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Policy to manage illegitimate SMS usage

For members who have goodybags with unlimited texts, this article explains what this means and what happens if the Terms and Conditions on unlimited texts are breached.

This page will be updated from time to time, so check back to ensure your info is up-to-date.

What is illegitimate usage?

When messages are sent in a way or volume that breaches section 3.5 of giffgaff's Terms and Conditions we refer to it as illegitimate usage. This section lists the reasons that can lead to your SIM being barred.

The main reason people are barred is texting for commercial / illegal use.

Identifying illegitimate usage

We monitor the usage of all giffgaff members, including our staff, on an hourly basis to identify any signs that usage might be illegitimate. This is generally what we're looking for:

  • Dongles and disallowed devices: Texts sent from a giffgaff SIM can only be sent via a phone or a tablet that has the capability to text over our network without any modifications.
  • Mailing-list style texting: If a member is texting a very large number of different people regularly (i.e. on a weekly or more frequent basis), then this is seen as a mailing-list style text. This falls under what we define as non-personal or non-private use, as it is likely the member is using their text allowance for business or group organisation purposes
  • Automated use: Texts that are being sent out faster than a normal text conversation can be held is seen as automated use. This involves rapidly sending out many texts in an hour on a regular basis.
  • Commercial use: Texts that are being sent out by businesses for commercial use.

Dongle or Disallowed Devices Process Overview

Stage 1 & 2

If a member sends a text via a dongle or other disallowed device then all their services will be immediately suspended.

Stage 3

In order to reactivate their services, the member will need to contact an agent and ask to be re-activated. The agent will send the member an email which asks the member to reaccept giffgaff's Terms and Conditions.

Stage 4

Once the member has accepted the terms and conditions, all services will be unblocked. The user will then have a warning placed on their account for the next 6 months.

Stage 5

Provided that the member does not use a dongle or other disallowed device while their 6-month warning is in place, the member will have their warning removed. However, if the member uses their SIM illegitimately again while the warning is active then their services will be permanently suspended.

Please note: If at any time, the member is unhappy with the response from the agent, they are welcome to follow the Complaints & Code of Practice, which details your next steps. This team are independent to the agent team, but you must have raised a case prior to contacting the Member Relations team and they will aim to respond to your query within 5 working days.

Usage Patterns Indicating Illegitimate Usage

Stage 1 & 2

If the hourly texting reports indicate that a giffgaff member has been sending texts illegitimately (see above - Identifying Illegitimate Usage) over a sustained time period then their services will be suspended immediately.

Stage 3

The member must contact an agent in order to re-activate their services. The member will be sent an email asking them to accept the Terms and Conditions. Depending on the severity of the breach of the Terms and Conditions, the member may be asked to explain why the illegitimate usage occurred before the bar is lifted.

Stage 4

Once the member has accepted the Terms and Conditions, their services will be unblocked and a warning will be placed on their account for 6 months.

Stage 5

Provided that the member does not text illegitimately while their 6-month warning is in place then the member will have their warning removed. However, if the member uses their SIM illegitimately again then their services will be permanently suspended.

Please note: If the member is unhappy with the response from the agent, they are welcome to follow the Complaints & Code of Practice, which details your next steps.

Using Your Allowance for Illegal Purposes

If we believe a member's SIM has been used for illegal purposes such as broadcasting a fraudulent message or threatening members of the public, we reserve the right to immediately bar all of the member's SIMs without notice.

We will then pass all information collected to the fraud team, who will pass this information to the police and seek prosecution where required.

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