As reported by PCWorld, Colorado Law firm Edelson and McGuire are heading a class action lawsuit that accuses GoLive Mobile and Airpush of some pretty shady business. The GoLive app apparently used deceptive Airpush ads which were designed to trick mobile consumers into signing up for a third party text messaging service. The ads were pushed to the Android notification bar, and prompted users for their mobile phone number in order to obtain a software update. Instead, the app would then activate their mobile number with the subscription service.
The form of practice that involves making money by texting content to a mobile phone is often referred to as a premium text messaging service.
Essentially, premium texting services work like this: you sign up, by using your mobile phone to text a particular code or message to a number, which then activates the service. After you've signed up, many premium texting services will send you information or content via text and then charge you an added price for it.
According to Edelson and McGuire charges on more than 100,000 cellular bills were affected by GoLive's fake messaging service and the charges can be traced. The information was disclosed in a filing with the U.S. District Court of Colorado on Tuesday. During the lawsuit, attorneys will be representing Kimm Nordman of Ohio, who was clearly affected by GoLive's trickery.
Obviously, their app was successful at tricking consumers into signing up. It's sad that so many people were affected, especially considering they only needed to pay attention to the questionable notifications in order to prevent the fraudulent charges from happening. This is why you don't just put apps on your phone carelessly folks.
In some cases, the additional texting services, being charged to phone bills, were priced as high as $9.99 per month.
The attorneys claim that the offenders wrongfully charged millions of dollars (in total) to various mobile accounts, unbeknownst to the affected customers. As it would turn out, both GoLive and Airpush violated the Colorado consumer protection laws, which is exactly why they're being targeted in the class action lawsuit.
This is actually one of the very first lawsuits to attack an Android app developer and advertising agency, but if companies keep practicing these types of shady dealings, it certainly won't be the last.
One of the attorneys for Edelson and McGuire, Chandler Givens spoke out on the subject.
"Cramming a wireless telephone bill is not novel. What is novel is cramming using these new technologies to facilitate the same old tricks."
Just to fill you in, Cramming is the term used to describe a service that places unauthorized charges on a phone bill. In the case of GoLive and Airpush, they were certainly Cramming some money if they made off with "millions of dollars".