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  1. #1
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Thumbs down WARNING: Voipdiscount - Fraud?

    Over Christmas Jenny was unable to log in to our voipdiscount service/account to call her family in Thailand. Each time she tried she got the same message 'the username/password is invalid'.

    That was rather strange as the account was set to automatically login and neither of us had changed the login details. Just in case there was a problem with Jenny's laptop, I tried to log in to the account on 3 other machines - all with the same result.

    I followed voipdiscount's procedure for password retrieval but the emails never arrived. I tried to contact voipdiscount to find out what the problem was but in order to contact customer services you have to log in to your account, we couldn't. I then followed their procedure for 'hijacked' accounts, just in case this was the problem, but still error messages were displayed. Again, to report a security or fraud issue you must check-in and/or provide the current email address of the account.

    At the time I thought nothing of it and presumed there was a technical issue at voipdiscount, that was until today. Because I travel a great deal I have current accounts in different currencies, today I logged in to my Euro account to ensure a payment had been received in preparation for a trip this weekend. When checking the account I notice 2 transactions dated 30/12/09 and 31/12/09 each for the sum of €119.60 - a value of €239.20.

    Now I become concerned. I attempt again to contact voipdiscount but, apart from logging in to your account (which I cannot) there is no way of contacting them. voipdiscount is one of many trading names used by a company called Betamax GmbH & Co. KG, which purports to be a German registered company.

    I try to find their physical EU address but the T&Cs on all their websites simply state ”Betamax GmbH & Co. KG ("Betamax") with registered address in Cologne, Germany, and living within the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and/or having or having been allocated a German telephone number”. This information is contrary to what EU law requires to be provided to consumers. Despite great efforts of trying to find a telephone number for Betamax and/or a physical address so far I have been unable to do so. I have found one address and phone number but that appears not to be genuine.

    Doing a quick search on Google I find that I am not the first to have had monies taken by voipdiscount/Betamax without permission – many others report unauthorised charges to their credit/debit cards and PayPal accounts over a period of time - several years in fact. Sums taken are alleged to be form €10 + VAT up to US$2,000!

    As I mentioned above, Betamax GmbH & Co. KG trades under many different retail and wholesale names – if anyone here uses any of the following websites/services for phone calls and you have saved your credit/debit card or PayPal details with them be warned:

    12voip
    BudgetSIP
    Calleasy
    DialNow
    FreeCall
    InternetCalls
    Intervoip
    JustVoip
    LowRateVoip
    NetAppel
    Nonoh
    Poivy
    SIPDiscount
    SmartVoiP
    SMSdiscount
    SmsListo
    SparVoip
    VoipBuster
    VoipBusterPro
    VoipCheap
    VoipDiscount
    VoipRaider
    VoipStunt
    VoipWise
    VoipZoom
    WebCallDirect

    I would suggest those who have saved their credit/debit or PayPal details with any of the above sites remove their saved details immediately.
    Last edited by Tobias; 6th Jan 2010 at 18:58. Reason: Fixed the very poor grammar ... too many distractions when typing!
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  2. #2
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Just a thought, is there anyone here who has a voipdiscount account who can log in, open their invoices and see if there is an address, telephone number and VAT number?
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  3. #3
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์ Harvey at home's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Just a thought, is there anyone here who has a voipdiscount account who can log in, open their invoices and see if there is an address, telephone number and VAT number?

    Had a similar problem some time ago but because the amount was small £7.40 and after trying to contact them to no avail gave up the chase.

    There was just no way you could get to them unless you could login and I couldn't.

    Resolved the matter by telling my Bank and they presumably attended to the matter.

