Texting isn’t just the purview of teenagers. Bulk texting is a huge business. Sometimes they’re scam spam in about the same category of usefulness as emails from a wealthy Nigerian prince who doesn’t exist, granted, but sometimes they’re useful blasts from businesses or public entities that let a whole bunch of people get useful information quickly in a low-bandwidth way. But what they aren’t, quite yet, is clearly regulated. A case moving through the FCC right now, however, may change that.
As messaging applications on smartphones continue to sidle into the territory previously occupied strictly by traditional SMS texting, users are being confronted with a sometimes uncomfortable proposition. Namely, that whoever is on the other end can see when you’ve read their message, and you can see if they’re ignoring you or not as well.
Sprint customers are lucky dogs indeed. Because the company confirmed that there’s a problem with Sprint customers receiving text messages from out-of-network phones, customers now have an alibi to ignore unwanted messages without seeming like jerks.
Verizon has set up a site to give out refunds to customers who signed up for premium text messages with an advertiser who “did not meet Verizon Wireless’ standards for the disclosure of pricing and subscription information.” Here is a list of the 120 affected short codes. If you were a Verizon customer who signed up for one of them, you can file a claim here.
The conventional wisdom has it that if you want to commit a crime with a cell phone, use a prepaid model. That’s what a woman in California did to get back at her ex-boyfriend and his sister-in-law, by sending harassing text messages to herself and then reporting them to the police. The plan fell apart, however, when her victims hit the pavement to find proof that they were being framed.
Peter, who wrote in last month to complain about being text-spammed by Payless Shoesource on his phone, wasn’t the only customer they annoyed. A man in California has filed a class action lawsuit against the shoe company and Voice & Mobile Broadcast Corporation, which is the marketing company it hired to run the campaign.
Peter was pretty frustrated when Payless Shoesource ignored his two opt-out texts and continued to pester him with SMS spam. His complained via email and got taken off their list, but then he decided to see if he could get back the money those texts cost him.
If you live in the Houston area, you can now use your mobile phone to redeem coupons for JCPenney through a trial-partnership with Cellfire. You have to register with Cellfire in order to receive the promos via SMS or email, and if you register today you’ll receive a mysterious “$10 in$tant gift” [sic].
Online coupons still haven’t caught on, really, but 8coupons.com may be worth checking out if you want to give it a try in your own city. Instead of implementing some high-concept location aware thing, they let you browse the site for coupons that interest you. When you find one, you send it to your phone via text message. Obviously, if you hold your phone number dear to your heart, don’t bother; if you’re the brave type who doesn’t mind risking the personal data exposure, you might want to give it a shot.
A pair of friends in Pennsylvania decided to pursue the world record for text messaging. After they reached 217,000 texts, they learned that one of their providers, T-Mobile, really had an upper limit to “unlimited” texting, and sending 217,000 texts led to a $26,000 phone bill that cost $27 just to mail.
Senators Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Florida, have introduced the m-SPAM Act, which would update the CAN-SPAM law to include text message spam. “The m-SPAM Act would explicitly bar marketers from sending text messages to any mobile number in the national Do-Not-Call registry maintained by the FTC,” reports InternetNews.
This story from Jessica is a good reminder that scammers don’t care about the technology, they care about about fooling you. That means they’ll use whatever method is available—in this case, SMS.
Twenty-two dairy companies sent out a text message to millions of Chinese consumers last week to apologize for selling tainted milk products. According to the BBC, it read, “We are deeply sorry for the harm caused to the children and the society. We sincerely apologise for that and we beg your forgiveness.”
As text message prices continue to increase, we want to remind you that there are many ways to send free text messages online, even from your phone. Wikihow has a great roundup of methods, including using AIM or Gchat, texting as email, or using free text sites.
If you have an account with Mint, and you’ve enabled mobile alerts, you can now text “Bal” or “Balance” to 696-468 (MyMint) and receive a summary of all of your accounts. [Mint]
Under the terms of a preliminary settlement agreement, [Timberland and e-commerce company GSI] will pay $7 million into a cash fund to reimburse those who received the messages, according to KamberEdelson LLC, one of the law firms that helped bring the suit.