Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Don't Get My Irish Up

I won't claim credit for this one--all the credit goes to my husband and his eagle eye--but it's the type of thing that gets my Irish up.

Our monthly telephone bill came today. Since my husband handles the bill paying in this house, he checked it over carefully. What he noted was something strange--there on the Veriz*n bill was an additional $43 charge from something called ILD Teleservices. It was for services provided by Id Lifeguards and for other services provided by 1-800-321-CONTACT, all under the ILD Teleservices name. I don't mind including these two entities by name and telephone number because what they are doing seems patently illegal to me.

They informed our telephone carrier, Veriz*n, that they had rendered services to us. Since Veriz*n is our carrier, they are obligated to pass along the bill for these services.

Here's the hitch. We neither approved nor requested these services. Ever.

So, my husband called ILD Teleservices. With something of a nonchalant attitude, the service rep said--oh, you didn't request these services. OK, we'll take off that charge.


Then my husband called Veriz*n to verify the reduced charge AND to complain. Our hands are tied, said Veriz*n. We have to pass the charge (even if it's bogus--my words) along.

Alrighty. You see why my Irish would be up? When folks pull stunts like that, I call that a scam.

What really concerned my husband--and I agree--is the possibility that some people glance over their bills, see inexplicable charges but assume they are legitimate and pay. NO NO NO--never pay something that looks bogus. Challenge it.

Can you guess which bill is going to get a very thorough review from now until forever? Yup.

There's a name for what ILD Teleservices is doing--it's called cramming. Oh, just for the record, it looks like we aren't the only folks who have had this happen: check out here and here.

So, join me--let's all get "our Irish up" and defeat these bast*rds.


Beverly said...

Hi, Donna,
Why not spell Verizon out? They have people reading blogs, etc. and might pay more attention this way.

A friend had problems with her health insurance company. She originally put an asterisk in the name and then decided to right the name in. She got results the next day.

Beverly said...

That would be "write" not "right." I do know better.

Anvilcloud said...

Let's hear it for the Irish!!

possumlady said...

Thanks for the consumer alert Donna!

I just checked my Verizon bill and while I don't have the ILD charge, I just noticed at 5.60 "shortfall charge". I could get no explanation on Verizon's website but googling it I found that it is a charge Verizon puts on your monthly bill if you DON'T use long distance that month!!! What the heck!!

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Is this "free enterprise" where the slogan is " buyer beware". There ought to be a law. No one should be able to charge you for something for which you did not specifically give your approval.

Verizon is complicit in this. If they cannot stop it they owe it to their customers to draw it to their attention.

KGMom said...

Answer to Beverly's question on not writing out Verizon:
Verizon is not "culpable" in this issue. Because of deregulation, other companies can offer services and then charge for them. The primary carrier--that is Verizon--is then obligated to pass along the bill for said services. What is WRONG are the "entrepreneurs" who charge for services not rendered, tell Verizon that the customer owes, and Verizon is the hapless agent passing along the bill.
I agree with Philip that Verizon should be more vigilant, and alert customers. Or Verizon could inform customers of the practice of cramming, and how someone can avoid it.

Peruby said...

Wow! That is nuts. I am so glad I dropped my land line. Of course, now my cellular service is through Veriz*n so, I will make sure to check their bill each month. Thoroughly!

ILD Teleservices said...

Hello Donna,

I’d like to assure you that ILD strongly condemns and does not participate in “cramming” which is the practice of placing unauthorized or misleading charges on a telephone bill. We process over 120 million transactions each year for buyers and merchants – that’s over a half of a billion dollars in purchases, and only a small fraction result in disputes and chargebacks, just like with credit cards. When there are disputes, ILD investigates these with its merchants and makes sure that credits are applied back to the phone bill, just like credit card company standards. ILD continually monitors complaint levels against the merchant who the bills through us, and if we find a merchant in violation of our policies, we have and will terminate their billing agreement.

ILD Teleservices is a convenient and secure payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone. Like a credit account, ILD provides the flexibility to buy without using your credit card. Hundreds of businesses offer Bill to Phone payment from ILD, giving you a way to pay by charging your phone bill.
Plus, ILD also provides you with "purchase assurance" protection; like the protection provided by your bank and credit card companies. This means you are not responsible for unauthorized charges.

ILD Teleservices said...

We’re glad that your issue was handled by contacting ILD. We strive to help everyone that contacts us with an issue and resolve the problem 100% of the time. Credit adjustments made by ILD will appear on your phone bill within 1-2 billing cycles. ILD submits the credit to your local phone company within 7 days. Your local phone company must process the credit through their billing system with millions of other records, and then print and mail your statement. If the credit is received from ILD after they have closed the billing cycle, the credit is held for the following cycle. For example, if you were issued a credit on May 1 and your billing cycle ends on the 3rd of every month, then your local phone company may not have enough time to process the credit for your May statement. Therefore your credit will be held for the following billing cycle.

ILD recently posted an article on how to avoid unwanted charges on your phone bill. You can read it on our blog at

If you feel you have been crammed or charged without your consent, please let us know. Send an email to askild@ildmail.com or call us at (800) 953-7765.

Thank you,
Monica Melgar
ILD Teleservices

troutbirder said...

Huh? We had something like this happen to us. It was a scam and took much calling to Visa to get them on the case. The key was a small charge hidden in a big list that could have been easily overlooked.

Cathy said...

Good freaking grief! This is unbelievable!

I gotta talk to my husband.

Thanks for the heads up!

Jayne said...

I had a similar thing happen with a company called Jettis International on my credit card, though it really was someone using my credit card # to charge XXX charges. Thankfully, my Visa company called to verify the charge and I have to say that Jettis was very accommodating in helping me resolve it. Of course, I had to cancel my card and get a new one too. There are always people out there looking to make a buck, and it's sad that many companies get caught up in the middle of it when they are only acting as a charge agent.

Armil@local phone company said...

Yeah, that's right! I will checked more information about verizon. Thanks by the way!