Updated: Friday, 31 Jul 2009, 6:34 PM CDT
Published : Friday, 31 Jul 2009, 4:26 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - When Seth Williams received his July cell phone bill he noticed an unusual charge from Cylon LLC Alerts.
"It was ten dollars higher than it normally is," said Williams
So Williams called Sprint, his cell phone provider.
"She says, 'well that charge is a result of a text message that you received that you didn't respond to," said Williams.
While it sounds backwards, unless you reply "stop" to the
message Cylon LLC: Alerts, bills you $9.99 every month.
KXAN was able to find a phone number, 888-211-4727, for the Arizona-based company but when called there is only a recorded message.
Eventually, the recording message directs the caller to a Web site but clicking on the cancel link goes another Web site, then another unrelated Web site, essentially getting you lost in a cyber loop.
"I really felt this was a horrific scam," said Williams.
Williams said the Sprint customer service agent told him his experience is not uncommon.
"She said she spends a significant amount of her day requesting credits from companies like this," said Williams. "So I don't think Cylon is the only one."
What is worse, is there is nothing in the message itself letting the consumer know if they do not reply they will be billed.
"The practice is called cramming," said Tom Kelley, Office of the Attorney General Greg Abbott, spokesperson. "What it amounts to, is a company placing unauthorized charges on your phone bill."
Kelley recommends consumers check their cell phone bill, line by line, every month. If there is a strange charge, consumers should call their cell phone provider and report the incident to the Texas Attorney Generals Office.
"Nobody should have to pay for unauthorized charges obviously.
It's not going to be tolerated," said Kelley. "We are actively
looking into these complaints that we have right now with this