Thursday, September 24, 2009

Scammed & Crammed

I got my telephone bill online yesterday and nearly fell off my chair.

My landline costs $27 a month give or take the occasional call to directory assistance. My latest bill was for $67! Excuuuuse me???

When I checked the billing, there were my usual monthly charges plus two $19.99 charges by Transaction Clearing ETS for Access Voice, some sort of answering service. Since I already have an answering machine, I would hardly be signing up for voicemail.

And in fact, I hadn't.

When I called my telephone carrier, they agreed to remove the charges, though they said they had had no choice but to initially add them to my bill. (Clark Howard says this is entirely incorrect.)

I also called Transaction Clearing ETS where a cheerful operator agreed to remove the charges. She asked so few questions, and was so immediately willing to help that I asked if this happened often. "Oh Yes," she replied. "We're told to take off the charges for Access Voice whenever anyone complains."

The Rip-Off Report says I'm hardly the first consumer to be targeted by Access Voice.

OK, my problem is solved. But I'm the kind of person who checks every bill. What if I wasn't? What if I was used to much higher bills, such that an extra $40 wouldn't surprise me? What if I was a business person and just automatically paid every bill as it came in?

It must be easy money for these crooks.


Miss M said...

I've had the same problem with cell phone charges, it seems these companies fraudulently bill people knowing that some fraction won't notice and they'll get away with it. Good for you for fighting back, you have to always stay vigilent.

Did it MY way said...

Always check EVERY bill, and every bank account you have. Like you say how many don't. Good for you.

Dawn said...

I'm someone who checks every bill too, but I find it frustrating that I need to. There is something fundamentally wrong about adding on extra charges we don't ask for. If I went to the grocery store and they threw in extra food I didn't want or eat, we'd be up in arms, but somehow companies think this is okay.

Living Almost Large said...

Always happens. I wrote last month about my bill from the cable company! Gotta check you bills.

Stephen @ Financial Services said...

Yeah, I agree with Dawn above. Adding something that is not requested by me is very scammy in nature and aims those people that doesn't check the bills monthly.

John DeFlumeri Jr said...

Shitty companies do stuff like that all the time, because sometime people just pay without checking.