Search and Destroy Hidden Phone Charges

Hidden, fraudulent, charges on your phone bill could end up costing you big over time. Inside, we’ve got a guide to spotting and rectifying this fee-skimming.

A KUTV investigation broadcast yesterday found widespread fraud and overcharges among Qwest customers.

Some customers were being charged for directory assistance they didn’t use, or for long-distance when they had long-distance with another company.

Third party “phone service” companies, like Discount Telecom Services, tell phone companies customers ordered certain services. The phone companies, like Qwest, then bill the customer and take a portion of the fraudulent fees.

According to an expert in finding false phone charges, “at least 80 to 90 percent of all phone bills are dirty.”

If you find suspicious charges, question your phone company, and if the charges are unfounded, demand the company credits the charges back to the start date.

Check out our guide inside, and then check out your phone bill. — BEN POPKEN

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(Thanks to Bubba!)

Comments

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  1. Phyltre says:

    Thanks for the heads-up. Once I start paying for my own phone line, I’ll watch the bills like a hawk.

  2. spanky says:

    It’s also worth highlighting that your basic phone service (regulated portion) cannot be disconnected for failure to pay the unregulated portion of your bill, including add-ons such as voicemail, Caller ID, and DSL, as well as any third party services.

    Regulated vs. unregulated Qwest (and I assume other RBOC) services are categorized as “Basic Services” and “Optional Services,” respectively, on your bill.

    So if you do have a dispute about a third party or optional service, and you don’t want to pay that part, call and include a note on your payment indicating which charges your payment should be applied to.

    Note that this is not to say that they might NOT disconnect your service anyway just because they’re incompetent, corrupt boobs and all. But if they do, you can report them to the PUC for a little cold comfort.

  3. drsmith says:

    All I can say is:

    1) I have an unlisted number.

    2) There is no long distance available from my land-line.

    3) The phone company requires a pass phrase for any changes to my account.

    4) In 17 years of service with frontier telephone, I have never had a fraudulent charge placed on my bill. I also don’t get telemarketers calling and I’m not even on the do not call registry.

    Interpret the above any way you’d like.

  4. ShakeelaGaleo says:

    19mos. Into a 2 yr. contract with corrwireless. One week after paying regular bill we get a call saying we owe 700.00 in internet charges. No explaination just traced to sim card.My Sony Ericsson phone is not set to correct port for internet use.Never has been since purchase.I do not have the money for this charge or early disconnect fee plus monthly charge until Feb.2009. The completion of contract.How do i prove this . My monthly service has never included internet,E-mail,or picture messaging.Not even the payment.Monthly Internet service is a different payment package that is more expensive . How do prove this? Also unlock phone or check status. Willuse prepaid plan.Please help.Will give Cell number for tech support or unlock code.