For your convenience in reading: Subject lines are printed in RED and Moderator replies when issued appear in BROWN.
Previous Issue (just one)
TD Extra News

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


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 <>
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

"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

"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 .

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 . Hundreds of new
articles daily. To discuss this, and other problems with spamming,
and cybercrime, also go to our chatroom area:


Date: 26 Apr 2005 09:36:09 -0700
From: Lisa Minter <>
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

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 . 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:

Verizon Identifies Solution Enabling VoIP Companies to Connect to E
911 Emergency Calling System 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

    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: 


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:

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

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:

[Article #2:]

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:

How to Distribute VoIP Throughout a Home:

If you live in Michigan, subscribe to the MI-Telecom group:


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:

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

There is a thread on this at,13262331

Cisco Systems to Acquire Sipura Technology

First Acquisition for Linksys Division; Adds Experienced Team and VoIP

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

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 For ongoing news, go to

Press Contact(s):

Elizabeth McNichols
Cisco Systems, Inc.
408 525-4434

Karen Sohl
Cisco Systems, Inc.
949 823-1578

Investor Relations Contact(s):

Ken Bond
Cisco Systems, Inc.
408 526-6001


Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 12:22:32 -0400
From: Monty Solomon <>
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

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.



Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 12:30:43 EDT
From: Telecom dailyLead from USTA <>
Subject: Nortel Buys PEC Solutions

Telecom dailyLead from USTA
April 26, 2005

* Nortel buys PEC Solutions
* 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
* Newton's Telecom Dictionary -- 21st Edition
* Netscape founders create free content network
* WildBlue targets June launch
* Analysis: Charter bets big on VOD
* 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.

Legal and Privacy information at

SmartBrief, Inc.
1100 H ST NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20005


From: al_groups <>
Subject: Testing Cingular (and Perhaps Other GSM) Phones
Date: 26 Apr 2005 11:09:11 -0700


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,



From: Jay <>
Subject: Access Gateway
Date: 26 Apr 2005 13:56:14 -0700


What is an Access Gateway?

How/Where it is used in TeleCom industry?




From: GlowingBlueMist <>
Subject: Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service?
Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2005 19:03:30 -0500
Organization: Octanews

<> wrote in message

> 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. <>
Subject: Re: Can You Hook Home Alarm System With Vonage Service?
Organization: ATCC
Date: Tue, 26 Apr 2005 14:51:17 -0400

In article <>, 

> 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 <gholiday@domain.withheld>
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 <>
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

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

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

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

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

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

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.



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