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Tuesday
Jan302001

Prevent Unwanted 900 Number Charges

Are you at risk for charges for calls to 900 and other pay telephone services by employees or visitors to your business? Many employers have been surprised to find 900 charges on their telephone bills for psychic hotlines, sports information lines and other non-business services. Recently, 900 lines have become a way to pay for access to pornographic web sites. Simply call the 900 number and obtain a password.

Not only can calls to these 900 numbers be charged to your phone bill, but it also costs you in lost productivity if the lines are used during business hours and could subject you to risk of liability for a hostile environment in a sexual harassment suit if the charges are for a pornographic line.

DON'T: Don't assume that you do not need to worry about unauthorized 900 calls. At least one of our clients thought the same thing until he received a very large bill one month. The employer was surprised by both the bill and the fact that an employee had a problem.

DO: Do make a list of the numbers for each of your telephone lines and call your long distance carrier to block access on each of those lines to 900 and other pay telephone numbers. Your long distance carrier can help you with specific blocks and numbers to watch for specific to your system and coverage. It is far easier to prevent this problem than to deal with the results that can occur.

DON'T: Don't assume that you are responsible for paying 900 number charges that appear on your telephone bill.

DO: Do contest the charges with your local phone carrier. Most carriers will remove the charges rather than annoy a customer by trying to collect a bill for a third party 900 service. It is then up to the 900 service provider to attempt to collect the bill directly from you. They may or may not attempt to do so.

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