This is the (shorter) english version of my blog article about a telephone call scam. I (tried to) translate it, because I hope that as many people as possible find this blog when searching the web for such cases to share their story. For this reason feel free to leave a comment, if you have similar experiences with that company!
So, during our trip to Mexico during this October, we had a short 3-day-stay in Belize (on the island of Caye Caulker). There have been phone boxes all over the place, not just 2 or 3, but loads of them. These phone boxes didn’t have coin slots, you had to call a number and you were connected by an automatic operator, that registered one’s credit card number first. At the first attempt to call to Germany, we could only reach an answering machine and hung up after a second. At the second attempt, we made a call to Germany of about 5 minutes.
Back to Germany we had a look at the credit card bill: The first call was charged 34.50 US-$, the second one 38.49 US-$! That makes 72.99 US-$ for less than 6 minutes. These costs were not posted anywhere on the public phone an they were not available on the automated phone tree after dialing as well. We just thought, that it MUST be cheaper to use one of these public phone than calling home with our German mobile phone.
So I looked up the website of the billing company, called Infonaa. But contrary to expectations, there was also no rate information provided on their website. Actually the site provides nothing but a contact hotline number (which was out of service) and a contact email address. Searching the web for more information, I discovered that we were not (surprise!) the first ones making „bad experiences“ with that company. Similar stories could be found in different blogs/discussion boards/news pages, not only from Belize but from all over the world (Ireland, Mexico, Jamaica, Germany, Greece, Costa Rica, Dominican Rep. etc). The company seems to have a business not only with public phone boxes but also with telephone services at hotels all over the world.
The company also appears with different names: BBG Communications, G TEL Comunicacion, InfoNW, Call International, Call To International, International Calling Services, International Communications, International Satelite Communication, National Telephone Collection Services (NTCS), Network Opr Services, US Satellite Communications. It’s all the same company from California.
So we contacted the company via email and demanded a detailed bill vor the charged calls. So we came to know that the rate for the first five minutes of a call is 34.50 US-$, independent from the actual duration of the call. That amount includes 14.55 US-$ that are always billed, even if no connection could be established! After the fifth minute, 3.99 US-$ are charged for every other minute. This is just scam and the company knows it providing not a single information about these inflated rates!