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AOL Connection Leads to $2,500 Phone Bill

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posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 10:58 AM
DENVER - When Mark Walters received a $2,500 bill from his long-distance carrier, Denver-based Qwest, he figured it had to be a mistake. It was, and it was his daughter's boo-boo.

Elissa Walters, 18, had gone home to Springfield, N.J., for Christmas break, turned on a new computer and called an America Online number in the 973 area code the Walters' home area.

Figuring it was a free local call carried by their local carrier, Verizon Communications, she left the computer on. And on. And on

But just because the area code was the same, it didn't mean the call was local.

In the end, the customer asked for some compensation on this and the first few requests were denied by the telephone carrier, but then they decided to give a break to this guy and only charged him $375.

The second reason I'm posting this story :

Important information that many of us already know, but let's discuss it again.

Always know who is using your phone and who / where they're calling !

I know this from personal experience. Back about 6 years ago, right after my divorce, I invited someone to come live with me and share the expenses of an apartment. I had purchased a computer and wanted internet access, so we got it. What I wasn't expecting though was the phone bills to follow.

Now this story isn't one of being charged outrageous amounts for being connected to the internet, but one of deciept and theft.

It seems that my new "roomie" had a calling card that he claimed "was a friends and was authorized to use it". I worked during the day and the "roomie" had not yet found a job, so he was up all hours of the night on the internet or so I though he was.

It seems that he was making long distant phone calls to girls that he met online using that calling card. Oh yeah, the calling card, came from the company that I was working for. I had misplaced it in my desk, he found it and started using it.

In the mean time, I left that company and moved to Ohio, not knowing what was to come. My old boss calls and is telling me that I owe... are you ready for this.. TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS that was charged to that calling card. I couldn't believe it. Told him I don't have that kind of money and he told me the authorities would be contacting me.

After many phone calls, the "roomie" confessed to taking the card from my desk and using it. Many more phone calls to my old boss and finally he got the phone carrier and card company to consider that about $7,000 was fraud and that the company I had worked for didn't owe it.. so there he was ( my old boss ) left with a bill of $3,000. I had to pay that out of my pocket.

Eventually, collection agencies started calling me for the other $7,000. I had to deal with that and now it's over.

Oh yeah, by the way, the roomate, was my owne flesh and blood. My brother did this to me. that was the sadest part of it.

We'll it's been 6 years now and he and I talk, however, I'll never ever trust anyone to use my phone again !

Even though I didn't make the calls, they didn't care the phone was in my name and I'm responsible.

So please, know who is using your phone and who / where they are calling.

[Edited on 30-3-2004 by elevatedone]

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 01:47 PM
I was thinking about how much this type of thing happens and did some searching...

$10,952.69 phone bill : mplate=contentModules/printstory.jsp

A 14-year-old boy was able to get a calling card by using his Enfield neighbor's phone number,and charged more than $130 in calls to the neighbor's number.
Two Willimantic children under 12 dialed "800" numbers, but their parents were billed morethan $75 for calls to "900" numbers.
A Portland businessman was charged for "collect" calls from Chicago made to his office afterhours, when the only one there to accept the calls was an answering machine.
A Greenwich businesswoman was slammed by an out-of-state telephone company.
A consumer was charged for calls to "900" adult lines after activating a "900" block and takinghis phone to work with him during the day to prevent anyone from using it.
A doctor from Orange was billed for nearly $100 in "conference" calls that he never made.

Blumenthal Warns Consumers to Scrutinize Telephone Bills :

One last one : Inmates / families are charged "large" amounts to communicate...

To anyone who has a loved one behind bars, this issues, this bureaucracy, can be the most frustrating procedure. Phone Calls from behind bars are not by any means inexpensive, affordable, economical, private, or even audible. To the Ladies Behind Bars with children, the phone is often the only way to keep in touch, and generally it is not affordable. Calls can go as high as several dollars a minute! And the minutes include those often annoying interruptions, warning the messages are being recorded, examined, set to the CIA for de-coding or whatever they do with them. It is advisable that you write your pen pal about phone calls and you understand the cost involved! Do not blame your pen pal or when you receive that $500 dollar phone bill! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I guess Large phone bills are just part of everyday living for some people.

