Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ILD & Compufix Phone Bill Rip Off On Your Verizon or AT&T

Check your phone bill for unauthorized charges by a company called Compufix, complicit with ILD Teleservices.  Compufix Online of Studio City, CA is a pure rip off organization just hoping you won't notice their fraudulent charges on your bill.  They use cramming, which is illegal and apparently also simply "harvest" names and phone numbers from undisclosed sources and start charging them.  They will try to make their monthly 12.95 charge recurring.

I noticed a charge funneled by ILD for Compufix Tech support & computer repair Mth of $12.95 with the taxes of $1.45 for a total of $14.40.  I checked with family members.  No one had clicked anything, signed up for anything, or had ever heard of this California base outfit.  It's url is compufixonline.com  Here is their address
Compufix Online
11271 Ventura Blvd. #217, Studio City, CA  91604
888-736-3799

I called ILD's 800 number 800-433-4518 and got the voice message everyone apparently gets that says, "We'll call you back."  Right. 

So I called Verizon to have it taken off.  They said, "Why don't you call ILD?"  I let them know I did but I'm not in the business of trying to deal with fraudsters when Verizon obviously knows exactly who these people are.  Just Google ILD and you'll pull up hundreds of complaints of fraudulent charges over the past several months for a variety of major carriers, many involving Compufix, a small store front operation in a strip shopping center in Studio City, California.  Compufix claims to provide tech support, anti spyware online, etc. and they can "fix" your computer over the internet.  They claim they provide "five hours of consulting" for just 12.95 a month.  Really?  Do the math. And based on hundreds of complaints of fraudulent charges of 12.95 in which people have never even heard of Compufix Online that seems highly unlikely.

ILD piously claims to take every precaution to screen their third party billers.  Obviously not!

Hint to Verizon:  you want my continued business, file complaints with the California attorney general against Compufix and protect your customers.

ConsumerAffairs.com has a whole page on them

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/ild.html

The unhelpful suggestion of Verizon was, well just deduct that and pay the balance to us.  Of course then they hound you for insufficient payment for several months.

Here is a similar complaint from one person on consumeraffairs.com
Just found an extra charge of $12.95 monthly plus tax added to my bill by ILD Teleservices for Compufix Inc. I never heard nor dealt with either of these companies before. Called the ILD number and they referred me to the Compufix toll free number * *** *** ****.
They say ther reversed the charges, then I called Verizon to block third party billing on my account. Per FCC rules Verizon must allow thrd party billing un;ess you call them to block it.
George of Kenilworth, NJ Dec. 30, 2010
This is normal for Compufix.  This is how they make their money.

When Chip Smedley, a staff writer for Lancaster Online called to investigate as a "watchdog" he reported:

The watchdog called Compu-fix and talked to a supervisor who would only give his name as  "James." He explained the company advertises widely on the Internet through e-mails and pop-up banners and the $12.95 fee buys five hours of consulting time.

All that is required to sign up is a name and telephone number, since all charges are added directly onto the phone bill.

"It's very easy to sign up," he said.

He said a common situation they encounter is that someone in the household, "like a son, who does have have a credit or debit card," will experience computer problems, see the online banner, call Compu-fix, provide their parents' names and phone number, and get their problem solved.
Sorry Chip!  James sold you a line.  They had gotten my son's name, but he never clicked anything or called any funky 800 or 900 numbers.  This out-of-the-blue scenario is the most common complaint.  People who obviously never asked for any tech support or heard of Compufix, or clicked on pop ups are getting billed by them.  FCC rules foolishly require all third party billing to be processed.

In your typical 10 or more page phone bill it's easy to miss the sudden charge.  That exactly what Compufix counts on!  Unlike your credit/debit card, there is no identity theft protection with third party billing.  You are simply out of luck.  If the scum who bill you don't remove the charge it stays there forever.  If you don't spot it, then you are out the money.  That why it's a small charge of only $12.95.  They hope you won't notice.  And they make it a monthly subscription so it recurs.

And let's think about it:  "five hours of consulting time" for a measly $12.95??  Who are they paying to do the consulting?  Let's see, that works out to a gross of $2.59 per hour for their professional consulting advice.  Watchdog, do the math!  No way!  It's a pure scam.

Oh, and Compufix Online of Studio City also says they'll give you downloads to "fix" your spyware and viruses on your computer.  I bet.  I wouldn't download anything from these crooks.
You can read the Watchdog report at:

FOLLOW UP May 18, 2011
I got Verizon to adjust my bill and remove the charge. I had called Verizon twice and insisted on getting in writing the adjustment to my bill, less the 14.40 for my records. I also forwarded the basic info from above on CompuFix and suggested Verizon protect its customers in such notable cases.

13 comments:

  1. i'm very thankful you researched and posted the results. this fee occurred on my mum's bill and she asked me to find out more. you answered all our questions!

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  2. We just had this happen to us on an AT&T bill... called Comp-U Fix and they said they'd credit me as they saw I'd never used the service... we'll see.

