This scam is somewhat different to most of the other scams featured here, in that instead of a weekly subscription of £4.50 or less, it immediately takes £40 from your phone account- yes, that’s right £40. The charge is made via 4 premium rate texts from shortcode 65019 charged at £10 each.
Please, if you’ve been scammed by ModoMobi, leave them a review on their Trustpilot page.
Details for ModoMobi are;
Customer Service Phone: 0330 058 6508
Modo Mobi Ltd
72 Caerau Road
ModoMobi has one director: Darren Randall.
Darren Randall is also Compliance and Operations Manager at SB7 Mobile Ltd. SB7 have operated a large number of these scams in recent years.
The scam seems to be confined to the Three network where it has generated a large number complaints in the last couple of months. It seems to be exploiting the last remaining loophole in the system, which allows a single payment to up to £40 to be taken without any two factor authorisation.
Most complainants have no idea of how they became “subscribed” to this “service”. Some complainants have identified a YouTube advertisement for the service as a probable entry point. Interestingly, these advertisements only seem to be displayed when using mobile data on the Three network. The same phone connected over wifi won’t display the advertisement. Also phones connected via the O2 network won’t display the advert.
It therefore seems that this particular scam is only active for Three customers and is not allowed to operate by other networks. This is an increasingly common occurrence and seems to reflect Three’s total disregard for online security of their customers.
Three ought to be taking more responsibility for these fraudulent charges, as they seem to have made a conscious decision to allow this company to operate on their network.
In theory, in order to subscribe you will need to do two mouse clicks. The video below shows what SHOULD happen.
Sign up process looks like this. No username/password. No PIN. Just two clicks. None of the safeguards in @ThreeUK statement to @BBCWatchdog . Wouldn’t stand up in court as evidence of consent to charge as plenty of evidence of “auto-subscription” scams using this method. pic.twitter.com/kOtBf5HlHu
— Payforitsucks (@Payforit_Sucks) November 29, 2019
It is, frankly, ridiculous that Three are allowing such an insecure signup mechanism. It conflicts with assurances given to BBC Watchdog:
There is no sign of any username/password dialogue, nor any PIN procedure. Just two clicks of the mouse and you’re down £40. The real problem though, is that these two mouse clicks can be easily “spoofed” by using iFraming and clickjacking exploits. These are described in this research report produced by an internet security company for BBC Watchdog.
What to do if you’ve been scammed by ModoMobi
As this is a one-off payment, there should be no risk of any more money being taken (other than the fact that Three is so insecure!). Ignore any advice to send a STOP message – you don’t need to as the £40 that was taken is supposedly a subscription for 6 months.
You now need to contact ModoMobi to insist on a FULL refund. This company will often offer only a partial refund initially, but as far as we know has always refunded in full when pressed.
Update: February 2020.
It has become apparent that Modomobi will only offer a full refund when threatened with court action. If you want to save time, make your first email to them a “letter before action” (LBA). This will make it clear to them that you will use the Small Claims court if they refuse to refund in full.
Full details of how to write a letter before action are here:
Tell them that you never consented to the £40 charge and that if they don’t refund in full you will need to see full evidence that you consented. This evidence should include:
- Screenshots of the subscription workflow where you were alleged to have signed up for this service.
- A description of what the service you are supposed to have subscribed to provides?
- Any evidence that after supposedly signing up for the service, you actually used it
- The complete web server log of the subscription, including the User Agent strings containing all device details (browser, device type, device IP address) together with dates and times.
- Full company details of the company operating the service, country of registration, full name of company, company number and registered company address.
- Details of the Accredited Payment Intermediary(API) which handled the payment
- Details of the company’s disputes procedure, including any ADR scheme you can refer the matter to if they fail to provide a full refund.
In the unlikely event that a refund is refused, there are various routes open to you.
- ADR. ModoMobi are members of CommsADR. There is no harm in referring your case to them. It will cost you nothing. ModoMobi are bound by the outcome of ADR, but you are still free to refer your case to the Small Claims court if you wish. If you find yourself with a contested ADR case please refer back to payforitsucks for advice. First indications are that CommsADR are painfully slow and unresponsive. If you find this to be the case, proceed directly to use the Small Claims procedure
- The Payforit rules say that Three have a responsibility to resolve disputes once the consumer has discussed their case with the vendor. Sadly Three seem to ignore their responsibility though.
- Ultimately, if all else fails, there is the Small Claims procedure. More details of this are here: I’ve been refused a full refund
Don’t forget three other things:
- Report ModoMobi to the regulator here: https://psauthority.org.uk/for-consumers/report-an-issue
- Leave a review of ModoMobi on Trustpilot: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/modomobi.com
- Leave a Google review of Modomobi:
ModoMobi have begun reporting the comments on the Trustpilot website. I have archived as many of the reported comments here:
If your review has been removed, please amend it to conform to Trustpilot guidelines and resubmit it. Even if you just say “Trustpilot won’t let me say how unethical this company is”. The one-star review will continue to count.