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International Satellite Communications / Unauthorized billing

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:

Last weekend I lost my cell phone at LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) and needed to use a payphone to make 4 phone calls. I swiped my credit card in one of the available payphones by my departing gate. While I knew that it would be more expensive than using change, how expensive it turned out to be was utterly ridiculous.

The first two calls I made were to my lost cell phone, a local call that went directly to voicemail. For each of these calls I was charged roughly $9. I made two subsequent calls, one to Orange County and one to San Francisco. Both lasted roughly 5-8 minutes and cost me $25 a piece.

When I saw that I had been charged $70 for four short phone calls, I called the number listed on my billing statement. The voice that picked up on the other end didn't state a company name, but instead just said a name (Brian Cervantes). I inquired about the phone calls and gave the voice my credit card number. After briefly putting me on hold, the voice returned and let me know that I would be refunded $20 as 'I didn't know about the rates'. Brian Cervantes then let me know that while the rates weren't listed, I could have called the operator and inquired about the rates before making the call. I inquired about the company's name, and Brian responded .

After the blatant suspiciousness of my exchange, I decided to look more into the company and found almost nothing online (aside from complaints). I called them back and demanded that they give me their mailing address (earlier they let me know they were based in LA). Brian let me know that because we had agreed on the $20 reimbursement he didn't have to give me the mailing address. I countered that I had never agreed to anything and that if they were going to bill me even $1 they were obligated to provide me with a mailing address. Again he declined, and I let him know I would call back within a couple days after looking into the situation more.

If anyone knows anything about this company please let me know. An address, a parent company, etc? While they ended up ripping me off for only $45, it's the principal.

Di
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Comments

  • Gr
      29th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes
    International Satellite Communications - Gouging
    United States

    They charged $75.00 CAN for a call that lasted a few minutes from Frankfurt airport to Calgary Canada. It's obscene, it's gouging and credit card companies are participating through facillitating these charges.

  • Kk
      18th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    You are not the only one ripped of by International Satellite Communications!
    They charged me $33 for a one minute call from London to New York. When I complained they kindly reduced it to just $16.50. The deal with them is they have a $15 connect fee and charge for a minimum call of 5 minutes at their low, low rate of $3.95 per minute! People must be told to watch out for them! The advertisements on the phone give no hints of these obscene charges.

    Anything we can do about this?

  • Se
      14th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Diana,

    I just had a similar experience with this company but even worse. I was charged $150 for six calls that went directly to voicemail! I looked online and found this website with I believe belongs to Internation Satellite Communications. I called the number on the site, which is different than the one on my statement and it was the same company. Their website address is http://internationalsatellitecom.com/ and their address according to the site is International Satellite Communications, 511 E. San Ysidro Blvd., Box #1770, San Ysidro, CA 92173. I can't believe that this company can get away with operating in this manner. Sean

  • Se
      14th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I also experienced a similar problem to the tune of $150! I would love to find out if there is anything that can be done against this type of activity. I am going to look to see if there is some type of Better Business Bureau that can be contacted.

  • Sk
      29th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same experiences as you all. Called in and they credited 40% of my $32 charge (for a 1-minute voicemail message!). But when asked for a supervisor phone number or business address, they refused to give that to me.

    i just filed a complaint with the FCC. http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm

    I looked up Better Business info also here's what they have for the company: http://www.bbb.org/san-diego/business-reviews/telephone-companies/bbg-communications-inc-in-san-ysidro-ca-1040993

  • Su
      12th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I ran into the same issue with this company, they charged me total of 6 times, but only 3 calls were connected at a price of $46 each time. They agree to refund me $100, but haven’t seen that yet. This is a complete fraud so I File a complaint with FCC at http://esupport.fcc.gov/complaints.htm. I encourage everyone to do the same.

  • Lo
      30th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I had the same experience with a payphone. However, I made one two minute call, ($9.98) and found a second charge two days later for another call ($11.27). I was forced to cancel my debit card, to prevent further fraudulent charges. No where on the phone were charges posted, other than a sticker that said "Call anywhere in the United States for 4 minutes for $1". It did not state 'coin calls only' as I was told on the phone.
    Also, there is no point in calling the corporate office number, it connected me to the same guy ( TOM) in 'customer service' that I reached by calling the number on my bank statement.
    I do have an address, and a fax number I intend to try using, and I will be placing my complaint to both the FCC and the BBB.
    I did not locate a parent company, and the 'customer service' person was very reluctant to share any information about the company with me.

