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TELECOM Digest Tue, 26 Apr 2005 19:03:00 EDT Volume 24 : Issue 183 Inside This Issue: Editor: Patrick A. Townson Cybercrime Costs Billions But How to Report It? (Lisa Minter) Main Web Site Hackers Are Schoolboys, Watchdog Says (Lisa Minter) Verizon Identifies Solution Enabling VoIP Companies to Connect (Decker) Verizon Dials Up 911 VoIP Solution (Jack Decker) Thumbs Down on Verizon's High Speed IP Network (Jack Decker) Cisco Systems to Acquire Sipura Technology (Jack Decker) EarthLink Wireless Offers Treo 650 (Monty Solomon) Nortel Buys PEC Solutions (Telecom dailyLead from USTA) Testing Cingular (and Perhaps Other GSM) Phones (al_groups) Access Gateway (Jay) Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service (GlowingBlueMist) Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service (Tony P.) Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story (Ginger Holiday) Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story (Ed) Telecom and VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Digest for the Internet. All contents here are copyrighted by Patrick Townson and the individual writers/correspondents. Articles may be used in other journals or newsgroups, provided the writer's name and the Digest are included in the fair use quote. By using -any name or email address- included herein for -any- reason other than responding to an article herein, you agree to pay a hundred dollars to the recipients of the email. =========================== Addresses herein are not to be added to any mailing list, nor to be sold or given away without explicit written consent. Chain letters, viruses, porn, spam, and miscellaneous junk are definitely unwelcome. We must fight spam for the same reason we fight crime: not because we are naive enough to believe that we will ever stamp it out, but because we do not want the kind of world that results when no one stands against crime. Geoffrey Welsh =========================== See the bottom of this issue for subscription and archive details and the name of our lawyer; other stuff of interest. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: 26 Apr 2005 09:33:32 -0700 From: Lisa Minter <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Cybercrime Costs Billions But How to Report It? By Lucas van Grinsven, European Technology Correspondent AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Cybercrime costs societies billions of dollars every year, but it is not easy for European citizens to report that their digital identity has been stolen, according to anti-virus software companies and police. Britain's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) three weeks ago estimated the nation's cost of computer crime at $4.7 billion a year. Yet common computer break-ins such as hacking, phishing and identity theft must be reported to the local police. Britain's police offer online forms for citizens to report "non-emergency minor crimes" including theft, criminal vandalism and damage to motor vehicles, but there is no special category for computer crime. Elsewhere in Europe, citizens are also mostly referred to local police forces to report these crimes. "It really is a problem. These crimes are global, but citizens work with local police. Most of the police are trained to catch bank robbers rather than Internet robbers," said Mikko Hypponen at anti-virus company F-Secure in Finland, where citizens have to report to local police. Dutch police have admitted that most are ill equipped to deal with cybercrime. "Victims of high-tech crime experience this every day," wrote Pascal Hetzscholdt, policy adviser of the Dutch police's digital investigation unit, in a recent article for a police detectives magazine. "When reporting a crime, they find that the police have big problems with taking and processing the technical aspects of the incident. Police and the public prosecution also have trouble estimating the importance," Hetzscholdt said. Weak police skills lead to low interest, others say. "The police are not interested, because there are too many viruses, the subject is too complicated and the chances are slim that the police will catch somebody," said senior technology consultant Graham Cluley at British anti-virus firm Sophos. Without details from victims of computer crimes, furthermore, investigators and prosecutors find it more difficult to seek appropriate punishment for the offenders. An NHTCU spokeswoman said every local police force in Britain had a computer crime unit, while recognizing it was essential "we have to keep training to keep up with the pace." British police said computer crimes need to be reported to local police but would be passed on to a specialized unit if needed. To report unsolicited email, which for many office workers can run into the dozens or hundreds every day, British citizens need to download, print and fill in one form for every single spam message and send it in the mail. "It's not grown-up at the moment," Sophos's Cluley said. In the United States, in contrast with the European situation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation at least operates a national Internet Fraud Complaint Center, to which businesses and citizens can report cybercrimes http://www.ifccfbi.gov . Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new articles daily. To discuss this, and other problems with spamming, and cybercrime, also go to our chatroom area: http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/chatpage.html ------------------------------ Date: 26 Apr 2005 09:36:09 -0700 From: Lisa Minter <email@example.com> Subject: Main Web Site Hackers Are Schoolboys, Watchdog Says LONDON (Reuters) - Attacks on company and government Internet sites spike during school holidays when the main culprits -- schoolboys -- spend time in front of their computers rather than in the classroom. There were almost 400,000 attacks on Web sites around the world last year, a surge of 36 percent from 2003, said a report issued by Internet watchdog agency Zone-H to coincide with a London information security exhibition. "A lot of 15- and 16-year-old guys are smart enough to have strong political opinions," Roberto Preatoni, Zone-H founder, told Reuters Monday. The main targets are U.S. military Web sites, which are attacked by anti-Iraq war protesters, and large companies and governments, which attract anti-globalization protesters. Preatoni said the tools needed to hack into and change Web sites were available on the Internet and were easy to use. "For the average person it sounds complicated but if you know what you are doing it's really quite easy," he said. "Almost anyone with a bit of practice can take down or deface a web site." Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited. NOTE: For more telecom/internet/networking/computer news from the daily media, check out our feature 'Telecom Digest Extra' each day at http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/more-news.html . Hundreds of new articles daily. ------------------------------ From: Jack Decker <jack-yahoogroups@withheld_on_request> Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 13:18:00 -0400 Subject: Verizon Identifies Solution Enabling VoIP Companies to Connect This is the "official" press release: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/04-26-2005/0003486469&STORY&EDATE= Verizon Identifies Solution Enabling VoIP Companies to Connect to E 911 Emergency Calling System http://www.verizon.com Company Archive Connection to Verizon's 911 Network in New York City Expected This Summer NEW YORK, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Verizon will provide Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) service providers and their vendors the ability to use Verizon's Enhanced 911 emergency calling system to connect VoIP customer 911 calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). "Working with VoIP companies and their vendors, we have identified a means to route VoIP calls so that they appear in emergency response centers much the way wireline and wireless 911 calls do," said Michael O'Connor, executive director of federal regulatory affairs for Verizon. The E 911 system directs a 911 caller to the appropriate local government emergency response center, known as a Public Safety Answering Point. The call travels over a dedicated network and automatically provides the PSAP operator with the name and address associated with the caller's telephone number. This information, which the operator receives almost instantaneously, allows public safety officials to dispatch help quickly, when seconds count. Automatic location information is especially helpful if the caller is unable to speak or drops off the line. Currently, most VoIP emergency-service offerings do not provide the emergency response center with name, address or callback number. Verizon expects that by this summer, VoIP providers and their vendors will be able to provide their customers in New York City with E 911 service. If the New York City model is successful, it will be replicated in other locations. Initially, only wireline carriers connected directly to the E 911 system. Subsequently, wireless carriers were connected. "With the recent and rapid growth of VoIP service, we needed to find a way to integrate VoIP providers into the E 911 system in a manner that would reliably serve VoIP end-users and that at the same time would not compromise the safety and reliability of the E 911 system for other users," said O'Connor. "After discussions with VoIP providers and the emergency services community, we believe that we have identified an arrangement that meets the needs of both groups and enables VoIP providers to offer their customers significantly better 911 services than they receive today. "And, unlike proposals previously made by the VoIP community, the arrangement does not introduce new types of security vulnerabilities to the E 911 system." O'Connor stressed that even after VoIP providers get access to the E 911 system, VoIP providers and VoIP customers will still need to provide up-to-date location information to ensure that the 911 call is routed to the appropriate PSAP. If a VoIP customer does not update his or her service location, the 911 call will not reach the appropriate PSAP. SOURCE Verizon Web Site: http://www.verizon.com ------------------------------ From: Jack Decker <jack-yahoogroups@withheld_on_request> Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 