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 01:56 PM
Thats sad elevated one, especially when your own brother abuses your trust in that way and then doesn't pay.

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 02:01 PM
yeah, Net,

I didn't speak to him for a few months, then started demanding money from him.. and that caused problems between me and my parents as they didn't want me bothering him for money.... but they agreed that what he did was wrong.

This actually caused me to have to file Bankruptcy and I can't tell you how much sleep I lost because of the situation...

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 02:05 PM
We have something similar in Germany. Since several years now German internet users have to face so called "dialers" which kick out your normal internet connection and invisibly replace the old number with a new very very expensive number.

So some people faced like xxxx Euros for one month just because those damn application replaced the old number.
Finally, after several years they managed to change law and other regulations to make it much harder to loose money like that.

The stories above remind me of one case where I called somebody in Asia

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 02:36 PM
I called my mom last month and the phone card ran out. Now using this phone card, I can get 200 minutes international for $10. Just before it ran out, she told me to reconnect and have the call charged onto her bill (reverse charges/call collect) because I couldn't find the number of the phone box I was using.

We spoke for about 40 minutes and expected that the bill would be about ten - fifteen pounds because BT are a greedy bunch of bastards at the best of times.

The bastards charged ninety four fooking pounds !!!

And in order not to be left out, Qwest (our phone company here in Oregon) fecked up KayEms original internet connection. It should have been 24 hour unlimited. After a month they tried to charge $400. She told them where to go, and since it was their fault they waived the whole bill (including all calls for that month).

posted on Mar, 30 2004 @ 02:53 PM

I get at least 3 calls a week from all the different phone carriers too, wanting me to change, I keep telling them that I'm not the decision maker and she isn't available right now...

I've actually thought of having my home phone removed and using only my cell phone, which is my company phone but I never come close to using all of the minutes that I am alotted each month..

I remember when I was in the Navy in Florida, my mom told me to call as much as I could, little did she know that I'd have access to the phones from time to time ( boot-camp ) so I'd call her and all of my friends and have the charges sent to my home phone... wow...

I got a letter from Momma, $600 phone bill for one month, they were socking it to us...

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 02:43 PM
putting this here.... it's sort of related...

GI in Iraq Gets Break on $3K Phone Bill

NATICK, Mass. - A homesick soldier in Iraq (news - web sites) who racked up more than $3,000 on his cell phone bill will get a break on the bill due in part to his father's efforts back home. id=519&e=19&u=/ap/20040409/ap_on_re_us/soldier_s_phone

Jim Fletcher told the MetroWest Daily News in Thursday's editions that he was seeking credit on behalf of his son, who is "just a soldier over there trying to find a way to call home while he's on an extended deployment."

On Thursday, a T-Mobile spokesman said the company would cover the remaining balance.

"T-Mobile has offered to credit the outstanding balance as a result of Mr. Fletcher's special circumstance of active military service in the Middle East," spokesman Bryan Zidar said.

A nice story, however it brings a question to mind : could't the phone companies give breaks to more of the soldiers serving in Iraq ?

I know that there are some special programs set up for calls to be made at certain times and video messaging, etc. But what if all the cellular companies would offer something special to our troops that would allow them to phone home for less or for free.

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 04:41 PM
Actually, its my opinion that every soldier out in the Middle East should be given free airtime by the phone companies. Aftre all, its their corporate arses the squaddies are protecting.

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 04:52 PM
If my brother did that to me, he'd only be able to dial 3 numbers. and that with the one finger he had left.

posted on Apr, 9 2004 @ 07:41 PM
Luckily I don't have a brother like that, in fact I don't even have a brother. Sorry elevatedone.


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