Chinese firm 'pickpockets' 94,000 Vietnamese subscribers

A company collected over VND230 billion (over US$10 million) through service message charges from 94,000 mobile service users in Vietnam over two years, but the customers did not know about it.

This was revealed by an inspection of the Hanoi Department of Information and Communications at the representative office in Hanoi of Sam Media Ltd., a Hong Kong-based firm. 

This office was established to cooperate with three companies in Vietnam to provide content services over mobile telecommunications networks in Vietnam.

Sam Media signed contracts with three local firms to offer online advertising activities with bonuses, which were smartphones, tablets, phone cards, and use of the advertising method of landing pages (with the domain name 

chinese firm 'pickpockets' 94,000 vietnamese subscribers hinh 0

The inspectors said that this was the act of establishing e-commerce websites for selling goods without being permitted by the authorities.

This firm offered its services to subscribers of four mobile networks of Viettel, MobiFone, VinaPhone and Vietnamobile through advertising text messages and collected VND230.5 billion of charges from early 2013 to March 2016. The number of customers using the service by July 19 was 93,735 subscribers.

Notably, most of the service users were not aware that they were using the services offered by Sam Media and its three local partners as they thought that the advertising text messages sent to their phones were spam.

As they did not read the messages, they did not know that they had to send back a message to refuse the services so they did have to pay service charges automatically.

Though this firm collected US$10 million from Vietnamese mobile subscribers, it was fined only VND55 million (US$2,300) based on the current provisions issued by the Vietnamese Government.

So, to avoid being cheated like this, mobile service users are advised to read advertising text messages very carefully.


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