Is SMS 911 reliable

SMS advertising and premium SMS: short messages, high bills

SMS advertising is the receipt of unsolicited short messages (SMS = Short Message Service) with advertising content on the mobile phone. Often these advertising SMS ask for a callback to a 0900 number or to a speed dial number. Such SMS are for example: "You have won a travel voucher! Call 0900-xxx!"

Since the prices of premium SMS are set by the provider, the costs can fluctuate considerably. The price range currently ranges from around EUR 19 cents to EUR 10.00 per SMS, although no upper limit is stipulated. Therefore, just a single SMS can cause enormous costs under certain circumstances; if a subscription is taken out, there are even follow-up costs.

Is SMS advertising allowed?

SMS advertising by unknown companies is fundamentally anti-competitive, as it represents an unreasonable nuisance for the recipient. The advertising is only acceptable if the recipient has given his express consent. In the case of unsolicited SMS advertising, you can ask the sender to refrain from further advertising and you can even sue them in a court of law. However, this will often fail because it is difficult to determine the sender because he is located abroad or no sender number or address appears on the display.

The Federal Network Agency can pat the senders on the fingers. You should therefore report annoyance through SMS advertising there. Report the receipt of unsolicited advertising SMS to your local consumer advice center, which can also initiate proceedings for harassing advertising.

How do senders of SMS advertisements get my mobile phone number?

The senders use various methods to get cell phone numbers. They systematically collect cell phone numbers from the Internet, telephone directories and private newspaper advertisements. The senders also proceed at random and send automated SMS to, for example, all numbers from 0177-1111111 to 0177-9999999.

Even if you use so-called free SMS services on the Internet or receive ringtones or logos via premium SMS, you must expect subsequent advertising in many cases. Unfortunately, there is no one hundred percent protection against SMS advertising. You should therefore be very cautious about passing on your mobile phone number!

If a phone number is given in the advertising SMS, do not call it back! In case of doubt, this only incurs high costs! Entries in Robinson lists for protection against SMS advertising do not provide reliable protection either. Dubious senders do not pay attention to such entries.

How do you prevent premium SMS from becoming a cost trap?

  • When ordering premium SMS offers, pay close attention to the content of the contract, especially the price. It is also important to know whether you are staying with a one-off service or whether you are ordering a subscription and how you can cancel it again, if necessary.
  • In principle, a contract is only concluded if you have been informed about the essential parts of the contract such as the content and price of the subscription and have expressly accepted the offer to conclude the subscription, e.g. by sending an SMS or clicking on a button. If, on the other hand, an effective contract has not yet been concluded, the provider cannot assert any claims.
  • You should avoid providers who have their headquarters abroad, can only be reached via a P.O. Box address or do not give a summons address at all.
  • If you unintentionally ordered a subscription when ordering Premium SMS and want to find out the provider behind it, you can find it using a list offered on the network operator's website. However, many premium SMS numbers are sublet to other providers, so that here too it is difficult to determine who is ultimately responsible.
  • Anyone who has taken out a subscription can oblige their provider to notify them free of charge as soon as a cost limit of 20 euros has been exceeded in the respective calendar month. If the provider does not comply with the information obligation, he cannot demand the monthly fee exceeding 20 euros.
Premium SMS may appear on your mobile phone bill because you are supposed to have taken out a subscription without wanting to. Or the callback to a number from a promotional SMS could have resulted in high costs. In such a case, you should take the following steps:
  • Stop the premium SMS subscription immediately!
  • You can raise objections to the disputed charges with your mobile network provider.
  • In your written objection, explain exactly why you do not want to pay the SMS charges or connection charges in question.
  • In any case, secure evidence! Save the SMS securely. If possible, also record the date and time.
  • In any case, pay the indisputable fees, otherwise you could end up being blocked.