Ringtone Scams are about 99% of that business … so beware!

I  *hate* the ringtones business because it represents so much of what is wrong with the internet and wrong with people.   Here’s one post about some of the millions of problems that plague the Ringtones Scam industry – a very sad excuse for a business enterprise.

However, with Apple jumping in to the Ringtones biz I’m hoping Apple may bring some standards because they don’t seem like a company that would do the Ringtones “business as usual” scam which is to offer what looks like a free ringtone and then hook unsuspecting or stupid teens into  a “contract” that dings their parents cell phone bill indefinitely.

I’m ranting about this after running into a banner I clicked on out of curiousity which led to a “Zoltar Ringtones” scam with the fine print below the fold that, to the extent I could figure out what the heck it was saying, was going to bill me 5.99 per *week* plus other charges.

This is a dispicable industry, and it’s amazing to me that it has not yet been regulated appropriately.    The solution is simple – nobody can enter into these contracts without a *written* signature from the credit card holder.


26 thoughts on “Ringtone Scams are about 99% of that business … so beware!

  1. Hey, my daughter’s cellphone racked up over $30 dollars in charges last month, and it was only after I threatened to cut it off, that she confessed it was ‘ringtone charges’.
    Spitting blood at the ripoff, targeting children mainly!

  2. I have been a victim of a ringtone scan before, which was by a company called Mobile Active.

    This company is regularly advertising on Australian TV so do not fall for their marketing! It cost me over $60. However I did recover this money with the help of the telecommunications ombudsman and my lawyer.

    The reason I am posting this now is I have just clicked on a banner ad which very nearly had me sucked into another such scam. This time with a company called CPX interactive. (www.cpxinteractive.com). The banner ad and the websites it leads to seem to have nothing at all to do with such a scam, and it is only on reading the (very) small print at the bottom of the screen (which is not even visable until you scroll down) that you find out they are going to charge you $6.60 per message plus other charges.

    If anyone falls victim to such a scam, usually you can stop any further chrages being incurred by texting “STOP” to the number that is sending you the ringtones or whatever.

    I also strongly recommend lodging a complaint in writing with both the company concerned and the telecommunications ombudsman. If that fails seek legal advice and do not pay the disuputed portion of your phone bill.

    Good luck and please spread the word to everyone you know about these scams!

  3. I’m waiting on hold right now with Sprint. My daughter was trying to find a certain song online to be her ring tone. Never found one she liked. Last month it cost us $50 bucks. We thought we had it all straightened out. Now this months bill is for $39.99 worth of charges for ring tones we never received or even asked for. It should be criminal! We own a small business & if we just started charging people for product they never asked for or received….we would end up in jail.


  5. Ruth: What ever phone you have, it comes with a ‘ring tone’. Use it. Don’t look for or use any alternative ring tones. Simple.

  6. If you were charged on your cell phone bill for ringtones or other mobile content that you never authorized and/or you were sent unsolicited SMS text messages and you want to fight back against these companies, get in touch with some class action attorneys.

    These fellows are investigating unauthorized cell phone charges and wireless SMS text spam and might be able to help you:


  7. Yeah this one is another one…charging 5.99 and then it doesn’t even service my phone. On top of that this company is charging me for jokes of the day that I did not even ask for. I’ve contacted them and Alltel on this matter and suggest anyone who has ran into this do the same.

  8. Sounding Off. Beware of ringtonetimes as seen on ESPN. I signed up for a Free ring tone and started getting charged $5.95 a week for their service. Never received the so called free ring tone, but did receive a bill. Thanx ESPN.

  9. I was Scammed by Text & Win on 193500 and Fun Box 19777000 when I replied to an ad free ringtones on the EZ TRACKS .COM Free Music Connection website. I only did it to get rid of the nuisance Pop Ups being displayed on this site. I has cost me $40.00 in Prime Fees for unrequested SMS messages, which could not be displayed on my Mobile, yet they charged me heavy fees which I was unaware of until they cleaned out my account.
    I have reported these matters to the Government Agencies involved.

  10. If you read the content of each page it is easy to understand that your carrier is going to be billed.

    try not putting your cell phone number in anywhere on the interent..duh??

  11. I’ve now received over 30 unsolicited text messages (about 2 per week) from ez-tracks.com. I have contacted them and requested they stop, and threatened legal action. That’s $.45/message for ME TO BE ADVERTISED TO!!!! That’s ridiculous.


  12. I have been scamed over with Ringtone sites as well. 15 free downloads, they are NOT FREE you get billed $20 a month.
    Aqfter searching through the net i found a legimate site, that offers free ringtones.