13:01:58 -0400 Subject: Verizon Dials Up 911 VoIP Solution Excerpts from two articles follow: http://www.techweb.com/wire/networking/161600282 April 26, 2005 (11:15 AM EDT) Verizon Dials Up 911 VoIP Solution By TechWeb News Verizon Communications said it will provide VoIP providers with a solution that will let them use Verizon's enhanced 911 emergency calling system. Problems handling 911 emergency numbers have been a major hurdle for VoIP providers, but positive movement in recent days by major landline carriers is being hailed by VoIP companies. "Working with VoIP companies and their vendors, we have identified a means to route VoIP calls so that they appear in emergency response centers much the way wireline and wireless 911 calls do," said Michael O'Connor, Verizon's executive director of federal regulatory affairs, in a statement Tuesday. The Verizon statement coincides with efforts by Qwest Communications and SBC Communications to solve the 911 problem with Vonage, North America's largest VoIP provider. The remaining former Baby Bell, BellSouth, is also said to be working on the problem. More than 90 percent of U.S. landline telephone service is provided by the former Bells. Their means of communicating with 911 dispatch numbers is not compatible with VoIP phoning, particularly where VoIP moves over cable broadband. Verizon said its VoIP 911 service will be offered in New York City this summer, and, if successful, it will be replicated in additional Verizon locations. Full story at: http://www.techweb.com/wire/networking/161600282 [Article #2:] http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=11892&hed=Verizon+Answers+VoIP+911+Call&hed§or=Industries&hed§or&subsector=InternetAndServices Verizon Answers VoIP 911 Call Vonage works with carrier to develop parallel emergency database to connect callers with emergency dispatchers. April 26, 2005 Verizon Communications said Tuesday it will test a major improvement to VoIP performance by directing its subscribers' 911 emergency calls to the appropriate authorities. The dedicated system will not just route the calls to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs), but will automatically provide the PSAP operator with the name and address of the subscriber associated with the telephone number. The system is being implemented and tested in New York City with an eye to a region-wide rollout. According to Verizon, the system will be available to VoIP service providers in all of New York City by the summer. Verizon did not announce a specific timetable for a region-wide rollout. Full story at: http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=11892&hed=Verizon+Answers+VoIP+911+Call&hed§or=Industries&hed§or&subsector=InternetAndServices How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home: http://michigantelephone.mi.org/distribute.html If you live in Michigan, subscribe to the MI-Telecom group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MI-Telecom/ ------------------------------ From: Jack Decker <jack-yahoogroups@withheld_on_request> Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 13:37:37 -0400 Subject: Thumbs Down on Verizon's High Speed IP Network The following was spotted on IP Inferno, a VoIP and telecommunications related blog. These comments were written by Ted Shelton: http://ipinferno.blogspot.com/ Tuesday, April 26, 2005 Don't try VoIP on Verizon I was excited about Verizon's new high speed IP network -- finally some terrific speeds and broad availability on cell phones! Here is the first cell phone network that could support Skype! But wait, what's that in the user agreement? Data sessions may be used for following purposes: (i) Internet browsing; (ii) email; and (iii) intranet access (including access to corporate intranets, email and individual productivity applications like customer relationship management, sales force and field service automation. Intranet access requires the BlackBerry Enterprise Server.). Unlimited plans are for individual use only and not for resale. The Unlimited plans cannot be used: (1) for any applications that tether the device to laptops, PCs, or other equipment for any purpose, (2) for uploading, downloading or streaming of movies, music or games, (3) with server devices or with host computer applications other than the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, including, without limitation, Web camera posts or broadcasts, continuous jpeg file transfers, automatic data feeds, telemetry applications, automated functions or any other machine-to-machine applications, (4) as substitute or backup for private lines or dedicated data connections. Well, I am not a lawyer, but it sounds like VoIP is just plain not allowed. Not only that, but without the BlackBerry Enterprise Server, all I can do is email and web browsing!! Why the heck do I need all of this bandwidth if all I can do is email and web? I hope that the marketplace responds to Verizon with a big raspberry, and lets them know that when we buy data services we expect to be able to USE our data services!! On another front, isn't there something the FCC can do? Aren't the public airwaves that these data services are running on a part of the