I wanted to bring to your attention a scam being perpetrated by Verizon on un-suspecting customers. Over the last few months I had noticed by Verizon bill creeping upwards. Perhaps I was making more international calls? No in fact I was making less as for most international calls I am now using Skype. I took a closer look at my Verizon bill and noticed a section headed "Other providers". In this section were charges from ILD Teleservices Inc. and PaymentOne, neither of which I had ever heard of. These two companies are apparently billing companies of some sort. Apparently they have an arrangement with Verizon to be able to submit charges for inclusion on phone bills. These two companies, however, are not the originators of the charges. The original charges in my case came from Compufix Inc. (billed by ILD at $12.95 per month) and MyAutoBackUp (billed by Payment One at $14.95 per month). The only problem is that I have never ordered services from either Compufix Computer or MyAutoBackup. On reviewing my bills I found that one of these charges had been billed monthly since February and the other since June.
I called Verizon. The billing agent I talked to told me these are "Third Party" charges and nothing to do with Verizon – only problem is they appear on your Verizon bill. He agreed that Verizon could put a block on all such charges in the future and that they would remove them from my current bill. However he said that for the past charges I would need to call the billing companies. Both, to their credit told me they would refund all the past charges but that it would take about two billing cycles. I am not holding my breath!
The thing that concerns me greatly is the way that these charges are just added to a phone bill when they have nothing to do with phone service. Also that Verizon are adding these charges but do not notify the customer and essentially refuse to take any responsibility. These charges are clearly fraudulent and Verizon is acting as a facilitator.
In a way they are acting like a credit card company but without any of the checks, balances or security in place. I asked to speak with their fraud department and was told that they do not have one.
Although the monthly amounts of these charges are relatively small they would add up if millions of customers are being similarly charged.
I would ask the Washington post to investigate this in the hope that you can get more answers from Verizon than I have. I will vote with my feet and close my Verizon account shortly!