  • Ai
      1st of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes
    International Satellite Communications - Exorbitant Cost
    International Satellite Communications
    Texas
    United States

    I recently make a credit card call from a Caribbean island back to the U.S. I learned later than these calls are handled by a third-rate company named International Satellite Communications, which charges exorbitant fees for their calls. A call that lasted less than one minute cost me almost $50. These guys are a bunch of crooks. I would strongly recommend saving yourself lots of money by using a pre-paid phone card instead.

  • Gl
      5th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I experienced, the same slammer of a phone charge 0f 128.40 for 3 calls, which only 2 went through, after series of prompts I then got disconnection (each under 1 minute)
    I was alerted by this charge by my credit card company calling me on returning from Jamaica. The hotel room phone had credit card rates at 1.79 per minute, hotel rate was higher.
    I called the 1-800 nbr given by my cc company immediately and was told by Damien Reese it was too early to dispute that I should wait a week.
    Called today and was told by Steve Soto, that each call started out at 35.00 for up to 3 minutes and charged an additional 3.99 per minute afterwards.
    When challenged I was offered 50.00 credit as this showed as the first time using their service (never again).
    When ask for where I could write to for further complain was told impossible! do not have mailing or web address and "this" was the customer service number I could complain to. Also advised if I choose to challenge and deny payment that I wouldn’t receive credit!!! ..”go figure”
    I've used my credit card for call before and have never had such nonsense happen. I will be forward my complaint to the FCC.
    gloria

  • Gm
      12th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I found out that it is a division of BBG Communications ( http://www.bbgusa.com/ ). From their website: "Learn more about how we can help your hotel increase revenues while also providing an enhanced level of customer satisfaction", so they share their "take" with the hotel or other suppler that you were using. I got charged about $250 for calls from the Caribbean before I found out what they cost... George in Texas

  • Jr
      14th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    This company is awful!! I just got charge over $100 for 3 calls less than 5 minute total.
    If they are owned by BBG Communicastoins - their CEO is Gregorio Galicot - Gregorio@bbgcomm.com - I sent an email to him directly and seem to go through. I would encourage you to do the same. When I called the number of the charge on my CC - Internatoinal Satellite Communications said they would give me a credit, but wouldn't send me an email to confirm. If they were giving me their world - why can't they send me an email. Also I am emailing the GM of the hotel we stayed in Aruba and letting him know if this RIP OFF is happening at their hotel and how it leaves a bad taste in customer's mouths. - Thanks Jae in VA

  • Jr
      17th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    UPDATE: I had BBG call me back and they were very helpful. Because of me they are lanching an investigation into International Satellite Communications which they subcontract with. BBG is refunding me my money. They were very helpful and sorry about what had happened. I appericate their efforts and hopefully they will not work with International Satellite Comm any more.

  • Ka
      6th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes

    Maybe BBG refunded JRCorey's overcharges, but the practices of Int'l Satellite remain the same. My husband was grossly overcharges a less than 5 minute call from Mexico to California. He had actually asked what the charges would be and was told $4.00 a minute. We were billed at a rate of $9.96 per minute!!! for 5 minutes when he talked for maybe 2 minutes. Calling Int'l Satellite yielded absolutely no help. Brian Cervantes stone-walled, argued and would not produce an address or phone number at which to write. It was only in researching the company that I found out about it's horrible reputation. By the way, the parent company, BBG, is rated "F" by the Better Business Bureau. How this company remains in business is beyond me. Where are our State and Federal regulators?

  • Pr
      26th of Oct, 2009
    0 Votes
    International Satellite Communications - Exhorbitant charges for phone calls
    International Satellite Communications
    511 E San Ysidro Blvd, San Ysidro 92173
    San Ysidro
    California
    United States
    Phone: 800 608 0575

    Two one minute call from San Salvador to San Francisco cost me $ 41.91 each!

    This was from a pay Phone acecepting credit cards on the airport. Talking to them didn't help because they said I had the option of not making the phone call!

    The rates were not advertized anywhere, nor the fact that it is a satellite phone.

