Some time ago, Telus was ordered to pay out a grand total of CAD $7.34 million to customers who were involved in a snafu over “premium texting” charges from third party service providers like Jamster and Jesta, as well as unwanted charges for premium or short-code MMS messages. The charges were racked up by Telus and subsidiary Koodoo’s customer bases between 2011 and 2013. Telus reached an agreement with the Competition Bureau to pay customers back for the unwanted charges. Though there were some customers during that period who used the services more than others, the rebate amounts will be applied on a flat basis depending on what services were used, up to CAD $15.00 per customer.
Customers who ended up with charges during the applicable period will be issued their rebates on their bill automatically, if they are still customers. Customers that used Mobile Messenger’s MMS codes and services are in line for CAD $5, while CAD $10 awaits Jamster and Jesta users. Although this sum may be well above or well below customers’ acutal usage of those services, the total settlement is set to be distributed equally among all affected customers, yielding those amounts. Former customers will receive alerts via e-mail or snail mail and from there, they have 120 days to contact Telus or Koodoo about the rebate. Former customers whose appeals for a rebate are granted will receive their piece of the pie via electronic funds transfer to their bank or via check. The rebates include applicable fees and taxes, as Telus points out in their blog post. “All rebates are inclusive of all applicable taxes that may have been paid by the customer…”
Premium services like Jamster or Mobile Messenger and their mini-games, such as “Pure Crush”, have been a scourge on the wireless industry for a long time, but have faded into relative obscurity in recent years. Once upon a time, premium texting codes and services were all over television and radio, wringing unsuspecting customers. Telus is certainly not the first or the last wireless carrier to be dragged through court and eventually ordered to reimburse customers who used these services.