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  3. Hello,
    On behalf of ILD, we sincerly apologize for the inconvenience this has caused, and hope to resolve your billing issue to your satisfaction.
    Please call us at (800) 953-7765 so that we may look into the charges mentioned. You can also get support by visiting http://www.ildteleservices.com/support.html or by emailing us at askild@ildmail.com.

    Allow me to explain what ILD does. There are a lot of people who prefer a "no credit card required" payment option for their online and over the phone purchases. And that's what ILD does. We work with hundreds of merchants that offer their customers the option of charging services directly to the their home phone bill, allowing them to make purchases without using a credit card, or having to disclose personal financial information online or over the phone. ILD processes over 120 million transactions each year. For more information on how phone billing works, we have an animated clip on our website. http://ildteleservices.com

    Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!
    Monica@ILD Teleservices

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  4. ILD needs to blacklist crammers like CompuFix and beef up it's screening. And a "no questions asked" refund policy would go a long way. ILD has been sued by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection and in 2002 settled over unfair business practices connected with third party billing. Apparently a lot of work still needs to be done to protect consumers from this blatant "lifting" of phone numbers of people who have never had any contact with them.

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  5. I just rec'd a bill from my local phone co., Frontier, with a $12.95 charge from Compufixonline. I put a freeze on my account at Frontier and then fought with compufixonline for a refund. Someone opened an account in my name? I don't think so. I couldn't understand the operator. I had to leave a message the first call and no one called me back. After 3 days I called again and waited on hold for a long time. Operator named 'Candy' but had an India accent. I couldn't understand her and she wouldn't speak louder when I repeatedly asked. She asked for my phone no. and then said, this account is in your name'. Duh. I think I knew that. I demanded the charges be removed and to stop generating them. Wake up America. Don't do business with this company.

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  6. I just got a "confirmation" email from Compufixonline with my email address and password. Went to the site, logged in, and immediately called customer support to report I did not open this account and cancel it. I was given a confirmation number and then received a confirmation email about two minutes later.

    Tomorrow I am calling Verizon to block billing to my home phone. It is just plain stupid someone can open an account by just using an email address and a phone number.

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  7. And it's plain stupid that the FCC and the California District Attorney have not prosecuted Compufixonline despite hundreds of similar complaints by victimized consummers.

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  8. I just discovered that I have been slammed by COMPUFIX for the past year. Well, unfortunately, they, Verizonand ATT, and ILD picked on the wrong guy when they slammed me. Go look at their "office" in Studio City California on Google Earth, if they have one there. It's in a small shopping center. And they run a major computer fix operation out of this? They are a complete sham. And Verizon and ATT and ILD have been skimming off their share of the profits without notifying those of us who have been billed, despite hundreds of complaints a month. And you're right, the FTC and FCC and FBI and attorneys general have been doing nothing about this despite thousnads of complaints. They prefer to go after the big fish to burnish their resumes.

    I needed a new cause. It will not be the first time I put crooks out of business or in jail when I bring these crooks down. When I see things like this, I get very, very mad.

    www.computercrimeinvestigations.blogspot.com

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  9. You're right, CompuFix is a very small store front in a strip shopping center. And do the math on their so-called "support": 5 hours a month for $12.95? No way! That's a gross of $2.59 an hour for them. Obviously not a legit business model. A pure Scam. Small claims court would be your best bet if you live in California. Sue for the entire year's amount plus damages. What you can't get done criminally you often can get done civilly. And they won't show in Claims Court so you will win.

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  10. Buivid, here.

    I was informed by Verizon today that they credited me for the full 11 months that Compufix and ILD ripped me off. Nice of them to do that. Probably to have me go away. But I have too much time invested in this already to drop it after I am paid off. I want Compufix out of business and Verizon to mend its ways.

    I put my letter to Verizon general counsel up as a model on the web site called www.computercrimesinvestigations.blogspot.com, which is now dedicated to Compufix.

    I called their call center in India and warned them that a crime may be being committed and they could be found guilty themselves, and "Candy" hung up on me. Shame. The more I find out about these crooks, I am actually impressed that they hav gotten away with this for 17 months so far, thanks to the complicity of ILD, Verizon and ATT. As a lawyer, I am in the wrong business.

    Mike Buivid

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  11. I got an email with my user name & password that "they created" for the account I NEVER SIGNED UP FOR. Don't know how they got my email either. Their city, "Studio City" is not a city, BBB says. Now they already billed to my AT&T account. I got ahold of them & said CANCEL!!

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  12. Just to let everyone know, ILD and Compufix are one in the same company. I am a former bill collector, and am working on getting the owners name and home phone number. I will post once I get it. Getting pretty close actually, although the business is not even registered in the state of CA.

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  13. Well I did it so far, and will get more for you, but DO NOT even talk to compufix of whoever started the charge. Work with ILD directly since they have a 1% goverment mandated threshold of complaints. If they exceed that number, they then must bring in 3rd party investigation. Their way around is to ship you to the crammer in the first place.

    Call ILD and do you claim with them. Their direct number is 904-273-2440. The presidents name is Michael (Mike) F. Lewis. Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. I called and asked for him direct. So far just voicemail, but I have his home number as well, and will have his cell number shortly.
    Pays to be a former bill collector.

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