Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Investigating 'Secret Charges' by Phone Companies

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

State Investigating 'Secret Charges' by Phone Companies

Article excerpt

The Florida Attorney General's Office is investigating whether phone companies have billed customers for an Internet shopping service the customers never ordered.

Attorney General Charlie Crist said Tuesday customers of BellSouth, AT&T, SBC Communications, Sprint and Verizon have reported unauthorized "secret charges" on their monthly bills for a service called Email Discount Network.

Subscribers pay a $12.95 startup fee and then a monthly $14.95 charge as part of their phone bill. The billing arrangement is legal, but only if the customer ordered the service.

The Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau has fielded a half dozen complaints about the online shopping business. The companies said customers sign up online and agree to the charges, according to bureau vice president Al Polizzi.

Consumers who think they have similarly inaccurate charges on their phone bills can call the attorney general's fraud hotline at (866) 966-7226.

David Bauerlein

MURDER ARREST WARRANT

Jacksonville homicide detectives are asking for help in finding a man wanted in a Thursday homicide.

A murder arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for Benjamin Lee Washington in the death of a 19-year-old Atlantic Beach man.

Chad David Henderson of 101 Courageous Court N. was found dead on the floor of an apartment at Mayport Trace Apartments about 7 p.m., according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Police were called to a report of shots being fired at the complex at 2160 Mayport Road. When they arrived, witnesses said there had been a large group of people inside one of the apartments and shots rang out. When the crowd cleared, police said, Henderson was found dead, according to a police report.

David C.L. Bauer

FELONY SEXUAL BATTERY CHARGE

An Atlantic Beach man accused of molesting two elementary school students during a sleepover at his house was being held in the Duval County jail Tuesday in lieu of $250,000 bail.

Benjamin Emanuel Williams, 48, faces a felony sexual battery charge following his arrest May 10, according to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report.

The two girls said the man gave them pina coladas to drink before the alleged abuse during the sleepover. …

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