Ok, ok... I'll work on a better title for the post. It's not important. What is important is that you LEARN FROM MY EXPERIENCE. So if you have a phone, read this.
A few weeks ago, I'm sitting in my hospital bed the day after surgery on my back. In my hand is a button that, when pushed (as frequently as every six minutes), dispenses Dilaudid directly in to my bloodstream. I'm a bit loopy. I get a text:
"Game Alert Trial: $9.99/mo for approx 4 msg/mo. Pin = [redacted]. Reply Stop to cancel. Reply Help for Help. Message and Data Rates May Apply"
Ummm.. Hi, scam. I ignore it, figuring it's a trick and that if I respond then I'm opting in to something. The next day, another text:
"Alerts: $9.99/mo. Renews 02/22. Reply help for HELP. Reply Stop to cancel. Message and Data Rates May Apply"
Ok. Go away. I'm not fallin' for that shit. One more text, I figure, and I'll be annoyed enough to call AT&T and try to do something about it, but at the moment I don't have the energy. That was the last text I got, and I just forgot about them.
Today I get my bill from AT&T and it's higher than it was last month, so I take a look and see that there's a $9.99 charge on there for a "monthly subscription" from 54775.net, which is the number that the texts had come from. There's a note on there that says to text Stop to that number to stop the subscription, so I do it right away, and then I receive a text from 54774 confirming that the subscription has been canceled.
But that's not enough. Why should I have to pay ten bucks for something that I didn't specifically opt in to? Why should it be my responsibility, at the expense of ten bucks, to take action? I checked out 54775.net, and apparently all you have to do is put in your number, select some bullshit that you want to get alerts about, check a Terms of Service box, and you're signed up. You apparently don't have to initiate anything from your phone (I know that I did not). Theoretically, you could go to that site right now and put your ex-wife enemy's phone number in and subscribe they'd be in the situation I found myself in. I like to think that nobody hates me enough to have done that to me, but who knows? Maybe they have some way that they just harvest numbers and sign people up, hoping they won't notice and will, like me, figure that the text is a mistake or a scam, and responding is unnecessary or the wrong thing to do. Regardless, the fact that AT&T allows someone to subscribe to something without my consent is FUCKING RIDICULOUS. I suppose you could argue that by not responding to the text, my consent was implied, but if you did I would kick you in the nuts, and you would deserve it.
I called AT&T and had the pleasure of talking to a very nice person in India. I explained to her what happened and she happily and without any argument refunded the $9.99 to my account. She also informed me that she could see that I texted 54775 back to cancel the subscription, but that I was apparently still subscribed, so she manually cancelled it. She also made me an offer. This next part is the important part, so for fuck's sake, PAY ATTENTION.
On AT&T (hopefully other carriers), you can put a "purchase block" on your line. This prevents anyone from being able to purchase anything or subscribe you to anything without knowing a PIN. The rep sent me the PIN via email.
GET THIS ON YOUR PHONE.
Do it. Do it now. It's easy. Call 611 on your phone and talk to a rep. Then, you won't have to waste a bunch of time on this bullshit like I just did.