| TeleTruth, an independent customer alliance,
has started a "Send Us Your Phone Bill" campaign in New
Jersey to help business and residential customers recover overcharges
on their Verizon telephone bills. The group also wants to collect
data for its assessment of the scope and character of phone billing
problems in the state.
"The preliminary results of our "end-to-end" analysis
of Verizon billing in New Jersey indicates that up to 50% of customer
phone bills are incorrect due to faulty billing data and to practices
and systems that fail to catch such errors," said Tom Allibone
of West Amwell Township, director of TeleTruth's Auditing Division
and president LTC Consulting.
The campaign has two purposes. First, TeleTruth is collecting phone
billsas direct evidence for the Federal Communications Commission
in order to block Verizon's entry into long distance in New Jersey.
"Verizon and an independent auditor, KPMG, claim that the billing
systems (OSS) have "zero defect--- a 100% accuracy. In our
FCC-filed comments, we have provided actual phone bill problems
caused by a defective Verizon billing system. This affects both
residential and business customers, as well as all competitive phone
"Our belief is that Verizon's application to enter long distance
is prematuregiven the billing problem evidencewe've seen so far
and the additional evidence we hope to obtain and evaluate from
New Jersey phone customers who respond to our 'Send Us Your Phonebill'
campaign," said Bruce Kushnick, TeleTruth chairman.
Verizon, formerly called Bell Atlantic, serves parts of Delaware,
Kingwood, East and West Amwell townships, Stockton, Lambertville,
the Milford-Warren Glen area, sections of Lebanon Township and the
Secondly, Verizon customers in New Jersey who participate in the
"campaign" can have a free phone bill analysis, and may
be entitled to refunds. This phone auditing service operates in
partnership with LTC Consulting.
More information about how to join the New Jersey campaign and
about the new TeleTruth customer alliance is found on the Web pages
According to Mr. Allibone, 'Right now, federal regulators are considering
whether or not Verizon's OSS billing system is fixed enough to make
sure that the network is working for everyone--- from customers
to the competitors. We think the character and potential scope of
the problems identified in our "end-to-end" audit of Verizon's
bills suggests that regulators need to take a more comprehensive
look at the system and procedures before giving Verizon the green
light." Questions concerning the campaign can be directed to
Mr. Allibone at (609) 397-2257.
Verizon customers should submit one complete copy of their monthly
local service phone bill. TeleTruth's policy is to thoroughly protect
the privacy rights of customers who submit phone bills.
Customers should mail their phone bills to: Tom Allibone, TeleTruth
New Jersey, Box 480, Ringoes 08551.
It is important that consumers send their original phone bills,
he said. "It will not be be returned unless you provide a self-addressed,
stamped envelope. Do not send your long distance phone bill, unless
it's part of your Verizon bill. And make sure you pay the bill before,
sending it to us."
We will need the full name of the person responsible for the bill.
For residential consumers, we will need a daytime reach number,
the best time to call you and your e-mail address if you have access
to the Internet. For small businesses, we will need the actual name
of the company (as printed on the phone bill), a primary person
who can act on your behalf, a reach number, fax number and e-mail
address if you have access to the Internet.
If TeleTruth finds billing errors on the customer's phone bill,
the customer will be contacted and the bill will be provided to
the FCC as evidence. In addition, TeleTruth will work on the customer's
behalf to secure a refund.