Argh... phone company scams

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 06, 2015 8:24 PM GMT
    I just wasted an hour on the phone to CenturyLink, getting a bogus monthly charge removed from my phone bill. I know that the bimbo I spoke to on the phone was just some minimum-wage call-center drone reading a script, but it's so insulting. They act as if space aliens must have put that charge on my account. They have no idea how it happened. icon_rolleyes.gif They try to sneak these things in, every couple of years, hoping that they'll be able to collect a few hundred bucks per customer before anybody notices. As if everybody has time to go through a ludicrous 30-page phone bill in detail every month.

    Then, when that was settled, she launched into another script, trying to get me to sign up for some other scam icon_rolleyes.gif Really? REALLY? icon_mad.gif

    There's another scam that I've been getting blitzed by, for the last month or so. Probably it's not the phone company (directly) behind it, but you never know... My office line gets these calls at all hours of the day and night. From a bunch of random numbers. It rings twice then the caller hangs up. Sometimes three times in an hour. Often at 2 a.m. The scam is, they try to get you to call this "dropped call" number back, and if you do, a machine answers and you get a $15 or $20 charge on your bill for a call to Haiti or some such place.

    They're just so... so... sleazy.

    /rant
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 06, 2015 8:50 PM GMT
    Sometimes it's just worth the trouble to switch. So far I've been happy with my network provider, which provides cable tv, internet, and telephone. I only use them for internet. Their name is Astound, but they have weird coverage, SF Bay Area and Minneapolis.

    For my land line phone I use a voice over ip company called Voipo, and they're very good, the only downside is that you have to pay for a year when you sign up, but I recently resubscribed, extended, whatever for another 2 or 3 years since they're so good. The cost is something like $7 a month. Prior to that I had AT&T and was paying $25 a month, and that was measured service; with Voipo I get unlimited nationwide calling. And they have a great web page where all of my calls are logged and I can block scammer phone numbers and they incorporate Nomorobo, for free, which is some blocker for telemarketers.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 06, 2015 9:44 PM GMT
    @MindGarden

    My law firm doesn't do class actions, but MANY firms (especially those based in California) specialize in consumer class actions of precisely this nature. "Petty" theft is only petty when viewed individually, if you can scam MOST customers $1.99 per month for years, that's millions or billions to a large company. Not so "petty" when viewed in the aggregate.

    Next time, if you want, shop it around to a few firms. See if any are interested. If you get to be a "named" plaintiff you'll get an actual payday, and might even be "picked off" for substantially more to try to make the class action collapse. Either way, you'd be looking at 4K to 30K for minimal to no effort other than a few phone consultations, faxing a few documents, and that's about it. These things never go to trial, so a deposition would be next to unheard of.

    For the record, it sounds like you got the charge corrected going forward. If you paid the charge in the past, but haven't been compensated, you still have a live "claim" legally.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 06, 2015 9:50 PM GMT
    I am seriously considering cutting the wires. There is a local guy who runs his own ISP via microwave antenna - claims he can deliver twice the speed of CenturyLink DSL. (Which out here, is only 5 Mb/s). If I can port my office number to VOIP, I'd be set.

    The only problem is that the old farm house (second location) is down in a bowl in the hills. It doesn't have line-of-sight to any antenna. I'd have to figure a way to rig a relay from my roof (on the ridge top) down into the bowl.

    Nothing is ever easy... icon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 06, 2015 10:00 PM GMT
    Svnw688 said@MindGarden

    My law firm doesn't do class actions, but MANY firms (especially those based in California) specialize in consumer class actions of precisely this nature. "Petty" theft is only petty when viewed individually, if you can scam MOST customers $1.99 per month for years, that's millions or billions to a large company. Not so "petty" when viewed in the aggregate.

    Next time, if you want, shop it around to a few firms. See if any are interested. If you get to be a "named" plaintiff you'll get an actual payday, and might even be "picked off" for substantially more to try to make the class action collapse. Either way, you'd be looking at 4K to 30K for minimal to no effort other than a few phone consultations, faxing a few documents, and that's about it. These things never go to trial, so a deposition would be next to unheard of.