commons and this kind of restraint on trade a violation of the license under which Verizon operates? Someone with more FCC knowledge please help out here! posted by Ted at 8:57 AM ------------------------------ From: Jack Decker <jack-yahoogroups@withheld_on_request> Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 14:32:02 -0400 Subject: Cisco Systems to Acquire Sipura Technology I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. On the one hand, I would expect Sipura's quality control to improve (although Sipuras are generally high quality devices, I've heard a few reports of people getting one that is bad out of the box, or that fails in the first week or two of use -- fortunately these are always replaced promptly). On the other hand, I suspect they will not be as responsive to customer needs, nor as quick to offer firmware/feature upgrades. But, VoIP adapters are a competitive market now. Those who remember the early days of computer modems may remember when we basically had a couple of brand choices, Hayes and U.S. Robotics. Now there are many more choices available (and does ANYONE have a Hayes modem anymore?). Same thing with VoIP adapters, we had the Cisco ATA-186 and then the Sipura. Now Cisco is buying Sipura (and has previously purchased Linksys, which already offers VoIP adapters based on Sipura technology) but today there are many other companies offering VoIP adapters, and it wouldn't surprise me if in three or four years you can pick one up in the $20-$40 range (and that's not counting the free-after-rebate or free-with-service-commitment deals that will inevitably come along). It will be interesting to see if Cisco/Linksys/Sipura retains any significant market share at that time. There is a thread on this at BroadbandReports.com: http://www.broadbandreports.com/forum/remark,13262331 http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2005/corp_042605.html?CMP=ILC-001 Cisco Systems to Acquire Sipura Technology First Acquisition for Linksys Division; Adds Experienced Team and VoIP Technology SAN JOSE, Calif., April 26, 2005 - Cisco Systems today announced a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Sipura Technology, Inc. This represents Cisco's first acquisition for its Linksys division, the leading provider of wireless and networking hardware for home, Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) and small business environments. Sipura is a leader in consumer voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology and is a key technology provider for Linksys' current line of VoIP networking devices. In addition to Sipura's valuable technology and customer relationships, their experienced team with extensive VoIP expertise will help build a foundation for Linksys' internal research and development capabilities in voice, video and other markets. Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco will pay approximately $68 million in cash and options for Sipura. The acquisition is subject to various standard closing conditions, including applicable regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of Cisco's fiscal year 2005 ending July 30, 2005. Consumer VoIP is rapidly expanding as independent providers and incumbent telecom and cable operators bring VoIP offerings to consumers. Synergy Research Group, a leading market research firm, reports that today there are close to 8 million home users worldwide using VoIP to make phone calls over their broadband connections. By 2009, Synergy anticipates this number to grow to 58.9 million home users using VoIP to talk to friends and family around the world using broadband and VoIP technology. "VoIP is a strategic segment for innovation and growth for Cisco and Linksys. The acquisition of Sipura will augment Linksys' leading position in the rapidly growing VoIP market and is an example of Linksys' strategy to increase internal R&D capabilities in specific product categories," said Charles Giancarlo, Cisco CTO and Cisco-Linksys president. "Adding Sipura's technology reinforces our commitment to developing products in the consumer voice space." This acquisition follows Cisco's core strategy of using acquisitions to build new technologies and speed time-to-market for its products. The Sipura acquisition accelerates Linksys' leadership in the emerging high growth VoIP consumer and SOHO markets, provides continued competitive differentiation for its VoIP product offerings, and allows Linksys to better serve it customers. Sipura has developed the technology incorporated in leading VoIP adapters (including those integrated into home routers and gateways) and a multi-line IP phone for the consumer and SOHO market. Sipura's technology is currently used by Linksys in some VoIP products, including certain analog telephone adapters and wired and wireless routers with phone ports. Sipura currently has relationships with regional and top-tier VoIP providers. Linksys will continue to work with those service providers, as well as use its traditional retail channels to target consumers and SOHO environments with Sipura's line of VoIP products. Upon close of the transaction, Sipura will be integrated into Cisco's Linksys division, led by Senior Vice Presidents Janie and Victor Tsao. Sipura