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Grr… yet again, false charges have appeared on my phone bill.

I got two bogus charges this time:

  • The first was from Nationwide Connections, Inc. — a supposed collect call for 7 minutes from Rockton, IL (apparently a pay phone).
  • The second was from Nationwide Voice Mail, Inc. — a voicemail-to-email service.

The voice mail was charged to my home phone; the collect call was to my fax number (which is how I know that no one accepted a collect call to it). Both companies had contact phone numbers, and I called them both and asked for a refund. The agents were nice enough and said that I would be credited within 1-2 billing cycles.

Googling shows lots of other people who have apparently had similar things happen to them (bogus collect call charges and voicemail-to-email setup fees) from these, and other, companies. Slimy, slimy, slimy. Apparently, this is known as “cramming.”

Bell South was quite the good sport about it — I called and told them that I was disputing the charges and had already spoken to both companies about it. The attendant told me that she sent the charges back to the company because I was disputing them, and that I didn’t need to pay the contested charges while they were being investigated — 1-3 billing cycles.

So — hypothetically, I’m out 30 minutes of my time (which I feel like I should bill to someone… grrr…), but at least I didn’t have to pay the full bill, and therefore “loan” these slimy companies money for 1-2 months with a question as to whether I’d actually ever see the money refunded.


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