Utica man warns of problem with long distance carrier


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - Joe Kearney of Utica marched into the New York State Attorney General's Office at the State Office Building in Utica on Monday afternoon, after being on the phone with his long distance phone service provider all morning.

Kearney says he is one of those people who still has landline phone service and would rather have a landline than a cell phone, because he feels landline service is more reliable in the event of an emergency.

His landline service is with Verizon, but to save money, he has a third party carrier for his long distance calling, and that is with a company called 'Spot Talk' out of Miami, Florida.

Kearney says his usually reliable landline didn't work Monday morning.

He says when he tried calling his 101 year old mother at her assisted living facility in Syracuse, the call wouldn't go through.

He then called Spot Talk and says he got the 'run-a-round.'

"It was kind of a shock this morning, spending three hours on the phone and after talking to them once and saying there was no problem with the account, then checking with Verizon, and then checking back with them (Spot Talk) a second time, and they said your account has been suspended because you've overspent your line of credit," Kearney said.

Kearney says the Spot Talk representative told him he had called the country of Chili several times on Sunday for a total of several hours, and that is why he exceeded his credit limit.

When he told the rep that he didn't make those calls, he was told all he could do was go to his bank and stop payment, but the amount would remain on his bill.

He says he was also told he wasn't the only customer something like this has happened to.

Now Kearney says he's worried about what happens next month when that amount becomes due and he is still trying to fight the charges, "I don't want my credit compromised because this has happened, and if they can do it to me, they can do it to anybody."

Kearney says the representative from the New York State Attorney General's Office in Utica was not much help, "He said get a letter to Spot Talk informing them of the situation and go to your bank and stop the direct payment. Other than that, they didn't take a formal complaint."

He says New York State cannot do anything, because this issue crosses state lines with Spot Talk being located in Florida.

Kearney says he will now try to talk to someone from the Federal Communications Commission to get this situation rectified, but in the meantime he's worried because the charges will remain on his account.

We here at NEWSChannel 2 tried calling Spot Talk ourselves, but we are still waiting for someone in the company's public relations department to call us back.

Kearney says he's not sure how someone used his phone number to make international calls, but he wants to warn people to be very careful and check their bills each month closely, because there may be charges on there that you never made.

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