my phone!!!!! sprint isn’t hot much better (blinkosprint)= (sprintblinko)
Here are the contact details of the responsible people:
(parent company of Blinko)
Ph. +39 0521 533110
Anybody who feels they were scammed by this company should contact my attornies who have a class action lawsuit going against blinko.com. You will get free representation and compensation if we win the class action law suit. My attorney’s information is as follows:
Blim & Edelson, LLC
53 West Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604
Please contact them as companies like blinko.com need to pay for their illegal actions.
So is there anyway to officially unsubscribe if you are continually getting charges? My boyfriend unwittingly signed up for one of the ring-tone scams and even though he cancelled, he is still getting charged.
Angela I’d call your cell phone provider and INSIST they remove ALL the charges and set up the phone to make it impossible to send the offers.
Keep asserting that and ask for higher ups if they do not listen. The so called “sign ups” are absurd and in my opinion are false advertising and fraud, and it’s outrageous that the phone companies are supporting this.
After finding charges for downloads from Blinko on my Verizon bill, I contacted Verizon. I told them that my wife and I do not download anything for our cell phones. They told me there was nothing they could do. I had to contact Blinko directly and they gave me an e-mail addresses. The addresses turned out to be not valid. Verizon claimed they could not block Blinko and that it was company policy to pass the charges on to their customers without verifying. I used the e-mail addresses of the FCC Commisioners to lodge complaints after I got nowhere with Blinko. Commisioner Tate wrote me a personal letter and promised to pursue the matter. I heard from Blinko in just a few days promising a refund in 6 to 8 weeks. I wonder what pressure Commisioner Tate brought toi bear upon Blinko? When the refunds didn’t come I contacted them again and told them I did not trust them and I would pursue the matter with twice as much intensity the second time around. Again, they promised a refund in 6 to 8 weeks. The refund came today in the form of a check. It took several months but I did receive it. We, the American Public, cannot stand for illegal consumer charges. I have contacted my Senators and congressman about the matter. I am also moving my accounts from Verizon when my plan expires in two months. They have given me unsatisfactory and, sometimes, false answers concerning several issues over the past two years. I have little faith in the whole wireless communication industry. Thank you for your website and the information tht helped me resolve this issue.
I just got off the phone with T-Mobile customer service. I called when I found a $9.99 Premium Service charge on my bill this month from Blinko. I looked at last month and there it was again. The rep seemed to know exactly what I was talking about and immediately agreed to credit my account and “black list” blinko so that I would not get anymore charges. I asked them to “black list” all other premium service providers and they said that federal regulations prevented them from doing so. Odd that I have to prove who I am with the last 4 digits of my SSN to prove who I am if I want to make a change to MY account but Blinko can do as they please. Can you say SCAM boys and girls!
This Topic Is Concerning to me, But not in the way it concerns everyone else. Blinko a Ringtone/SMS texting company, Cannot just randomly pick somone phone# and automatically sign them up to their service. It is illegal and impossible because of the signup system they have in place. u have to enter your cellphone #, and it THEN texts THAT phone a “secret pin” which u then have to enter into the next page you sre directed to. Perhaps your kids had signed up thinking it was free, or the parents did. either way Every Blinko Page has a TOS ( Terms Of Service Agreement) and you have to checkmark the box explaining that your read; understand; and agree to the terms. So these “many complaints” Service Providers are recieving are from people so refused; cant; didnt read the TOS and who had physically put in their “secret pin” into the following page. Like I said, It might have been somone else on the plan thinking they were free. But all in all. Its not a scam If somone Followed the webpages and agreed to the TOS.
Which ALL MUST DO in order to recieve their services. Blinko is a Company proviiding a Service. Its not like they are billing you and you are recieving nothing from them. Initially then one signs up they recieve a certain amount of ringtones per month, or SMS messages. Granted the prices are different then they would be through you’re carrier. But, When I walk into Eckerd Drugs store to buy a 12 pack of soda. I 100% understand that It will cost more compared to Walmart. So Lawsuits or not. Somone had to physically enter information into blinko’s system; then enter more information that was recieved ONLY by the Plaintiffs phone. Good Luck on winning that battle.
Concerned Business Man.
(This comment wanst intended to anger or offend anyone. just to reveal some misconceptions.)
not really sure what the problem is, it says LOUD and CLEAR that you will be charged IN YOUR TEXT MESSAGE. what’s the big deal here?
A nice post about Ringtone scams by Shoemoney, one of the top affiliate marketers:
Its not a scam If somone Followed the webpages and agreed to the TOS.
