Vodafone Egypt sends me daily spam (flash SMS) to the home screen of my Android phone and it does not stop

30 Mai 2016 Kein Kommentar Autor: Jürgen (jdo)

Just to clarify: This is not against the people that actually called me in this manner. They were friendly but could not do anything. I know they are just doing their job and I don’t hold a grudge against them. But somebody doesn’t do her/his job and making sure that this annoying spam stops. I can’t stand this typical bukra inshallah mentality (we hope it goes away at some point) that Vodafone Egypt is going for in this case. I’m holding a grudge in this manner against the company – yes. It really pisses me off when you get told over and over again that it will stop in 2 days – than 14 days – than soon and so on.

Since weeks I am getting spam messages (they call if flash SMS) from Vodafone Egypt on a daily basis. I realized that I only get this annoying message when connected to the Network of Vodafone Egypt. So I asked them via Twitter if this offer is from them and what it is.

Offer or as I call it spam is from Vodafone Egypt

Offer or as I call it spam is from Vodafone Egypt

More information ...

More information …

So I did ask them more than once to please stop this unwanted spam as I don’t like it and I am not interested in any offers.

Please stop sending me this spam!

Please stop sending me this spam!

bla bla

bla bla ...

bla bla …

And groundhog day 14 days later …

That really is groundhog day ...

That really is groundhog day …

The worst thing about this spam is that it is covering your home screen and basically blocks your screen until you interact with it. In my case I touch ABBRECHEN what means CANCEL

Home Screen Spam from Vodafone Egypt

Home Screen spam from Vodafone Egypt is really bad

Home Screen spam from Vodafone Egypt is really bad

This is not a traditional SMS – it’s also know as USSD message. Since weeks I am promised that this message will stop and nothing happens. Basically I am getting told that Vodafone Egypt ist Sorry for any inconvenience and We are working on it. It really pisses you off if you get up in the morning and as soon as you check your mail or the news this stupid unwanted message is in your face first.

It’s a simple request: Stop sending me this message!

I got more than one phone call and was told – guess! – we are working on it and it will stop soon. Soon is very vague. Soon compared to the age of the universe?

The message is still coming every single day and I have to cancel it every single morning. Moreover the message has changed!

It's like groundhog day

It’s like groundhog day

Since the 25. of May the message is slightly different. Left is the old message and on the right the new one.

message - The message has changed on the 25. May 2016 - what doesn't make it less annoying

message – The message has changed on the 25. May 2016 – what doesn’t make it less annoying

Obviously Vodafone Egypt is incapable of stopping it or they simply can’t be asked to do so. It does make you wonder what the real profession of their technical departement is. Especially if you get answers from Vodafone Egpyt like:  It takes up to 2 weeks to stop. <- that counts for complaints about SMS spam as well. 2 weeks to tell a system not sending a message to phone number XYZ?!?! Are you guys for real? How stupid do you think your customers are? I call this very bad customer care and no customer support at all.

If you complain in public Vodafone Egypt is very fast to call you. The problem is that the company wastes even more of your time. Basically you listen 10 minutes to we are working on it and we are sorry. So I stopped picking up the phone seing the number 0888 (Vodafone Egypt support) because it is a giant waste of time. If you don’t pick up the phone you get told on Twitter that the concerned department tried to reach out but I was unreachable. If you ask what benefit you would have to talk to Vodafone Egypt on the phone you don’t get an answer – why would you? VF Egypt tells you nothing new and basically steals 10 minutes of your time.

This number I simply ignore these days

This number I simply ignore these days

We could not reach you - that is very true because I'm not picking up anymore

We could not reach you – that is very true because I’m not picking up anymore

This stupid message is the single most annoying thing I ever had to deal with. I find it highly embarrasing for a so called Tech Company (Vodafone) not being able to stop a message that is sent from their network.

If I would get 10 LE for every time I heard we’re sorry or we’re working on it – that would probably pay my phone bill for the next 2 years.

At the moment I am also preparing official complaints to NTRA and CPA. I can’t be that Vodafone Egypt is allowed to waste my time and ressources being asked more than once to stop sending me not requested offers.

  • National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), Egypt
    Hotline: 155
    Email: CCComplaints@tra.gov.eg
    Fax: 0235344155


  • Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), Egypt
    Hotline: 19588
    Complaint form: http://www.cpa.gov.eg/ComplaintForm.aspx

I also try to find out if there is a law in Egypt against unwanted spam. In Europe I could take legal proceedings against annoying stuff like this spam. In Egypt I don’t know. Doesn’t change the fact that aggressive advertising is a common practice here (not just from Vodafone Egypt) and it is really annoying. Problem with this USSD spam is that I cannot block it with my SMS blocker – that I use to hide all the Vodafone SMS I am getting. Friends of mine do the same btw. Otherwise they would get something like 3 to 5 SMS messages with offers from Vodafone Egypt – <sarcasm>not annoying at all</sarcasm> …

Aggressive advertising

One of the most annoying things with VOdafone Egypt is in fact this very aggressive advertising that is contantly in your face. In the past I asked Vodafone Egypt more than once to stop sending me offers – I call it spam – via SMS. It does stop for a while – normally 6 months or so and the SMS spam is slowly increasing again. That gives me the impression that Vodafone Egypt doesn’t give a rats **s about what their customers want and don’t respect their wish not to be sent any spam. Bad enough that you actively have to opt out – but it also will not last very long. That is absolutely aweful.

