She’s not happy with Vaaloo at allA while back, GoMo News ran a story about ‘Some kind of South African WhatsApp scam‘. Implicated in that scam was a company called Vaaloo.com. Well, now we’ve had a direct complaint about Vaaloo from a lady simply calling herself Sheila. She says, “Vaaloo is just a dreadful scam to lure unsuspecting people into paying ZAR7 [45 pence or 71 cents] for an SMS.” Well, here at GoMo Towers, we know our limitations and admit to having no real knowledge of the South African telecoms market. However, we strongly recommend that any readers with complaints about the Vaaloo’s service make the telecoms regulator – ICASA, their first port of call.
This is what happened to Sheila. “OK. I was stupid or naive,” she says. “My phone was playing up and a couple of hours later I got an SMS [text] to tell me that my phone was slow and to click on a link.”
That’s when things started to go horribly wrong. Sheila continues, “When I did that I was informed I would be charged ZAR7 an SMS but I could SMS to 33718 with the word ‘STOP’ and I would be unsubscribed.”
Well that’s standard practice really. However, Sheila’s complaint is … “My question is, When did I subscribe and how can they bill your mobile [cell] phone account?”
Well, our advice is that when you clicked on that link, Sheila you were almost certainly deemed to have agreed to the T’s & C’s [terms and conditions].
As Sheila says, “Within about two hours they had already billed me R7. I “googled” Vaaloo and they have all these terms and conditions which apparently I had subscribed to. When?”
Er, well, Sheila that almost certainly happened when you clicked on that link.
Now this is the interesting bit because Sheila’s next move was to access a South African site called Hello Peter website and complain.”
We’ve just visited the Hello Peter web site here and found that Sheila is by no means alone i complaining about Vaaloo.
Sheila’s next move was to phone her MNO’s [Mobile Network Operator] customer care in this case Vodacom, only to be told one charge had already gone through.
Helpfully, the Vodacom agent took Sheila’s mobile phone number in order to stop the subscription and told me her it had already been cancelled.
Sheila even has a reference number in case any more charges go through on her Vodacom account.
Now this is where Shelia is almost certainly misguided. She then accuses Vodacom as being “complicit in perpetuating a fraud.”
In GoMo News‘ humble opinion, Vodacom almost certainly has no option other than to carry this SMS based service until instructed to stop by some kind of government agency.
Find the agency which is responsible, Sheila, and you can prevent fellow South Africans subscribing to SMS based services which they really didn’t want.