was founded in March 2003 and is headquartered in San Jose, Calif. About Linksys: Founded in 1988, Linksys, a Division of Cisco Systems, Inc., is the global leader in Wireless and Ethernet networking for consumer, SOHO and small business users. Linksys is dedicated to making networking easy and affordable for its customers, offering innovative, award-winning products that seamlessly integrate with a variety of devices and applications. Linksys provides award-winning product support to its customers. For more information, visit www.linksys.com. About Cisco Systems Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO), the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet, celebrates 20 years of commitment to technology innovation, industry leadership, and corporate social responsibility. Information about Cisco can be found at http://www.cisco.com. For ongoing news, go to http://newsroom.cisco.com. Press Contact(s): Elizabeth McNichols Cisco Systems, Inc. 408 525-4434 firstname.lastname@example.org Karen Sohl Cisco Systems, Inc. 949 823-1578 email@example.com Investor Relations Contact(s): Ken Bond Cisco Systems, Inc. 408 526-6001 firstname.lastname@example.org ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 12:22:32 -0400 From: Monty Solomon <email@example.com> Subject: EarthLink Wireless Offers Treo 650 From PalmOne EarthLink's TotalAccess software delivers wireless sync and personalized content, plus server-side spam and virus protection features/ ATLANTA and MILPITAS, Calif., April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- EarthLink Wireless, a branded service operated by SK-EarthLink, and palmOne, Inc. (Nasdaq: PLMO) today announced the availability of the Treo(TM) 650 smartphone, which offers a compact, full-featured mobile phone with email, a Palm OS(R) organizer, messaging, web access and digital camera, letting users organize and simplify their business and personal lives all in one device.(1) This powerful multifeatured mobile device is built on the Treo 600's award- winning design and features EarthLink's exclusive TotalAccess software for users on the move. The all-in-one device is pre-bundled with EarthLink's exclusive TotalAccess software, designed to deliver a range of personalized content to the Treo 650. TotalAccess software includes server-side spamBlocker(SM) and Virus Blocker, which eliminate virtually 100 percent of spam and protects the users' inbox from unwanted viruses. EarthLink Wireless offers wireless, over-the-air synchronization between the Treo 650 and EarthLink's server to keep the users' address book updated without cradle-based synchronization. In addition, users can get fast and easy access to email, information, and favorite features in a simple, integrated interface. Accessing EarthLink's Personal Start Page on the Internet allows users to set up customized content to be delivered wirelessly, such as news, stock prices, sports scores, weather, directions, maps and more. - http://finance.lycos.com/home/news/story.asp?story=48636798 ------------------------------ Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 12:30:43 EDT From: Telecom dailyLead from USTA <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Nortel Buys PEC Solutions Telecom dailyLead from USTA April 26, 2005 http://www.dailylead.com/latestIssue.jsp?i=21112&l=2017006 TODAY'S HEADLINES NEWS OF THE DAY * Nortel buys PEC Solutions BUSINESS & INDUSTRY WATCH * Sprint accelerates push to win over enterprise customers * Analysis: How high is too high for MCI suitors? * Linksys snaps up VoIP technology vendor * Cable companies refuse to run SBC ads about phone rates * Microsoft Mobile looks to Zhang for a bang USTA SPOTLIGHT * Newton's Telecom Dictionary -- 21st Edition EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES * Netscape founders create free content network * WildBlue targets June launch * Analysis: Charter bets big on VOD REGULATORY & LEGISLATIVE * Rigas family to surrender assets as Adelphia, feds settle * Arthur Andersen settles WorldCom claims Follow the link below to read quick summaries of these stories and others. http://www.dailylead.com/latestIssue.jsp?i=21112&l=2017006 Legal and Privacy information at http://www.dailylead.com/about/privacy_legal.jsp SmartBrief, Inc. 1100 H ST NW, Suite 1000 Washington, DC 20005 ------------------------------ From: al_groups <email@example.com> Subject: Testing Cingular (and Perhaps Other GSM) Phones Date: 26 Apr 2005 11:09:11 -0700 Hi, I've got some Cingular (and one ATT) phones I managed to repair. However I would like to test them making a couple of phone calls. The problem is I don't have a Cingular account. With Sprint CMDA phones you still can call cust svc even if you don't have an account w/them. Same with Verizon. I am kind of new to GSM phones, so I may be mistaken, but even with a blank GSM card inserted I can't call anybody. The only exception is an emergency number (cellphone says that) which I am not sure if it's going to ring at a 911 number. The cellphones I have are locked as far as I know. Could I perhaps sign up with one of those prepaid accounts that CNG offers, so I could use the GSM I would activate with the phones I already have? Have they to be unlocked even if I want to use a prepaid service GSM card with them (even a Cingular one? Any other links I can find more info on this subject? Thanks a lot, al ------------------------------ From: Jay <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Access Gateway Date: 26 Apr 2005 13:56:14 -0700 Hello, What is an Access Gateway? How/Where it is used in TeleCom industry? Thanks, Jay ------------------------------ From: GlowingBlueMist <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service? Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 19:03:30 -0500 Organization: Octanews <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote in message news:email@example.com: > Is it possible to hook up my Vonage to the home alarm system service > (Brinks Security)? Or do I still need to get an analog phone line from > Southwestern Bell? Thanks. > [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It _should_ be possible, but bear in > mind one thing burglars sometimes do is cut the electrical wire to > your house; that would as a result cut off your computer's electrical > supply, and kill your Vonage phone. Some alarm companies also have a > method of dealing not only with a call _into_ them, but also a way of > telling when their device has been _disconnected_ from the phone > line. I am not sure how well that would work when using Vonage, so you > might want to have the Brinks representative there to look at it > also. PAT] I don't know the hardware he has but my brother in Florida wanted to do the same thing. He called his security system vender and they upgraded his system to include a cellular phone with a remote antenna hidden in the attic and tied it all in with the same UPS his alarm system used. As mentioned by Pat, the perps in my brother's area like to cut the cable, phone, and power connections prior to breaking in. Seems his local area requires an external power cut off as part of the electrical meter base making killing the power quite easy. So now even with the power off, no cable or landline working, his alarm system along with the following options continues to work, high/low temperature, fire alarm, flooding, and combined cable + AC power failure, and panic buttons. ------------------------------ From: Tony P. <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service? Organization: ATCC Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 14:51:17 -0400 In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org says: > Is it possible to hook up my Vonage to the home alarm system service > (Brinks Security)? Or do I still need to get an analog phone line from > Southwestern Bell? Thanks. > [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: It _should_ be possible, but bear in > mind one thing burglars sometimes do is cut the electrical wire to > your house; that would as a result cut off your computer's electrical > supply, and kill your Vonage phone. Some alarm companies also have a > method of dealing not only with a call _into_ them, but also a way of > telling when their device has been _disconnected_ from the phone > line. I am not sure how well that would work when using Vonage, so you > might want to have the Brinks representative there to look at it > also. PAT] Two things. 1) Put a UPS in front of the Vonage router. This will provide power when the perpetrator cuts the line, though I will say that most thieves are too stupid to know how to cut the power these days. 2) When you set up the dial string, include the # sign at the end to tell Vonage that you've stopped dialing and to put the call through. ------------------------------ Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 23:12:31 -0400 From: Ginger Holiday <email@example.com> Subject: Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story Ed wrote: > Here's my VOIP phone story: > I signed up for Lingo on August 13, 2004. They've never sent me > equipment and they've never let me quit. > Today, I received a letter saying I've got 10 days to pay Primus > Any suggestions? Do I call a lawyer or the local television station > to be interviewed? > What would you do if you were in my situation? Many states have consumer protection laws aimed at such practices. For example, in Massachusetts, the statue is Mass General Laws Ch 93A. Under this law, if somebody sends you a bill for something you don't owe, you can send them a demand letter explaining why you don't owe the claimed amount and give 30 days for them to repond. If they don't respond in 30 days, you are entitled to treble damages. Letters like this can get a company's attention very quickly. Send it to the top officer at the top office, and send it certified, return receipt. Check the laws in your state, and possibly look for other examples to learn how to proceed. Of course send your complaint to the attorney general's office, consumer protection office, etc. for good measure. ------------------------------ From: Ed <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: Re: Lingo (Primus Telecommunications) Horror Story Date: 25 Apr 2005 17:45:17 -0700 I'm replying to my own post. I want to be absolutely fair so I'm going to report what appears (today) to be good news. Hopefully, it will stay that way. I called Primus Telecommunications