2009-03-13 / Letters

Watch Your Phone Bill

Watch Your Phone Bill Dear Editor,

A warning to all phone users (that means you), did you know that a third party company can take basic information that is easily obtainable on the Internet and subscribe you to a "tele" service without your consent or charge you for directory assistance calls that you never made and tack a monthly charge to your phone bill under "Miscellaneous Charges?" It's called "cramming" and someone could have their hand in your pocket.

Recently I had cause to look over my phone bill from Verizon, something I rarely do. My bill varies by about $10 each month but I never investigate, chalking it up to 411 usage. However, when I did go to check my January bill I found a charge of $7.36 for calling 10 10 15 8000 attributed to a company called "OAN." I went online and I couldn't believe all the complaints about OAN. And not just OAN but that specific phone number. It is a number that connects you to directory information in (now get this) Las Vegas, Nevada. I called Verizon and inquired about this. Their stance was that they just collected the fee for OAN; they didn't charge it.

They recommended I call OAN, which I did. (I first verified that there would be no charge for this call as I found on the net that some people calling OAN were charged for that call to complain.)

Anyway, they took my complaint and almost immediately agreed to eliminate the charge. What happened next was comical. The OAN operator tried to explain to me the benefits of using OAN's directory services to find phone numbers and most requests are charged on average about $4. I laughed and asked why should I pay $4 for something I can get for free or for $.75 from Verizon? Bottom line I never called 101015 8000. Check your phone bill. Then go on the web and type "OAN bill." If even one in two people scammed by OAN complains, that means they are reaping millions from us. Verizon should be ashamed of being involved with this outfit and OAN should be investigated.

SHAUN REEN

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