  4. #4
    Admin maokaang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    I try to find their physical EU address but the T&Cs on all their websites simply state ”Betamax GmbH & Co. KG ("Betamax") with registered address in Cologne, Germany, and living within the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and/or having or having been allocated a German telephone number”.
    Found the following here:
    http://www.betamax.com/impressum.php

    Betamax GmbH & Co KG
    Im Mediapark 8
    50670 Köln

    Email: Please use the form on our contact page
    Tel: +49 221 55 40 55 64
    Fax: +49 221 3 54 95 64

    Managing director: Karin Nab
    Chamber of Commerce: Köln
    Registered under number: HRA 23157
    VAT number: DE814570978
    Paul พอล
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  5. #5
    Rookie มือใหม่
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    On the VoipDiscount Website we found these details:

    Betamax GmbH & Co.KG
    Postfach 19 04 25
    50501
    Köln
    Germany
    VAT-Nr: DE 814 570 978

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Just a thought, is there anyone here who has a voipdiscount account who can log in, open their invoices and see if there is an address, telephone number and VAT number?
    Hi Tobias, i hope this copies OK!
    Betamax GmbH & Co.KG
    Postfach 19 04 25
    50501
    Köln
    Germany
    VAT-Nr: DE 814 570 978
    I copied this from the purchases PDF, i have had no problems at all ,i have used Voipdiscount for several years with no problems.
    How do I remove my credit card details from there data base?
    Hope this info was what you were after
    Victor J

  7. #7
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Many thanks everyone for the details, these are very helpful indeed and greatly appreciated.

    I have to say we have used voipdiscount for several years with only minor gripes.

    My initial concern was that a virus had hijacked Jenny's laptop, but once I started searching I found many examples of people having apparently fraudulent charges - others had call credit but were unable to use it. It appears voipdiscount do not bother responding to account queries no matter how received.

    As far as my little problem is concerned, I've handed it over to the bank for them to deal with. I am looking for the info requested so that I can carry out a proper investigation in to the company and its officers.

    Victor, I would log in to your account and see if you can click a link that says 'edit' or 'remove' credit card.
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  8. #8
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    By way of an update, my bank account has been credited with the two disputed sums - it looks like Betamax has refunded the monies, perhaps with the intervention of the bank.

    That said, we still cannot access the voipdiscount account nor use the service - we have over €38 of credit sitting in there but it looks like we will not be able to use it.
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Victor, I would log in to your account and see if you can click a link that says 'edit' or 'remove' credit card.
    Cannot see such a link.
    We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.

  10. #10
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    I cancelled my viopdiscount account today and uninstalled there web site from my web browers

  11. #11
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    I tried discount but had problems when I would hang up. If I then tried to use the phone after it was if it was still engaged 1 time it took nearly 36 hours for it to disconnect.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ sumrit's Avatar
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    I've read of another 'cheap phone call scam' on another forum recently, again originating from Germany (predeal 01056, PM2 Telecommunications).

    This involves the system like we have in the UK where we phone an 0844 number first then dial the Thai number. After dialing their access number there used to be a message saying the call would cost 2 cents per minute. that message disapeared and when people got their next phone bill they found the cost had been increased to 1.50 Euros per minute, resulting in some very hefty bills.

    This may or may not be part of the same scam/company you're talking about but for anybody using an 0844 number it's probably worth making sure you hear the '1p per minute' message before you proceed.

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    After reading the posts I went into my Voipdiscount account and there seems to be no way to remove cc details, thanks for the warning Tobias.
    I have not had any problems but I am concerned about the lack of support if something did go wrong, is this typical with voip companies and can anyone say if there any better options were cc details are not saved and help is on hand please?

  14. #14
    Admin maokaang's Avatar
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    After reading the posts I went into my Voipdiscount account and there seems to be no way to remove cc details, thanks for the warning Tobias.
    I had a similar problem with another company (nothing to do with phones) a while back. Their system wouldn't allow me to remove the card, only change the details. I therefore updated it with a fictitious card number (except for the first 6 digits) which instantly resolved the problem. Depending on how sophisticated their system is, the same may or may not work with Voipdiscount.


    For price and reliability, Skype Unlimited Country seems to be a favourite at the moment.

    £3.39 per month with unlimited calls to Thai landlines and mobiles.

    Paul พอล
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  15. #15
    Premium Member Gary & Nok's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maokaang View Post
    For price and reliability, Skype Unlimited Country seems to be a favourite at the moment.

