A consumer alert is being issued for small businesses in Iowa to check their phone bills carefully for bogus billings on collect calls. Chuck Seel, customer service manager of the Iowa Utilities Board, says complaints are coming in from across Iowa about charges appearing on phone bills for collect calls that were never received or accepted. He says 19 Iowa businesses have complained, saying they were charged for collect telemarketing calls but never accepted them. There are more complaints coming in from 11 other states. The calls were allegedly placed about four months ago from a New Mexico telemarketer that’s now out of business but Seel says the charges are appearing now, through a Florida firm called Zero-Zero Operator Services. The three-minute calls cost nearly 29-dollars. Seel says many businesses in Iowa may have simply paid these bills without looking closely, or they may have disputed them with their local phone company. Either way, he hopes other Iowa businesses report the incidents.Companies with bogus bills should call the Utilities Board at 877-565-4450. The Iowa Attorney General’s office is investigating the matter.
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