After receiving more than 500 complaints in the last 36 months, the Better Business Bureau this month issued a warning to businesses about misleading invoices sent by California-based US Telecom. The invoices have been sent to businesses in Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, Montana and beyond.
A $425 bill, disguised as an invoice for an existing telecom maintenance agreement – and in violation of United States Postal Service regulations – is actually a solicitation. US Telecom, which has an “F” rating from the BBB, has a history of sending fraudulent invoices to businesses under the guise of maintenance warranties costing $175 to $350. The company is also subject to a cease and desist order from North Dakota.
“Businesses should maintain records, including contact information, of vendor companies with which they have contracts or service agreements,” says Assistant Attorney General Brooks Clemmons, who handles consumer protection matters for our Spokane office. “They should also caution accounts payable staff to question invoices they don’t readily recognize.”
Clemmons advises businesses to review all invoices to verify correct billing amounts. This prevents unauthorized, misleading or deceptive charges – called “cramming” – and other unsolicited services or charges.
-AGO Volunteer Rachel Vinson and Dan Sytman-