Again, stop Globe from texting those irritating @?#*&!! ads!

17

If that title seems familiar, it’s because it should be. It’s basically the title of my column in July last year, written when I blew my top after being awakened very early in the morning by an SMS message in my Globe cell phone selling a condominium unit.

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I had been getting those unsolicited text messages—spam really—continuously, and my problem is that I usually drop everything to read those SMS messages, since I assume these were urgent and/or important.  I’m in fact a believer in the etiquette in this technological era to respond to text messages (and emails) immediately, or at least acknowledge their receipt.

spam-msg
Globe reacted through a letter (which we published) from its Corporate Communications Head Yoly Crisanto, who seems to be so sloppy in her work that she even misspelled my name.

This lady should be given a crash course on public relations: her tone was belligerent, saying that she is “refuting the accusations” I hurled, that I put the “6,000-strong dedicated employees of Globe” in “a bad light,” and that I was ignorant of the issues.  For Chrissake, I was just complaining about infuriating, unsolicited ads!

She exhorted “Globe subscribers” to report SMS spam messages and that this could be done by calling 211 if you’re using a cell phone, and 730-1000 if you’re using a land line, or reporting it through www.globe.com.ph/support, its Facebook page, or send a message through Twitter.

I’m sure Ms. Crisanto had not even tried testing these venues.  Dial 211 and you’ll get a recorded message (“Good morning, we hope you have a wonderful day”  blah-blah) about all you would need from Globe, from activating a SIM card to applying for land line.  When I tried, there wasn’t any number to be “pressed” to report a spam message. You’ll have to wait for a real person to get on the online — and after you register your number — which I wouldn’t do as I value my confidentiality.

There were no sections in that website or in its Facebook account for SMS spam complaints.

In the US and elsewhere many years back, each telephone company contained SMS spam messages by providing subscribers with a special four-digit number to which you just send the spam and the number used by the spammer, and they seemed to track each spam down. Just a few clicks to report the abuse.

The telephone companies in the US and Europe lobbied for laws that made it illegal to send unsolicited ads through SMS.

Several suits had been filed in the US and Europe invoking these laws. The largest settlement involved $10 million, imposed on the book publisher Simon & Schuster, which outsourced its promotional campaign to a marketing company that sent messages to 100,000 phone numbers. That case and several others swiftly made companies stop such ads.

Months after that lady’s truculent letter though, I thought that maybe I had been getting those ads since I was too parsimonious and was using a prepaid service. Globe must have issued millions of these SIM cards, as more than 70 percent of its revenues come from these. I thought security would be tighter if I used a postpaid service.

I switched, and it is costing me P2,000 per month. Yet I’m still getting @?#*&!! ads! Even more than I got when I was using prepaid service.  How did they get my post-paid number?

And the ads aren’t sent by fly-by-night companies but by big, purportedly reputable firms.  A few examples:

• From 09362882809: “CARITAS HEALTH SHIELD, INC. Last reminder: Please be advised that your free annual physical exams are still on hold. Look for Mr. Karl Aquino.” (My HMO though is not from Caritas!

• From 09062112747: “From SM Residences: Own your Dream Condo in Trees Residences across SM Fairview. Visit https://www.facebook.com/SmdcPropertyInvestment.”

• From 092728182: “Affordable condo in Makati CBD near Salcedo Park and Greenbelt. www.megaworldmakaticity.webs.com.”

In the past few months in fact, I noticed that more and more of the spam ads were selling condominiums, which I think confirms reports I have been getting that the property market has slowed down, with some even predicting that the real estate bubble will soon be bursting.

The fact though that many of the spam ads weren’t asking the recipients to reply to cell phone numbers but to check out the companies’ websites or Facebook accounts would seem to indicate that these were sent not just by overly aggressive sales personnel, but by the companies themselves. So are these companies dealing with Globe itself to get the numbers to send their ads? Or with some syndicate inside Globe?

Quite surprisingly though three legislators you’d love to hate had filed bills to ban unsolicited cell phone ads.

Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid filed a bill titled “Cellular Phone Message Spamming Protection Act of 2010” that would impose a P500,000 to P1 million fine or imprisonment form six months to six years to anybody or any company sending unsolicited advertisements through text messages. The bill though didn’t get anywhere.

In the House of Representatives, Congressman Emmanuel Pacquiao—yep, Manny Pacquiao —filed also in 2010 the counterpart bill, his version imposing a fine of P20,000 to P100.00 per violation. It wasn’t clear though in the bill if “per violation” for each unsolicited text message. Then Congressman Joseph Victor Ejercito (“JV Estrada”) also filed nearly an exact but separate bill.

The three bills didn’t even get to the stage of being referred to the appropriate committee discussions and public hearings, and died with the end of the 15th Congress.

