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Unauthorized charges / fraud by Callwave

:: Saturday, November 10th, 2007 @ 12:41:41 am

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Does anyone out there know of a company called Callwave? They’re some sort of service that takes over your mobile phone voicemail to provide additional services.

I am not a customer of Callwave, nor have I ever been. But for the last year and a half, I’ve been billed 3 times a month by Callwave; each month, I am billed twice for $3.95 and once for $7.95. I’ve called them a few times and have sent letters, but they continue to charge my credit card. What’s worse (and incredible) is that they have no record of my credit card number on file. They can’t even find my charges in the system! And in the meantime, I continue to call up AMEX and dispute all the charges (every three months or so).

So if you’re thinking of using Callwave, please don’t. How can you trust a company that doesn’t have records of 57 separate billing events to a credit card number they can’t find in their system? I’m sure there are other people being charged illegally as well. I see a class-action lawsuit coming…

Their phone number is 888-777-2807, but they gave a second number, which they say is their “fraud line”: 866-392-0003

I’m going to try reporting the charges as fraud to AMEX. But I’ll have to time it for when I have the time and energy to change my credit card number.


UPDATE 11/29/07 – Shortly after I filed complaints with the BBB and the FCC, I received a bunch of emails and phone calls from Callwave, who suddenly really wanted to help me resolve the problem. I have to say that they were really helpful after being prodded.

We tracked down the charges to an old AMEX number, whose charges were being forwarded on to my current card. I never understood why credit card companies do this by default. I closed my old card because it disappeared — doesn’t that mean they shouldn’t accept charges to it anymore!? In any case, the old card number brought up three different accounts registered to my name with fake email addresses.

One of the accounts was registered to a fssolutions1975@yahoo.com in February of 2006 (phone: 646-217-4890, fax: 646-808-3427). Fannya wouldn’t give me the other two accounts, which is too bad. I would have loved to post them here, in case others have had issues with the email addresses or phone numbers the accounts belong to.

The message here? File complaints with the BBB, FCC, and CPUC (if applicable). The company involved will then get in touch with you and be very excited about wanting to resolve things.

Finally, this post shows up as #2 in Google for “Callwave fraud“. I hope it helps someone.

| Oakland | link | trackback | Nov 10, 2007 00:41:41
  • joshklein1

    Looks like others are getting ripped off as well:

    http://www.ripoffreport.com/se.....rch=Search

    Make sure to dispute charges within your credit card’s deadlines. Also, you should make complaints with the FCC (www.fcc.gov), the FTC (www.ftc.gov), and the California Attorney General’s office.

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    Thanks, Josh. That is helpful. I just filed complaints with Ripoff Report, FTC, FCC, and the California Public Utilities Commission. Will file with BBB as well.

    Yeah, AMEX has a 3-month deadline. I lost like 9 months of disputes because of that. :(

  • r benway

    I have had the same thing. Called the company and they gave the same excuses. They can’t find anything in their records for my credit card number or my name. Have to keep calling Amex to get the charges reversed. Next time I am in Santa Barbara I am going to stop by and demand to see someone in a position of authority. They are very friendly on the phone, just useless. By the way, the local number is 805-690-4100.

  • http://echeng.com echeng

    I highly recommend filing complaints. Callwave has actually gotten in touch with me since I posted this entry and wants to have a 3-way call with AMEX. They are saying that the charges are “fraud”, a classification I agree with. They are claiming that it’s third-party fraud, but in my opinion, the fraudulent party is Callwave themselves. And if isn’t fraud, it’s definitely incredible negligence.

  • Jim

    I had charges on my AMEX also from this company. Only problem is I have never used that card? So what is going on. Don’t know but I changed my card and had the charges reversed. Good luck and hope call wave goes out of business for messing with our lives at some point. But if they can charge and not do anything hard to put them out of business. My Thoughts, Jim

  • erika

    I had three charges on my bank account for $7.95 to Callwave. I never signed up for the service and never heard of it before today. I have Wells Fargo’s fraud team all over it.

    The crazy thing is when I called the number listed on my bank statement, the automated system wouldn’t allow me to speak to a customer service rep. The prompt said something like, “the phone number you are calling from is not a valid Callwave number. please call back using the number attached to your Callwave service.” wtf? This is the only number I have and the phone system wouldn’t even let me through to speak to someone about the charges. At that moment, I got the feeling I would get the runaround from them anyway so I went straight to the fraud department at Wells Fargo. The crazier thing is I have made a habit to NOT use my debit card for online transactions for this very reason. A friend of mine religiously used her bank card for online transactions and had her entire bank account drained after someone stole her card number after a Fandango transaction. So I’m not sure how they even got my card number.

    My next steps will be to file reports with the FCC, BBB and FTC … and anywhere else I can. Thanks for posting this for others to find. It helped me a lot.

