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Don’t Get “Slammed”

The practice is called slamming. Its a growing threat to you and, more importantly,  your phone bill.

Some companies are taking advantage of the fact people want to save money on their phone bills. A phone company in Ohio started bringing their customers in with “foul” services. It starts with the fact that many customers are leaning towards use of cell phones over landlines, but still own a land line. In an effort to save money, they are trying to bundle services.

Jeff Reidel, who was with AT&T, was talking to a salesperson who didn’t ask what service he had, so Jeff didn’t doubt the legitimacy.

“They asked, ‘How much do you pay now?’ and I said about $20 a month,” Reidel recalled. “‘So, we can knock it down to 5.'”

Reidel signed up, but his bill didn’t shrink. “It should have gone down by $15 and it actually went up by $5 or $6,” Reidel said

The charge from American Select, the company offering the consolidation,  was not bundled into the AT&T charges and at the bottom of the bill, it clearly stated: “This provider not affiliated with AT&T.” When Reidel went to call American Select, the customer service number lead him nowhere. His calls would just go dead with a busy signal.

Reidel called AT&T — not expecting help — but AT&T agreed to refuse the charges from American Select. When the company would call Reidel about his bill, he would be able to cancel the service. “It appears he is not the first person to believe he was being contacted by AT&T and sold long distance under false pretenses,” said David Weiss, president of the Cleveland Better Business Bureau.

When you think you might be getting a “slamming” call, get more information about the company calling. Get as much research done on the company as you can before signing up. Ask them to call back, eliminating the pressuring techniques often used by sales professionals. Remember: too go to be true, usually is. Calling on behalf of your existing company, usually isn’t on the level. They will use the rep of the existing company to get you to make the switch.