Premium services are subscription based services that are used to deliver various content to mobile subscribers. They could be information services such as breaking news, sports or entertainment news, games, music, betting tips and the list goes on.
These services are run by third party companies and not by the mobile networks per se. The networks merely license them to run these products however they make money from it. Unfortunately, these services have been and continue to be used by some of these entities to make money from unsuspecting mobile users through unscrupulous means.
When many mobile users complain of mysteriously lost airtime, these services are usually to blame. Following a huge public outcry, Safaricom rolled out a service to allow their subscribers stop these premium services. The remaining networks are yet to follow suit however there are a few things one could try.
Unsubscribing from Premium Services on Safaricom
1. Dial *100# to open the Safaricom’s main USSD menu.
2. Enter 2 for My Account.
3. Select 1 to Manage my subscriptions/products.
4. Select 1 for Renewable Services.
5. In the next menu select the type of premium services you want to manage. For premium services from third parties select PRS Services.
|Enter 2 to Unsubscribe from all Premium Services|
6. This will list all the services you’re currently subscribed to. To unsubscribe from all the services just reply with 2 for Unsubscribe from all, otherwise reply with the corresponding number of a particular service to manage it.
Unsubscribing from Premium Services on Airtel or Telkom Kenya
As it has been alluded to, both Airtel and Telkom have no specific USSD codes to unsubscribe from premium services.With that said, based on my calls to their customer care agents here’s what you could try:
- Unsubscribe from the message service by sending STOP to the service’s number (STOP may not always be the code). The number is usually the same one as that on the SMS number delivering the premium service. Some services however use a name instead of a number in which case you can try looking online for the unsubscription instructions for that particular company. If both of these fail, then:
- Call the customer care and explain to them what has been happening. They’ll check whether you have an active premium service and either unsubscribe you or as I’ve experienced give you instructions on how to do it yourself. If you believe you were subscribed without your consent and subsequently charged, you can seek a refund. This also goes for Safaricom.
You can reach both Airtel and Telkom Kenya customer care agents by calling 100. Alternatively, you can reach their customer care agents through their social pages or handles.
Other ways you may be losing your Airtime
Despite their bad reputation, sometimes we are the ones to blame for falling victim for some of these premium services tricks. In the past, these services almost relied exclusively on TV and Radio to advertise their premium services. That has since lessened and now they rely more on promotional (marketing) SMS and internet Ads.
Fortunately, on Safaricom you can stop promotional SMS from any particular service. With internet ads however, there’s little that you can do other than being proactive when browsing. I’ve since covered some of the precautions that you can take online to achieve this.
Much of what is explained in that post can however be condensed into one basic rule: keep away from sites that you don’t trust especially ones that you notice serving unscrupulous ads.