The Association of U S West Retirees



Noticed Mysterious Extra Charges On Your Phone Bill?
Customer Finds Out Qwest Doesn't Really Question Third-Party Billing
Wednesday, January 11, 2006

If you checked your phone bill, you may discover that you are paying for stuff you didn't want or didn't get.

When David Smith checked his Qwest business phone bill, a charge for $8.50 stood out.  It's not from Qwest but from another company called OAN.  When he called, OAN said he'd ordered 411 service.

"But they wouldn't tell me when I ordered it or how I ordered it.  Now, you'd think they'd have some record of it but they didn't seem to," said Smith.

OAN promised to wipe off the charge but Smith said Qwest's response surprised him.

"Somebody else will present a bill and they take it at face value until there is a complaint from the resident," Smith said.

The Smiths' home phone bill also showed a collect call from another third-party billing company.  It was a call from Dubuque, Iowa, to the Smith home.

"At the day and time we were supposed to be home to take the collect call, no one was there," Smith said.

What's more, when Qwest checked, the Iowa phone number came up blank.

"The recording said it's out of service at this time.  So there's no working phone number," Smith said.

No one home to take a mysterious collect call from a non-working number?

That and the fact that every charge Smith questioned was rolled over and out immediately, raised red flags.

The third-party companies say they only submit legitimate and documented claims.  Qwest said it is just passing on bills as a service to its customers and cuts off billing companies that don't meet its standards.  But Qwest also makes money on third-party billing.

So check your phone bill and all your bills carefully for extra charges.

And if you just can't get no satisfaction when you have a consumer complaint, Call 7 for Help.

Call (303) 832-2557 or click here to submit an online form.