Mystery Charges – The Problem
We often get calls to the office from donors who are (quite rightly) annoyed because some money has been taken from their account that they didn’t consent to.
The transaction usually indicates that instaGiv is the culprit, so we usually deal with an issue like this once a week.
Yet, we are not responsible for this – your mobile phone provider is.
Mystery Charges – The Mix Up
Here’s what happens. You see a spike in your phone bill and you want to know why.
So you ring your network and ask what’s going on. The operator checks your account and notices an unusual number associated with a charge on your account. This is usually in the £10-15 range and is never a round number, there’s always a stray 20p or 50p in there somewhere.
The number involved usually has nine digits (UK mobiles have 11), but the first five digits appear to always start with 70. This indicates that the number is a Charity Shortcode and this is where the confusion starts.
Some providers (who will remain nameless!) are particularly bad at giving advice about this…
The Charity Shortcode (notice the word SHORT) is a five digit number used for raising funds, typically through SMS campaigns. It looks something like this – 70660.
Yet the number on the bill will look something like this – 700044075. It’s four digits longer. So why do network providers assume that it’s a charity shortcode?
That would be like a postman having a letter for number 12, but decided to post it to number 1 as it starts with the same number.
Mystery Charges – The Confusion Continues
It doesn’t make sense. Yet, time and time again we have people asking (sometimes in quite heated terms) why we have taken money from them without their permission.
Why do nine digit numbers show up on bills rather than the five digit shortcodes?
We honestly have no idea.
There are threads in online forums where other people discuss being charged random amounts of money by gaming app, horoscope sites and more. We somehow get sucked into this vortex sometimes, through no fault of our own.
If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance you’ve been directed here by a poorly trained mobile network operator.
The unfortunate thing is, we don’t even know how we can help you stop it. We can only advise that you contact your provider again.
But we can honestly say, it wasn’t us that billed you.