Having a problem with MBS? Read this if you are.

  Forum Editor 07:08 07 Jun 07
Locked

Yesterday afternoon I had a long discussion with the Technical Director of MBS about some of the concerns voiced by our forum members.

MBS are keen to help if possible, and with this in mind I suggested to them that they might respond to questions that you, the people who have been on the receiving end of MBS billing, might want to put to them here, in the forum. So, post your questions in this thread, and MBS will respond - not here, but via email to me.

I want to make a couple of things clear before we start, so bear with me if you would.

1. MBS have confirmed that have worked closely with Trading Standards in Leeds when developing their current billing procedures, and that there is an ongoing review procedure in place with Trading Standards.

2. The company also confirms that under current UK legislation there is no legal obligation for the operator of an adult content site to verify the age of potential customers. MBS has a system for detecting possible under-age users.

3. MBS does not, and never has had any system in operation that works on a backdoor download principal. As far as the company is concerned nobody has ever had their software installed on a computer without first being asked to agree to the download. As you are aware, your web browser will detect a download and ask you to accept or reject it.

4. There are currently two adult content sites using the MBS service, and MBS say that on both of these it's necessary to tick a box confirming that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions before you can access the content.

Go ahead and ask your questions, but please understand that this isn't a court of law - no company is obliged to defend a legal marketing policy if it doesn't want to. We're here to find information, not to indulge in an online ranting festival, so no abusive posts please - we have an opportunity to get an insight into how this system works, and discover what safeguards might be in place, so let's make the most of the opportunity. MBS hasn't engaged with any other magazine forums in this way, and they are doing it now because, in their words, our forum has so far tried to treat the subject with a degree of fairness and balance.

  Probabilitydrive 08:26 07 Jun 07

As a matter of principle:

Why has MBS not responded earlier to postings, queries, questions raised in this forum?

If indeed MBS has deemed PCA's forum as ".....tried to treat the subject with a degree of fairness and balance...." the company must have been aware of the controversy its billing system has caused.

This forum would have been a good platform to respond to than and there.

Again ".....if this forum has so far tried to treat the subject with a degree of fairness and balance...." does this indicate that other forums didn't discuss it in an objective manner?

What steps did MBS take to proactively get involved in any discussion and be counted?

  beynac 09:10 07 Jun 07

"As far as the company is concerned nobody has ever had their software installed on a computer without first being asked to agree to the download."

I have not personally been affected by this, but I help on a number of security forums which assist people to clean their computers after being infected with malware.

A lot of people download trojans which, in turn download other malware. Once they have initially been infected, they would normally be unaware of the later downloads. A trojan can download anything that its creator wishes.

If someone accesses a website which is a client of MBS, there must be an initial link that connects to the MBS system. After this, presumably, the process begins (accepting terms and conditions etc.). I would have thought that all of this could be short-circuited (pre-programmed) by malware and the final acceptance sent from a single link. I disagree that the user's web browser would detect the download if it was installed through malware. I accept that a lot of the people have said that they didn't access one of the MBS sites and then, later, it turns out that they did. There have been a number of instances where I believe the poster when they say that they were downloading other files at the time they were alleged to have logged on to the MBS client website.

Clicking a box on a screen is very easily simulated by malware. Spammers use bots, to post to forums, which can easily bypass email registration procedures. A lot of forums now require further verification (confirming a random set of characters etc). This does not seem to be in place for the MBS system.


My questions for MBS:

How can they be sure that their system cannot be hijacked in the way I describe?

What safeguards are there to ensure that people have actually accepted the Terms and Conditions?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 09:13 07 Jun 07

As I read it, the software is downloaded after someone visits a Pr0n site. Of course people are going to say 't'was not me' but there appears to have been an agreement which some seem to have ignored. I have written many times about using common sense when surfing and that most problems are user-caused. I keep banging on about the fact that firewalls and AVs are useless if commonsense flies out of the window and that people should lay off Pr0n sites unless they are fully aware of what can happen. It could be others (teenage sons) that are using the computer but, at the end of the day, it is your responsibility, no one else.

'Why has MBS not responded earlier to postings, queries, questions raised in this forum'..if they are doing something legal, why should they?

