Utility Watchdog in San Diego
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According to TelePacific’s estimates between 2010 and 2014 approximately 2,955 TelePacific customers have been victimized by Toll Fraud. Of those, 1076 have been billed for the expenses. If you or your company are TelePacific customers who have been victimized by Toll Fraud, UCAN would like to hear from you.

Below is a summary of the complaint that UCAN filed against TelePacific with the California Public Utilities Commission, for billing customers for toll fraud calls despite TelePacific’s claim that their customers receive 24 hour toll fraud protection.

Keep up to date with UCAN’s advocacy by liking us on Facebook and following us on twitter. You can also read UCAN’s complaint and keep up to date with this case (C 14-07-007) at the CPUC website.

SUMMARY OF THE COMPLAINT

UCAN’s complaint involves TelePacific, a regulated utility in California, which billed their customers for toll fraud calls even though TelePacific has represented that customers at TelePacific receive “24 hour toll fraud protection”. TelePacific has produced marketing materials for its customers that say: As always with TelePacific you get – “24 hour toll fraud protection”. Unfortunately, when customers were victimized by toll fraud, TelePacific billed their customers anyway.   TelePacific’s representations were false, misleading and deceptive and resulted in thousands of dollars in toll charges being billed to TelePacific customers. These charges were unauthorized and this conduct violates the law.

In addition, by billing their customers thousands of dollars for toll fraud calls that TelePacific has represented their customers were protected from, TelePacific has violated Public Utilities Code by imposing unjust and unreasonable charges.

UCAN’s complaint will cite customer specific facts where the customers were told by TelePacific that the toll fraud charges on their accounts were their responsibility to pay. TelePacific’s representatives have claimed that their represented “24 hour toll fraud protection” does not protect the customer from toll fraud charges if the customer’s equipment was hacked. TelePacific claims that a term and condition of their customer service contracts require customers to secure their own equipment. TelePacific has used this contract language to shift liability for the costs of toll fraud calls onto their customers.

TelePacific also failed to disclose to their customers that there were major exceptions to its advertized service provided to customers of “24 hour toll fraud protection.” TelePacific customers were unaware that this provided service contained major exceptions. Those exceptions include that TelePacific does not protect their customers against toll fraud if the customers’ phone equipment is hacked.   This failure to disclose what “24 hour toll fraud protection” meant violates the Public Utilities Code because TelePacific failed to provide their customers enough information to make informed choices.

TelePacific also held one specific customer responsible for toll fraud calls, citing specific contract terms even though the customer’s contract contained no such term. By holding a customer liable for charges under a contract term the customer never agreed to, TelePacific is violating another Public Utilities Code section. TelePacific also violated Public Utilities Code by telling the commission’s Consumers Affairs Branch (CAB) that they had reviewed the customers’ contract and concluded the customer was responsible, again citing a contract term the customer never agreed to.

TelePacific’s conduct and policies are harming customers and UCAN asks for an immediate Cease and Desist Order for charging any customer who is the victim of toll fraud, an accounting of all toll fraud incidents in which customers were billed, and restitution with interest to be made to those customers. UCAN also asks that the commission impose appropriate penalties and sanctions on TelePacific to discourage such future conduct.

About UCAN

UCAN has represented the interests of San Diego County utility customers since 1983. UCAN focuses its efforts on the rates and services of San Diego Gas and Electric Company, telecommunications utilities and the City of San Diego Water Department.

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