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View Full Version : Phone companies let scam artists steal from customers



MordechaiGoodbuds
05-01-2009, 06:55 PM
I found out yesterday that third party companies can bill a customer through their phone company without the customer's permission.

Credit card customers are liable up to $50 for fraudulent charges, but I'm not sure how it is with phone companies. Our fraudulent charge was just $8 for some voice mail we never ordered. The phone company said I had to complain to the third party to get a refund. The company's called "My Billing Guys" which just sounds phony. I googled them and found lots of complaints. I protested the charges and they said they'd refund my money.

Phone companies will put a third party block at no charge for customers on their bills, but customers shouldn't have to ask for this.

It's like having to ask the bank, not to let strangers withdraw money from their bank accounts.

I guess one way to make money in today's economy would be to make up some phony business called sexwithmonkeys.com. Look up phone numbers in the phone book, and bill the customers through their phone companies. Charge $5 to all of them for allegedly buying pictures of people having sex with monkeys.

Of all the thousands of customers, more than half probably wouldn't notice an extra $5 dollar charge on their bill. Refund the money to the people who complain and say they never ordered pictures of people having sex with monkeys. But the entrepreneur would still have all the money from people who didn't notice they were being charged for buying pictures of human/monkey orgies.

There's your free market capitalism in action.

KikiteNeko
05-01-2009, 07:03 PM
Really? That sucks. And oh, I'd notice a $5 fee on my phone bill.

A couple years ago, someone charged $80 to my credit card to make a payment to a Swedish mail-order bride company.

I got my money back, but to this day I have no idea how that happened.

cray
05-01-2009, 07:57 PM
A couple years ago, someone charged $80 to my credit card to make a payment to a Swedish mail-order bride company.



i wonder what the total cost is for one of them?








*wanders off to find quickwit*

Wayne K
05-02-2009, 12:24 AM
If you're ever feeling homicidal read your phone bill. Screw the scammers the phone company and the government have tagteamed people for years--it's ridiculous.

Cybernaught
05-02-2009, 12:32 AM
Really? That sucks. And oh, I'd notice a $5 fee on my phone bill.

A couple years ago, someone charged $80 to my credit card to make a payment to a Swedish mail-order bride company.

I got my money back, but to this day I have no idea how that happened.

That'd have been hilarious if the bride showed up at your door.

Wayne K
05-02-2009, 01:20 AM
I wonder what she does for eighty bucks.

Cybernaught
05-02-2009, 01:37 AM
I wonder what she does for eighty bucks.

For eighty bucks it'd better be the full service.

DonnaDuck
05-02-2009, 01:52 AM
The same thing happened to me. The thing is my phone bill is a consistent price so I definitely noticed the $13 jump. It took me forever to get a hold of this third party billing company and it turned out someone registered my number by "accident". Right. But they were actually quick to refund the money, cancel the account that was created and I haven't heard from them since. But yeah, it sucks that random charges can show up on your phone bill and the telephone company just lets it happen.

And yeah, I bend over every month with how much in taxes and fees I'm paying on my phone bill. It's ridiculous.

Silver King
05-02-2009, 03:27 AM
I found out yesterday that third party companies can bill a customer through their phone company without the customer's permission...
Phone companies have allowed that to happen for ages. They receive a cut of the revenues collected for third parties, so it's not likely to ever stop unless all of their customers request to block third party access to their accounts.

The best way to avoid scams, even legal ones, is to study every bill you receive before making payment and alert companies immediately of any questionable charges. It should be a matter of habit and common sense, much like checking your bill at a restaurant to make sure you've been charged only for what you've ordered before settling with the cashier.

Sweetleaf
05-02-2009, 03:35 AM
That happened to me a few years ago. I think it was around $20 and was listed as toll calls to Zambia and Nigeria.

I called the telco and went ape at them saying I had never called those countries and they said it was from visiting porn sites based there.

Did my hubby have some explaining to do!

I don't actually care if he does go to porn sites, but now he's a bit more careful which ones. They sure as hell don't tell you you're going to get charged.

White-Tean
05-02-2009, 05:00 AM
This happened to me for a bit over a hundred dollars - I got my first phone because I was starting university and it's a rough area and I'm there till dark sometimes. The kind of horrible things is my parents assumed I'd made a mistake and didn't fight it, so I feel guilty and kind of resentful about this...

So, like an hour or two after I'd got my phone (I had experience with phones before and could easily use them) I got an SMS with some sort of celebrity gossip - I scanned it, and deleted it (I assumed it was from my service provider or something related to them as I'd already got a message from them - I should also point out I'd done nothing with my phone other than select one of the defualt ringtones and share a phone call with my sister). Got a few other over the next couple of days and blocked the number. Month later bill comes in and all these charges crop up, parents talk to phone company (Australia's large and crappy Telstra who we're no longer with) Telstra say I must have somehow contractually signed up for this service (hell no I didn't - the only functions I use on phones are calling and messaging and my alarm clock - I'm not a technophobe I just use the computer for everything else) and that we'll have to pay, but they put a block on the charges to stop more charges.

Block doesn't work (they screwed up) and it gets billed again the next month - eventually it's halted properly and parents pay the bill, but I still get really angry and frustrated by this, because I wish they'd had faith in me and actually fought it because I'm not an idiot (nor was I at 17 when this happened) - I didn't sign up for anything especially updates on Angelina Jolie's life and my parents shouldn't have been footed with the bill.

I can only figure that it might have been something carried over from the last person with the number - I kept getting calls for months when I first got the phone at all hours from people calling the person who last had the number.

Either way, still pissed about this.

Magdalen
05-02-2009, 05:31 AM
My elderly aunt was hospitalized in Jan. In Feb she was billed (on her AT&T phone bill, of all places!!) $50 for two days of TV service, which she neither requested nor used. I called the 800 number listed on the phone bill and politely explained that and they removed the charges. I think I got lucky.

Wayne K
05-02-2009, 06:18 AM
According to the FCC any company can put charges on your phone bill. When the woman I was talking to about it was finished I asked her how I can get in on this.

Jcomp
05-02-2009, 05:45 PM
I used to field a ton of angry calls from Verizon customers about this sort of thing. A lot of it dealt with costly text messages from third parties. When you take those "IQ Tests" or other fun quizzes online and they ask you to enter your phone number to get the results sent to you, in all that fine print at the bottom of the page is a notification that this costs anywhere from $9.99 to $19.99. I think most of those sites display the costs more prominently now, but at the time it was very misleading. People who gave cell phones to their text-happy and halfway-net-savvy teenagers (who love taking such tests and challenges online and are prone to not look at any of that pesky legalese) tended to see the most egregious charges and be entirely inconsolable...

benbradley
05-02-2009, 08:15 PM
It's my understanding that your phone cannot be disconnected for you not paying such extra charges. There may be more info somewhere on Clark Howard's site:
http://clarkhoward.com

brainstorm77
05-02-2009, 09:33 PM
My elderly aunt was hospitalized in Jan. In Feb she was billed (on her AT&T phone bill, of all places!!) $50 for two days of TV service, which she neither requested nor used. I called the 800 number listed on the phone bill and politely explained that and they removed the charges. I think I got lucky.

Prices for TV service in the hosp are outrageous anyway. I think here its 13.00 for the first day and 10 for ever day after. If your in for any length that can certainly add up.

Sweetleaf
05-03-2009, 06:02 AM
Prices for TV service in the hosp are outrageous anyway. I think here its 13.00 for the first day and 10 for ever day after. If your in for any length that can certainly add up.

You have to pay for tv in your hospital? That's outrageous!