    For the record, it sounds like you got the charge corrected going forward. If you paid the charge in the past, but haven't been compensated, you still have a live "claim" legally.


    Nah, I got all the charges reversed this time. They've caught me a few times in the past with the $1.99 stuff. It's the old "inside line maintenance fee" scam, except they've graduated it to tiered "bundles" of "services" that are basically utilities you could download for free on your own, elsewhere. These charges are $10 to $20 per month. A significant escalation, when multiplied across their whole customer base!
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

    Posts: 3755

    Apr 06, 2015 10:41 PM GMT
    Sounds like you might have a lack of competition.
  • Svnw688

    Posts: 3350

    Apr 06, 2015 11:01 PM GMT
    ThatSwimmerGuy93 saidSounds like you might have a lack of competition.


    Agreed. But is there ANY competition in phone/cable service in the US?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 07, 2015 1:04 AM GMT
    Well, the phone book is noticeably shrinking. By a lot. Fewer and fewer people have any reason for a land-line.

    Except out here it's the only way to get hard-wired internet access. But as I mentioned above, currently the wireless is promising a faster connection anyway.

    It's been a leapfrog process. I've had them all as each new mode promises faster speed. ISDN, Satellite, DSL, maybe next: microwave to fiber. IDK if there will ever be fiber to my door.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 07, 2015 1:08 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidIDK if there will ever be fiber to my door.


  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2015 2:01 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidI just wasted an hour on the phone to CenturyLink, getting a bogus monthly charge removed from my phone bill. I know that the bimbo I spoke to on the phone was just some minimum-wage call-center drone reading a script, but it's so insulting. They act as if space aliens must have put that charge on my account. They have no idea how it happened. icon_rolleyes.gif They try to sneak these things in, every couple of years, hoping that they'll be able to collect a few hundred bucks per customer before anybody notices. As if everybody has time to go through a ludicrous 30-page phone bill in detail every month.

    Then, when that was settled, she launched into another script, trying to get me to sign up for some other scam icon_rolleyes.gif Really? REALLY? icon_mad.gif

    There's another scam that I've been getting blitzed by, for the last month or so. Probably it's not the phone company (directly) behind it, but you never know... My office line gets these calls at all hours of the day and night. From a bunch of random numbers. It rings twice then the caller hangs up. Sometimes three times in an hour. Often at 2 a.m. The scam is, they try to get you to call this "dropped call" number back, and if you do, a machine answers and you get a $15 or $20 charge on your bill for a call to Haiti or some such place.

    They're just so... so... sleazy.

    /rant

    Wow. Had no idea about the second scam. I've been getting random 1 ring calls. If I don't recognize the number, I don't call it back. It amazes me that we have the technology to snoop on people's call, but we don't have the technology to stop telemarketers and scammers? icon_neutral.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 08, 2015 2:56 AM GMT
    The Nomorobo thing that my phone company subscribes to does a single ring to let you know it's a telemarketer on their block list. After I signed up for Nomorobo I didn't realize they were doing that and was wondering about the single rings I was getting. Then I dug out the Philips phone I'd been using before I got Voipo and plugged it back in; I had replaced it with a cheap Princess style phone that was self powered because the ATA for voip used up the last power outlet I had. But I'd plugged in yet another power strip (and so far the circuit breaker hasn't popped) and so had a power outlet for the Philips phone; it has a setting to not ring on the first ring "If you have subscribed for Caller ID service with your service operator, your phone can suppress the first ring before the Caller ID. After resetting, your phone will automatically detect if Caller ID service is subscribed and start to suppress the first ring." I've turned that on and no longer hear them, although they are in the logs on my phone number's web page.
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

    Posts: 3755

    Apr 08, 2015 2:28 PM GMT
    Svnw688 said
    ThatSwimmerGuy93 saidSounds like you might have a lack of competition.


    Agreed. But is there ANY competition in phone/cable service in the US?
    if you line in/near a Google fiber area.