Sometimes you cannot forsee something coming until you get hit with it. The Big Weed downloaded the Android app Transit Now for TTC. Our next Wind Mobile bill came with a special charge of $0.10 per use of this app, unbeknownst to us. We were surprised.
The Big Weed used her smartphone from Wind Mobile to downloaded the TTC android app. On our next bill we received an additional special charge of $0.10 for each time she used this app. Wind Mobile told us that the app developer charges them a fee of $0.10 for each use of the app, which uses shortcode 898882. Wind Mobile then collects from us and pays the app developer. In the description column for this charge was a simple “TTC”. The Wind Mobile web site states that the TTC charges for their app, and in talking to Wind Mobile on the phone they seem to have lots of complaints about this charge.
A quick look on the TTC web site told me that the TTC does not charge for their Android app. I was very curious if Wind Mobile was telling the truth.
The Toronto Transit Commission does not charge for mobile content. However, your carrier charges may apply. Consult with your service provider to find out their specific charges.
It turns out that the app is called “Transit Now for TTC” and does not come from the TTC at all. Such apps should not use the TTC in the description of the charge as it seems like the TTC is collecting the money, which is not true. Such a fraud may not be intentional, but it is using the TTC name for their own personal gain. This, to me, seems illegal and fraudulent.
What should happen is that app, made by a guy named John Sintal, change the billing info on Wind Mobile to show “Transit Now” and not “TTC”. I am sure that more than my family are a little confused and blame the TTC, which is not correct. There is no information about such charges on the Transit Now Toronto for TTC site, none at all, nor is there any mention of their use of the shortcode 898882.
Addendum: Now I am unsure who is telling me the lie: Transit Now Toronto for TTC, the TTC or Wind Mobile. Here is the TTC’s unveiling of their shortcode 898882. I am being charged by Wind Mobile for this short code. Is the money going to the TTC, to the app developer, or into Wind Mobile’s pocket?
Addendum: So it seems that Ray is right and the TTC has no mobile app, but a mobile site, which uses your browser. This site feature is more a light version of their web site.
It seems the TTC has created a shortcode to query their real-time database for you to use directly, or for app creators to use. The issue here is that we did not type in this short code directly to our phone, but used an app. The app used the shortcode, on our behalf, but did not tell us that we could be charged. Wind mobile also makes no mention of possible short code charges on their prices page. It is only when you go to their FAQ that short codes are mentioned. The trouble is that if you never knew what a short code is, this information would be near meaningless. Coupled with the app that makes no mention that they use a short code and that we would be charged, it is no wonder that we got hit with a charge without understanding its origin or how much it would cost. With Wind Mobile’s “I’ll be honest and give you all the info you need, up front” marketing campaign, getting a line item added to my bill and then telling me “It is in the fine print” is really irksome. A lot more disclosure would have been the honest thing to do.