Saturday, May 24, 2008

Liar, Liar...

Last month unauthorized charges appeared on my Qwest telephone bill from ESBI on behalf of Your Business Solutions. I contacted Qwest. The representative not only wouldn't take it off my bill, but told me that I would have to contact the company who placed the charges on the bill.

I contacted ESBI through email. They told me I would have to deal with YBS directly. "We just did the billing for them."

I tried. I called. No one answered. I left a message on their online customer service form. I called again and left a message on their explicit message saying I had not requested their service and if they did not remove the charge and cancel the service I would turn them in to the PUC (Public Utility Commission).

I waited. I heard nothing from Your Business Solutions. So, as promised, I called the PUC and registered a formal complaint. The very helpful people there said they would look into it and get back to me. In the meantime, they said, it would be a good idea to contact Qwest and tell them that I was contesting those charges so I wouldn't be paying the full amount of my bill.

I called Qwest again. This time the representative told me that she would be happy to take the charges off my bill. Why didn't they do that the first time I called? And I registered a complaint with Qwest for allowing that unauthorized charge to get through.

Weeks passed. I heard nothing. I assumed all was resolved.

Yesterday, I got a message from Charlotte at the PUC. She finally got through to the offending company who said that 1) someone had requested the service electronically from my home, and 2) someone with my name had called and said they hadn't meant to sign up for the service so Reggie (the customer service rep) told that someone that the service would be cancelled immediately. Charlotte went on to say that they might take the charges off, but she couldn't be sure, because they had "everything lined up" on their end. It all looked legitimate to her.



On a phishing site, all you have to do is open the web page and they have you. Then when you notice and call them on it, THEY LIE.

Just writing about this makes my blood pressure go up. How can these people live with themselves?

On the one hand, I could say, "No big deal. I caught it. It is taken care of. Let it go." But they cost me...time and energy...peace of mind...blood pressure. All for $8.43.

I guess if you get enough people who aren't paying attention and you charge them $8.43 a month until they figure it out, that adds up to a tidy profit. I repeat--how do these people live with themselves?

On Tuesday (because I can't do anything before then because it is Memorial Day on Monday) I will call the PUC again and I will tell the rep that YBS lied and I NEVER talked to Reggie or anyone there. If YBS does not remove the charges, I will file another complaint.

So, check your phone bill and watch out for ESBI and Your Business Solutions.

That's what I'd do...



Rebecca said...

I had a similar experience - I filed a formal complaint against the company with the Attorney General of California (the state where the offending company did business). It is a scam and a fraud. You go.

Wanda said...

Here's the update. I talked to Charlotte (not her real name) at PUC and told her the story she got was bogus.

"There's always another side," she said. No, duh!

The company in question had a lot of information about me, BUT they had an incorrect birthdate. Hmm. Wonder how that happened? Maybe they MADE IT UP?

She said, clearly, I had been "crammed"--that's the term they use for this kind of telecommunications problem.

We agreed that it is not likely that YBS will come back and try to bill me directly because, Charlotte said, "They won't want to deal with me again." However, if they do, I will call the PUC again.

Maybe a call to the Attorney General of Oregon will be in order this time. Thanks for the tip.

Unauthorized Qwest Charges? said...

If you were charged on your Qwest residential or local phone bill for services you did not authorize or order, you can share your cramming story with other phone customers here:

You might also try contacting class action lawyers investigating telephone cramming cases: