FCC Hands Down $51M Fine in Lifeline Scam

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is handing down a massive fine to a telecom company that defrauded the government of nearly $10 million. The FCC announced the $51 million fine against Total Call Mobile in a press release last week, alleging the company signed up tens of thousands of duplicate and ineligible consumers to the Lifeline program. “We reserve the strongest sanctions for those who defraud or abuse federal programs,” said Enforcement Bureau chief Travis LeBlanc, in the press release. “Any waste, fraud, or abuse in the Lifeline program diverts scarce funds from the consumers they are meant to serve

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Schooley Mitchell complaints

Canadian Commissioner to Hear Television Service Complaints

Canadian consumers with television service complaints will soon be able to turn to the Commission for Complaints for Telecommunication Services (CCTS) for help. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) announced last week that television service providers would have until Sept. 1, 2017 to become members of the CCTS. This means the CCTS is now the single point of contact for complaints about all major services, including television, Internet, wireless and landline telephone. Consumers concerned with things such as billing and service delivery are asked to first contact their provider for attempted resolution before filing to the CCTS. “Since 2007,

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What is Your Communications Contingency Plan?

Forty-two degrees, no electricity, the slightly audible hum of a hard drive on a fully charged laptop, and – thanks to my camping stove – a hot cup of coffee in an otherwise dark and quiet home office. Cell phone? Check. Internet connectivity? Through the cell phone hot spot, check. Office phone lines and fax available? Because of unified communications, check. Can clients and associates reach me? Yes, but only if they have a contingency plan for their communications needs when systems fail. A week of power loss due to the most damaging windstorm on record in the greater Spokane

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Here’s to a Great 2016!

A new year is upon us! Here at Schooley Mitchell, we’re excited about what 2016 has in store. We’ve got fantastic momentum propelling us forward and the past year has been incredible for us. We worked hard to save our clients millions of dollars on telecom and merchant services. We grew considerably and welcomed more consultants to our team. Simply put, 2015 was great. But one of the things we enjoyed most is giving back. It makes us proud that our franchisees are engaged and involved in their communities, volunteering at events and helping raise funds for local charities. Here

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Schooley Mitchell Lawsuit Watch: Verizon’s Big Tax Bill

In this week’s Schooley Mitchell lawsuit watch we take a look at a case that Verizon recently lost in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, forcing the telco to pay taxes on fees collected for installing phone lines, performing repairs and providing directory assistance. According to the Daily Journal, the issue started 11 years ago when the Department of Revenue delivered Verizon a bill for an additional $48 million in taxes. The amount was lowered by its board of appeals to just $10 million. A subsequent ruling in 2013 by the Commonwealth Court put Verizon on the hook for revenues associated with

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Rogers Fined for Violating Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

Rogers is the latest company to be nailed for violating Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) for issues surrounding its email unsubscribe mechanism. According to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), emails sent by Rogers during a one-year period starting July 2014 – the same month CASL came into effect – had a faulty unsubscribe mechanism. “During this period, the company allegedly sent commercial emails containing an unsubscribe mechanism that did not function properly or which could not be readily performed by the recipient,” states a CRTC press release. “In addition, in some instances, the electronic address used to unsubscribe was

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Comcast Customer Falls to Internet Billing Errors

Mistakes happen. Whether it’s your personal life or business dealings, we’re all human and no one is perfect. However, it seems certain screw ups are more apt to happen in certain industries and no matter how many times they rear their ugly head, nothing seems to change. Internet billing errors fall into this category. We know that studies show up to 80 percent of telecom bills contain errors: we recover tens of thousands of dollars a year for our clients because of it. It’s something that usually flies under the radar – the vast majority of people and companies being

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Schooley Mitchell lawsuit

Schooley Mitchell Lawsuit Watch: Fake Calls Plague Consumers

The phone rings and you pick it up. On the other end, a recording tells you the IRS is filing a lawsuit against you. You’re given a phone number to call to get more information about your case. Your heart beats a little bit faster and anxiety rises. The IRS? Lawsuit? Take a deep breath, exhale and relax. Resist the urge to dial your lawyer. You’ve got nothing to worry about: this phone call is currently being received by people across America. And it’s fake. There are a few versions of this scam currently circulating. But the essence of the

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BYOD on the Decline?

For the last few years people have been pumping up Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs as the best solution for employees and businesses alike. However, those same people weren’t always quick to acknowledge the well-documented issues often surrounding it. It appears the tide may be turning. The results of a 2015 CompTIA Information Technology Association survey of American IT professionals show over half work at companies that have banned BYOD. In total, 53 percent of the 375 respondents said their company does not allow the use of personal devices in the workplace, a significant increase from 34 percent just

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Schooley Mitchell complaints

Complaints Lead to $170,000 Fine

Here at Schooley Mitchell complaints are nothing new. We hear them about poor telecom services and vendors all the time! One of the most annoying things that continues to plague families is receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls. They always seem to come at the most inopportune time, like when you are sitting down to dinner or have your hands full. In Canada, two home improvement companies are facing hefty fines for doing just that – calling residents who had registered their phone numbers on the national Do Not Call List (DNCL). The rules state that once someone signs up on the

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