Thursday, October 13, 2005

And now for something completely trivial

Taking a break from the profound issues of God, death, time, and sociology that we usually deal with here, let me relate a tale: my phone bill this month had a mysterious unexplained charge of $7.39 from "ILD Teleservices". Calling their number revealed, after a 10 minute phone tree and wait, that this charge was from a single 411 call, which apparently gets farmed out from the local carrier to an assortment of unscrupulous company. They agreed to drop the charge after I yelled a bit.

Turns out these people have a history. And the scam is common enough to have its own name, "cramming". Apparently the complex multi-company billing infrastructure of the phone industry is being hijacked to allow all manner of bottom-feeders add any charge they feel like to your bill. Welcome to the world of the future. I imagine there is some sort of differntial pricing going on here, and they try to keep the charges low enough so you won't take the time to complain and try to get the charge dropped, or go to the FCC.

Any ecology (or economy) has its parasites. Networks make new forms of parasitism possible but thankfully they also strengthen the immune system, like that consumer watchdog site linked to above.

1 comment:

Ilona Olayan said...


ILD Teleservices is a leading payment processor for transactions between merchants and consumers. Through contractual relationships with telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon, we give merchants the opportunity to let consumers charge products and services such as long distance, internet access, and collect calling directly to your phone bill.

As a result, instead of purchasing these items with a credit card or opening an account with the merchant, you can have a transaction billed directly to your phone. When you do, the merchant sends your transaction information to ILD, and ILD adds the charge to your phone bill. It’s a service very similar to what credit card companies provide.

If you have a charge you believe is incorrect, or if you have any other questions or concerns with ILD, please let us know. We want to address any and all issues you may have. To contact us, please email us at If you would prefer to call us, please call our hotline at 800-953-7765.

Thank you, and please let us know how we can help.

Ilona Olayan
ILD Teleservices