No – if you read the actual agreements you’ll see they are deliberately and carefully designed to mislead the user into thinking they are getting a free ringtone. The ongoing payment obligations are so deeply buried in the fine print it’s simply out of the question for a reasonable person to maintain this is a fair contract, not to mention that it’s often kids clicking on this stuff on behalf of their parent’s bills.
Well folks obviously verizon sprint t-mobile are all part of the scam or atleast getting kickbacks from these other companies, like blinko, dada, etc.. well lets stop talking about it and do something… class action suit….lets do it…I to have been getting screwed by dadamobile.com, never signed up but they been charging me 9.99 a month for something i never signed up for…i wonder if verizon and others are involved in helping these scammers get access to our phones cause i know damn sure i never signed up for this crap….
you say they cant just pick up a cell phone and sign you up for a service you didnt even request and that you would have to set up a pin…and fine print reading…..i know damn sure i didnt enter some pin or my phone number for a free ringtone, i am 30 years old and have no kids and i been scammed like many others some of who dont even have text messages. So concerned buisness man you got your facts wrong, I can assure you this will all come out and a big class action suit , which will settle these matters, just a matter of time my friend!
that happens to me all the time. it suxxxxxxx!!!!!!
I’m sending a big “Thank you” to all of you who have contributed to this website. I had a similar experience with Sprint and a nebulous “Premium Services” charge for $9.99 on my second phone bill which I explained to a Sprint customer service rep, could not possibly be a text message because I had requested all text messages to be blocked to & from my phone…After eight or nine phone calls to Sprint ending in frustration, I got the “text 42222” or call Buongiorno story also and we all know the rest of that story. Thanks to you all when I googled “Blinko” this web page came up and I was armed with lots of info. Bottom line, I called Sprint back and told the rep I was giving themone more chance to reverse my charges and block Blinko from my lines before I filed an informal complaint with the FCC over this SCAM. It worked: I got a $11.25 credit and the Sprint rep called Blinko herself to block text alerts. It turns out that blocking all text messages does not block PREMIUM text messages! I asked if there were any other kinds of text messages she could block for me. So I did get satisfaction from Sprint…so far. What a waste of energy and a couple of hours of my time. Maybe this will help some of you out there.
Thanks for that extra info Dara. Good work insisting that Sprint follow up. It is simply outrageous and scandalous how the phone companies are failing to police these scams and misleading “contracts”.
I am having the same problem with sprint right now. I am contacting everyone I can (attorney general,channel 8,4,11,) I want this stopped and I was amazed that these supposed reputable companies are involved. they have to know and to me that borders on the edge of criminal. if I can help in any way please fill free to contact me. Ken Carroll Balch Springs, Texas
I got the email which came from the Blinko.com.
I do not understand and not bother to that email.
Until I got the T-Mobile statement billing which was
charged at 9.90 a month first time. I found out so I
tried to search in website and got it such as music, games
etc. I tried some for games but hastened more charges so
I sent STOP. But how do I stop and ask for credit to my
billing statement. It won’t work out. I picked Thumbplay
just for a trial and not work out. I do not understand.
Im deaf and old lady not need that with my eye problems.
I am a victim of this scam, I have notified ALLTELL.com of my problems with this illegal service provider, that is charging without legal authorization.
I shall Inform the U.S. Attny. General, and Texas Atty. Gen to investigate this particular Company.
A Follow up note: If you want this stopped please e-mail: http://www.m-qube.com and advise them to stop billing your number. their Tele Phone # is: 617-673-2400
although I received no answer.
I too am a victim, and I won’t go down without a fight. I just got off the phone with Cingular and they told me those extra charges I’ve been receiving over the last couple of months are from a company called M-Cube Inc. After doing some research, I believe M-Cube is now owned by Blinko. Furthermore, Cingular claims their hands are tied and there’s nothing they can do to those 3rd party billing companies; however, Cingular submitted a claim to credit my account. This is extremely frustrating and I’ve had enough. Please understand that Cingular has been quite helpful but I keep getting billed. I honestly don’t know how Blinko received my billing information or my cell number without me knowing. What a scam!!!!
