Level3 tries cell-phone style billing scam on customers

Lorell Hathcock lorell at hathcock.org
Thu Jul 31 16:48:27 UTC 2008

I saw the same kinds of behavior from WorldCom years before their collapse.

I was the technical manager at a small ISP in Houston and was presented with
the WorldCom invoices and was shocked to find 20% per month in phony

2.5% is a far cry from 20% but that 20% had to start somewhere.


-----Original Message-----
From: Patrick Giagnocavo [mailto:patrick at zill.net] 
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:47 AM
To: nanog at nanog.org
Subject: Level3 tries cell-phone style billing scam on customers

Today I looked at my most recent bill from Level3.

They are now assessing a 2.5% surcharge, which is listed as "Taxes" on 
the bandwidth bill I have.  In the state of PA, telecoms services are 
explicitly not taxable.

When you call Level3 billing, they admit in their recorded message it is 
not a tax at all, but a surcharge, and if you want to dispute it you are 
supposed to quote back their own contract terms to them via email (i.e. 
you cannot reach a human).

I would expect this kind of scamminess from Verizon's cell-phone 
billing, but a contract is a contract and I can see no provision for 
arbitrarily tacking on fees, illegally labeling them as "taxes" and then 
putting the onus on you to prove that they can't charge you.

Anyone else seeing this same behavior from Level3?

(It seems that the larger a telecom company gets, the more they want to 
act like a scum-sucking ILEC.)


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