Telus dispute causes more pain

Web Posted July 20, 2004

A South Okanagan woman is fighting for her life in a Penticton hospital and her common-law husband believes Telus is partly to blame. Kim White was caught up in a modem hi-jacking scam on her home computer. She was charged eleven hundred dollars for long distance calls she didn't make when overseas scam artists tapped into her dial-up modem. Telus insisted she was responsible for the bill. White did pay down about half of it. But last Friday, Telus cut off her phone service. That night she had a stroke. With no way to call an ambulance her husband drove her to hospital. White is partially paralysed and can't speak. Dale Highberg thinks if help had arrived sooner his common-law wife would be in better shape. Telus admits that under CRTC rules they are not supposed to cut-off customers who are making payments toward an outstanding debt. They are now doing an internal review of what happened.

As for the modem hi-jacking scam, Telus is taking steps to protect it's customers. The scam seems to originate in 4 specific countries. If customers agree to install a special software to prevent the hi-jacking, Telus will forgive the outrageous charges some customers have been hit with on a one time basis only. But while it was forgiving some bills for some customers it appears no one at Telus informed Kim White. Highberg says he plans to seek legal advice about how Telus handled White's bill, and the decision to cut off the phone.