I just received a text message from blinko that I had signed up for there services, I did not but was on the site and it said free ring tone so I downloaded it and now am being billed 9.99. I called and told them to stopand not charge the 9.99 but if they had to charge for one ring tone, I would pay that. I was told I signed up when I downloaded the ring tone,but I gave no information and I would be charged this month and they put a stop on it. Was also told I could still download 7 more tones for that price and I will not. I was on that site for first time march 25,2007, I will report this to cingular and ask they block there 42222 number hope they will stop billing after this time. Barb
We just started going through the same thing with Verizon. They said yes they permit 3rd party billing. This appears to be very similar to the 1-900-xxx-xxxx numbers where your phone bill will show the $9.99 charges, for example, per minute charge for a call. I believe the reason telephone companies allow 3rd party billing is because they get a hefty percentage of the amount billed.
I asked the Verizon customer service person where I could find the contractual agreement between myself and Verizon where I agreed to accept 3rd party billing. They responded that there was no agreement on my part and its just part of their policy. In other words, I have no control over what Verizon might decide to add to my bill beyond our contractual agreement. It is to their advantage to keep this type of billing in place.
I would be curious to know if Verizon actually contacted or arranged for these companies to bill me. There is no consumer protection in this area. I am all for a Class Action law suit against Verizon and any other telephone company that permits any 3rd party billing. It should be stopped.
I called alltel, they said text them back 3 times saying (stop and quit) u must do this 3 times. Alltel charged us $0.30 for doing this but it works. Hope this helps the rest of you
I have been trying to stop Blinko since November they also charged me and my son for services never rendered. I had to pay 69.99 to have nextel not turn off my phone. I spent hours calling nextel blinko and m qube and no one would help. I think it is outrageous. We never signed up for this and anyone can do this over the internet. Why won’t they stop this. And nextel is good for nothing and I closed my one phone with them and soon as my contract is up on the other phone I will do the same.
If you were charged on your cell phone bill for ringtones or other mobile content you never ordered, these guys might be able to help you.
I have been experiencing the same problem. I have called sprint since August of last year to advise them that I never order Blinko and that I never agreed for sprint to add any other services to by phone bill. Even though I have requested sprint to put a block on my phone, they ignore this request and allows Blinko to charge for these games, ringtone among other that I never ordered. I dont know who to blame for these charges either Sprint or Blinko. I asked sprint to provide me with the tel. No. for Blinko to request a refund and according to them they did not have their no. ??? How can they let a company charge these outrages amounts every month and not have a phone number to comunicate with them. See I dont know who to blame??? However, after insisting that they provide me with some kind of way for me to get in touch with them, they finally provide me with Blinko, Buongiono, Gemstar, Madacy and Someplay website. In my search to contact them I came across this website and have learned that I am not the only one. Please help if you can by advising me as to how I can stop these charges and how I can get reimburse.
I noticed a charge for $19.99 each month for three months. When I called my cell phone provider I found it was being charged from some company called M-Cube. This was supposedly for some unlimted downloads. WTH?? I never subscribed and fortunately my provider, Cingular the new ATT, removed the three months worth of charges and helped me to block further charges. I believe this was done through MySpace when I gave my cell number.
Irene – another outrageous blinko scam story.
Read the comments above and try those things until you get refunded and Blinko stops charging.
blinko.com has charged me for services that I did not sign up for who ever reads this message check with your service provider to see if you are being charge for services you did not sign up for big ass scam,
We have just been through the same thing… being charged for text services that we did not sign up for. My son got his first cell phone and we made sure to not even allow text messages on the phone because the phone is for emergency use only. His phone is not even capable of texting, but yet we were charged for this service. Our service provider did give us credit for the first charge that we recieved but it happened again this month. I have also gone to the blinko website, sent emails, no responce. I called the 1800 number that is given on the website and did finally get a “real” person on the phone, I had to unsuscribe to something I never asked for in the first place, and I also did a parental block and was given a confirmation number for my block…so lets see if this works!
I’m also having problems with blinko charges on my Verizon account for $9.99 per month. I’ve never been to their web site, never authorized anything with them, and Verizon verified that no downloads have ever been made from their service. Verizon has been absolutely no help resolving the problem.
My beef was with Dadamobile and Mblox. After some serious legal research, I never let up on them and I did receive a refund from Dadamobile. The bottom line is these types of companies do NOT operate in good faith and instead, literally trick people into “signing up” for their service when in fact, no one realizes they’re signing up for anything, since their pop-up adds and spam texts have the words FREE and ZERO COST all over them (I happen to have copies of some adds) or the text messages are written in abbreviated text lingo too difficult for the average person to decipher.
Dadamobile’s Customer “Service” has posted a multitude of comments on other forum/message boards NOT owned by them, responding to the hundreds of complaints lodged against them, which is evidence enough that the company is not conducting themselves properly. What legitimate company searches the internet and posts on message boards and forums?! None. The legitimate ones don’t have to!
