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电讯消费者仍在为高价短讯账单买单
Premium text message bills continue to shock consumers

令人震惊的高价短讯账单仍持续困扰着消费者。随着高科技产品日益普及并成为人们日常生活中的必需品,垃圾短讯从2011年起就开始对智能手机用户进行狂轰滥炸。有关消费者为垃圾短讯买单的惨痛经历屡见不鲜,并引发公众强烈不满。加国三大电讯巨头——罗渣士、贝尔和研科公司征收垃圾短讯费的受害者不仅倍受主流媒体的关注,《大中报》的特别报道专栏也对某些受害者进行过报道。

Text message bill shock continues to hit consumers. Back in 2011, spam text messages started to bombard smart phones, as tech gadgets enjoyed growing popularity and turned into one of life’s necessities. Horror stories of consumers being billed with unwanted texts swirled around and sparked public backlash. Apart from the stories covered by mainstream media, victims billed by the Big 3 telecom providers -- Rogers, Bell and TELUS-- were also featured in the special report column of this newspaper.  

《大中报》读者盛祎每月的手机费用通常都维持在$200元以下,因此当她接到高达$700元的手机费账单时深感震惊。这份高额账单包括各种第三方收费的手机短讯,从铃声订阅到益智问答等五所不包。坚称自己从未订购过这些服务的盛祎后来她才发现是自己九岁的儿子落入了那些盯上青少年的短讯服务商所设的销售圈套。

Sheng Yi, a Chinese News reader who had kept her phone charges below $200, was shocked when a $700 phone bill arrived. It claimed third-party charges for a variety of mobile premium text services, from ring-tone subscriptions to IQ trivia questions. Yi who claims to have never subscribed to these services later discovered that it was her 9-year-old son who fell for the sales tactics of some short message providers that increasingly target under-aged children.

盛祎随即要求罗渣士退款,但却遭到对方的断然拒绝。

Yi’s request for refund was squarely turned down by Rogers at the time.

这些高价短讯服务往往会利用各种奖品诱惑消费者签约订购。但《大中报》在调查后发现,尽管有些消费者并未完成必需的双重确认订购程序,但他们仍需为相关短讯买单。

These text message services would use various prizes to lure consumers into signing up for a subscription. However, Chinese News investigation found that consumers were billed for text messages despite the fact that they had not completed the subscription process that required their “double opt-in” actions.

持续飙升的消费者投诉已经引发保护消费者团体及一些政府机构的关注,其中包括公众利益组织(PIAC),加拿大广播电视委员会(CRTC),加拿大竞争局和加拿大反诈骗中心。此外,一些电讯公司也因此惹上官司。

The soaring number of consumer complaints sparked concerns from consumer advocate groups and government agencies – including PIAC, CRTC, Competition Bureau and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Lawsuits also put the telecoms in the legal crosshairs.

CBCGo Public节目报道,联邦竞争局在历经五个月的调查后,曾于20129月将罗渣士、贝尔和研科公司,以及加拿大无线电讯联会告上法庭,向每家电讯公司索偿$1000万元,并要求它们向为垃圾短讯买单的用户提供退款。

According to CBC Go Public, in September 2012, following a five-month investigation, the federal Competition Bureau announced it was suing Rogers, along with Bell, Telus and the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association for $10 million each and demanding refunds for customers billed for unwanted premium text messages.

公众利益组织最近发表的一份报告要求加强消费者权益保护,并指出电讯公司的双重确认订购程序不够透明,报告同时还呼吁加强行业监管。

A recently released report by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC), which calls for stronger consumer protection, alleges that telecoms’ practices with double opt-in process are not transparent to consumers, calling for tougher regulatory control.

尽管遭遇了官司和抨击,但罗渣士仍未放弃充当高价短讯服务商的代理收费人的角色,因此罗渣士的客户也就一直不断地被这些高价的短讯服务所误导。

But despite the lawsuits and backlash, Rogers’ customers have kept falling victims to the misleading practices as Rogers has never given up its role as a billing agent for premium message service providers.

CBCGo Public节目报道,一名加拿大律师发现自己一直在为某种算命短讯买单,但他坚称自己从未同意开通这项短讯服务。自从2012年以来,他每年都为这些算命短讯支付近$300元服务费。但在他向罗渣士提起投诉后不仅无功而返,还被告知他要自己去找算命公司ifortune解决问题。

As CBC Go Public reports, a Canadian lawyer has been billed for a fortune-telling service he insists he never agreed to. He has paid almost $300 for the text messages for two years since 2012. After he filed a complaint with Rogers, he was sent by Rogers on a wild goose chase and to take it up with the fortune teller, ifortune.

罗渣士最初所提供$50元补偿费用不能令投诉者满意。后来,该公司客服又表示可以再多给他$10元让其封口。

Rogers’ initial offer of $50 was unable to satisfy the complainant. The customer service then offered him an additional $10 to keep him quite.

这名投诉人CBC表示:“如果我就此罢休,不去媒体曝光此事或是找律师,他(客服代表)可以向我提供(额外的)$10元补偿,但我认为这种做法好像不光明正大。”

He (the representative) offered me [another] $10 if I didn’t do anything, if I didn’t call the media or talk to a lawyer. I told him this looks like a pretty shady business practice,” the complainant told the CBC.

在媒体介入此事后,罗渣士改变了态度,愿意向投诉人提供全额退款,并承诺会向其他有相同遭遇的用户提供全额退款。但是,罗渣士的网站却仍然声称消费者有责任自我联系“第三方服务供应商”以直接查询相关账单。

After the media intervened, Rogers changed its tone by offering full refund to the complainant and promised to provide full refund to customers in the same boat. However, its website indicates that it’s the customer’s responsibility to contact “third party content providers” directly regarding billing inquiries.

事实上,高价短讯服务对于电讯运营商来说是个有利可图的副业。某消费者倡权组织在2011年曾发表报告称,在电讯运营商每月向用户征收的短讯服务费收入中,收取高达50%的份额。这或许可以解释为什么有些电讯运营商不愿意向用户提供全额退款的原因。

In fact, premium short messages are a lucrative side business for telecom providers. According to a report published by a consumer advocacy group in 2011, telecoms shared as much as 50% of the text messages revenues that were charged to consumer each month. That may explain why some telecom providers are reluctant to provide full refund to consumers.

据公众利益组织称,这也导致电讯运营商缺乏帮助用户解决问题的动力。

According to Public Interest Advocacy Centre, it is a disincentive for telecoms to assist consumers.

公众利益组织的劳福德向CBC表示:“这些公司一直共享短讯收入。”

They are in the business of sharing the proceeds of the text message,” the agency’s John Lawford told CBC.



 

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