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Cingular in $31,000 billing fiasco

Cingular – soon to be AT&T Wireless once more – has celebrated the re-creation of Ma Bell by billing an 81-year old man $31,000 for calls he could not physically have made.

Oliver DeSofi had been expecting a bill for some $150 when he received one for $21,042 instead. Having called the operator, he was told that more calls had been made and that the outstanding balance now stood at $31,000.

The itemised bill showed some 4,500 roaming calls from Nicaragua to the US, which rang alarm bells, seeing as DeSofi has never been to Nicaragua. Further embarrassment was caused when it was discovered that many of the telephone numbers called no longer existed, or had never existed in the first place – such as 000-000-0000.

It is said that billing is the field you go into if you find operational support systems too exciting, but this story just goes to show there is a reason why billing should be boring.

DeSofi’s inexplicable bill has since been waived, but he has still decided to port his number to another network.

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