MARICOPA, AZ - Could you be charged for something every month and not know it?
How about if it was mixed in with all of those charges on your cell phone bill?
Well, that's what Betty and Rudy Beltran of Maricopa says happened to them.
They were being charged monthly for a service called "Jamster."
You can get Bruno Mars or Katy Perry ringtones. You can download Tic Tac Toe and other mobile games.
Most of that is lost on the Beltrans.
"I don't even know what it is to be honest about it. I don't know," Rudy says.
For them, the cell phone is basically an answering machine that they use to talk, get messages and reply.
So when their son took a look at their Verizon bill, he was surprised to see a $9.99 charge for Jamster.
Betty says, "I didn't sign up for no Jamster, whatever it is."
We found online complaints go back years with other people complaining they too were being charged for Jamster and other 3rd party services that they never ordered.
Even more disturbing for the Beltrans, they found the same charge on bills going back nearly 2 years!
The charge was listed as "premium texting" so the couple says they never questioned it.
But one month, it said "Jamster" and that caught their eye.
They say they called Verizon and told them to stop the service. They say they did get some credits.
But they say the charges continued. And now, they were up to about $379!
"I said I told you guys to take it off cancel it, stop it. Do whatever. You guys keep telling me you did that," a frustrated Betty says.
So, they let me know.
We talked with both Jamster and Verizon.
Both say they have "double opt in" policies. That means that first you have to click on the text, and then you have to click again to order it.
They say the couple did that, though the Beltrans disagree.
But both companies worked with us, and they agreed to credit the Beltrans all the money, the hundreds of dollars they paid for a service they say they never used.
Verizon says it actively monitors and audits 3rd party providers.
Jamster says both Rudy and Betty ordered the services for their phones.
Thanks to both companies for the full refund.
But the question still remains about how these services even make it to your cell phones.
My advice: don't click on any unknown texts, demand that your cell phone company not allow 3rd party services to get through to you, and check each line of every bill every month.
Here's more information from the Federal Communications Commission on your rights involving phone billing and privacy.
If you've had a similar issue, let me know.
E-mail me if you need help with any consumer problem or "like" my Let Joe Know Facebook page and tell me about it there.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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