From me when I received the bill. Email sent on 27 November 2004:
On November 27th I received a bill dated 11/15/2004, invoice number 361939, from you (Premier Premium Communications) for a long-distance call made from my home phone to a "pay-per-view" website. This is technically impossible, as I don't have long distance service from my home phone. Therefore your billing statement is incorrect. I would like you to remove this charge and remove my name from your billing directory.
From them on 27 November 2004:
This is your confirmation email confirming that your inquiry has been processed, and that a customer representative will be contacting you within the next 24 hours.
Your ticket number is 13845, please keep this number handy as it will assist in making sure that your inquiry is handled in the quickest and most efficient manner. Thank you for using Premier Premium Communications.
Premier Premium Communications
Reply to my email sent on 27 November 2004. Reply received the same day:
Somebody who had access to your computer had placed an international call to the United Kingdom through our billing software to access a premium rate Internet web site on a per minute basis. We provide billing for a variety of premium rate web sites including sports information, games, music, chat, and others. Our solution works in a similar fashion to 900 services, but has been specifically optimized for Internet services.
You had inquired specifically what web site was accessed. Our records show that a call had been placed to a premium rate adult website called "Live Web Cams". Premier Premium Communications does not own this site and simply is a billing company.
We use the same technology as 911 to trace the call and determine what address the traced phone number belongs to. In extremely rare cases billing errors do occur where a customer would get a bill for a phone number that does not belong to them. These rare cases occur when a phone number was reassigned to another subscriber and the local exchange carrier databases were not updated immediately. In such cases we do credit for the call placed as required by law.
In order to be billed on a per minute basis the user needs to take several actions. First action the user would have to take is accepting a certified download. The second action the user had to take was read through a legally binding disclaimer which started the cost of the call and also stated they either had to be the telephone line subscriber or have permission from the telephone line subscriber. Once that step was taken the billing solution would disconnect them from their standard Internet service provider and reconnect them to a premium rate Internet service provider in the United Kingdom. Once the connection has been established, the premium rate web site is shown.
Finally once our billing software establishes a connection to our remote billing server in the United Kingdom, the first 2 minutes aren't billed allowing the user plenty of time to disconnect from the service and not be billed if for some rare reason they made a mistake despite our previous precautions or are not interested in the premium rate website content.
Even if you as the telephone line subscriber didn't make the call, you are still responsible for any charges that a minor or guest may have billed to your telephone. According to the Michigan Public Service Commission website (source: http://cis.state.mi.us/mpsc/execsec/alerts/900number.htm)
"It doesn't matter who dialed the 900 number a minor, a guest or someone working in your home the call will be billed to the telephone number of a call's origination and the billed party will be responsible for paying the charges. These 900-number service providers are usually unable to verify authorization or the age of callers and are not required to do so. The rates they charge are not regulated by anyone!"
The Massachusetts Attorney General web site (source: http://www.ago.state.ma.us/sp.cfm?pageid=1187) also adds:
Q: If my minor children made calls to a 900 number, am I responsible for the charges? - Beverly from Mattapan, MA
A: Beverly, the general rule is yes, the consumer of record is responsible for any calls made on his or her telephone. In addition to 900 numbers, pay-per-call services may also include long distance or international numbers, or a local number from which the service calls you back collect.
Although our service does not terminate to a 900 number, we are given the same rights and also have to comply with the same regulations under the Telephone Disclosure and Dispute Resolution Act. For a summary of your rights and our responsibilities please view the back of your invoice.
You are still liable for the charge and payment must be made. Failure to make a timely payment will result in your account with us to be in default and will be forwarded to a licensed collection agency. Your credit rating will be affected if you default on this bill. Furthermore, you will be liable for all collection agency and attorney fees that we have incurred which can double or even triple the amount you owe to us.
We accept checks and major credit cards. If you wish to use a credit card to pay your bill, let me know and I can offer you a 5% discount on the amount due.
If you wish to pay by credit card, please go to the following url:
Please reply back and let me know when you expect to be making a payment and what payment method you plan on using. If you still have more questions, please feel free to ask them. If you do not reply back and/or do not mail in any sort of payment within the due date given your account will be considered in default.
Premier Premium Communications
My reply, same day:
As I stated earlier, this bill was incorrectly directed. Neither I, nor anyone in my home has ever visited an adult website and I do not entertain guests in my home. The bill you claim is my responsibility to pay does not belong to me.
December 09, 2004
After receiving another bill on Dec. 09, wanting even more money!! I sent them this statement to which I've received no reply as of yet.
Once again your company has incorrectly billed me; invoice number 411344, for accessing a Pay-Per-View website. As with the last time I was billed, no one in this household has ever used this service. Please notify your billing department of this mistake.