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Understand Premium Text Message services

What are Premium Text Message services?

Premium Text Message services generally use a 3 or 4 digit short code. The short code works like a normal mobile number and allows you to send and/or receive text messages, usually to a business or organisation. They can be charged differently to normal text messages.

For example you might send a text to a short code to enter a competition on the radio, vote on a TV show or reply YES to confirm an appointment date.

They are also used by businesses to communicate with you by sending an SMS from a short code. For example, you might receive text messages with:

  • One-time passwords (sometimes known as ‘2FA’ or two-factor authentication) used by banks and other organisations to authenticate you for their security processes
  • Notifications for parcel delivery
  • Appointment reminders
  • Advertising for special deals or new products

Some Premium Text Message services are subscription services. By signing up you will continue to receive text messages from that business until you unsubscribe. These are usually charged so make sure you know what you are signing up to.

Some Premium Text Message services also use a 13-digit number like an extended phone number.

Do I get charged for these messages?

Where they apply, charges for sending and receiving Premium Text Messages will appear on your Spark bill. They are charged on your Spark Mobile account or taken off your Prepaid balance. Please note, these costs are not included in the SMS allocation in your mobile plan.

Charges for Premium Text Messages vary depending on the short code and are decided by the business that is sending or receiving them.

You can find out how much it costs to send or receive a text message for a particular short code here: Download short codes price list (PDF)

What if I don’t want to receive any more Premium Text Messages from a business?

You can reply to a message with the word STOP and the business should unsubscribe you from the service. Get in touch with the business if they continue to send you Premium Text Messages.

Watch out for scammers

Like all communication, you should be careful with how you respond to a Premium Text Message. If you are in any doubt about the content or sender of a message, do not reply or click on any links. Instead you should contact the business who claims to have sent you the message directly using their publicly available contact information – for example their phone number shown on their website.

What if I want to make a complaint about a Premium Text Message service?

Spark values our relationship with you and we want to ensure it is nothing less than the best it can be.

We want to make sure that we provide you with the best possible service experience. If you are not happy with any aspect of the services we provide you we would like to hear from you so that we can quickly put things right.

See our complaints policy for how to provide feedback or make a complaint to Spark, or raise an issue with the Telecommunications Dispute Resolution Scheme.

TCF Mobile Messaging Services Code

The NZ Telecommunications Forum Mobile Messaging Services Code is a voluntary industry code which sets out the rights and obligations of businesses who send message content and Telecommunication Service Providers, such as Spark, who deliver the messages in New Zealand.

The Code encourages the safe and responsible delivery of the service that complies with legal and regulatory obligations in order to safeguard you and ensure they are provided in a socially responsible manner.

Read the Mobile Messaging Services Code on the TCF website:

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