All the explanations about recycled phone numbers and two part sign-ups is a crock. When you have 9+ out of 10 people crying foul, you have the basis of a class action lawsuit. The only people that have supported these companies, likely signed up for the service (on purpose!).
There is no question in my mind that Dadamobile and these other companies are guilty of fraud, fraud in the inducement, intrinsic and constructive fraud, deceptive and fraudulent ’sales’ practices, lack of full disclosure and they’re in clear violation of the Fair Business Practices Act as well as the Federal Trade Commission Act. These companies have NOT acted in good faith; there is much evidence to support the fact that the manner in which they have conducted their business, is criminal.
I would encourage each and every one of you who has a complaint, to enter the above phrases into a legal search engine and find the state codes and US codes which apply. There have been State and Federal laws broken by these companies and you CAN get your money back (I did!!), or you have legal recourse, and can sue for it in court. Stop being a victim and become proactive. Hound the company and do not stop until you’ve received your refund. It only took me about a week or two before Dadamobile caved in.
Regardless of how you proceed, you WILL win and you WILL get your money back if you are persistent and professional. Do your homework. Again, I GOT A REFUND from Dadamobile and you can, too!
Jules thanks for the thoughful comment. I agree that there’s a lot of bad faith / illegal stuff going on in this sector and it’s outrageous that the phone companies are not acting agressively here. I’m for powerful remedies that involve refunds plus penalties for phone companies and the scammers themselves.
stop to all unscribed from 4222 i dont want this added to my phone
i’m writing for help, blinko bills me every month 9.99 for downloads of songs which i have never downloaded a song and its being going on since february 2007 how can i stop getting billed? please help
I was scammed for 6.99 on my cell phone for those stupid ring tones. It is false advertising because it says “free ringtone” but instead of a ringtone it just steals seven dollars from your account. On the webpage there is a spot to click on BOOST MOBILE and when I called customer service they said BOOST wasnt an option but I mean how would I get there in the first place if it wasnt an option??!?!?!?!? I agree with the gentleman who placed the first complaint. It is a scam and it should VERY clearly state that we are going to be charged for it and what we will be getting. Physically signing an aggreement should be the only way that people can be charged for this service, or any other services hindering on and dealing with contracts for that matter. I wanted a free ringtone, not a seven dollar subscription. If I knew that this would happen I would have never got myself involved, because if it would have said u must subscribe and pay this fee I wouldnt have ever even been interested. Way to scam the public with false advertisment. As someone of the general public I feel that we are trapped sometimes by companies and BLINKO should be shut down. I wanted what I clicked on-a FREE RINGTONE-not all this other B.S. Hopefully something will be done so all us customers who have been scammed will have the charges reimbursed to our accounts and people in the future will be protected from false advertisment and scams. Everyone should keep on persisting with these problems, because we will get our money back and hopefully put these scammers out of business.
Honestly, don’t be so gullible. I deal with this kind of stuff all the time; my company works with part of Blinko. Your son signed up online and was sent a pin code to his cell phone with a message like this “2179 is ur PIN Code. Enter it online 2 get ur 10 bonus credits and the chance to WIN an 80GB IPOD & PS3! Terms at Blinko.com. Only 9.99/mo”
The message clearly says you will be charged $9.99 a month, or $6.99 or whatever charge it is. To finally be charged, your son had to go back online and enter the code. This is called a double opt-in, which is required by most wireless carriers. It keeps people from accidentally signing up for premium services by forcing them to agree to the service twice.
At this point, there is no way to say that it was an accident and the phone’s owner takes full responsibility for the charges. Though it was your son who signed up, whom I’m sure you did not give consent, it is up to the owner of the phone contract (i.e. You, sir) to manage your various phones and keep these things from happening.
Canceling the subscription is easily done. Find a text message from the company, you said you got it from 42222. Select reply and send one of the following words: Stop, End, Quit, Cancel, or Unsubscribe. Just that word. Not “Please stop”. Just the word. You will receive a confirmation message telling you that your subscription has been canceled. If you want to get your money back, your best bet is to go straight to Blinko and not through your cell phone people; they will likely refund you but cannot cancel the subscription and therefore your problems will persist.
I see stuff like this all the time. People think that they innocently stumbled upon these charges, but in reality, the mobile industry has procedures set in place that are there to help the consumer, for example: the double opt-in.
If you would just take the time to read the full message, or the fine print, you would see that nothing is free and there is away to avoid these problems.