With so many puerile bills filed in Congress—a bill was filed for instance wanting to declare waling-waling as our national flower and another banning the all-you-can-eat rice scheme in certain fast-food chains—it is amazing why there hasn’t been one filed to penalize senders of unsolicited SMS ads.

I would have thought lawmakers would be the first to complain, as they seem to spend most of their time during session hours looking at and clicking at their cell phones.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
www.trigger.ph and www.rigobertotiglao.com

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17 Comments

  1. Karen Santos on

    In all fairness to Globe, they’ve come out with an info campaign to beat spam. It’s not just Globe’s fault but also the the user’s responsibility not to share his number to everyone.

  2. About HALF of the SMS text message are from companies selling condos, health care and what-have-you. I am still waiting for for the Escort Servces and from those looking for partners – hopefully NOT the same sex! :-)

  3. I have prepaid Globe, and the only spam I get are those from Globe itself announcing promos. I was wondering what made my number different that spammer have not detected it yet.

  4. What’s more infuriating are the “wrong number” calls to your post paid land line. Asking you to pay your credit card or someone else would call looking for the same person over and over. Just like you Sir I get awakened in the middle of the night to answer my post paid land line thinking it might be an emergency call from a family member. I have complained numerous times and inquired as well if my land line number is recycled and GLOBE tells me that they don’t do that. okay, if that’s the case then why do I receive the same calls looking for the same person. I did not encounter this scenario with SMART and Sun Cellular!

  5. Globe and Smart are both desame. They will text you spam messages without you knowing that it will be deducted from your load. Its about time that these kind of scams be stopped.

  6. even globe employees also get these spams. and still no word from Globe CEO Ernest Cu about all these complaints. maybe because he spends so much time abroad with his suppliers to worry about these petty subscribers. they even have a name for their clique: #lifestylegang

  7. These spam messages hits you in the pocket as well. When I’m outside the country and on roaming service, I get billed and pay for these ‘garbage’ messages at international rates.

  8. Some years back, when celfone users were just a few millions, I wrote an opinion letter published by the Inquirer exposing the practice of Smart and Globe of charging my load P15 for every unsolicited message received by my celfone. I got this information from a clerk at a service desk of Smart. The practice stopped when the Dept.of Telecommunications investigated my report.
    Lately, I noted my load balance before and after I received an unsolicited message and I noted that I was charged P2. I wrote again an opinion letter but the practice has not stopped. I suggest Mr. Tiglao watch his load balance to confirm this report and write about it, Today there are reportedly about a hundred million users. Imagine how much the Telcos are raking in.

    Amado F. Cabaero

  9. Welcome to the club,Mr. Tiglao, the GREEDY and UNCIVILIZED practice of GLOBETELECOM to get additional revenue from illegal ads, reflects the kind of people and management,SWAPANG SA PERA, additional info,once you dial 211 or 7301000,all you get are electronic messages and call center personnel, YOU CANNOT AVAIL TO TALK TO ANY EXECUTIVES,ITS NOT ALLOWED.
    Another thing you could research MR.TIGLAO, the foods being advertised by big FASTFOOD COMPANY,are not the same with the real item, also the LONG TV ADS OF THE TOP 3 tv stations ,and illegal ads on cable tv.

  10. NTC should do something about this spam messages. I don’t know why telco companies (globe,smart,sun) is doing nothing about this. What I heard is that some employee of telco co.leak our phone nos. to some people/co. for a fee. Madaming hudas talaga sa pinas.

  11. It is really annoying. My suspicion is that Globe has sold the cellphone numbers of its subscribers to the highest bidder. This carrier is actually making money on top of our monthly bill.

  12. this is also true with smart. i received the same text from megaworld just 2 days after signing up to their postpaid service.

  13. nagswitch ako to globe kc most of contacts ko are globe subscribers. pero since day one nakakareceive ako ng 2-4 spam sms. nakakasira ng araw lalo na pag may hinihintay ka na urgent na message.

    sana gawan nlng ng paraan to. baka meron na li-leak ng mga number kasi di ko nman to naeencounter sa isang line ko from other telecom.

    confidentiality risk din to kasi nakukuha ng di kilalang tao contact number natin. isa sa mga authentication credential ang phonenumber sa mga telebanking at ibang services.

    • It’s not only Globe ads spam our text messages. Smart eat all your load when you give a attention to their promos in ringtones & music ads saying it was free or no charge. Mind you, if a a scam states that “You have just won in an electronic raffle from Villar Foundation Inc a prize worth P 700,000. Please claim your prize from Atty. Fred Ramirez, Please call or text 09276778901”, maybe an arranged tie-up between the person and the Telecom was set up to generate more sales on E-Loading stations.