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Fighting Back-Billing

  • No Jitter (www.nojitter.com)
  • 1/30/2008
  • Justin Castillo

Suppose your next invoice from your telecom carrier contains a surprise: back billing for over two years' worth of previously-unbilled charges. You dispute the back-billed charges, but the carrier insists that its back-billing is lawful.

What are your rights? How much of the back-billed charges (if any) must you pay?The Nature and Threat of Back-BillingBack billing refers to a delay between the time when a carrier should have billed for service (usually the next billing cycle) and when it actually does bill for the service. Although often associated with usage-based services (e.g., voice minutes), back billing can show up anywhere. In one "real-world" example we've dealt with, an RBOC installed and provided SS7 services in one case and interstate private line in another, but failed to bill the services for several months. In another instance, an IXC and its customer were negotiating renewal of an expired frame relay contract, and during the negotiation period, the carrier continued to provide service at contract rates. Shortly after negotiations failed, however, the IXC re-rated the services and back billed the customer for the difference between base rates and contract rates back to the date of contract expiration.

What Are the Rules?

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