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    World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

    This is a discussion on World Record Phone Bill! Please Help! within the Sky Talk forums, part of the Other Sky help and support category; Good Morning All I am newbie here so I hope I do a good job of explaining this one. Are ...

    1. #1
      RussellH's Avatar
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      World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Good Morning All

      I am newbie here so I hope I do a good job of explaining this one. Are you sitting comfortably?

      I recently cancelled my Sky Talk and Sky Broadband Package (15th February to be exact). The reason is that I had sold my property (a flat) and would be moving out on the 2nd March and therefore would no longer require either of these services after this date. I kept my SKY HD package active (hence the direct debit) beacuse the property I was moving to already had a dish/sockets etc and I was able to just plug straight in and continue TV service as normal. The cancellation went through with no problems, I received letters from SKY to confirm that Talk and BB had been cancelled (switch off date for both on the 2nd March).

      Everything was going great until Tuesday evening (30th March) when I attempted to withdraw some cash from my local ATM and the request was declinded. I found this strange because I had be paid only a few days previous and was sure that there was sufficient funds in my account. When I returned home and checked my bank account online, the cause of the problem became painfully apparent.

      According to my account details, SKY had debited 3,120.67 (it is not a typo and I did actually fall off my chair). This had caused my account to become seriosuly overdrawn, hence the refusal of the ATM to had over my cash. I was understandibly rather confused and very quickly rather angry and so called SKY customer services immediately for an explanation. My immediate thought was that SKY had made a simple (abeit unforgivable) error and debited the wrong amount in error (my usual DD was around 55.00). When I explained the situation to the poor chap at SKY, he too nearly fell off his chair and brought up my account details to investigate. Unfortunately, this is where everything began to get a little darker...

      According to their system, the debit of 3120.67 had been taken because of a extremely large number of very expensive phone calls had been made from my telephone number at my old flat between the 21st Feb and the 1st March (the day before I handed the keys over to the estate agent). I immediately logged onto my SKY account online to view the bill and low and behold there was the bill (all 27 pages of it!!!!!) with literally hundreds of calls to numbers I have never even heard of. To say it looked ugly is a mild understatement. The numbers dialed inlcuding numerous premium rate numbers at 1.50 per minute, UK mobiles, International Mobiles, various UK landlines etc, made all times of the day, literally constantly right from the 21st February up until the evening of 1st March. Looking at the pattern of the calls, somebody would literally would have needed to be by the phone almost constantly for the entire period of 8 days to make all of the calls detailed on my bill.

      Before I continue, it is probably important for me to stress at this point that I nor my girlfriend who lived at the property with me made any of these calls. I also know for certain that no body else could have made these calls from with the property. The reasons that I know this to be true are as follows:

      1) We have only over had one telephone (cordless) installed at the property and this was packed away into storage back in January with many of our other belongings. We therefore had no telephone installed at the property with which we could make calls from. I only used the phone line for broadband.

      2) Between the 21st and the 28th Feb, both my girlfriend and I were in of the property day and eveining, packing and moving boxes, cleaning up etc and do not recall any strange people, friends, aliens in our flat maing expensive phonecalls.

      3) There is only one door in and out of our flat and my girlfriend and I are the only people in possesion of the keys which exist.

      Having taken most of the day off work yesterday to try and get this riduculous matter resolved, I spent most of yesterday morning on the phone to numerous people at SKY (passed from department to department etc), my bank and also the police. Having obviously denied that either myself or my girlfriend made of these calls, the outcome so far of yesterday's phonecalls are as follows:

      1) SKY have passed the case on to their "Fraud Investigation" department to look into the matter and hopefully work out what might have occured

      2) As I have insisted that the amount taken from my account is clearly incorrect, My bank (thankfully!), have initiated an Direct Debit Indemnity (under the DD guarantee) so that hopefully, the funds will be creidited back into my account with the next day or so. Thankfully, they also will not be charging me for going overdrawn

      3) I have reported it to the local police as a potential fraud

      Fortunately, one of the chaps I spoke to at SKY was quite helpful and in fact called me back several times yesterday to update me on what was going on. Even he admitted that all of his colleagues at the call centre and had been talking about all day as no one there had ever seen anything quite like it!

