MBS response thread (3)

  Forum Editor 23:33 13 Jun 2007

This is a continuation of the second MBS response thread, which you can access if you click here

6. MBS Statement.

We are a commercial company that have always maintained total transparency. We have a dedicated customer support team and a public presence. We **are not in the business of trying to rip people off. Unfortunately, many people believe that everything they view, access or download is free (music distribution being the prime example). This is not the case and MBS has gone to extreme lengths to ensure that the user is shown the terms to which they are agreeing, before they access any member sites. There is a free trail period to the pay per view sites, which enables the surfer to cancel without any obligation. These cancel pages are not hidden, they are at the foot of each members page and we log the date and times of the requests. We have a comprehensive auditing system that records the download, access and usage of any site that we collect payment for. These details are fully disclosed on the bills. We further provide the user with an account that they can view all details relating to their memberships, terms and direct link pages to all the relevant site pages. We receive 1000's of enquiries from users who categorically deny anyone could of, or would of, accessed the site. The vast majority of these latterly find our that a partner, baby sitter, friend, party goer, son, daughter or priest.... did actually access the site. Most internet histories also show when the site was accessed, independently of our records. All computer users are urged to engage proper security controls and read the terms that are presented to them. We insisted that our Clients' advertising pages even show mini terms to identify the relevant points of cost, term and membership. These are put directly above the 'Continue' or 'Proceed' buttons to draw attention to them. I do understand though, that the nature of internet use has become a 'whats next' culture and people do genuinely believe they have not visited a site because they simply do not remember. Unfortunately this does not excuse a persons obligations to the site that they agreed to be come a member of and it is perhaps all our responsibilities to ensure we properly read what we are given the opportunity to, before agreeing to proceed. I welcome constructive and productive enquiries on this forum in a bid to better improve our processes and facilitate a better communication.

**Note from PCA Forum Editor**

That concludes the verbatim response from MBS to my request for more information about the company's billing system. I pass it all on without comment, apart from the warning that, although your comments and opinions are obviously welcome, I'm not going to tolerate any abuse or defamation under any circumstances. Any posts along those lines will be immediately deleted, and there'll be no explanations or discussions about it. We have a company which has complied with our request for information - let's demonstrate that we are capable of debating what we've been told in a mature and rational fashion.

  Diodorus Siculus 06:47 14 Jun 2007

That seems a fair defence of MBS's position and as I have never experienced their software, I cannot say one way or another whether or not it is correct.

I suppose my main query that I have not seen addressed is that of having access to ones PC restricted by this software. Is that a legitimate means of getting payment?

  bfoc 09:06 14 Jun 2007

Have never suffered from this but the above response doesn't address a number of points.

To give just one, MBS claims that:

'We receive 1000's of enquiries from users who categorically deny anyone could of, or would of, accessed the site. The vast majority of these latterly find our that a partner, baby sitter, friend, party goer, son, daughter or priest.... did actually access the site.'

So there is no check on the age of the person 'committing' to the 'contract' nor is there any way of linking the person who ‘contracted’ (the visitor, babysitter or wandering priest!) to the person being asked to pay.

So it would appear from the statement that MBS accept that:
1. People too young to legally agree 'to be come (sic) a member of' sites can do so and others will be chased for payment by their software.
2. That people (according to them 1000’s) can find that someone else has entered into a 'contract' without their knowledge or approval and yet they will, again, be chased to pay.

I note the earlier comments about trading standards having no objections, but I really find it difficult to believe that any contractual payment process which is linked to machines and has no valid check on the identities of those entering into the contract is either fair or reasonable.

