Sometime between 9:30pm and 10:30pm yesterday, I got the following message from Airtel:

Thanks for downloading JavaGame from Airtel Live WAP Service. You’ve been charged Rs. 50. MinishaImranSpl http://203.200.188.92/airtel/ozone/hthrobes

And I hadn’t downloaded any game. The message had been sent at 4:30 AM. The customer-care executive asked if I’d been using Airtel Live, and wouldn’t treat Airtel Live mobile Internet access separately from  Airtel Live (portal) access. I’ve been asked to wait till my next bill before they make the change, but then – how many people who face the same issue will remember to do that, or even go through their bill in detail?

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Upon signing up for SMS 2.0 (we reviewed their search here), I received a SMS push offering a FREE 30 day jokes pack. I haven’t signed up, but do operators stop these services after a month, or will they continue to offer the services, but at a charge? I’m sure it’ll take at least one instance of being billed before the consumer realizes she is being charged. This is how Ringbacktones also work – they’re offered free for the first month, and often users do not cancel the service until after being billed at least once.”VAS contribution to ARPU”, indeed.

Take a look at this comment someone left on a post, asking for a service we’ve written about to be deactivated.

I think the TRAI should step in here to ensure that when there is a price increase for a particular service, fresh approval should be taken from consumers. And some guidelines on paid subscription services.

Update

From Sony Joy: USSD alerts are something on similar lines. They publicize well how to activate it but know one knows how to unsubscribe! Neither do they get canceled on its own after X months. The rates vary from 30 to 99 per month.

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What other such practices have you experienced/noticed? Do tell and we’ll add to the post.