  • erika

    update – Whether it was Callwave or a random individual, I learned today that my charges with Callwave are a result of simple identity theft. I learned that the phone number attached to the Callwave account I was being charged for was a cell phone that I had from 2000–2004. This phone number has been out of commission for four years!

  • Michael

    Yes, be careful in dealing with CallWave! My situation is different. I paid CallWave by check, through my bank’s online bill payment center. Although my payments (of $9.95/mo. for fax-by-email) were always prompt, CallWave would often delay cashing them until well after the due date, although my bank certified they had been received on time. I sometimes then received an e-mail notice saying I was 2 month overdue because CallWave couldn’t access my bank account to debit it. Of course not! I paid by check! And always before the due date. A company rep explained by phone that that particular e-mail is computer-generated and goes to all customers who are overdue, regardless of how they pay. Huh?? 1) I was never overdue! And 2) That’s sloppy procedure: I pay by ckeck. “Have we ever suspended your service for being overdue?” was the only reply. I had thought all this was just poor billing and accounting practices, but after reading ECHENG, I suspect it may be a sort of ponzi scheme to generate extra revenue from naive customers.

    I recently cancelled my CallWave service in October. I was told that I would receive one more, final billing for $9.95. Call Wave sent an e-mail that same day confirming cancellation. The promised bill also came soon after that (and outside the normal billing cycle). I paid it promptly, thinking it was the last. Not so. I am now looking at another bill for $9.95 – for December, a month in which I had no service at all. I have written to CallWave for clarification and plan to alert the consumer protection units of the attorneys general of my state and California. (CallWave is based in Santa Barbara, CA).

    Their services may seem cool, but beware of dealing with this company.

  • Michael

    Good news for me, and maybe for you. I called CallWave’s corp HQ no., 805-690-4100 and left a VM about the problem. (See Michael’s previous post.) A company official called back within 20 minutes. He explained that, although I had cancelled in Oct and been final-billed in Nov, and had paid that bill, I got another bill for Dec because my Nov payment was posted to my acount on Nov 25, but my monthly invoice is generated on Nov 24. The billing computer didn’t see that credit. Promised result: 1) no more billings; 2) CallWave is sending me a check for $9.95 because there was actually a credit to my account.

    I gave FaxWave the benefit of the doubt and suggested they review their accounting and billing practices. In the past, there were several times when my payments weren’t posted to my account until a month or more after CallWave received them. That generated false “overdue” e-mails and wasted CW’s resources. Besides, it costs CW revenue and bank interest. I hope they’ll review their practices. As for me, I’ve voted with my feet. Good luck to the rest of you.

  • JoAnn

    Because of all of your discussions I FINALLY got CallWave to stop billing my credit card for a service I cancelled a year ago. Just out of desperation I decided to see if anyone else was having problems with this company and boy was I surprised to see all of the stories! I called the number for their HQ tonight. Just five minutes ago I received a call from CallWave HQ and they “just can’t seem to understand how they have record of my cancellation from 2008, but it didn’t get cancelled.” This battle is finally over. Thanks everyone!

  • Sharon

    I had Callwave and was billed thru my phone service. I changed phone service and Callwave stopped my service Jan. 25. In my mail they said I owed 15.50. I e-mailed them and before reply I found out you had to call a number to cancell. So I called and cancelled. They said my billing date was the 12 of Jan. so I owe for 12/12 –thru 1/12 because I didn’t cancell until Jan. 25 when I called. Then they said if I want To completely cancel. I said in your e-mail It said I was cancelled as of 2/12. But my problem is I have asked and asked for an address to send payment or if they are going to send me a bill and still have no address or answer. Does anyone know the address?

  • Janet Olson

    this has become such a common practice these days i became so angry last weekend when this thing happened to me i contacted this company and they recover my stolen identity info http://bit.ly/9AmT7f

  • Kevin_sc

    I continue to get charged for this service after requesting to have my account closed. The worst part of it is I ported this number away from them a long time ago. It’s my fault for not catching, but their fault for not cancelling my account and continuing to charge my card recklessly. The said I would need to contact help@mail.efax and by email only. They would not speak on the phone regarding the matter. They are a deceitful and fraudulent company in my experience. I just filed a complaint with the FCC and BBB.

  • skinsg

    Had similar experience with Fuze Meeting (part of Callwave)- now 6 months into it. I called the Fuze Meeting help numbers, and Callwave- both were dead-ends with no chance to talk to a person. I emailed complaints and received generic instructions on how to cancel on line- didn’t work either. My credit card company said they’d stop allowing charges to go through from that company but somehow they kept coming through (credit card company error, or is this company submitted the bill with a changing account?). Anyway, thanks to the post above, I called 805-690-4100 and left a message saying I would call the FCC and BBB– they guy called back in 5 minutes! (same guy whose voice is on all phone recordings). He explained that Callwave isn’t Fuze (but they bill under the same name) and therefore I was contacting the wrong company all this time. Whatever. I know I called/emailed “Fuze” more than once. Anyway, he canceled my account. I think. Stay away from these companies!!!

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