I hope this helps people. But seriously, the easiest way to go is take text messaging off your kid’s phone if they aren’t careful enough to read the fine print.
>don’t be so gullible. I deal with this kind of stuff all the time
Well, then if you are dealing with so much of it, clearly the company knows the print is too fine!
I wonder if the Text Message were to START OUT with the words “For 9.90 a month you can get …” there would be a sudden drop in all these complaints. If so, its the electronic equivalent of burying something in fine print at the end of a document or in an obscure footnote and then claiming that it was plainly disclosed.
BLINKO IS A RIP OFF, I had to threaten them with a law suit to remove charges even though they admit no service was rendered. ” you pay for the subsciption used or not”
Blinko is a rip off get away, very far away. spread the word BLINKO SU(ks
Lets call our state reps and get this kind of stuff off the net.Hey while you are at it send me a dollar/ I promise to use it. and won’t be on your bill next month, at least i’ll deliver what was promised LOL. NOTHING. I work for one of the major cell companies and this is one of the biggest FRAUD complaints we get. BLINKO is nothing short of a rip off. Blink and they steal your money O!, guess where they got there name.
Disclaimer: these thoughts are mine and mine alone, not associated with my employer. Power up!
Not sure if it is related to blinko or not but I found a 9.99 charge on my verizon bill for premium txt messages whatever that is. The txt number was 48000. I have never gotten ringtones for the current phone I have as it is a treo and they don’t have a ring per person setting so its kinda pointless. Verizon did reverse the charge and told me to txt 48000 with stop. They did say that putting your phone number in a website can get you signed up for this crap so I suppose even putting someones number into the sites that leave funny messages like the snakes on a plane one could get people into this junk.
I just received 2 messages from Blinko. I think the trick is that their message tell you to respond to cancel, when responding is what actually signs you up. I deleted the messages and immediately called Sprint. They check and confirmed that I had not been charged, and they blocked my account from receiving future “premium text messages”.
I think that they likely tricked you into subscribing by lying in their messages.
I just received a $9.99 charge on my Verizon bill from Dadamobile for a “premium text message.” When I called Verizon Customer Service, they assured me that there was no way for dadamobile to charge me without my consent. In actuality, this is nothing I signed up for via web site, text message, or any other means that I’m aware of. Verizon says their records show an out-going text from my cell phone to their short code 63232. When I look in my cell phone history, which I’ve never deleted anything from, I show two inbound messages, but no outbound messages. Verizon would not delete the charge, but gave me instructions on how to stop the service. Bottom-line, somehow I’m getting billed for a service I never ordered. I wish Verizon and dadamobile could feel the pain of this!
I’ll try calling dadamobile tomorrow. 1-888-214-0381
A $9.99 charge for Blinko started showing up on my cell phone bill under my son’s number. He said he received a text message and responded to it. He wasn’t even aware we were being charged. I Googled “Blinko” and found a site to sign up for the service and on it found directions to unsubscribe by texting “STOP” to the 42222 number. Almost instantly we received a message back that we indeed had been unsubscribed. I then went to Blinko.com and found the 800 number for customer care, 800-971-2271. I called and went through the menu until I was connected to a person. I explained to Miss “Pauline Sky” that I was being charged for a service I had not subscribed to and wanted a full refund. She checked their records and asked for my address so they could mail me a refund of $39.96. She gave me a confirmation no. and said I should receive my refund in 4-6 weeks. It all seemed too easy. I’m hoping for the best but am very skeptical. I will also ask Altell to block these calls.
To stop Blinko from texting you and all this other crap, just text “STOP” and send it to 42222. try it.
i too am in my 40’s same thing. charged for no reason. sent “stop” to “42222” and got a reply message that i was unsubscribed. thanks for the help.
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Freeze Mobile is another newcomer to the ringtone scam. Their highly deceptive website is aimed towards kids who get blinded by the free ringtone ads that are not really free and does not bother reading TOS’s and Agreements. These businesses feed on deceptive practices and legal loopholes like the 2-opt schemes on sub-accounts. Phone companies should at least allow that only on the Main number on the account(which is the only one that can make changes to the account)Unless they are getting a percentage of the profit. I do not not hear anything about them taking legal action against these companies. They will eventually lose customers because of these arguments if they continue to turn the other cheek. A few posters here actually endorsed it, Straight ignorant of the exploitations and shifts the blame on whoever pays the bill.
you are right, they charge for anything.. ringtone scam is very rare these days.
nice post great help, thanks for the help.