      I can therefore only come to the following conclusions as to the cause of the horendous situation:

      1) SKY have made a mistake and billed me for calls made from someone elses number (I think this is unlikley by the way)

      2) I have been a victim of a rather nasty case of fraud in which someone has somehow physically hacked/tapped into my phone line at my old flat and made all of the calls using my number, hence causing it to be billed to me (I think that this now seems most likley)

      Have any of you here ever come accross something like this? I had a quick search thorugh the posts but could not find any case which quite compared!
      I can't tell the amount of stress that this has put both my girlfriend and myself through in just a few days.

      One of the things that has shocked me the most, is that at no point during the period when these calls were supposedly made did anyone from SKY bother to try and contact me to ask why I had suddenly started making all of these expensive calls. It must have looked just a little suspicious? I questioned the chap at SKY yesterday on this and he told me that according to their records, SKY "attempted" to put a bar on the account on the 24th Feb (3 days after the calls started), when the bill had reached 500. Apparently this is SKY standard policy. However, according to his records, the bar had "failed" and he could give me no further information at this point than that. What on earth does that mean??!! It looks really rather suspicious to me. If the bar did fail as they claim, why was there no further attempts made and why was the bill allowed to run up to over 3,000? Why did nobody from SKY contact me?

      I cannot believe that they would just debit that amount of money without at some point thinking something odd was going on.

      Any ideas or advice from any of you would be greatly appreciated. If I have left any details out or you need any further information, just let me know. I will of course keep you updated as to the progress and news whenever I hear from SKY.

      Many Thanks

      Russell


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    3. #2
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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      You need to speak with a Lawyer ASAP.

      Also contact Sky Customer Services to lets them know that you are disputing the telephone bill.

      For the present I would not recommend discussing anything with the Estate Agency. This might be classed as a criminal offence, in which case the Police will need to be informed.

      Edit: sorry, I stopped reading as soon as I saw the first part and see that you are already discussing things with Sky & the Police.

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Hi Scubbie

      Thanks for the reply. Just to confirm, I have contacted SKY already several times and made it clear that I am disputing the bill. With regards to when the calls were made, it was still when we were actually living at property, not when the next owner moved in. I therefore don't think for one second that it could be anything to do with them. We did not had the keys over until the 2nd March which was one day after the calls stopped. It looks like they stopped on the 2nd because this was the date the the line was actually disconnected (as per my original instructions to SKY)

      Contacting a lawyer could be very good idea. I have already reported it to the police.

      Best Regards

      Russell

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      I have just notcied the date today and I though that I had better confirm that this is not an april fools joke (as much as I wish it was!)

      Russell

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Did your block of flats have a communal cupboard used to distribute services? I have seen reports on here where the master socket for a flat was in such a cupboard, if yours was, that may be how they accessed your line. It is a few years since I saw this and at the time advised the user to get a cover plate for the socket to prevent easy illegal access. Sky's failure to pick this up and stop it is deplorable. I hope you will sue for compensation for unnecessary stress when this is sorted out

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Hi Isitme

      Thanks for your reply. Yes, I beleive that there was such a cupboard at the block of flats (I think it was downstairs in the car park and also contained the tv aerial distribution system for each of the flats). However, to my knowledge it was supossed to be locked and accessable only by the building maintenance company but I guess that it would not have been difficult to gain access in some way or another. If my line had been hi-jacked, I think this certainly looks like it could be the most likely method.

      Best Regards

      Russell

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      If this is the case, then I strongly recommend that you speak with the Police ASAP.

      Many criminals are idiots and will leave enough evidence behind to allow themselves to get caught.

      * fingerprints
      * DNA
      * business card
      * anything else that might link them to the crime

      I doubt that they would have used latex gloves to plug a telephone in.

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Criminals can be that dumb that they rob a store when it's snowing and just walk home leaving their footprints the whole way home.
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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      Quote Originally Posted by I_Hate_Sky_Awnsers View Post
      Criminals can be that dumb that they rob a store when it's snowing and just walk home leaving their footprints the whole way home.
      I know

      BBC News - Arrest after police follow footprints in Sutton snow

      Hence the suggestion to notify the Police so that someone can get in to check for Finger Prints by the telephone connections.

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      Re: World Record Phone Bill! Please Help!

      The lesson for the rest of us is to check bills and DDs regularly for the slightest sign of a problem. It's all too easy with online automated billing just to accept it without a second glance.

     

     
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