Consumer Alert: CellZum Concierge Subscription $9.99/mo on Phone Bill

Brent Pittman —  10/24/2012
It's a Scam chalk

Have you been scammed? Credit sashafatcat.

This is a quick consumer alert to look for on your cell phone bill. You do look at your phone bill occasionally right? I’m sure many have this on auto pay and don’t think a thing about it–that is just what companies like CullZum are counting on.

I hate being scammed or tricked into paying for services I didn’t apply for. I just happened to notice the cellphone bill was higher than usual and that is when I noticed a $9.99 concierge subscription service to CellZum (no I won’t be linking to them). I really have no idea what service Cell Zum provides, if any, nor do I care.

I do care that they charged an unsolicited charge onto our phone bill. According to an AT&T rep CellZum texts your phone and if you don’t text them back to stop the service, then they assume you wanted their service? What? To me that just bottom of the pond scum. I hope the FCC and phone companies crack down on this practice.

Thankfully AT&T was helpful and credited this amount, cancelled this subscription, and blocked such services from doing this again.

AT&T enabled our parental controls and set “Content Filter is Off and Purchase Block is On” I would suggest you do the same and also check page 2 of your AT&T mobile bill for any odd subscriptions.

Take Action

1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission to complain about CellZum. Contact Form

2. Tweet the following:

CellZum is scum and tried to scam me on my phone bill. Thank goodness I checked my phone bill! Tweet This

Hey @FTC (Federal Trade Commission) CellZum is trying to scam unknowing consumers. What are you doing about it? Tweet This

3. Share this article with your friends with the cool little buttons below.

Have you ever had an unsolicited charge on your phone bill? 

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • Loyal-T

    Circuit city has obviously gone under. Anyone stupid enough to try to check the balance on an old circuit city gift card will be directed to cellzum and automatically become a “cellzum customer”. Unless you text STOP to 82511… I was one of the stupid people who thought there may still be money on the circuit city gift card. But was smart enough to text stop haha. I hate scams. Not a bad idea though (from the scammers/a**holes standpoint) to take that number. I bet a bunch of kids who don’t pay their own bill call that number. And the aware parents (with family plans) don’t even notice.

  • Alex

    Just had them removed from my bill as well. They have been charging me the last 2 or 3 months and I was unaware of this. I never gave permission to do this. what a bunch of “C words “

    • That sucks! But at least you finally caught it! Did you set up your parental blocks so it doesn’t happen again?

  • SN

    CellZum tried to scam me as well. AT&T took it off the bill, put on parental control purchase block (with a PIN code to over ride if I need to) and gave me a $10 instant credit for my troubles and inconvenience. Very impressed by AT&T customer service.

    • Dang! I didn’t get the $10 credit. I think they must be getting a lot of these complaints.

  • A66ies

    Just got my AT&T bill and like the rest of you – CellZum $9.99. Took AT&T less than five minutes to correct and block with no charge. Rep said that had been sued sometime in the past. Will still have to pay and be credited next month.

  • Russ

    I was looking up cellzum, because I accidentally miss dialed my power company and got subscribed I think. I won’t know for sure until next months.bill, but due to this post I have already sent a stop message. If charges do show up I will take it up with Sprint. This is just ridiculous.

  • Yes, from the comments it seems almost all carriers are targeted.

  • Just noticed $9.99 on my T-Mobile bill from these clowns. In order to get the money refunded they wanted more of my contact information. For ten dollars I chose to keep my information out of the their hands.

    • This is the text message from last month that I ignored and bit me.

  • Gregory Long

    just got one today for 9.99 from cellzum. Fricken croocked as hell, and I shouldn’t have to spend an hour with AT&T customer non-service to rectify the problem.
    You know, if Cellzum was smart and not so greedy, they probably could have charged .89 cents, and it wouldn’t have been noticed.

    Thanks for the post Brent!!

    • That is so true! I’m sure many of CellZum’s victims have automatic payments, so they’ve made thousands from the unsuspecting cell users. @FCC

  • thanks for the info! Sadly this is one of my most popular articles…I hope FCC steps up soon too.

  • JS

    My wife recently tried to call Frontier customer service (using the number provided on the bill) and was automatically redirected to another number that lead to CellZum. The automated message signed her number up for their Concierge service without her consent, and billed our Service Provider (Verizon Wireless). She was unaware that they had billed us. This would have been a recurring monthly fee, charged to our account without our consent, if Verizon hadn’t emailed me to confirm the charge. I called them and they told me to text STOP to 82511 from my wife’s phone to stop the charges, and credited my account for the balance.

    On a separate note, my wife was able to get through to Frontier after her call was hijacked yet again. So, 3 tries to get through to the correct company, using the correct number. How are companies able to hijack phone calls like this, and isn’t it illegal?

    • JS! Wow! Sorry to hear about this hassle? I wonder if there was a fake Frontier website set up to direct you to the number?

      • Joe

        Yeah, the same happened to me after calling UPS. I originally thought it was UPS’s fault. Could they be associated somehow?

        Texting “stop” however did not stop the charge.

  • Pat

    they got me today was calling 800 number for jc penneys and call was reverted to them. I called ATT.

  • CLA

    Got scammed with this as well…..On hold with ATT wireless…

    • CLA

      Spoke to ATT and they took it off but they made it difficult because they wanted to sell me something else to prevent it happening again…. Annoying…

      • Parental lock is free…is that what you ended up with?

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  • LL

    Tip: if this happens to anyone who uses T-mobile, the lower level customer support folks told me I had to contact Cellzum for a refund. Cellzum wanted my address to send me a refund check which I was not okay with, so I called back at T-mobile and managed to get someone in their “customer loyalty department” who said he would process a refund for me and block Cellzum from texting me; I’ll find out on my next bill if that did the trick.

    • LL,
      Thanks for the tip for T-mobile users! Let us know if T-mobile held up their promise.

    • Val

      Yep happened to me. My hubby and I have the family plan and he noticed the bill was higher then usual last month. So trying to pay the bill a little over an hour ago, our account was suspended.

      So we finally called Tmobile and resolved the problem. Like what LL said, we will find out if the services were blocked and we were refunded.

      After reading here about Cellzum texting users, I happened to see they text me on Oct 4. I replied stopped and they replied that I was removed. Well they must charge $9.99 to remove the services! Have no idea! What a ripp off!

      • Val, good thing you found it! Rip off indeed. Does T-mobile have parental controls where you can stop other companies from doing this again?

    • LL, did it work?

  • Blynk

    Thanks for the alert post. Found the cellzum charge appearing on our bill. Overtly criminal.

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  • I always look over every one of my bills. Each and every month! I always thought that in order to charge you for something a business had to have explicit agreement from you to do so….! I suppose they make the charge low enough that many people won’t even notice and contest it. As you said….SCUM! I’ll be paying extra attention to my bills this month……

    • I didn’t know about this either. Now I know to enable my parental controls on myself to keep this from happening.

  • It’s funny you ask if people look at their bills. I found when I’d advocate the weekly meeting for families to review bills together, most actually read the bills thoroughly for the first time…and found tons of mistakes.

  • maria@moneyprinciple

    Well done for catching this one. I have been puzzling over my bill being abotu $15 higher than my plan; then again I have Eurotraveller – a facility we can use in Europe which means that for £3 ($4.5 aprox) we can have internet access and unlimited calls from any country in the EU. Travelling, sometimes it is cheaper to use this facility to connect to th internet than pay the hotel prices.

    • Makes me wonder if I’ve missed anything else. My wife catches mistakes on our medical bills routinely and saved us hundreds of dollars–just by paying attention.