In their defense, they must sell a lot of services sold this way and that means there's a high level of "background noise" above which you have to rise before becoming significant.
What's troubling is that this is a pure scam and over four years there had to be a ton of subscriber complaints and commensurate refunds. This can only mean one of two things:
1) Services sold this way are often disputed by subscribers therefore once again creating a lot of "background noise" above which you have to rise before becoming significant.
2) Verizon recognized the high degree of refunds/complaints and balanced that with the number of subscribers that DID NOT COMPLAIN (and the profit they made) and chose not to act.
Either way this situation points to a weakness in the text message services model. Without a text message from the subscriber to the service's registered text number, the system should be setup so that it's impossible to allow third-party charges to be added to your bill.
It still doesn't solve the scam because they could still send you a text message saying "Text STOP to NOT be charged" and then charge you anyway but at least it would not be possible for them to broadcast a text and start charging folks who IGNORE the message (or never get due to network/phone issues!). Quite frankly the fact that such a scam is possible (and probably STILL POSSIBLE) is ridiculous and beyond belief. Any SANE organization would recognize the possibility for fraud and NEVER design such a possibility into their system.
In an era where Best Buy wants to see my driver's license for a $25 credit card transaction, it's amazing how LOOSE communication companies are with their billing practices.
This is the kind of crap that makes me pause when these companies bitch about regulations. This is like drivers who bitch about red light cameras all while thinking green mean go fast, yellow means go faster and red means stop. Well, we wouldn't need cameras if folks didn't run red lights and cause accidents! We also wouldn't need regulation if companies took their head out of their ass and realized that blatant FRAUD is never acceptable.
The other thing that's ridiculous is if they get 30% for billing, that's a scam in and of itself. In an era where retailers are actively lobbying to get the government to regulate credit card transaction charges (which aren't ANYWHERE NEAR 30%!!!!), who thinks 30% is SANE. Being allowed to charge that much for billing is FAR TOO TEMPTING and it's why this kind of CRAP exists in the first place!
It never ceases to amaze me just how fubar'ed people are when it comes to making money. I love capitalism but why is there ALWAYS an element in our society that take it too far.