Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  17 Oct 2014

COMMUNICATION: Six Tips to ‘Subscribe’ to Better Phone Habits and Avoid ‘Mystery’ Charges


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In an effort to assist consumers in better managing their mobile spending, to curb the potential for unwanted costs, and to promote responsible mobile phone usage, VAS aggregator, Mira Networks has compiled some helpful tips. More and more South Africans are consuming value-added services over their mobile devices as data charges and smartphones become cheaper. There is a wealth of useful and entertaining VAS services available today – from sports updates, to rich media content, games and smartphone applications.

Deon Odendaal, General Manager at Mira Networks said: “While we welcome this growth and the creation of new careers and employment opportunities this brings, we need to be mindful that at the heart of our industry are the consumers themselves who subscribe to these services.” Because we all live fairly fast-paced lives these days, it is not uncommon for consumers to inadvertently subscribe to something they either don’t really want or, cannot remember doing in the first place – despite the double opt in prompts that have been implemented as added security. “For this reason, Mira Networks is making a concerted effort to help consumers manage their accounts with some simple tips.” Concluded Odendaal.

1. Restrict access to your phone - Ensure that only you know what your SIM code or device password is. If you do not have a password to unlock your device, it might well be in your interest to install one. Having a ‘firewall’ can prevent young children, who are often the perpetrators of unwanted downloads and unknown subscriptions, from subscribing you to services you had no idea about until they pop up on your latest cellphone bill. Even then, it is sometimes months before you notice them so ….

2. Read all your SMS messages. What you might have regarded as spam, could be an informational message reminding you of a service that you are subscribed to. These messages will contain the name of the service, the charge and the frequency, the customer care number and instructions to cancel the service should you wish to do so. They are sent on a monthly basis. A common misconception is that deleting these messages will cancel the charges. This is incorrect. Instructions to unsubscribe will be contained in the message text.

3. Itemised billing – ask your service provider for an itemised billing on your statement each month then…

4. Read the itemised billing – how many of us read our invoices, or even our bank statements? Make a point of setting aside a regular time each month to go through all your accounts. Seeing the undeniable evidence of your spending can help to curb unnecessary expenses across the board, as well as zoning in on content services being charged to your mobile account.

5. If you are signing up to a service offered by a content service provider or the mobile network operator – double check the costs and terms and conditions – they are there for a reason.

6. All reputable content services are carried over VAS aggregators or content providers registered with WASPA. VAS aggregators are the technical backbone over which some of these services are carried and not the content provider itself. They act as the technological intermediary between subscribers, the networks and the content service providers. However, the aggregator’s name currently appears on some statements, which often leads to confusion (and hence these tips). The aggregator will however be able to assist with identifying the content provider operating the service.

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