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MBS billing

  Forum Editor 11:41 02 Sep 2007

This is a continuation of the thread that was originally posted in the Helproom. That thread ended up being 21 pages long, with over 800 posts, and has been closed. In response to requests I'm opening this here, in Consumerwatch which is a more appropriate place, so the discussion may continue.

You can read the original thread if you click here

  wee eddie 12:04 22 Nov 2007

MBS will not bother to attempt to recover the money or take you to Court. It's not worth anyones while for such a footling sum.

Neither can you, nor they, prove that it was, or was not, your Grandson that downloaded their Software. As far as I can see, a number of actions have to be carried out to allow access to the site which includes clicking on Buttons "Affirming that you are over 18yo" and "That you have read the Terms & Conditions". I have little doubt that your grandson could have performed these actions but I think that MBS can have been said to have done about as much as is reasonable to transfer the onus of responsibility to the Viewer. To expect them to be able to put in place a system that someone who is unable to read could understand is, I think, asking more than is reasonably possible.

  Forum Editor 18:55 22 Nov 2007

You may believe that MBS has broken the law in your case, but I have taken advice from two very experienced contract lawyers, and they have both informed me that they can find nothing illegal in the billing system.

I happen to know that the Guardian newspaper was given the same advice.

As for "....there is insufficient will so far to FULLY investigate what is happening here", I wonder what gives you that idea? I have spent almost a year looking at the MBS issue, I know that Guardian journalists have also looked at it closely, as has the BBC, as have several lawyers.

You may well be all fired up because you've had a bad experience, and I can understand and sympathise with that, but please don't make the assumption that you're the only one with a sense of determination - some of us have lived with this for a very long time, and have a good deal of experience and knowledge on the subject.

  spuds 19:38 22 Nov 2007

Looking at this subject from another angle, I wonder what action MBS would take if a computer was 'contaminated' with their software to the extent that the computer was near useless. And a request for instructions of complete removal of the offending software was put to MBS, because a minor had used the computer similar to the case highlighted by dgillham?

The contract term and conditions would not be legally enforceable or binding due to minor person status. Would MBS be legally obliged to provide the 'unblocking' facility?.

  Forum Editor 22:22 22 Nov 2007

Please do not, under any circumstances, use our forum threads to provide advice or assistance with regard to the removal of MBS software. Any such posts will be removed.

  wee eddie 12:19 23 Nov 2007

You may have the proof that FE needs to advance the argument with MBS.

I suggest that you make a copy of your proof and mail it to FE. I sure he will be interested if all is as you say.

We have all been looking for proof that MBS has loaded itself accidentally or onto an untenanted PC

  Forum Editor 17:58 23 Nov 2007

I think it's time to give you a little tuition in how to understand what's going on here. From what you've said you don't appear to have grasped the situation at all, and if you think that your 'discovery' of the fact that MBS software remains inactive for a four day period is some kind of a revelation you're sadly mistaken - we've all known how it works since last November.

The software is inactive for four days because you have a three-day free trial period when you agree to the download. The terms and conditions on the site in question clearly state that if you don't cancel your trial subscription within three days it will become a full subscription, and on the fourth day the billing system will activate.

There's nothing 'forensic' about this, it's common knowledge.

You may be bemused by my requirement that you don't post information about how to remove the software but that's because you're confused - not me. I have never said, or even implied that doing so was 'illegal', you've imagined that bit. Your confusion has arisen because you don't understand the reason behind my ruling. The terms and conditions attached to the agreement that someone enters into when they download the billing software expressly forbid the removal of the software. It's a condition of the contract, and if someone enters into a contract we are not going to provide them with instructions on how they may breach it. You might well say that you haven't agreed to the download, and that therefore no contract exists, but that's what you say - I have no evidence to show that you're right, and therefore I will not provide you with help in breaking the terms of an agreement.

Now is the mist of confusion clearing for you?

Your comments about lawyers are offensive, and bordering on defamation - something else about which you appear to understand little. The people I've consulted are both eminent and very experienced in Internet and consumer law. They know what they're talking about, and until and unless someone provides me with some extremely compelling reason why I should distrust their advice I'll stick with it. You have revealed absolutely nothing that I wasn't already aware of.

I haven't the time or the inclination to get drawn into a long and detailed discussion about consumer law in general, or the Distance selling regulations with you. Suffice it to say that I'm fairly well up to speed on that side of things - I would be, after almost seven years of being editror of this forum - and there's no contravention of the legislation .........unless you can provide me with absolute proof of the statement you've made, to wit:

"I now know exactly the sequence of events that led to the download and I can also state quite categorically that no consent was given to the download"

If you can show me concrete, written evidence of the fact that your computer was not used to visit the site in question, and that at no time did your computer enter the site, or tick any box, or subsequently visit any of the pages on the site, I would be extremely interested. So far, in almost a year of enquiries and investigation, not one person has been able to do that. Several people have, like you, claimed to be able to do it, but have failed.

