STOCKTON (CBS13) — Wayne Bunce Jr. remembers the call he received when someone on the other end of the line claimed to be from his phone company with a survey.
But then, he noticed bizarre charges on his AT&T phone bill, one for $13.84 from a third-party company named U.S. Billing Inc.READ MORE: Cousins From Ceres Killed In Modesto Rollover Crash
When he called USBI he says they played a recording of his voice.
“All I heard was me answering mmm hmmm,” said Bunce.
He says USBI, which is the billing company for Central Telecom Long Distance, claimed that recording proved that he agreed to switch to their long-distance services. Bunce insists he didn’t.
“They must have edited a yes from another question which I believe was a questionnaire,” he said.
We’ve learned in 2014 the Federal Communications Commission fined Central Telecom Long Distance $3.9 million, “For unjust, unreasonable and deceptive practices.”
In one woman’s FCC complaint, she says the company took a recording of her answering “yes” to another question and copied it multiple times on the playback, which ultimately changed her preferred long distance telephone carrier without her authorization.
“It’s definitely not honest, and a little shady, absolutely,” said Danielle Spang with the Better Business Bureau.READ MORE: Destructive Western Grapeleaf Skeletonizer Moth Found In Napa County
She says the practice of tricking you into switching phone companies is called slamming.
“It’s really unfortunate that they feel that they have to conduct business that way,” said Spang.
We reached out to Central Telecom Long Distance but never heard back.
“To me its fraud, I feel like I was played,” said Bunce.
After we called AT&T, the company worked to get all of his money refunded. AT&T says it requires third-party companies to follow strict guidelines. If not followed they would terminate its deal to bill for that company.
Bunce no longer plans to answer any questions over the phone.
“I just won’t accept it anymore, I’ll just hang up on somebody,” he said.MORE NEWS: Monday's Show Info (5/23/22)
Consumers can protect themselves by calling their phone company and put a third-party block on their account.