From now on I will screenshot any unwanted advert or spam from Vodafone Egypt and keep it as proof. I really really do have enough …

I am not alone – others are also very annoyed by unwanted spam sent from the mobile operators. Even in 2010 people were not happy about SMS spam.

If you want to support me in this case please retweet – share and so on. Intrusive spam / adverts from mobile operators are a major pest and really annoying.

P.S: You get three SMS messages after complaining of getting to much SMS messages

If you complain to Vodafone Egypt of getting unwanted SMS message / advert / spam / unwanted offers and so on and you actually speak to number 0888 – sometimes this happens. That really is a piss-take … We send you three SMS messages because you complained about getting too many SMS messages …

Sure - send me more - I just complained about getting too many ...

Sure – send me more – I just complained about getting too many …

My voice is important … sure it is … it is that important that Vf Eg doesn’t respect my request.

Update 1

After I made the circle of my complaint bigger (got a bigger hammer out) and got Vodafone Group and the boss of customer care of Vf Eg via Twitter involved I got a proper answer after 16 days! Basically I took a bigger hammer …

A bigger hammer ...

A bigger hammer …

… and that obviously made a difference …

Finally something moves ...

Finally something moves …

Funny enough that this aggressive spam is called an information that I might benefit from. That may be the case but I still don’t want it.

Furthermore an information is in my opinion a one off and not something that is annoying you every single day and blocks your phone until you interact. That is aggressive spam – not more and not less. It’s abuse and misuse!

I also disagree with the statement

„… pay less and enjoy more quota“

Because I don’t actually pay less. I pay extra for more quota (that I don’t need and want) … or do you see in the screenshot below that I get money back subscribing to one of these bundles?

Pay less? Not quite ... pay extra!

Pay less? Not quite … pay extra!

by the way …

bundles and services that suits your usage …

How does Vodafone know what suits my usage? I think I know best – I got a brain and if I need something extra I do some research and choose a different package. What this basically is: Vodafone Egypt tries to squeeze more money out of you and annoys the living hell out of you to do so.

And as you can see from this answer the annoying spam message is apparently called a flash SMS. I think that a practice like this should be forbidden by law. Basically it is proper disturbance and harassment.

Quite interesting I find this bit:

Currently the technical team is implementing a solution to stop you from receiving the flash SMS …

What does that mean? Others still have to deal with this spam? This so called flash SMS comes out of the devil’s bottom and should be forbidden by all means.

The fact is also interesting that Vodafone Egypt seems to have a button send annoying stuff but have to invent a button stop sending annoying stuff first. That is just pathectic.

From Whitelists and Blacklists

I can only speak from the point of view of a nerd. But in IT we use whitelists all the time. Let me explain the difference between a whitelist, a marketing whitelist and a blacklist regarding this case.

  • With a whitelist you would send messages only to people that want to have them or subscribed to them. Also called opt-in a user has to say I want this messages to get this message. Number XYZ would be in the whitelist and everybody in it would get the message.
  • What I call a marketing whitelist is basically: Take every number we have and annoy them as much as possible as often as possible to sell as much as possible. I also call this spam or unwanted message. If there would be a possibility to opt-out of this whitelist your number would land on a blacklist.
  • If your number would be on a blacklist the messages would be sent to all numbers but them on the blacklist.

Marketing departments don’t like blacklists especially if they are public known. Because many people would subscribe to the blacklist and marketing could send less shit out. That is bad for the statistics.

When the shit hits the fan

In the English language there is a saying The Shit Hit The Fan. In this case Vodafone shits in my living room (flash SMS) any given day and I should clean it up or even pay money to get rid of it. But I take the shit (flash SMS) and throw it back to them through a fan (social media). Big companies like Vodafone don’t like this at all because more people are seing that they are not the only ones feeling abused by unwanted messages.

That is one reason they try to call you and calm you down. But I am not in the mood any longer to take their shit and so shouldn’t you.

Companies that are abusing features like flash SMS for spam or unwanted ads should be sued because they are wasting millions of hours every year. Just think about that:

  • Let’s assume that a user needs 5 seconds to get rid of this spam and to get over his anger.
  • 12 users makes up a minute.
  • 720 users is already a wasted hour
  • 5760 users is a wasted working day (8 hours)
  • 17280 is a wasted day (24 hours)

In my opinion there is a significant economical damage due to the sending of spam. Companies like Vodafone Egypt simply steal your time. Furthermore there is a econimical damage as well as energy and ressources are wasted.

Update 2

As promised I was contacted the following Thursday …

It shoudl not happen anymore ...

It shoudl not happen anymore …

It shoudl not happen anymore ...

It shoudl not happen anymore …

If the annoying spam stops or not I will know by tomorrow.

Update 3

The following day was the first time in ages I didn’t get this stupid annoying message …

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