I opened my office in June 2006 and set up my AT&T accounts for phone and internet which is automatically deducted from my business account. Since it is auto-paid, I rarely look at the bills because I assume they are what they are and business phones/internets are more expensive than home use.
About six months ago, I had noticed the bills were very high and called AT&T to see about reducing it - I did not notice nor did they mention that one of the charges was from a third party, but they changed my services to reduce my expense - of course, they were only reducing their portion, not the $52.95 that was being paid to The Billing Resource/USABD.
When I received my last month's bill and noticed that it was $211.52, I started reviewing it more closely and noticed this charge - I first called AT&T and asked what this charge was for - they indicated that they did not know, it was from a third party and they are required by the FCC to put it on my bill, but I should call them and ask who authorized it;
I then called the number next to it, and once I got to a representative, (at usabd), they directed me to call AT&T plans and services number - I told them I had already contacted AT&T and had been directed to call this number - I asked what the charge was for and she said in very vague terms that it was for internet placement....I asked who authorized it and she said the owner, I said that is me, so HOW did I authorize it, and she said over the phone.
I never authorize things like this over the phone and told her that I had most certainly not authorized it, and did they have any paperwork that would prove I did - no - further, I had received no services from them of which I was aware, and had never received a call from a potential client based on their services, and that I wanted it canceled and the funds billed to be refunded (over $1000 since August 2007). They said they could cancel it but would not refund any amounts.
I called AT&T back and explained the conversation and they sent my dispute to a billing agent and I was eventually refunded 2/3s of the amounts billed. However, it was billed again on this month's bill (along with the credit for the past charges) so I contacted AT&T again and they credited it again, but stated that, under the FCC they cannot block charges from a 3rd party...that I have to keep watching my bill and call them each time it shows up - that is ridiculous!
If the FCC requires this, then there needs to be a change in the FCC rules!!! Since I am a sole practitioner, it was easier to finally figure out something was wrong with my bill, but I bet larger companies may never notice it - BE AWARE! And, if anyone knows how to get the FCC to stop this kind of theft/fraud and if I can assist, please let me know!!!
santa ana, California