  13. As an employee of the biggest Mobile Phone content provider, i must say a few words here.

    First of all…it amazes me how many people are dumb enough to not read the terms, which are clearly…and legally…posted in the advertising.

    When you see the very legally advertised word FREE…with a * next to it…THAT MEANS SOMETHING. It is called an Asterix Symbol for those who don’t know.
    It implies that there are terms and conditions applied to the word before it.

    But not only that…the word BONUS in ‘Bonus Tone’ means something EXTRA. Not free!

    How many of you English…don’t even know English?
    I know for one…a LOT in the U.K. cant even talk on the phone when giving a simple cell number to a company to whine and cry about they’re bill for subscribing to some service.

    Please, U.K. citizens…learn how to pronounce the numbers 2 and 3.
    Some of you are saying what sounds like “Duh” and “Eeee” so it’s “Duheee.”
    Is it a TWO or a THREE? Who knows! To the English both are “Duheee!”
    To me it’s amazing that a Texan can speak English more clearly that most British.

    But back to the point here.

    These companies are offering LEGAL services in PARTNERSHIP with 1. the Gateway Providers and 2. the Mobile providers.

    If you want things in the industry to change…then it will take a change in the laws of any specific country.

    1.50 GBP per message is a lot…but it is up to YOU, the consumer, to READ SOMETHING before placing your data anywhere at any time!

    You are also 100% RESPONSIBLE for your kid misusing they’re mobile phones as well.
    Parents should provide proper guidance and place CLOSE attention to the use of the phones they give to they’re children.
    It is the PARENT’S responsibility to be sure they’re children are properly supervised!
    When you call us complaining about your 12 year old who subscribed…BLAME YOURSELF!…NOT THE PROVIDERS!
    You gave the kid a gun…they shot themselves in the foot with it…now your gonna blame the maker of the bullets?
    GET REAL! It is YOU who are the enabler in this situation.

    People…pay better attention to your business and stop trying to blame someone else for your own shortcomings of sight, language and supervision.


    • I think your take is ridiculous Ivan. Most ringtone offers are deliberately confusing and misleading. The money obligation info is in the fine print and it’s buried.

      It is true that people often act foolishly or irresponsibly, but that does not make it OK to prey on that gullibility.

    • Ivan,

      The “free – but” stuff is a scam and it fits right into the world of the Video Professor. If you want to give away something for free…then give it away for free without strings attached OR advertise accurately and tell people what it is.

      Other than that if people buy stuff it is their own doing – we have all purchased stuff we didn’t want afterward, and parents need to be more responsible for their children. My kids know if they did something like that they wouldn’t have a phone for quite a long time.

      However…that said…most of the ringtone purveyors out there most definitely use confusing tactics to trick people into a purchase. Something should be done about that.

  14. Why not make your own?
    Most phones if not all newer versions will play MP3 ringtones.
    Simply take a song and use any editor (there are tons of free ones) and presto you have your ringtone.

    Why anyone would PAY for a ringtone is beyond me??? Anyone can make their own for FREE-you don’t need to be good with computers.

  15. After ALOT of searching, I guess there isn’t such a thing as FREE cell phone ringtones??? I have horses, and I though it would be pretty nice to have a cell phone that rang like a horse neighing…BUT I can’t find one. Oh well…..I guess my Mom was right..nothing in this life is free! Susan

  16. Hey Ivan….hows your karma

    You complain that your customers are too”dumb” to read terms and conditions.
    You would be out of a job if they did.
    You suggest that people should take some responsibility….Why dont you?.
    Your employers are taking money from children.

    P.s some of your english is questionable.

  17. beware of ringtone auction alert (and many other ringtone services). when you go to the website they ask for your cell phone number to text u a pin number to access free ringtones. you do get the PIN number which is worthless. u also get a mashed up text that appears like it is selling something. what it is, is a text that “confirms” a $9.99 a month subscription plan. but becuase it is mashed up with broken language it is easy to ignore. this text is asking you to accept this plan or text stop to cancel it. if you ignore it then you have now subscribed to their service!

    once i googled this company, all the links were about this scam.

    ATT fortunately refunded me this money and cancelled the subscription. if you are with ATT they have a parental control for app purchases. they email you a PIN number and this PIN is required for any purchase in the android market to be completed.

    there are many scams like this, they prey on people with new android phones who are overwhelmed with setting up their phone. i came from the iphone where the app store is tightly managed by apple.

    i love my samsung skyrocket, but keep in mind the android is the wild west compared to the iphone.

    i ended up getting a great selection of basic ringtones for free from zedge. i downloaded a free app from the market. feel free to research this and best of luck with your new phone

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