- Report: #20157
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: NOS COMMUNICATIONS
NOS COMMUNICATIONS4380 BOULDER HIGHWAY Las Vegas, Nevada U.S.A.
inetba, IVantage, Nos Communications offers you a great sounding deal, but really look into it cheated employees and screwed the customers even more Las Vegas, Nevada
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Here is a letter written by a customer who was taken to the cleaners....
California Public Utilities Commission
Consumer Affairs Room #2250
505 Van Ness Avenue-San Francisco, CA 94102-3298
I recently had an experience that exceeded even my most pessimistic views about unethical and fraudulent business practices. About 6 months ago, I was approached by a representative from NOS Communications (Sharon Portney) and was promised a rate of 8.9 cents per minute, state to state and 5 cents a minute within the state. I've included the fax I was originally sent by NOS. What was ultimately billed to me however was something very different. After the first two months, the rate I was billed climbed to over 20 cents a minute state to state and 15 cents a minute within the state. My bills literally doubled from an average of around $1500 per month to over $3000! After numerous discussions with several representatives from NOS, I finally discovered why.
First I began by fighting with NOS over the rate at which I was billed. Sharon stated verbally numerous times that this was ABSOLUTELY NOT an introductory rate, but after 2 months my rates began to skyrocket. After their "introductory 2 months" they began by raising my base rate to 9.9 then 10.9 out of state and 7.9 within the state. With much arm twisting they ultimately recalculated a majority of these "rate" increases in my favor, but this wasn't where I was ultimately being gouged.
They also changed the way in which they calculate time! NOS evidently bills in what are called "Total Call Units". After the introductory 2 months, they also began changing the way they calculate these magical little "Total Call Units". During the introductory period, they are evidently computed per minute, however after the first two months these "TCU's" are ultimately computed only by using some "Lookup Chart" to convert minutes to "Total Call Units". After making one of their representatives run me through some examples of this magic math formula, it became clear that this Lookup Chart in effect increases an average call duration by a factor of at least 2, a whopping 100% increase. Though they advertise a rate per minute, they compute rates in a way that defies logic. This eventually becomes a rate nobody can even begin to guess at.
I was assured this magic little "Lookup Table" was included in my first bill, but I've never seen it. This KEY issue was never discussed with me by anyone at NOS prior to today. This deceptive computational methodology, was only made know to me as I investigated my huge bills. Despite their claims, to my knowledge, I have never received any paperwork about this little magic math formula/table. Quite the contrary, I'm including a copy of a fax sent to me by them specifically stating the rate was computed per minute. I'm not sure what my legal rights are, but I am certain, I was mislead, lied to and defrauded out of close to $5000 by this highly unethical practice. I don't understand how NOS can legally advertise a "Per Minute" rate when they in fact charge using a formula nobody could ever figure out. Your help in making sure nobody else suffers this same fate would be most appreciated.
Here is a press release from the Florida Attorney General Bob Butterworth
March 6, 2002
LONG DISTANCE COMPANY TO PAY $2.5 MILLION UNDER AGREEMENT
TALLAHASSEE -- A Las Vegas-based telecommunications company will pay $2.5 million and revise its marketing practices to settle allegations that it misled consumers about the cost of its long distance phone services.
NOS Communications Inc. of Las Vegas, Nevada, will also provide current customers with a clear explanation of the company's method of billing and give them the opportunity to switch to another long distance carrier at no charge.
Between January 1, 1997, and September 19, 2001, NOS Communications and its affiliates sold long distance services to approximately 10,000 Florida businesses. In the process of those sales, Butterworth said, potential customers were led to believe they would be billed on a "cents per minute" basis when in fact NOS Communications used a "call unit" pricing structure that is unique in the telecommunications industry.
"Customers who signed up were told they would enjoy big savings by switching to NOS Communications' services," Butterworth said. "What they were not told is that any savings would likely come only during a relatively brief promotional period. They also were not adequately advised that they would be billed under a system so complicated and confusing that customers needed a conversion calculation to determine their per call cost."
Butterworth added that NOS Communications made it difficult for customers to get out of the service once they decided it was not best for them.
Under the agreement, NOS Communications will no longer imply or represent that the service plan rate is in minutes or cents per minute unless that is the case. The company further agreed to market the service plans and billing methods in a manner which is reasonably understandable to the customer.
The agreement was prepared by Assistant Attorney General John Topa with assistance from Economic Investigator Jerry Lockwood.
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/03/2002 04:21 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/NOS-COMMUNICATIONS/Las-Vegas-Nevada/inetba-IVantage-Nos-Communications-offers-you-a-great-sounding-deal-but-really-look-int-20157. 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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