I have spent a lifetime working with computers - I'm an IT consultant, and computer forensics is part of my everyday work with clients. I'll be delighted to take a look at your evidence if you care to send it to me.

  Forum Editor 22:03 24 Nov 2007

I'm not "laying into" anyone, and even if I was, I'm sure that the person concerned would be perfectly capable of fighting his/her own corner, without any help from you.

I was simply responding to some pretty assertive and sweeping statements, one of which was potentially libelous, as is my right as Forum Editor. I'm well aware that there are previous posts with instructions on how to remove this software, but (unlike you) I was deliberately avoiding making references to them - for reasons that should be (but obviously aren't) obvious.

As for "I thought this forum was to help people get rid of it!" where did you get that idea from? it's not our function to tell people how to break agreements, and - as I'm tired of pointing out - we have no way of knowing for sure when someone has agreed to the download, and therefore entered into a binding contract, or otherwise.

You seem to be under the mistaken impression that this is a black and white issue - something that has no subtleties whatsoever,but I assure you nothing could be further from the truth. It's a delicate and complex issue, and one about which I have acquired a fair amount of inside knowledge. I'm still trying hard to find the truth about some of these alledged 'back-door' downloads, but to date I have recieved nothing in the way of real evidence.

  Forum Editor 10:02 25 Nov 2007

I've read some pompous nonsense in my time, but your last post really takes the prize. Kindly stop telling me what my responsibilities are, and start getting a grip on the facts.

You may well have a police crime reference number, so do many other people - the police have given you the number because they must. You have presented them with no evidence to show that a crime has been committed however, and the police will take no action unless and until they see that evidence. My request that you provide me with the so-called forensic evidence you say you possess was made out of a desire to help, and in the hope that at last I might have found someone who really would be able to provide something concrete. I now realise that isn't the case - you are simply repeating the same kind of thing we've been seeing here for the past eleven months or so - an assertion that you have never visited the site in question.

I have made no allegtion to the effect that you may be lying - you've imagined that. What I said, and I repeat, is that we will not provide any blanket method of removing MBS software to anyone who cares to do it. Many people have indeed signed up to the MBS billing system, and have subsequently wished they hadn't. I have many emails from people like that, asking me to tell them how to remove the software. Were I to do so I may well find myself on the receiving end of a lawyer's letter, as was the case with a National newspaper which published the information on one occasion. I'm not going to expose myself or the magazine to that risk.

I suggest that you do some homework on the law of defamation before lecturing me about libel, and you might do well to read the entire content of our several threads on the MBS subject. Before you bang on about people who help, It wouldn't hurt to take a look at my published articles on the subject of MBS billing. You'll learn that I have been trying to help for a long time - with a degree of success, as it happens. MBS has altered the way it presents ots terms and conditions as a result of my intervention, and although the present system is still far from ideal in my view, it's a good deal better than it was before.

I look forward to hearing that you've been successful with your endeavours in other forums, but I suspect you'll end up where so many others have ended up - frustrated by your inability to do much about this unless you can produce the evidence that - in company with many others - I have been seeking for months. produce that, and you'll have broken through a barrier that has defeated lawyers and computer security experts alike. You'll have to demonstrate that the billing software arrived on your computer without any action being taken by you, and you'll have to demonstrate how that was done, and how your machine's IP address came to be recorded on the MBS server logs.

  wee eddie 15:21 25 Nov 2007

As far as we know, and no one has yet been able to prove otherwise, a simple visit to the Front Page of a site using the MBS Software is insufficient to download the their Software.

You need to click on Enter > Then click a Button to confirm that you are over 18 > Then you need to click another Button to confirm that you have read the Terms & Conditions.

Each of these actions takes place on a separate subsequent Page.

The T&C's contain information of the Software you are about to download, the Free Period and how to Cancel, also a schedule of the Charges.

  spuds 17:42 25 Nov 2007

I think the point about legality is based on the interpretations of legal eagles view, as is the same regarding the Trading Standards opinion. I am not saying this is wrong, everyone as their own opinions, and it doesn't always have to be necessarily correct. Only a court of law can come up with a true verdict, perhaps similar to a stance already taken in the USA with a similar programme.

Perhaps some of us can still remember the fiasco of the Kodak DX3700 camera, when we had highly experienced lawyers (from both sides of the water), trading standards officers plus other relevant bodies agreeing and disagreeing with each other on a matter of internet law. In that particular case regarding the Kodak camera, it still remains a grey area, because at the end of the day, no one actually went to court to prove their point.

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

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