NY Tel Ringmate Problems

NY Tel Ringmate Problems

Post by Michael Bro » Tue, 20 Aug 1991 01:44:49

I had Ringmate service installed on one of my lines (718-968-XXXX)
when it first became available. I was given two additional numbers
both 718-251-XXXX.  No problem for the first few months, but I started
noticing collect and third party long distance calls billed to one of
the Ringmate numbers. I had the charges removed, after explaining to
NY Tel's billing center that this was a Ringmate number, and that I
would never call anyone in that particular area (the calls were billed
to rural North Carolina), that I don't use the LD company that the
calls were billed by, that I most certainly would not accept any
collect calls from persons unknown to me, and finally, that I was out
of town on several of the days in question and that no one had access
to the line to my knowledge.

The charges were removed, cheerfully the first time, and somewhat
begrudgingly the next time. By the third bill that these charges were
showing up on, I began to suspect fraud. I decided to dial the
Ringmate number in question, to see what would happen. Lo and behold,
my answering machine did not pick up, but a person unknown to me did!
I called NY Tel, and informed them that they had assigned my Ringmate
number to another customer. This was greeted with disbelief, but a few
days later I received a phone call confirming this, and with a weak
apology an offer of another Ringmate number. I accepted, and wrote the
episode off.

The next month, I started to continuously receive calls asking for a
person unknown to me. A few days later I got a call from someone
asking if this number was indeed 251-XXXX. I said, "Yes it is, but
it's a Ringmate number".  NY Tel had goofed again, and assigned the
other Ringmate number to a new subscriber. Fortunately, the gentlemen
in question worked for NY Tel, and we both reported the problem. He
received a new number, and I was "allowed" to keep the number in
question. I called NY Tel to complain, and I received a weak
explanation that the problem was known and that it was being worked

Yet another bill with bogus LD charges showed up again the next month
(June '91). At this point, I was tired of spending two hours on the
phone with the various business and repair offices of NY Tel every
time my phone bill came in, and I called the "President's Hotline". I
complained very loudly to the flak-catcher, inquiring why, if I had
brought this problem to their attention so long ago, hadn't they done
something about it? The flak-catcher said that nothing could be done
about the problem, but that they would "monitor" my account every
month to make sure that this problem didn't have to concern me. I
found this to be an entirely unsatisfactory answer and filed a
complaint with the New York State Public Service Commission.

Amazingly, the PSC got results within hours. I received a call from NY
Tel that was extremely apologetic. The -critter explained that the
root of the problem was that Ringmate numbers show up as unused
numbers in NY Tel's database, and that there is no way that they can
be flagged as being used by Ringmate (Sarcasm on: YEAH, RIGHT. Sarcasm
off.) The -critter said that she would "personally monitor" my account
every month and make sure that this problem did not occur again. Sure
enough, the July bill was right on the money -- no problems.

Then again, I was away for two weeks during July. I just got the
August bill and there are more bogus calls listed, during the two
weeks that I was away!

I guess it's back to the Public Service Commission.

VTS Systems            718-968-1971
871 East 55th Street   Brooklyn, NY 11234

[Moderator's Note: It is rather incredible the teleco has no way to
show these numbers assigned to someone else. I've had the same service
from IBT for many months now and it works fine. They even fixed all my
numbers to automatically block collect and third number calls at my
request.  PAT]