Telephone Billing Rights
It may not seem like you do, but you have telephone billing rights. Even
careful consumers can be victims of telephone billing fraud. If you have
a problem, it's good to know your rights. Take these steps to resolve
any problem if you have been a victim of..
Slamming is when a telephone company providing the phone service
is switched without your consent. Don't let this happen to you!
Call your local telephone company. Explain the problem. Ask to be switched
back to your original company with no "change charge." Dispute the "slammer's"
Call the company you were switched from. Explain the problem. Tell the
company that you are switching back. Ask to be re-enrolled in any calling
plan you had.
Call the company that "slammed" you. Tell the company that you are disputing
the charges because you never agreed to switch.
Your basic phone services can't be shut off for charges that you are
disputing. Notify the local telephone company, which does the billing,
about the problem.
In Illinois, slamming has been one of the top consumer complaints in
the Office of Attorney General.
Cramming happens when a company adds additional services such
as call waiting, three-way calling, paging, etc. that you have not authorized.
Contact the company and cancel the service. Demand the charges removed.
Request a refund for any charges you may have paid before noticing the
Call the local phone company who sent the bill to tell them you believe
you have been crammed. Use the customer service 800 number on your bill.
Like with slamming, your basic phone service can't be shut off.
Pay-per-call problems result when they appear on your bill.
Call the consumer service number of the telephone company if you have
uncertain charges on your bill for information or entertainment services
provided through 900 or 800 numbers.
You have the right to dispute these types of charges if you:
- Didn't make the call;
- Were billed the wrong amount;
- Need more information about the charge;
- Were billed for calling an 800 number without agreeing in advance
to be charged;
- Didn't get the services that were promised;
- Already paid or were owed credits that didn't appear on the bill;
- Moved and the bill wasn't sent to your new address.
Contact the local company that sent the bill. Explain the problem.
You can put a block on 900 numbers from your phone.
Collect calls, calling card calls, and other charges result when
they appear on your bill.
Call the customer service 800 number on your bill if you have uncertain
charges. Let the telephone company know you are disputing the charges.
Remember... Always read your monthly bills carefully. Demand
answers for any charges you don't understand. If you think something is
not right, call the company's customer service number on the bill.
If you are not satisfied with the response and you feel you are victim
of telephone billing fraud, contact the Office of the Illinois Attorney
Prepared by Susan Taylor,
Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics.
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