I normally don’t get too upset by things like SPAM or phone calls from survey companies. It’s their job, without that info it would be hard to get people what they want, and to keep business moving. As long things are executed in accordance to the rules, and there’s a bit of that unspoken respect life is honkey dorey. But, this time, Pinger went too far..
Who is Pinger you say? They’re a company who specializes in making apps, things like TextFree and Doodle Buddy. You might compare them to more well known companies like Zynga and Rovio. I honestly had never heard of them before last weekend, then they decided to introduce themselves to me big time.
The story is simple and frustrating, at about 4PM on Sunday I got a strange text message from 1-410-000-009 and it says “FROM:firstname.lastname@example.org MSG:Doodle with me on Doodle Buddy–an iPhone/iPod touch drawing app. Click (no free advertising Pinger) to start.
Well, that’s odd, I don’t remember signing up for text alerts from this comp(BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ) another text… two? I can’t beli(BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ)ve.. I click on the link and it takes me to the app store, here download this app you don’t want.. Odd, (BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ)… (BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ)…. (BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ)… (BZZ…BZZZZZ…BZZZ…BZZZZZZ).. and on and on and on…
I went to their website, I went to ZenDesk where they host their customer service. I did everything that I could think of to get them to stop. We’re talking 50+ text messages at this point. The Pinger reps at zendesk tell me and I quote “you must be really popular, these requests are generated by users so that many people want to play Doodle Buddy with you, are you sure you don’t want to download it?” NO!! I do not want to download it, and you’re lying, plain and simple. I play Words With Friends (an actually good app) and have since it came out. At most I’ve gotten 3 or 4 requests in a day to start playing with somebody new. That app is at least a million times more popular than Doodle Buddy, so don’t tell me you genuinely generated 50 requests for me in one day.
You know what the rub here is, I’m an advanced user, as advanced as you can get. I work in technology, I’ve got certifications, experience, I can write the codes for these games for kripes sake. And yet, I couldn’t figure out how to get Pinger to stop texting me. How is a 12 year old supposed to do that?
Finally, a higher up rep at ZenDesk was able to put me on the blocked number list for Pinger and stop the texts. But I felt sure that this must be against Apples T’s & C’s. How could it be allowed to cause text messages to cell phones that have the potential of costing upwards of $0.25 each? That literally could have cost me $10 for nothing. Here is the final response I got from Apple, I give them credit for at least looking into this:
(name removed) here from the iTunes Store. Thank you for sending me all of the information I had requested.
I have contacted our engineering department regarding this issue and I was unfortunately informed that there is nothing we can do through the iTunes Store itself.
They have recommended that you voice your concerns to the federal trade commission and your cellphone provider for assistance.
You can reach the federal trade commission by visiting the link below:
I sincerely apologize for this inconvenience, Andy. I hope the companies listed above will be able to resolve this issue for you as soon as possible. Thank you for being part of the iTunes family and have a great day.
iTunes Store Customer Support and Mac App Store – Senior Advisor
I can’t believe this is allowed? How can that be possible? It isn’t just Pinger doing it either, by making text messaging free using IP you’re opening up a whole new channel for users to take advantage of others. There are tons of complaints on Pinger’s own help website about abusive texts that are basically anonymous.