• Report: #557130

Complaint Review: Enhanced Billing Services, ESBI

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  • Submitted: Wed, January 20, 2010
  • Updated: Wed, January 20, 2010

  • Reported By: Gayle — California United States of America
Enhanced Billing Services, ESBI
Nationwide United States of America
  • Phone: 1 888 298-3724
  • Web:
  • Category:

Enhanced Billing Services, ESBI is cramming my phone bill, Nationwide

*Author of original report: AT & T claims inability to prevent the scam

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ESBI has crammed my AT & T telephone bill with a charge of about $15.60. The charge is at the very bottom of my phone bill, and is shown there as being a 'courtesy' billing by AT & T for a 'third party' vendor. This company - ESBI - claims to be billing me for 800VMAILBOX INC service and to call  877-376-6502 with questions. Of course I have questions, the most important being who authorized this service, and how this appeared on my phone bill without my explicit permission or request. When I contact ESBI, rather than the third party vendor, at 888-298-3724, I spoke to one 'Bobby' (would not give me his last name) who told me that it was authorized by a certain Elizabeth Torrelli. He did not know my name or service address but insited on knowing these prior to canceling the account and giving me a refund (which would take 1 to 2 business cycles). He also gave me a cancellation number but would not give me any further information on Ms. Torrelli, claiming that since I wasn't her, I was not authorized to get this info as it would be a breach of her privacy. Does anyone get the irony here?  This woman signs up a stranger's (mine) phone number for paid services without the stranger's authorization and ESBI does not bother to verify her identity or authority prior to setting up for these unordered services but they won't share HER information with me because of privacy reasons! Never mind that she committed fraud.

While "Bobby" did claim to have issued me a refund, I have still filed complaints / cramming reports with both the FCC and the California Public Utilities Commission Consumer Affairs. It is interesting to note that ESBI was previously censured by the FTC in 2001 for deceptive business practices but still continues to act with such brazen disregard, ripping consumers off well into 2010.

As for AT & T, they have a duty to protect their customers from such unauthorized charges and if they don't, then they need to have action taken against them too. The way AT & T currently acts - ANYONE can charge you ANY amount through your phone bill and AT & T will insist that you pay these charges regardless of whether these charges are lawful or not. I was told that AT & T cannot help "it" due to a 1990s CA law that permits third parties to bill you through your local company but when it's obvious that a certain third-party is crooked, then they should sow due diligence and protect their customer from such rip-offs. If AT & T does not reverse my charges, then I am disconnecting my land-line, too. Hopefully, they are not hand-in-glove with the thieves, although I must admit that I sometimes don't even understand the phone bill that I get from them (AT & T)   

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/20/2010 01:18 AM and is a permanent record located here: The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report

AT & T claims inability to prevent the scam

AUTHOR: Gayatri - (United States of America)

I just got off the phone with AT & T. I spoke to one Ms. Tracy (no last name, as usual) and she told me that BY LAW, AT & T could not prevent third party billing. So, anyone can charge you anything via your phone bill and you just have to pay it. Her 'advice' was to take it up with ESBI and tell THEM to stop charging me, even though I repeatedly told her that the charges are bogus and constitute fraud / scam and that I could not understand why AT & T was not protecting my account from such charges. She ALSO told me that she could not place a 'lock' on my account as it would be AGAINST THE LAW TO DO SO. Please get this - it is against the law to prevent thieves from charging you unauthorized charges through your phone bill.

I told her that I would be disconnecting my land line if these charges appeared on my next bill and she did not seem to care. She offered to reverse the charges this time but kept insisting that this was not AT & T's problem but mine (and to deal with ESBI directly).

Why isn't there a class action lawsuit already and what is the CPUC doing? It seems that the CPUC's law forcing local phone carriers to permit third party billing is helping thieves like ESBI to get away with ripping off consumers. What is the FTC doing? How can they possibly be unaware that ESBI is at it again, despite the FTC's strong censure of ESBI back in 2001?
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