My mother's telephone bill amount seemed to keep getting higher every month, so I checked the charges on the current bill and noticed that there is a charge for Miscellaneous Services from USBI for a company called Tele Circuit Network Corporation, a third party telecommunications company that provides for local and long distance telephone service as well as internet service and calling cards. Their charge appears on Verizon telephone bill as Tele Circuitld Mthfee.
This really upsets me because this is not the first time that a third party telecommunications company illegally or without authorization from the actual account owner subscribe my mother to their services and charge her on her Verizon telephone bill. I've had to call Verizon for her at least twice before to have them take the service off and have them put a block on the account so it doesn't happen again, but it seems that the block doesn't work and Verizon is unable to protect it's customers from shady third party ripoff telecommunication companies from signing you up and charging you for their services. So today I call Verizon again, ask them to remove the service from the account and again put the block. The Verizon rep. told me that Verizon is unable to give a credit for the charges and told me that I'll have to call the company directly to have them unsubscribe my mom from their services and cancel the account with them. So that's what I do.
I called Tele Circuit Network Corp on behalf of my mother who doesn't speak English and spoke to one of their reps who had no problem canceling the account, I'm sure it's something that happens a lot daily, they must sign up thousands of unwilling or clueless customers and charge them for months before they become aware and call to cancel the service. But when I requested credit for the unauthorized charges I was told that they couldn't and that in fact they did get authorization for the account from someone else. That person turn out to be my elderly father who is not the account owner, his name is not on the account, only my mom, and should not have been able to make authorization for charges on her account in her behalf without her knowledge or permission. I told them that and asked how they could allow someone to give authorization for someone else's account and they couldn't give me an answer except that they had the recording of the authorization and that he told them he was over 18 and had authorization for the account.
I was furious and wanted to speak to a manager, but wouldn't be connected with one. I called them several times, each time spoke to a different rep. and requested credit for the charges and asked to speak to a supervisor or manager. One of the reps I spoke with told me that if I wanted to hear the recording of the person giving them authorization that I would need to call them back in one week. One rep. put me on hold after I asked to speak to a manager and then hanged up on me. On the 4th or 5th call the person I spoke with said she was the manager. She informed me that they couldn't give me credit for the charges and asked me why I waited 7 months to cancel the account.
I was shocked. I didn't know they had been charging the account for 7 months and said so, and demanded they refund the money they charged for those 7 months because they didn't have authorization from the account owner, that the person who they say gave them authorization is not the account owner and therefor could not give them authorization to make changes on the telephone account. Again I was told that they couldn't refund the money and that they have the recording of the person giving them authorization and that I could listen to it if I wanted to. Again I told them that it didn't matter if he gave them authorization because he is not the owner of the account, therefore he can't give authorization. I told them I was going to file a complaint online with NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and file a report on the Ripoff Report website. She said to do whatever I wanted, to call the news and file a lawsuit and whatever else I felt I wanted to do. I told her that I would.
I again called Verizon and asked the rep. to check my bills to see if it was true that Tele Circuit had been charging my mother for 7 months. She confirmed that indeed they had signed her up with their services in December 2008 and had been charging her every month ever since. Verizon is unable to refund the money they charged, so I asked what could we do and she told me all she could do was call them for me and asked them and tell them that I had not given them authorization. So she called and conferenced me in the call, but then just left me to speak to the Tele Circuit rep.
Again I said that authorization was not given to them from the account owner to be subscribed to their service and demanded the money charged be refunded. Again I was told by a rep. that they received authorization and couldn't give me a refund. Again I said that they did not get authorization from the account owner and again was told that they got authorization from someone else and had the recording to prove it and I could listen to it if I wanted. I said that it didn't matter if someone else gave them authorization because that someone else was not the account owner and don't have authorization for the account, and asked how they could sign someone up using someone else's authorization that is not even on the account. She couldn't give me an answer and put me on hold to get her supervisor to speak with me. The supervisor asked me what was the problem and I repeated myself for the tenth time. Again I was given the same answers and when asked if I wanted to listen to the recording I said yes and was put on hold again.
While on hold I asked the Verizon rep. to give me the full name of the company and their address, but all she could see was Tele Circuit and no address. After about 10 minutes on hold I got to hear the recording, which sounded like a telemarketing survey, a woman was asking my father questions about his telephone service and he was answering them with a yes. At the end of the survey I believe the woman said something very quickly about a telephone service company and got silent to wait for my father to answer yes again, but he never did. The recording ended and the telephone call terminated, the person that let me listen to the recording hanged up the phone without speaking with me again.
I asked the Verizon rep. to call the company and just get their address for me. She did, but all she was given was a PO Box address, so I called Tele Circuit and asked for their address and a contact name, not really expecting to get that information. I was given their PO Box address and the first name of the supervisor, but couldn't give me her last name. I asked her for the name of a company contact, the company owner's name and was given his first name. I told her I was told to sue them in order to get my money back, so I need the name of the person to sue, and was told she couldn't give me any last names. I thanked her and said I would find the info online.
I searched online for about a minute and found not only the company owner's full name, but also the supervisor's name and the company's actual physical address which I will provide here for anyone else that might need it. I called back and told another rep. I wanted to speak to the supervisor, but was told she had just left. I told her that I just wanted to let them know that I very quickly found online the information that I needed and they wouldn't provide me and told her the full name of the company owner and the company's address. She said ok and I said goodbye.