There does seem to be a lot of people denying visiting Pr0n sites, either that or they really should keep a close watch on others using their computers. From looking at hundreds of computers I would say that Pr0n sites are the most visited type of sites on a huge number of computers.

G

  Probabilitydrive 09:33 07 Jun 07

Just because the legal aspect of a procedure has been covered does not automatically mean, there in no need any longer to communicate, clarify, confirm...

As seen, postings regarding MBS have developed an dynamic on their own, ripe for speculation, frustration, anger, fear, desperation and many elements more.

Therefore, would it not have been better if MBS just started to communicate and confirm that their actions are indeed sound and legal and back it up with evidence.

Communication as a matter of principle would have clarified much earlier issued raised in this forum. The principle stands.

  helpinghand 09:50 07 Jun 07

Perhaps MBS would like to explain why, when they claim that emails will be answered within 48hours, there are a number of people who have never had any response to emails they have sent to MBS on the advertised address?

  GANDALF <|:-)> 09:53 07 Jun 07

'Just because the legal aspect of a procedure has been covered does not automatically mean, there in no need any longer to communicate, clarify, confirm...'people agreeing to terms and conditions that seem to be quite clear seems like fairly good communication to me. As far as I can see these people have goofed by either visitng a Pr0n site or allowing someone else to use their computer. hate to be harsh but I am inclined to think that the fault lies with them and not MBS.

G

  Probabilitydrive 10:16 07 Jun 07

'that the fault lies with them and not MBS'...I would argue - as the forum traffic shows -it's not quite as clear cut.

People affected were apparently not being able (and encouraged) to make informed decision when clicking on pop ups. Information has- allegedly- not been presented clearly.

Again, this leads me back to 'how effectively and do you communicate your intentions, what do you gain by not doing so and why -when questioned in forums like this- do you feel there is no need to respond'?

Whose fault it is is not relevant, how so many people came to make the same fault, is much more an issue.

  Probabilitydrive 10:16 07 Jun 07

fault = mistake

  PSRW 11:04 07 Jun 07

Dear Mr Taylor

From Forum Editors first posting: MBS says:

4. "There are currently two adult content sites using the MBS service, and MBS say that on both of these it's necessary to tick a box confirming that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions before you can access the content"

I have a letter from you where your Terms and Condition screen says:

"CLICK ANYWHERE ON THE STATEMENT TO VIEW FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS
By clicking "Get Instant Access Now" you are confirming that you are aged 18 or over and have read, understand and accept the full terms and conditions governing your access to and use of this website including your use of the Micro Bill Systems (MBS) billing account. You are confirming you wish to receive a free three day trial subscription to the Website and that unless you cancel within the trial period you automatically become a full member billed at less than x pence per day billed monthly in advance on a recurring subscription basis until Membership is cancelled."

There is then an ALREADY TICKED SQUARE (already ticked!!) beside the words
"I FULLY UNDERSTAND THE FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS"

Then a box containing the words
" GET INSTANT ACCESS NOW "

THERE APPEARS TO BE NO WAY OF CANCELLING THIS SCREEN - perhaps this is what is happening?

Can you please send the Editor (because it won't print here) an exact picture of the above screen as it would appear on our computers?

My daughter is still looking forward to hearing that you have cancelled her so-called subscription.

PSRW

  Bingo 1 11:29 07 Jun 07

I have been posting on this website now for a week. I have major concerns over whats going to happen to me and I would be extremely grateful if you could settle my mind as I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown. I have received a bill and I might have even visited your website to be honest I don't know. After the three days lapsed the bill came through, I contacted your customer support (which I have to say were extremely helpful). After I explained what had happened (too long to go into) the person I spoke to cancelled the substription (or atleast I think he did I was a little too emotional at the time). As a lot of others have done with the help of my computer security the files were deleted. But to be rid of this I would now just rather pay as I can see that this seems to be real and not a scam. I have been sent your account finder file and again nothing found the bill I mean. I would just like to know what happens next if you intend to aqcuire the money in some way. As I have mentioned in previous posts and you may have read them my job/life is at risk with this.

I am sorry to all that are having to read this that it may sound a little too much like a begging letter but if I don't get answers I'm not sure what will happen.

Thanks

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

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