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TUCoPS :: Phreaking Technical System Info :: callwait.txt

A Call-Waiting Horror Story





Message 3244                                   DATE/TIME: 11/17/93 21:49
From   : JERRY DECKER (SYSOP)
To     : ALL
Subject: Call Waiting Surprise
Folder : A, "Public Mail"

Hi Folks!  Last night I was listening to an AM talk show.  A lady 
called in and wanted to let everyone know about a fluke with the call 
waiting option.
She says she would notice her long distance calls were MUCH HIGHER than 
she KNEW she had been talking...
So, she began timing herself.  When the bill came, the times recorded 
by her were vastly less than what she was being charged for.
The specific example she used :  She had placed a long distance call on 
a Saturday and had been talking for 30 minutes. 
A call waiting signal came in which she intercepted...it was a local 
call for her husband.
She switched back to her long distance connect and said she had to go, 
then hung up and switched back over to the local call.
From there, her husband talked for 45 minutes local.
When she got the bill, that call totalled 75 minutes for a long 
distance call that she only talked on for 30 minutes.
She called her long distance carrier and they told her it was something 
called a "faulty disconnect" and happened frequently.
She then called her local phone service (General Telephone) and they 
said exactly the same thing and that they were aware of it, but did not 
correct the customer bill unless someone complained.
She then asked what she could do to remedy the situation and was told 
there was nothing she could do as the switching hardware was at fault.
This means the telephone company will knowingly rip you off and hope 
you don't notice.
Her remedy, CANCEL call waiting on her phones.
Since that time, her long distance charges now match her timed calls.
So, for everyone out there who is reading this (for sure), you might 
consider disabling call waiting or cancelling it if your phone bills 
appear to be too high.
One other thing the lady was told, there is a sequence of numbers 
(something like 74 followed by a pound sign) that will temporarily 
disable call waiting, but as she said, why do I have to do that to 
compensate for defective switching equipment.
I know how much some of you end up paying for your phone service, to a 
large degree because of BBS'ing, so please take this tip into 
consideration....it was quite disturbing, especially to hear that both 
the long distance and local companies did not seem to think it worth 
being honest about....
                                                        >>>  Jerry


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