AT 1.15pm on June 22, I received an SMS text from my mobile phone network service provider stating that I have subscribed to “Lingko-Ku” and after three days of free subscription, I would be charged RM5 a week.
The message also provided a link for me to cancel the subscription. I can’t remember when I cancelled the subscription but it was definitely within the three days because on June 25, at 11.25am, I received another message saying my “LingkoKu” subscription has been cancelled and that no additional charges would be incurred. However, also on June 25, at 8.03am, I received a message saying that my “LingkoKu” subscription has been renewed at RM5 a week.
What was shocking was that when I received my telephone bill later, I had been charged RM5 for “upstream mobile language learning” which I believe has to do with the “LingkoKu” subscription. The duration from the first message on June 22 (1.15 pm) to the message on June 25 (8.03am) is less than 72 hours, ie, equivalent to three days.
This approach to marketing products and services is very unethical as the service provider should not assume that the customer has agreed to subscribe to the product/service and then put the responsibility on the customer to initiate the action to cancel the subscription – which, in the first place, the customer had never asked for anyway. Worse still, the customer does not even have any knowledge of the product or service. Until now, I do not even know what is “LingkoKu”!
This is a very sneaky approach by the service provider and I can imagine there are many customers who have been caught off guard, as we are bombarded with all sorts of marketing/promotional messages daily, most of which many of us would usually ignore. Had I ignored this particular text message, the service provider would have made RM5 a week from me for as long as it would have taken me to realise that I have been paying for a service I had never wanted.
I have lodged a complaint with the my service provider and at the point of writing this letter I have not received any further response. The staff member who handled my complaint said he could not commit to whether the RM5 that I have been charged would be cancelled.
What if I were to send text messages to as many people as possible informing them that they have agreed to give me RM1mil and that they must cancel this agreement by informing me within three days otherwise they will be liable to pay me RM1mil? I am sure that legally this will not work. I do not see this being any different from what the service provider has done with the “LingkoKu” subscription.
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