    £3.39 per month with unlimited calls to Thai landlines and mobiles.
    For £3.39 per month we would get 11 hours 18 minutes of talk time using the 0844 1/2p per minute number.

    Even Nok can't talk to her family for that long each month
    I'm ONE of the 52%

  16. #16
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ johnb's Avatar
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    Default Voip discount

    I have been following this thread with some interest. Mam and I have two accounts with Voip Discount. One, the first we set up is with Voip Discount, the second is with SmartVoip. Until,now we have no problem with either.

    Reason we have two is that Mam does tend to spend a long time on the phone to LOS and we can change between the two should free days run out.

    Point of post.....if you want to cancel your account, cancel your credit card reference with Voip, as some of you have posted this to be a problem, you simply go to "buy credit" and there you have the option to change your cc number or to delete it. Seems to work, as I did it earlier this pm, in the interests of research for this website.

    Seems odd, I know, to go to "buy credit" to cancel everything, but that seems to be the way it's set up.

    Let me know if I am missing something. I will be watching to see if I am wrong.

    John B
    nao faz mal means mai pen rai

  17. #17
    Moderator Tobias's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by sumrit View Post
    I've read of another 'cheap phone call scam' on another forum recently, again originating from Germany (predeal 01056, PM2 Telecommunications).

    This involves the system like we have in the UK where we phone an 0844 number first then dial the Thai number. After dialing their access number there used to be a message saying the call would cost 2 cents per minute. that message disapeared and when people got their next phone bill they found the cost had been increased to 1.50 Euros per minute, resulting in some very hefty bills.

    This may or may not be part of the same scam/company you're talking about but for anybody using an 0844 number it's probably worth making sure you hear the '1p per minute' message before you proceed.
    Don't worry about this happening with a UK 084 number. In the UK if you call an 084 number in the UK (0843, 0844, 0845) the maximum price is 5p per minute from a BT landline depending on the number - other providers may charge more or a fixed rate. Mobile companies will rip you off and charge anything from 15p per minute up to 50p per minute.

    Once a number has been assigned a charging rate, from 0.5p per minute up to 5p per minute, it cannot normally be assigned a 'higher' charge rate and never more than 5p per minute in any event (from BT landline).

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary & Nok View Post
    For £3.39 per month we would get 11 hours 18 minutes of talk time using the 0844 1/2p per minute number.

    Even Nok can't talk to her family for that long each month
    The only comment I would make on that statement is don't forget to include the 'call connection fee' many companies now charge for calling 07, 08 and 09 numbers - this can range from 3p to 9.3p per call on BT (depending on tariff, probably the 9.3p rate as standard) and from 10p per call on cable - other landline providers charge up to 20p per call, I've read somewhere that Virginmedia for example charge 12p in some parts of the country.

    So calling Thailand once a day using an 0844 number charged at whatever pence per minute could cost from £3.10 per month and that's before you start paying for the actual time of the call.
    Tobias - โทเบียส

  18. #18
    discokidd
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tobias View Post
    Just a thought, is there anyone here who has a voipdiscount account who can log in, open their invoices and see if there is an address, telephone number and VAT number?
    hi . i have a phone card called cobra an having money taken out from vodafone acount , mobile totalling £ 24 , i have tried contacting them but cannot do so have tried erasing this from mu mobile , but cannot how do i delete this number

  19. #19
    Veteran ผู้มีประสบการณ์
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary & Nok View Post
    For £3.39 per month we would get 11 hours 18 minutes of talk time using the 0844 1/2p per minute number.

    Even Nok can't talk to her family for that long each month
    She's not trying! my missus managed 96 hours 50 mins and 42 seconds between September and November last year! £74.52!
    Lucky

  20. #20
    Forum Regular สมาชิกประจำ
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    I think phone calls abroad are a mine field. I use 18866 from a BT line. Thailand 1p min to mobiles and 4p to land line also phone son in OZ 2p all with 5p connection charge. I think my wife can beat Nok. Used over 900 free mins in 2 months in UK alone last month. You definately cannot beat this forum for a learning curve.

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