I received two bills within from One Call Communications within two weeks of each other for teleconferencing services that I did not order. The bills were for $12.03 each. The billing inquiry number was an automated service that stated the amount owed and then hung up with no opertunity to further question a real person.
A week after the second bill arrived, the automated calls to request payment of the bills started coming. By answering one of these calls, I was finally able to talk to a real person about the bills. It took about ten minutes for one of their operators to come on the line after I answered the automated call.
Their claim was that two calls to a Teenage Chat Room phone number had been made from my phone that set up a monthly subscription to the chat rooms. One call was made on 8/22/2005 lasting for 10 seconds, the second call was made on 9/23/2005 lasting for 20 minutes.
My daughter admitted to making the calls, so I agreed to pay the total of $24.06, even though I had not authorized the service. I mailed the payment on 10/17/2005 and the check cleared the bank on 10/26/2005.
On 11/01/2005, the automated calls started coming again at the rate of 12 per day. On 11/02/2005, I answered a call and again, I waited ten minutes or so to talk a an operator about the bills. The claim was that payment had not been received. I explained to the operator that I had proof that the payment had been made, and he said he would update the records.
On 11/03/2005, the calls started again. I went through the same procedure to talk to an operator, who acknowledged that the check for $24.06 had been received and that another $24.06 was owed for the same bills I had just paid. Again, I pointed out that the bills had been paid, and the operator made an update to the records and put me in the queue to talk to a supervisor to close out the matter. I was on hold for 20 minutes before I was dropped from the call without speaking to the supervisor.
On 11/04/2005, the calls started again. After getting to an operator, I immediately asked for a supervisor. This startled the operator, so I explained everything I had gone through to this point. The operator took the information and put me in the queue to a supervisor again. Once again, I was disconnected after a long wait without talking to a supervisor.
On 11/05/2005, the calls started again. This time, I was not even able to talk to an operator after a twenty minute wait. This was repeated about 8 times through the morning (it was Saturday).
Now, I consider the practice of publishing the Chat Room numbers for the purpose of luring teenagers into making what they think are toll free calls to be predatory and unethical. Especially since this can be done totally without parental supervision and authorization.
The lack of any real information about the calls on the billing information number and the lack of a chance to make an inquiry to a real operator is also unethical and unbusinesslike.
The use of an automated calling system to pressure the consumer to make a payment is also unbusinesslike. An additional note on this: once I discovered the true nature of the bills and agreed to pay them, I continued to receive calls because the check had not been mailed, yet. I was told by that operator that the calls would continue until payment had been received. She was not very nice to deal with and made that statement as a threat.
The final straw was the automated calls starting again ten days after the payment had been made, and their insistance that I make the payment again. That constitutes harrasment.
I had never heard of this company before I received the first bill from them. After this experience, I hope to never hear of them again. I consider their methods to be unbusinesslike, unethical and predatory for a product that is unwanted.