Southern Scams

I’m not certain whether I heard it; on the news, or got an email about it, or maybe it came to me in idle conversation, but somewhere I heard that checking the paper bill from one’s cell carrier was important because unauthorized charges were sometimes added. I took that advice and this month refused electronic billing and asked for paper billing. Sure enough, there 
it was. My wife’s cell number had a $9.99 charge for Blinko Club and my number had three $9.99 charges from 1) Best Eco alert, 2) Mobile Downloads, and 3) MOBITV. Each had the same phone number for unsubscribing and suggested that one send an unsubscribe message to a text number using the phone the charge was billed to. I googled each subscriber name and found them all connected.

I called my carrier, and when I finally got to a tech support agent who miraculously spoke understandable English, I said: “I’m calling about unauthorized charges to my cell phone bill”. He didn’t hesitate and immediately asked if the charge was from Blinko Club. He asked before I gave him any personal information whatsoever. Sure he knew the number from which I called, but his response was a dead giveaway, this was nothing new. I asked if others had called about this erroneous charge. He answered, “Oh yes”, then without hesitation said that he was crediting my bill with $9.99.

I said, “Wait, I have three charges on my cell number.” He said, again without question, that he would credit me an additional $29.97. Then I said that at the advice of the cell company, I had stopped paper billing several months ago and I had no idea how long this erroneous billing had been going on.

To see my ebills in detail, it is necessary to use Adobe reader, but being the trusting fool that I am, I never bothered to take the time to open the bills all the way and simply paid whatever I was charged.

When I challenged my agent, he immediately offered to credit me with 3 months of charges of the larger amount and 1 month of the lesser one (3x$9.99=$89.91+ $9.99 + $99.99.) since the lesser one had just been billed for the current month I asked how those charges were added to my bill and got nothing more that blabber about charges from the carrier store, etc. He was never able to offer a satisfactory answer to my questions about the billing.

I did a bit of figuring and made a startling discovery. My provider has 95.5 million to 98.8 million subscribers. If only ½ are charged an erroneous $9.99, the carrier has literally stolen $4,770,225,000.00 from unknowing subscribers. (Feel free to check my math, those numbers are too far above my pay grade to certify).

I would never reveal my cell provider because that might open me to bad things, but trust me when I say it is a large highly regarded company.

Henceforth I will check all of my accounts through paper billing. Someone should do something about this huge rip-off, but I don’t know where to begin and haven’t the financial resources to start.

Is this possible in America? It must be because it certainly has happened to me. Thank God, Congress is there to protect me from such corporate rip-offs. Soon I am sure our representatives will stop picking lint from their navels and pay attention to what’s happening to us, their constituents, before the rioting begins.

Jack deJarnette

Jack deJarnette

I am a United Methodist Minister who in June 2008, was placed on incapacity leave due to kidney failure.  My kidneys failed due to immusuppression medications secondary to a heart transplant in 1997. The ministry is my second career having spent 12 previous years at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta as Chief Respiratory Therapist and Technical Director of Life Support Systems at Emory University School of Medicine. I  have a wonderful wife of 45 years, two super children, and four grandchildren. My life has been exciting, challenging, and full of wonder as in my early years I was concerned with saving lives and in my later years saving souls I was graduated  from Georgia Military Academy in 1961 (Woodward Academy). I attended Emory-at-Oxford College, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, and Emory University for postgraduate work. I received my ministry credentials through the United Methodist Church Course of Study at Emory's candler School of Theology. My Theology is primarily Wesleyan and varies with the particular topic under discussion. I refuse to be labeled either liberal or conservative. My politics are moderate embracing what I hope is the best of all parties. I have a deep love for Christ, the Church, and the United States of America. Bev (my wife) and I are deeply thankful to God for the blessings that have been showered on us throughout our lives.

  1. Frank Povah

    Highly regarded cell phone provider – is there such a thing, Jack? That’d be as rare as a feathered frog or an ethical satellite ISP company .

  2. Mark Dohle

    It is all about the money that is the bottom line. I love and hate my cell phone, but yes, billing has to be checked. The same thing happens when a bill is recieved from a hospital visit, when called about said charges they are instantly dropped. Yet millions probably don’t know or don’t bother.


  3. Same thing happened to me on my latest bill: four charges of $9.99 for services I had never ordered or authorized. The carrier (I’ll say it: AT&T) was quick to take the charges off my bill. I still get paper bills every month for just this reason.

  4. Well, it’s only money. But, when money decides who eats and who doesn’t ……..

    Anyway, it used to be that the morality of an action was independently defined. Depriving people of their rights was wrong. Then, people came up with the notion of consenting “victims” rendering bad behavior good. (Since that started as far back as Esau “trading” his birthright for a bowl of mush, it’s not a new development). Rights don’t have to be respected, if they’re signed away. But, we have developed a new wrinkle which argues that the failure to object to a deprivation (theft, assault) makes it morally OK. That’s what’s referred to as objectivism –the object of an action gets to define its moral value, leaving the actor or agent entirely off the hook. Of course, once the object (e.g. of a drone attack) is dead and can’t object, the question of morality is moot.

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