I have been trying for 8 months to rid myself of these fraudelent ring tone charges on my Alltel bill. The level of service that I get from Alltel trying to fixing this problem or block the text alerts and ring tones is so horrible it only leads me to the conclusion they are in cahoots with the ring tone companies. Alltel is positively horrible about dealing with this. Mu son’s cell phone is getting charged $30 – $90 per month for $9.99 ring tones and text alerts we didn’t sign up for or authorize. The account is in my name and my son has no idea what he did to sign up for this crap. I certainly never authorized these costs to be charged to my account. I get no help from Alltel other than they read from a script telling me to text the ring tone company and tell them to stop. It makes no difference to AAlltel that I don’t have text message service! I get charged for text alerts and ring tones even if there is no usage on the phone. I even went so far as to change the phone number, never activated or used it, and I still got charged for 2 Blinko text alerts and 1 Alerts Flycell (whatever that is) at $9.99 each. After my 8th or 10th call about this, I thought I finally found a sympathetic customer service rep who supposedly issued me credits for these and all old charges he could find. We spent an hour on the phone finding and crediting my account for all these charges (app. $500 to date since this all started) then he told me to use the Alltel site text message center to text the ring tone companies. He neglected to give me a phone number to call but did give me his direct email address to contact him should I have problems in the future. I’ve emailed him several times to get the phone numbers but no response. Something has to be done!
Ringtonetimes what ever you do do not use them a company that puts FREE in big bold letters my friend was like its free look and was trying to get me ringtones next thing i know 19.99 was taken off my phone and i cancled right then didnt download anything went straight to customer service told them what happened and basically laughed in my face told me to go get my 15 ring tones complementery or whatever complementry whatever i paid 20.oo and then told me further more it is a monthly charge of that so think im gonna get a new phone all i can do luckily i have a go phone so they canbt charge money that isnt there but be very very very carefull and do not give buisness to RINGTONETIMES.COM
http://www.124ringtones.com, Here you can download all type of latest and old ringtones for your cell phones, at Free of cost.
Unbelievable – a ringtones spammer posted this here!
This is how dumb I am. I am not a teenager, I’m 37 and apparently have been getting billed by blinko for months. I remember signing up for free ring tones and just now discovered, buried on page 7 of my online bill, the monthly charge of 9.99 from blinko. I was wondering why my bill was regularly higher than I signed up for, but resigned that it must be texting charges, that are not free with my service…cellular one. I am looking for a contact at blinko to turn it off. This was my fault. I signed up for blinko and I’m sure buried somewhere in the small print was a disclaimer saying I will be billed after a trial period. I’m sure this how they get everyone, teenager or not!
Thank you everyone for your inputs, I have been hit by this as well through Cellulare One.
Cellular One basically told there was nothing they could do for me. They told that in order for a company to be able to bill through them, the company needs to send a text message with an activation code that you have to log on the ringtone providers site and create an account and activate it with thier code that was texted to you. I did not activate the the account or download anything from them and was still charged 9.99, so obviously they can just bill it as soon as they get your number, even if you don’t activate the account. And the cell phone companys basically wash their hands of it from what it sounds like. I am 34 years old and am not gullible enough to believe that all ringtone websites are scams but this one obviously is and the cell phone companies still continue to let these companies bill through them, even with all the complaints. Just wanted to voice my opinion on this as well
Lorne and Jeremy –
I’d encourage you to fight the phone company on this and also write your senators, Better Business Bureau, etc. It is simply outrageous that they help Blinko and other ringtone scams bilk people out of their money. Lorne’s got a tougher case because you signed up at some point – but I’d still fight it because the fine print is unclear, the initial ad is totally misleading, and the ringtone industry is a mostly unregulated mess.
I too have been being charged by Blinko. I use Sprint and contacted them regarding my unusually higher bill. They refunded some of the money and said that they would block all text messages. Then this morning I received another 42222 text from Blinko, found this fab web site and called the number 800-971-2271 (posted Comment by Sue G | August 17, 2007. Wait for the phone prompt, “if you have questions about your bill” so that you can talk to a live person. Supposedly, I was calling into Miami, Fl., the customer service rep had an accent, but could of course still been in the U.S. They said I signed up for the service. I said I didn’t recall, but did remember looking into free ring tones online when I first receive my phone. The customer service rep said that when you reply to that first text message for your free ring tone you are in fact signing up for monthly service. When I received and open that first text message, I did not realize that was considered a contract. The only way to get that “free” ring tone is to sign up for monthly service. That doesn’t seem very free to me. The customer service rep said he could not refund any money but that I would not be charged again. He gave me a confirmation number. I will recontact Sprint to find out how I could receive texts when they supposedly put a block on my phone. I will get them to refund this charge should it show up on my bill. I hate Sprint too. This company is very slick and I am appalled that the phone companies allow other companies to tack on charges. I did not want to texted them back with the word stop and have to pay for texting as well.