  • By
      6th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Here is my horror story from using this service:

    I am a Canadian living in Vancouver, I recently took a trip to Amsterdam where I made 8 calls from my hotel room using this service. I DID inquire about the rates from the operator and was told they did not have that information ( should have been my first red flag) I could not have imagined what I would be charged ... out of the 8 calls, 4 were calls that I hung up because I reached voice mail, so I did not say a single word. The total for 4 calls which were about 12 minutes each, and 4 hangups was 612$ USD which is almost 700 Canadian!!! I was floored to say the least. I called the company which offered me a 110$ refund, and then proceeded to tell me I was a liar and did not inquire about the rates. My friends and I both did call the operator and the hotel for the rates and were told "we don't have that information" This "communications" company told me that the operators are monitored and if I asked they had to tell me and that I had no proof so basically too bad for me. I also asked for the company info and had to wait 30 min to speak to a supervisor to get the information. I will be looking into filing a complaint with the state of California's better business bureau (that is what it is called in Canada anyways)! If anyone has any info on where I can lodge an official complaint, it would be greatly appreciated. It is difficult to deal with this issue when I made the calls in Holland, live in Vancouver and the company is based out of L.A.! I have decided to make it my lifes work to take this company down, so any help would be appreciated!!!

  • Sp
      12th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Did anyone get any resolution on this? The better business bureau have BBG Communications rated as 'F' with a large number of complaints. They are one in the same company as International Satellite Communications, in fact they use the same database at both companies customer service.

    Seems disheartening that the FCC and BBB must have had hundreds of complaints yet this practice seems able to continue as complaints go back a number of months.

    From what I can tell.

    BBG clearly breach advertising standards, there is no indication of the actual charges.
    There is little to no chance of a consumer calling the international operator to check the rate
    The customer service department is in fact a team that handles these complaints, they have no authority besides offering the discount which is part of the scam.
    Discount - clearly this is meant to appease you but the company will still take a hefty profit from a call which cost them very little.

    I can applaud them for a good scam, as mentioned though I'm somewhat disappointed that the various authorities whether that's government bodies, banks or credit card companies are unable or unwilling to protect their consumers.

    SpaceBeagle

  • Sh
      9th of Dec, 2009
    0 Votes

    The same just happened to me, got charged 40$ from a payphone in Heathrow airport to a cellphone in Texas.
    I called my credit card company to dispute this.

    Anybody has any recommendations on the best way forward to getting my money back?

  • Ha
      8th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    These horrible practices continue. On January 26, 2010, I was stuck in Italy because of a malfunctioning plane. Attempted to call my wife to advise her of the situation, two calls were unsuccessful and after the third try, we chatted for approximately 3 minutes. Today, February 8, 2010, I reviewed my bank statement and learned that I was charged 54.28 and 54.25 for two calls that went to voice mail and 43.17 for the third call. When I called the 1800 number, I spoke with a with Erna Smith who indicated that she could provide me with a 70 dollar credit or institute an investigation which normally take 30 to 60 days for completion. Upon request, she provided the fee schedule for phone usage. A connection fee of 15 dollars per call and a $3.00 - 7.99 per minute fee, per call, with a five (5) minute minimum.
    She further provided a business address of :

    International Satellite Communications
    511 East San Ysidro blvd. Street. 1770
    San Ysidro California 92172


    I called my credit card company to dispute the charges but after reading you guys simular complaints, I really don't think I have a favorable recourse .

  • Sm
      8th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    I had the same problem with this company who also work with another called ZPDI. My charges were $267 for an hour long call. I contacted my senator, the local news station, the FCC and FTC and would implore all of you to do the same. Being a US-based company, I asked them to help fight these companies that were taking advantage of telecommunications deregulation to rip off unsuspecting consumers.

  • Ky
      24th of Mar, 2010
    0 Votes

    I experienced the same when placing a call through the hotel phone using Discover card. There was no message informing us of the rates. I was charged $32 for 2 minute phone call. I sent an e-mail the the company CEO - Gregorio Galicot - Gregorio@bbgcomm.com, filed a complaint at FCC site and BBB and hopefully if enough people do the same, FCC will start investigate their practice and regulate their fees like credit card so there will be no more people fall for their scam like this.

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