If your teenage children are having a dangerous effect on your phone bill, wait till you see what they can do to your JetStream account.
An Auckland IT consultant says Telecom has offered to compensate him to the tune of $7000 for JetStream DSL charges incurred by his children being unaware of the way a music download service operated. But the victim is holding out for more.
Auckland-based Ian McTavish concedes the primary party to blame is the music-sharing service, morpheus.com. When a customer requests a download of a music track, he or she gives implicit permission for other users to share that download — to acquire the data from the user’s PC with the cost of the upload traffic being charged to the original user.
McTavish’s children were downloading music tracks unaware that they had given permission for up to 100 other users to trigger uploads from their computer. The total cost of the unwitting uploads was about $10,000 over three months.
While blaming Morpheus primarily, McTavish accuses Telecom of “profiting from someone else’s misdeeds”.
The telco apparently warned its users in a newsletter to beware of such schemes, but the advice was buried in a welter of the company’s “usual bumf”, he says, and he missed it.
McTavish says he has been offered a refund of $7000, but wants something closer to the full sum lost. Telecom spokesman Andrew Bristol confirms Telecom is in discussion with McTavish but would not comment on the alleged $7000 offer.
McTavish says Telecom should warn users when their usage exceeds the flat-fee limit, in his case 600MB a month. Bristol says Telecom in fact does this, by means of an automated telephone call.
Even if a refund is finally offered, this would not create a precedent, Bristol says. When Computerworld suggested the company might be opened to claims from many other customers with a Morpheus user in the family, he says that “we handle each case on its own merits”.
There are even more dubious tactics on the internet that may land a user with unsuspected charges, such as offering dial-up users a file “download”, then disconnecting the internet link and dialing a point-to-point international call at full rates.