Finally, did a couple of minutes worth of web surfing and found the following useful websites for New York consumers victims of ripoff or fraud:
State of New York Office of the Attorney General Consumer Frauds Bureau
Consumer Helpline: 1-800-771-7755
Slamming & Cramming Help Info
New York State Public Service Commission
New York State Consumer Protection Board
Better Business Bureau New York Consumer Complaints
Definitely find out your City Department of Consumer Affairs and your State's Bereau of General Consumer Frauds and Public Service Commission, they should have a website with online complaint forms you can send them, and file a complaint online or by mail with the FTC and notify the FCC and report them to the BBB.
You can find your State's Utility Commission website and telephone number listed on this website:
State, County and City Government Consumer Protection Offices:
Report fraud/ripoff by telecommunications companies to the following organizations:
Federal Communications Commission
Slamming complaints form:
Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection
Better Business Bureau complaint form
List of BBB by State
Utility Consumers' Action Network
Contact for customer complaint/Supervisor/Regulatory Manager
Tele Circuit Online Contact Form:
Mail: P.O. Box 1193
Alpharetta, GA 30022-1193
Here are the sites where I found the info on Tele Circuit:
Make sure your long distance provider hasn't been changed. USBI is a 3rd-party billing company that handles billing for a number of obscure telecom companies such as Tele Circuit Network Corp. to charge your telephone carrier for their services on their behalf. You can be slammed with unauthorized charges from these companies by USBI more than once, so check your phone bill often. Even having your phone company put a lock / PIC freeze / carrier block / slam block on your account in the hopes that this does not happen to you does not guarantee it won't happen (though you should still request each of those things from your telephone company for the protection it might provide), and when it does happen your telephone company will tell you they are unable to give you a refund for those charges since they didn't come from their company.
USBI stands for United States Billing Incorporated. USBI is a third party long distance phone service bill consolidator, that means the big service carriers (Verizon, AT&T, Quest, QWest, MCI, SouthBell, etc.). the government wont allow them to dominate the phone lines, they have to agree to allow small independent companies to compete. Those small companies, such as Tele Circuit Network Corp., Advantage Telecom, Consumer Telecom, TELCO, etc., they all work under USBI who sends out their bills to consumers.
USBI Customer Service Online Form:
If you have been crammed call your telephone and internet company's local business office number (located page 2 of your phone bill) and advise the rep that you have been 'crammed' and you want the charges recoursed-which means adjusted off your bill and sent back to that company.
Add CARRIER BLOCK to your telephone services to prevent further cramming efforts. This is different from the Slamming Block you probably already have. A slam block will not protect you from being crammed. Ask your telephone company to block all third party companies and request a miscellaneous charge block.
Link to info on SLAMMING which is the illegal practice of changing a consumer's telephone service - local, intralata service, or interlata service (including state to state, in state and international long distance) - without authorization, permission or even knowledge. Consumers who have been slammed sometimes discover that they approved the switch without knowing it. A long distance company may hide an authorization form within a contest entry, or it may send a check that, if cashed, gives the company permission to claim the consumer's long distance account.
As a protection against slamming call your telephone company and request that no changes be made to your toll service or regional service providers. This is known as a PIC Freeze.
Verizon customers can block third-party billing by calling 1-800-VERIZON (837-4966).
Also request a miscellanous charge block to be added it's free & in the future prevents other companies from billing with Verizon.
Verizon is supposed to remove cramming charges according to this article:
If you file a complaint with the FCC, the New York State Department of Public Service or the Attorney General, you should let your local telephone company know. It is essential if you are withholding payment of a disputed charge. Send your local telephone company a copy of your written complaint even if you have already called them.
If your local telephone company is Bell Atlantic / Verizon send the copy of the complaint to:
Director of Regulatory Appeals
New York Telephone Company
1095 Avenue of the Americas, Rm 3444
New York, NY 10036
If you or a loved one is a victim of fraud or ripoff please don't just let it happen without doing anything about it. Even if it's not worth the money to sue the company make sure to call them, and call them as many times as you have to, to get them to cancel the account and unsubscribe you from their services and demand a refund. You probably won't get it, but don't make it easy on them. Also, please take the time to fill out as many complaint reports with as many agencies or websites as you can. It will not undo what was done to you or your loved one, but it might help prevent it from happening to another innocent and / or ignorant person, and could give the shady ripoff companies a headache, pain in the neck or bad reputation. Let's not make it easy for scammer companies to ripoff consumers and fight back when you do become a victim, fight for your rights and the rights of your loved ones. The more people complain and report them the harder it will make it for this ripoff companies to scam consumers. I'm taking the time to file this complaint on as many of the agencies and complaint websites as I can.
Also be very careful about answering question from telemarketers. You should never answer in the affirmative to any questions asked by strangers over the phone. If ever anyone contacts you about telecommunication services, do not ever say the word "YES" in your conversation because that word will be recorded as authorization for them to proceed, no matter in what context it was made. You could get a telemarketing call stating they are from your telephone carrier company, asking for your satisfaction on your long distance services and then ask all kinds of questions like are you satisfied with the services in order to record your voice saying "Yes" so they can then scam you.
Keywords: USBI, Tele Circuit, telemarketing scam, telephone cramming, telecommunications ripoff, fraud, scam, deception, theft, illegal charges, unauthorized charges, crooks, crooked, shady company, Verizon, AT & T, AT&T, Sprint, MCI, BellSouth, Qwest, Tralee, Cincinnati Bell, Advantage Telecom, Windstream, Cheap2dial, Vartec, ESBI, TELCO, Telecom, slam, slamming, cram, cramming, third party billing, phone, long distance phone service
Corona, New York
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on USBI