TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Unauthorized Remote Access to Answering Machine

Re: Unauthorized Remote Access to Answering Machine
1 Aug 2005 11:47:14 -0700

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to Choreboy:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It could be a spy machine, but I think
> it more likely that you/relatives are being terrorized by an incorrectly
> programmed fax machine ...

Just like voice calls, fax users may enter/dial the wrong number.

The problem is compounded by the fact that many fax machines store the
document and retry if the call doesn't go through. That could be in a
few minutes or the next day. It drives people crazy.

I once got such calls. I was able to hook up my computer and set it
to fax so I could receive the fax and I did. It was a normal business
communication and the sender transposed two digits, enterting my
number by mistake. I telephoned the sender and explained what

> ... Like complaints made to the Illinois Commerce
> Commission where the complaint is raised and the prissy old lady
> secretary at the Commission makes a _single_ phone call of inquiry,
> then folds her hands and announces self-righteously "I have called the
> company and they _assure_ me it will be corrected" ...

I know people bothered by such calls at home and complained to the
phone company. Normally the problem ended at that point with no more
effort by the customer. I think today they have some good trace tools
and don't fool around with errant fax callers.

> ... Telco explained to FNB
> (I assume with a straight face) what had happened. I do not know if
> telco eventually wrote it off (as they used to do _everything_ that
> a customer would not pay for) or not.

Some years ago, due to a CO wiring error, my toll calls were charged
to some business. The business complained and the phoneco would NOT
write off the calls. After the business made a big enough stink, the
phoneco traced down the problem and transferred the charges to me.
(The orig rep said since it was their error I could pay for it over a
few months, but then a subsequent rep demanded payment in full

> I wonder if the people using the hotel public fax machine wherever in
> your account also blamed the added charges on their bill on a screw
> up by the hotel switchboard. Probably.

I've noticed that many people don't check their bills the way people
once did. I don't know if it's laziness, stupidity, over complexity,
but auditors go nuts finding obivous overcharges left uncorrected by

Years ago if people had a strange 5c call on their phone bill they'll
call the phone company and raise heck. Nowadays many people don't
bother. For myself, the damn phone bill is so big and complex it's
hard to interpret -- and that's with national unlimited! Even if I do
find a 25c error, I'm not going to bother to waste my time to call and
complain. (When I got a $25.00 charge for a calling card I most
certainly did complain.)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Several years ago I was living in a
residential apartment building with a tenant switchboard. I preferred
to have a personal 'direct line' which was okayed by the management.
Trouble is, it was never billed to me' not for about a year anyway.
Since Chicago had 'unlimited call pack' in those days, there was never
any reason for any charges to go through the accounting department on
it. Then one day, a long distance charge _did_ get billed to the line;
it 'fell out' into suspense when telco accounting was unable to find a
'home' for it. Telco person working the suspense ledger tried the
technique of actually calling the number, hearing it ring, therefore
it was a working number. Telco person then calls outside plant and
asks them "why didn't you give accounting _our_ copy of this new order?"
No good answer to that; they had to reconstruct the paperwork for the
accounting people. When my bill finally arrived it was backdated to
_one year_ plus the usual 'month in advance'. I complained, and the
service rep apologized and said she would give me time to pay it off.
I naturally suggested why don't you write it off and let me start
from fresh. But I could hear service rep snickering as she said,
"Yes, it was our fault taking so long, but Mr. Townson, you _knew_
what was happening with it, didn't you? I'll give you three or four
months to pay a little each month; I will not write it off, but a
few reps in this office would place you with an agency right now and
not give you any time!" PAT]

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