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TelSeven LLC aka Tel7 LLC aka CallingTen LLC aka Calling10 LLC aka aka 10 10 275 00 aka 10 15 15 800

address: 200 Executive Way, Ponte Vedra, FL 32082
phone: 800-731-7777 (third-party billing company OAN)
phone: 800-409-6100
phone: 904-273-6882
phone: 904-280-2300
phone: 800-433-4518 (contact number listed on phone bill, put on hold for 10 minutes and then disconnected when it presumably was supposed to transfer to a CSR)
fax: 904-273-6883
principal: Patrick Hines
CEO: Ed Hines

Here's the scam:

You call an 800 or other toll-free number and instead of getting connected to whoever you were trying to call, you get a recording telling you to dial another number. The number sounds a little funny, so you listen carefully to see if there's any special reason to be concerned. You hear them tediously repeat the number two more times, so you figure it's time to follow these instructions.

You call the number you were given, you speak to an operator, and the outcome is that you had apparently misdialed the original toll-free number. When you receive your phone bill, you discover charges in excess of $7 for the call.

How this works:

When you misdialed the original toll-free number, it went to an "intercept message" ... a recording indicating that the call could not be completed as dialed. TelSeven takes possesion of many of the toll-free numbers when they are taken out of service. They appear to have roughly 1/10th of the entire toll-free numbering space in use for this purpose.

They claim that they are providing a service which provides the public with a way to get hold of the companies who have disconnected toll-free service from specific numbers,for a fee.

What their intercept message actually says is:

The number you have dialed has a new national directory assistance service.

This statement that the number "has a directory assistance service" doesn't really make any sense. It just creates confusion. The message goes on:

Please dial 10-15-15-800. That number, again, is 10-15-15-800, to get information on the number you have just dialed and be connected to a new national directory assistance service brought to you by calling 10-15-15-800.
At this point, you've been listening to a repetitive message, so you hang up and dial the number. But if you had held on, you would have heard the rest of the message:

Each calls costs $5.49. Rates exclude an administrative recovery fee. The charge on your phone bill will appear as a call to Directory Assistance to Nevada. You can also dial 10-15-15-800-702-555-1212 to be connected to a new national directory assistance service.

How can I be charged $5.49 plus these other fees when I'm not dialing a premium or international number?

They tell you that the number you're dialing is 10-15-15-800, but this would be easier to recognize if it were presented as 101-5158-00. The "101" prefix indicates that you're selecting a particular long distance carrier for this call, overriding the long distance carrier that's been pre-selected for the number you're calling from. Combined with the "5158", this directs the call to be sent to TelSeven for processing. The rest of the nunber is processed by TelSeven, and they've chosen to interpret the "00" as a request for their directory assistance service.

Charges for directory assistance service are set by each long distance carrier. Each long distance carrier is free to set whatever rate it wants to. TelSeven sets its rate as $5.49. To this they add fees that purportedly cover the universal service fund contribution, but this is an administrative fee that's set at their discretion, provided they don't fraudulently misrepresent the nature of this charge.

Do I have to pay this charge?

If you were not provided effective notice of this charge, you are not liable for it. Your first step should be to call TelSeven and ask them to cancel the charge. Their practice has been to refund the charge, either by a credit on your local phone bill or by sending you a check for the amount of the call plus other fees.

If that doesn't work out for you, you can call your local phone company and tell them you're disputing the charge. They will submit your dispute to TelSeven and this amount will be put "in suspense", meaning that you service will not be disconnected while the disputed amount remains in this status.

Once you dispute the charge, TelSeven will cease and desist from directing you to their "10-10" number, and direct you to 876-543-7911. Note that this is a call to Jamaica in the Bahamas, and will be charged at international rates. Your long distance carrier will probably apply a mobile surcharge on top of their base international rate for calls to Jamaica. As an international call, this is not subject to the same dispute procedures as calls to TelSeven web search for TelSeven's 10-10 numbers are.

How long has this scam been going on?

This has been going on since at least August 2004.

How come this is allowed to continue?

Several years back, the FCC was vigorously pursuing slamming allegations, where long distance carriers claimed that companies had requested a change to their preferred long distance carier. In many cases, these problems resulted from the actions of independent sales agents, but nevertheless, fines of millions of dollars were issued to companies large and small, usually based on $11,000 per incident.

Imposing charges for unauthorized services is called cramming. Enforcement action for slamming and craming has now generally been transferred to the individual states' public utility commissions. In a case brought in Iowa in 2005 alleging two cases of cramming, the total fine was a mere $1,000, and there was not even an agreement by TelSeven to change any of its procedures to avoid future cramming problems.

What are some examples of numbers that provide this intercept message?

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