Phone bill 'cramming' scam resurfaces in Ore.

Phone bill 'cramming' scam resurfaces in Ore.

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by Ed Teachout, KGW Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @KGWNews

kgw.com

Posted on June 26, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 26 at 12:15 PM

ALOHA, Ore. -- Tim Curns had been a faithful customer of Frontier Communications since the early 90s.  Not anymore.

“I pulled the plug”, Curns said after trying to get Frontier to help remove an unauthorized charge from his land line phone bill.

“Started looking at the bill in detail and there was one charge for 14.95 from a company called Payment One," he told KGW.

When Curns called Frontier Communications “they couldn't even tell me what the service was.”

Curns said he asked Frontier for something in writing noting where he or his 91-year-old mother who lives with him, had signed up Payment One. He told Frontier they would not find anything, because they never signed up for anything.

Curns contacted Payment One and learned they had his address as in Beaverton, not Aloha which is his real address. After calling Frontier back, he was told they may be able to reverse one month of the $14.95 a month charge that he learned was on a two year contract.

In other words he would be billed a total of more than $300 for something he never ordered, in fact had no idea what Payment One was.

“My question to the phone company was, okay, if you make an adjustment on this bill for 14.95 what are you going to do to stop this from being a recurring charge," Curns said, "and they said there’s nothing they can do, you have to call these people."

So Curns called and said Payment One told him the name of that company is My Global 4-1-1, which is a front company for a firm called Doink Media LLC, which the Federal Trade Commission been chasing all over the country.

Kyle Kavas, Spokesperson for The Better Business Bureau said, “most of the time it's just companies that are randomly picking out phone numbers and charging them. Those cramming charges are very dangerous because they come from companies that are usually scammers.”

KGW Unit 8 contacted Frontier Communications, which issued a statement:

“Frontier takes customer concerns very seriously and always tries to make things right. Our normal policy on a ‘cramming’ issue, which is an unauthorized charge on a customer’s account, is to assist the customer in contacting the 3rd party company who added the charge. These 3rd party companies get a customer authorization from the customer although in some cases the customer doesn’t realize they’ve authorized the charge. An easy way to avoid these is to have a 3rd party block put on your account by calling Frontier Customer Service.”

Those blocks can be free, but Curns said no one at Frontier would guarantee him he wouldn’t be charged in the future for the block.

A few hours after Unit 8 contacted Frontier, Curns says he got a call on his cell phone from Frontier apologizing and promising to remove the monthly charge and retroactively pay him for part of his last phone bill.

That’s right Curns was so frustrated with not getting the help he wanted from his phone company he had his land line phone disconnected for good.

Curns has this advice to all phone customers that get the same what he calls run around with their phone company and unauthorized phone charges.

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