Would MBS be happy to pay another companies debts?

  namtas 09:35 14 Jun 2007

I have read all the replies printed here from MBS, the words they use and the type of presentation would concern me, the use of such a defensive style of public reply is both unusual and unexpected, - this reply raises more questions than it answers.

  helpinghand 09:52 14 Jun 2007

This clearly raises as many questions as it answers. For example, when a 'bill' is paid in full and a request for confirmation of that is made, but no response received from the company in question, and the software remains active on the user's pc, rendering it unusable, are MBS entitled to insist that their software cannot be removed? And, in such circumstances, having themselves effectively breached their own contract, what redress does the user have against MBS?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 10:23 14 Jun 2007

'So there is no check on the age of the person 'committing' to the 'contract'..this is not a legal requirement in the UK.


  helpinghand 10:37 14 Jun 2007

How exactly is that person defined? It appears from several postings that the 'commitment to contract' has been undertaken by somebody not authorised by the pc owner to commit to a contract on a particular pc, yet it is the owner of the pc who suffers the consequences. I know this has been commented on elsewhere, but I don't think it has yet been adequately addressed.

  sperrin 12:19 14 Jun 2007

according to what I have seen MBS uses a PO Box. As far as I know Royal Mail Group may withdraw such services if they believe that "the reputation of RM Group Ltd.or Royal Mail could be brought into disrepute".
As MBS holds so many PCs hostage with their "accounting practices" is it not time that Royal Mail had a look at this customer?


  MichelleC 12:33 14 Jun 2007

...according to what I have seen MBS uses a PO Box...

I don't think their registered office can be a PO Box, it's a Suite number so it's likely they've rented a plush office. I don't think it would be a good idea for me to give their address here.

  Totally-braindead 12:53 14 Jun 2007

Puzzled by GANDALF <|:-)>s comment. Is he right "'So there is no check on the age of the person 'committing' to the 'contract'..this is not a legal requirement in the UK."

Is there not a legal requirement for anyone signing a contract to be a certain age, or is it just something the companies use IE Must be over 18.

I find it hard to believe that it is legal to agree to any contract if you are in the eyes of the law a child and I also wonder as to the legality of locking people out of their computer.

I'm not saying that its not perfectly legal and cannot argue with GANDALF <|:-)>s statement but personally I do find this hard to believe. Is this really true?

  helpinghand 13:08 14 Jun 2007

“We record all phone calls and hear many interesting comments made by people in the queues, before the call is answered. We hear plans made to deny known access and claim their children accessed the site, as an excuse not to pay”.

(1) Why are MBS listening to people’s conversations while they are waiting in a queue?
(2) How likely is it that somebody would, while online to MBS (albeit in a telephone queue), discuss within earshot their plans to apparently deceive MBS?

According to Oftel, businesses may record or monitor telephone conversations (and, incidentally, without telling their customers) for one of the following purposes
· to provide evidence of a business transaction
· to ensure that a business complies with regulatory procedures
· to see that quality standards or targets are being met in the interests of national security
· to prevent or detect crime to investigate the unauthorised use of a telecom system
· to secure the effective operation of the telecom system
I’m wondering into which category MBS would put their case? And, in any event, these cases apply to conversations with the company, not to listening in on offline conversations.

“We receive 1000's of enquiries from users who categorically deny anyone could of, or would of, accessed the site.”

And are MBS asking themselves why this is the case? As a legitimate concern, they should be asking how they can avoid such confrontations with people they consider to be their customers.

“We have an appeals procedure, for those who genuinely belive (sic) they have a claim for not paying, to enable their claim to be heard by a third party. We will only consider appeals in exceptional circumstances.”

So, not a genuine appeals procedure then, since they only consider appeals in exceptional circumstances.

“We have 100's of 1000's of customers and the majority of people are happy with the service and ask us for ways of reducing their monthly spend by creating price plans. We have listened and implemented this for some sites to enable customers to save money.”

These are the words of MBS. It would be good to have evidence of this to back up their claim. It would be even better if these people would be prepared to contribute to the discussion so that their experiences can be discussed with them.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Best Black Friday Deals 2017

Black Friday Deals for Designers & Artists: Adobe, Apple, Corel Painter, Microsoft Surface, Wacom &e…

Best Black Friday Apple Deals 2017

Black Friday 2017 : date, sites participants & bonnes affaires