today. This time, I talked with a wonderful woman named Nancy. She listened to the whole story. I took me about 15 minutes or so just to tell her about all the phone calling I had done to cancel in September of 2004. In September, I called many times and talked to many people. I also told her that I never received equipment and that no one I ever spoke to at Primus Telecommunications had ever claimed to have sent me any. She said, "So you never received a box from us." I said, "yes, I never received a box." She then called me back in about 15 minutes or so (I did not time anything so this is very rough) and told me "you have been credited the full amount." Sounds like they now agree I don't owe them anything. I still get knots in my stomach when I write this because I have had these charges resusitate themselves so many times. It's a gut reaction. In any case, here's my theory for whatever it may be worth. Since it is all theory, it may not be worth much. I suspect that all of this is bungling, not maliciousness. I'm reminded not to assume evil where incompetence will do. At the time I signed up for Lingo, they were new to all this. If I'm not mistaken, they started the service around June of 2004. If this is correct then they had only been at it a couple of months. I was very quick to try to cancel when I did not receive equipment and they just did not seem prepared to deal with it. I really and truly believe that they did have a cancellation team in place but it was just not sufficient to meet the need. This is why I was unable to get through. In October 2004, I started getting letters from their collections department (see my earlier post for chronology of events). So, I kept calling Customer Service to say I had cancelled and they kept reassuring me that I did not owe anything. Problem is, Customer Service (one phone number) does not seem to have a good line of communication with the other department, Domestic Collections (another phone number). I could be wrong but it appears to me that Customer Service and Domestic Collections are not even in the same country. I'm assuming poor communications here because talking to one department does not seem to affect the actions of the other department (in my case). In any case, talking to Nancy of Domestic Collections seems to (oh how I hope!) to have solved the problem. I will take responsibility here and post again in 60 days (or sooner if things go badly for me). I so hope never to hear from these people again. In 60 days, I hope to be able to report that it appears to be all one big goof-up and I hever heard from Primus Telecommications again. I feel it is very important to be absolutely fair and there is never an excuse for hurting people (or companies) worse than you've been hurt. In other words, balance and justice. I'm actually quite optimistic at this point because I do not find other complaints against Primus Telecommunications similar to mine on the Internet or Usenet. Not that I've tried that hard to find them. I'm hoping that this is a comedy of errors and an exception to what is (I hope) good customer service in most cases. I'm really not trying to get people to stop using Lingo. I just want to get out from under the pressure of these totally unjustified letters. Again, I remind you of the central point: I never received equipment and therefore could not possibly ever have made phone calls. TELECOM Digest Editor questioned me: > Do you have any tracking numbers from the shipment Lingo was supposed > to send you? Funny thing is, Lingo has never claimed to have sent me equipment. This is one reason why I call this a "comedy of errors." In early September, I printed out a copy of my computer screen detailing my order on the Lingo web site. At that time, the order was described as being "in process." If the order had shipped, I assume it would have said "shipped" or something to that effect. It's my belief that I canceled the order (after weeks of waiting) prior to their people ever attempting to ship the order. So no, I don't think there ever was a tracking number. The printout of the order being "in process" after weeks of waiting was the basis for my letter to my credit card company asking them to reverse the charges. My credit card company has been reversing the charges ever since. By the way, if I've learned anything from this experience, I've learned this: Keep careful records. My records are very good. Had I known how this was going to turn out, I would have been even more meticulous about detail. I started keeping records on September 10 when I had tried to cancel the day before. I've been keeping records of everything ever since. Ed ------------------------------ TELECOM Digest is an electronic journal devoted mostly but not exclusively to telecommunications topics. It is circulated anywhere there is email, in addition to various telecom forums on a variety of networks such as Compuserve and America On Line, Yahoo Groups, and other forums. It is also gatewayed to Usenet where it appears as the moderated newsgroup 'comp.dcom.telecom'. TELECOM Digest is a not-for-profit, mostly non-commercial educational service offered to the Internet by Patrick Townson. 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