Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Which Is Worse...The Scum or the Enabler?

The church secretary got to looking at our church phone bill yesterday and saw a charge on the last page of the bill for $49.95. It was one of those "services" that billed to your phone bill. The description said, "Business Management Tools Monthly Charge". I knew we didn't order that, so I started calling.

First call was to AT&T to report this scam and another one that had been on phone bill, unnoticed for months. I give an A+ to AT&T's help with this issue from their end (however, it is frustrating they would allow charges like these to show up on phone bills knowing that a LARGE percentage of these are not legitimate!).

Next I visited the website listed with the charge, ILD This was not the company that was charging us, rather this was the company that was billing us for the bogus services provided from yet another company. While I was on hold, I read through the billing company's web site. Their business is letting other companies use them to charge customers' phone bill for their services. They claim they carefully screen their customers and have measures in place to keep people from getting crammed (signed up for services they did not want and did not know they were being "signed up"). ILD told me they would connect me with the correct company to cancel these services. I told ILD what I had read on their web site about their careful screening, etc and let them know we had been crammed. They told me I would have to be transferred to have the "services" stopped. In other words, they didn't care one bit about the business practices of the companies who use them. Then again, how could they care and be in the business they are in?

Next I called the company offering this bogus product. I asked who authorized this transaction and they gave me the name of a staff person they talked to on the phone. The staff person NEVER authorized anything. It was one of those "please confirm your contact information" calls that somehow claims you authorized a bogus charge on your phone bill. To me, nothing screams "WE ARE NOT A LEGITIMATE BUSINESS" louder that "we will bill your telephone bill...without telling you!" This company said they would send a check to refund the charge. Later, they told me there was a second charge more than a week out for next month that would go through and could not be stopped (over a week out?!). They wanted to hang up, but I told them they would owe me a refund for the second charge as well. If I had not made a scene, they would not have done this.

So this brings me to my question in the post title...Which is worse the scum or the enabler? Is it the scum company that used deceitful questions to sign us up for something we did not ask for, did not need, did not get and did not even know we were signing up for, or is it the company that bills for this company and many others like them (the enabler company)?

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