I previously reported here how I was ripped off by Zero Plus at a hotel in Santa Cruz, CA. Zero Plus contracts with hotels. There was a small sign indicating long distance was "handled" by Zero Plus with no further info. When I dialed my SBC Calling Card from the hotel phone, there was a brief blip tone, other than that, no voice or info about how the call was connected. That way it seemed just like any other regular calling card call. That is why I use a calling card (don't have a cell phone) in order to avoid any problems calling away from home.
My next SBC phone bill had $400 of charges on what normally would have been $50 worth of calls from the hotel in Santa Cruz to mostly my girlfriend back home in Santa Rosa.
The phone co. at first refused to remove the charges although they were sympathetic. They said I had to work it out with Zero Plus. I called Zero Plus 3-5 times, trying to negotiate. I told them no way I'd pay the $400 but that I was willing to pay what the calls would normally cost. They refused and in each instance became belligerent and abusive. I got one agent twice, after that I hung up until I got 2 other agents. Same story from all of them in different weeks. Each insisted that the rates were justified, that I must have been informed about the charges during the calls, that I had the option at the time of getting rate info by dialing 0, etc. I told these creeps that I would not engage them in a discussion about whether the rates were justified and that they would either take the charges down to a reasonable level or I would never pay it. They refused to negotiate, raised their voices, and kept blaming me for making the calls.
At that point, I became irate, told them they had no integrity and hung up on them. I then called the regular phone company, SBC about the calls and how I couldn't get the charges reduced. The SBC agent then offered to remove the charges from the SBC bill and let me 'deal directly' with Zero Plus. In other words, I was no longer responsible for the Zero Plus charges as far as SBC was concerned. I was very happy with this arrangement. Interestingly, since then I have never heard from Zero Plus again. Consequently, to my great satisfaction, I have not had to pay these imbecilic crooks a cent. They lost what I would have been willing to pay, the fair rate on the calls, which obviously being a crook co. they don't even deserve. Apparently their integrity so far below zero that they don't have the guts to bill you or send a collection agency after you if the charges are taken off of their piggybacking on the phone company's bill.
This ought to be helpful info to other folks. Talk to your phone co. about the situation, get their sympathy, then try negotiating with Zero Plus, if they won't budge, don't let them ruin your day. Tell them to buzz off, then call back your phone co. and see if they'll remove the charges then, which they probably will, but only after you've tried to work it out with Zero Plus. Only a scam co. like Zero Plus would use intimidation to try to get you pay an outrageous amount and then not even try to bill you by themselves.
Santa Rosa, California