I have not only been scammed the same way, it’s not just Blinko it’s Buongirono? Operatele, Freezemob, and Flycell that I was just looking at the web page to see what they have, there are “THREE STEPS” to complete before you considered a “MEMBER” so you can..whatever. Well as you know they don’t tell you til the third step that it’s gonna cost you 9.99 a month. Then even if you don’t complete the third step. They still bill you!!!!! I feel like I’m in some sort of rip off nightmare. Watch out for Vitaclear too. They get you when you sign up for Proactive.
I need the website or a phone number to contact Operatele. My daughter evidently ‘signed up; and I need to nip this in the bud.
My family is going through the same nightmare. We have TMobile and on 11-11-07, one of their sales agent told us to text 63232 to block my sons number. He did and it went through at the time. Yesterday 12-22-07, we went to Tmobile to discuss why I am still getting charged. Tmobile agent said apparently texting the 63232 now does not work, we have to contact them by phone. There are others that our agent said have billed, “Opera Telecom”, “Blinko.com”. Tmobile says they will not reverse until we straighten this charges out with Dada.net, Opera Telecom, Blinko.com through the internet. I told Tmobile yesterday that part of their service is to protect us from illegal companies but they said they have no control over these companies. I feel is cop out since I’ve read your blog stating they make money as well, so yes, they are giving me the run around and I just feel so helpless. I suspect that this has been going on for some time and because a lot of parents don’t have the time to complain, they just pay the bill. I am planning to cancel all our lines, but it looks like all other phone companies are affected by this phone scam. Is there any phone company that does not have this problem? or is there a company out there who will help you eliminate this problem?
I previously sent you a comment on 12-23-07 as I clicked on my name under that 12-23-07 comment it shows an andvertisement of DADA.NET. How did that happen? Is this legal for them to attach my name to their advertisement without my consent. They are doing this as I am commenting about their illegal activities to your blog. How do you undo this? I do not want their advertisement attached to my name.
Also on 12-23-2007, I sent in a message to Dada.net:
“This is my second message to your company to cancel my account, and reverse any bills you have sent. I have never subsribed to your company and I have never agreed to be financially obligated for your bills. Your company has illegally billed me. Please cancel my account and reverse all charges.
“As of today, 11-12-07 your number is unsubscribed from our service and you will receive no further charges from DADA.net. I am forwarding your refund rquest to our Billing Dept based on the info provided by you. It is very likely your refund request will be approved as a token of goodwill. If your refund is approved, we will be mailing you a check within 2 business weeks. Therefore, we request you to kindly provide us your full name (First and Last), complete street address so we may send the check to you. Please reply to this email at your earliest convenience so that we are sure to have all of your info to expedite this process. We will update you on the status of your refund via email in 5 business days. If there are questions regarding your refund request, someone will contact you.”
Matt Dobson via RT (email@example.com)
Customer Care Representative
First)In their letter they state, “it is very likely that they will refund my son, but they contradict by stating, “If your refund is approved”, etc. 2)Then they ask for further info like my son’s address. I just feel so violated that at this point I cannot trust them and for them to ask for any more info like my son’s address I feel is dangerous. Should I give them my son’s address?
3)They state a date 11-12-07 that supposedly they have unsubscribed us from their service, yet when I went to Tmobile on 12-22-07 there agent still says that they were still on our billing log.
I feel like everything they said they were suppose to do did not happen. On top of that, they even attach their advertisement to my name on your blog. Should I trust them now and give them my son’s address?
I need your advice on this matter…
I just recently discovered these unknown charges on my son’s cell phone.We are with ATT and all I was able to accomplish was a refund of the last 3 months of charges. The fraudulent charges were from Thumbplay,Operatele,and Mqube. I have been unknowingly paying these extra charges for almost a year and a half. I would be more than happy to join a class action lawsuit but would really like to be able to get a refund of all these charges. Is there any phone numbers to call these people and try to get my money back?
