When I received my most recent Verizon phone bill, I was surprised to see a charge of $14.95 to ILD Teleservices Inc. I had no idea what the company was or what the charge was for. I looked back over my recent bills. I am embarrassed to report that the charge had been appearing on my bills for several months. A quick search of the Web showed me that I am not alone. (See, for example, here and here.)

There is a happy ending to this story. When I called ILD, the customer service rep immediately agreed to credit all the charges I had paid. But I am troubled by how this got on my bill in the first place. When I asked about that, I was told that someone I never heard of gave my phone number as the billing number when signing up for a service that provides dial-up Internet access. That suggests that anyone out there can just pick up anyone else’s phone number and use it for billing.

Can this be true? Are there no stronger protections built into our phone accounts? I am glad that ILD agreed to credit my account, but I would hope it and Verizon would take steps to prevent this kind of thing from happening to others.

  • Robert, nice blog, and you're right that close scrutiny of our wireless bills is crucial to ensure proper billing practices. I wanted to add that for those who are tired of constantly being overcharged by cell companies via surcharges and gimmicks, there is relief. I work for the consumer advocacy division of the company Validas, where we electronically audit and subsequently reduce the average cell bill by 22 percent through our website, http://www.fixmycellbill.com . Put simply, Validas guards against frivolous and unnecessary charges that inflate your cell bill more than it should be for your usage. You can find out for free if fixmycellbill.com can modify your plan to better suit your needs by going to the website.

    For more info, check out Validas in the national news media, most recently on Fox News at http://www.myfoxtampabay.com/dpp/consumer/conlaw/lower_cell_phone_bills_072409 .

    Good luck to everyone reading on cutting your wireless costs. My email address is dylan@fixmycellbill.com for anyone who wants advice about achieving fair cell phone rates.

    Consumer Advocacy, fixmycellbill.com

  • We’re glad that your issue was handled by contacting ILD. We strive to help everyone that contacts us with an issue and resolve the problem 100% of the time. Credit adjustments made by ILD will appear on your phone bill within 1-2 billing cycles. ILD submits the credit to your local phone company within 7 days. Your local phone company must process the credit through their billing system with millions of other records, and then print and mail your statement. If the credit is received from ILD after they have closed the billing cycle, the credit is held for the following cycle. For example, if you were issued a credit on May 1 and your billing cycle ends on the 3rd of every month, then your local phone company may not have enough time to process the credit for your May statement. Therefore your credit will be held for the following billing cycle.

    ILD Teleservices is a convenient and secure payment method designed for purchasing on the web or over the phone. Like a credit account, ILD provides the flexibility to buy without using your credit card. Hundreds of businesses offer Bill to Phone payment from ILD, giving you a way to pay by charging your phone bill. Plus, ILD also provides you with "purchase assurance" protection; like the protection provided by your bank and credit card companies. This means you are not responsible for unauthorized charges. So, if you feel like you have been wrongly billed, please call ILD at (800) 953-7765 and we’ll help you or you can get support by visiting our self help center at http://www.ildteleservices.com/support.html.