I am yet another victim of this scam. I have been charged $10.88 for over half a year by m-cube (aka: blinko) (aka:verisign). The first few months I just thought I went over on my minutes, but after it continued I took a closer look at my bill. I have now made four unsuccessful attempt at calling AT&T to remove blinko permanetly from my account. Your comments have been helpful. Hopefully I can now get it to end.
the only reason I am writing this is to tell you thse phone scams are global . I am a sixty
year old guy in the UK who uses a mobile cell phone for
emergency, and keeping in touch with my wife,I don’t know whether that is a good thing . I choose not to send text,
In other words I can’t . After contacting
T mobile about money draining away on my phone I was informed I have been recieving text messages at $2 a time from N a company that has global tentacles , but would have no testicles if I could hold of one of em. Daylight robbery
well done for highlighting these bandits .
The more publicity they get about their scams the less they will be able to operate .But hell whats the regulators
I have lodged a petition with no 10 to request that they stop the ringtone scammers and force them to get a signed contract for ringtones instead of as it is now.
That way they won’t be able to set up subscriptions without a signed legal document from the users, so if you agree with me on this simply use the link below and register you sign up for my petition and then forward the e-mail to everyone you know, as the more names I get the more likely they are to take notice.
It may not do anything, but at least we’d have tried.
I have been trying to cancel these charges since late last year and no luck as of yet. Any suggestions??
I got hit by Blinko scam as well. The wife was filling out their online app for a racing ringtone, but when she noticed the monthly service fee quit the app. You know Blinko charged the fee and the ringtone anyway! T-Mobil agreed to take off the charge right away and block the 42222 signal for me, so if you have T-Mobil you’re in luck. I happened to be watching C-Span this morning, and this issue is a topic under Federal consideration right now, so the efforts are beginning to pay off.
Blinko has apparently hit my bill too. I contacted Verizon because I did not know what the charge was for. They described the situation so I Googled 48000 and TXT and came up with Blinko. In the reply from Verizon, they told me that I could cancel the service but it could take 2 to 3 billing cycles for the charges to stop. This makes it seem like the cell phone carriers are participating. You notice the bill at the first charge $9.99 and then up to 3 more charges of $9.99 and you’ve paid $40 for something you never wanted to begin with? It certainly seems like the cell phone company is participating if they have the ability to block it. I’m have sent a letter to Verizon specifically requesting that the charges be reversed and that 48000 be blocked. Will post their reply.
It seems like Blinko got into South Africa too…. Also a victum of this so called scam. Received a pop up screen when surfing the web… Next thing I knew I started receiving sms’s from some unknown number with web addresses I can access for free!!! Not interessted and my service provider are also not helping me stopping the sms’s I keep on receiving…. Up to date it cost me R30 / week for the last 2 months. Just cant stop it. I started seeking help on the net and found this site among many others. All warning against “Blinko”
i was told that ican win the nokia N97 for free without paying i never knew it was a crimina act all the credit i have on my phone was esocted it was all most 5euro and i never solicited for ringing tone nor games on my phone.please can somebody help check this unlawfull act
I just got billed twice on my T-MOBILE. I called blinko and they said will request a refund but not sure if they will refund or not…This is such a scam….since this have been happened to a lot of us therefore we need to make some actions on this people.
şunu açık ve net olarak biliyorumki biz cep telefonu kullanıcılarının zarara uğratıldığıdır.
Bilgisayar, Cep Telefonu, Bilişim ve Teknoloji Haberleri
I have a think on my phone and its called flycell and i dont no how it go there and I would like it off of my at&t and phone because its costing me 10.00 dollars and I dont no how it got on phone and I would like it removed from my phone please
Blinko did this once and it took months to stop them. This was back in Feb 2010. Today 8/24/2010 they got in again and I have to get them out. This is ridiculous. Someone should find them, sue them for about $50,000 (or whatever some might make them think about this) and see if they stop. My story is much longer and if you want to hear it, including how they used another company’s toll free number, and routed it to their number so the culprit looked like someone else, email me (especially if you are part of the FCC), and we can discuss it over the phone
Good article over again. I am looking forward for your next post;)
how can i stop them from taking my money
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I never heard of Blinko. Randomly, it started billing me for texts it sent me. Then it said ‘Free Msg – Sorry You’ve got no credit’ I was disgusted. I had to force Blinko to stop those mother-fucking texts. Yet it continued for a month till I discovered a way to stop the texts. It was not on the website. I had to find out how to stop them. Text ‘STOP’ to the number that sends you the texts IMMEDIATELY or you will be charged for the texts until you run out of credit.
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When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get three emails with the same comment.
Is there any way you can remove people from that
service? Bless you!
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this article proides nice understanding even.
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