Archive for 'ConsumerAffairs'

Review Your Bills

 

We encourage consumers to review their bills each month, from credit cards to utilities and phone bills. So, we are re-running a blog post from last year, where we provided some best practices we’ve picked up along the way.  Here it is:

 

In this economy, every penny counts—and that makes it especially frustrating to discover a charge you didn’t authorize on your phone bill. The good news is you can reduce the risk of becoming a cramming victim. Here’s a guide to help you prevent those unauthorized telephone charges.

Cramming hurts consumers.

Cramming occurs when your telephone bill is charged with services that weren’t ordered by you or anyone else in your household. Unauthorized charges range in monetary amounts, but can be as little as a few dollars. If they go undetected, they add up over time, putting a ding in your wallet. The charges can be for a variety of services, such as web hosting, club fees, or phone calls.

Protect yourself from cramming.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends these steps for reducing your risk of cramming:

  • Review each line of your phone bill every month.
  • Read the fine print before providing your phone number and other information to enter contests and other promotions. Fraudsters may use your entry form as an authorization to enroll you into a service so they can bill the charges to your phone account.
  • Be wary of signing up for a “free” club or service or of claiming a “free” prize; you may be inadvertently signing up for a fee service that’s charged to your telephone bill.
  • Contact your phone company to ask about the blocking options they offer. A block will prevent a certain type of service on your phone line. For example, a third-party service block stops any third-party payment processors from billing your account.

ILD protects consumers from cramming.

ILD Teleservices is a third party payment processor. Merchants use our Bill to Phone service to allow consumers to charge purchases directly to their phone bill. As a result, consumers do not need to share sensitive financial information, like credit card numbers or bank account numbers, reducing your risk of identity and credit card fraud.

We are committed to protecting consumers from unauthorized charges. For example, ILD only works with merchants after the vendor successfully passes a screening process that includes extensive background checks and a business plan review. After we take on a merchant, we continue to monitor their activities and customer satisfaction levels.  If ILD receives excessive complaints about a merchant, we take immediate action to rectify the problem or, if necessary, terminate our business relationship with the company.

Call us if you have questions.

ILD’s U.S. based customer service team is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (CST) and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. One of our associates will answer your questions or help find a resolution.

Reduce Chargebacks from Friendly Fraud

Friendly fraud. Despite its name, there’s nothing friendly about a reversed transaction that costs a digital merchant time and money.  Friendly fraud is when a consumer makes an ecommerce purchase, receives the goods or services then initiates a chargeback. But there are tactics that help ecommerce merchants reduce the rate of friendly fraud.

Learning how to reduce chargebacks from friendly fraud starts with asking yourself these 3 questions:

Will the customer recognize my company on their billing statements? When a consumer reviews a billing statement, whether it’s for a credit card or a phone bill, they may be suspicious of an unfamiliar or ambiguous name, even if they’ve already received the product or service. Always ensure the name that appears on the bill will be identifiable to the customer. If you partner with a third party payment processor, post an easy-to-see note on your website that notifies customers that the processor’s name (for example, “ILD Teleservices”) will appear on the billing statement.

  1. Can the customer find my ecommerce store’s contact info easily? Customers who are already frustrated may not have the patience to hunt for the small-print 800 number buried at the bottom of the web page. Make contact info prominent so the customer will be more likely to contact you first, instead of the bank or card issuer. Remember to list your customer service hours as well.
  2. Is my digital store’s return policy ecommerce friendly? A liberal return policy not only attracts prospects who may be wary of shopping online, it also makes customers more likely to return a product or cancel a service instead of initiating a chargeback.

Disputes are going to happen. But by implementing simple ecommerce best practices, such as identifying your third party payment processor or making returns easy, you will start reducing chargebacks from friendly fraud—and start controlling your costs.

Do you have tips for how to reduce chargebacks from friendly fraud?

Online theft

Shopping online is easy and convenient, but is it safe? Not always. Unfortunately, fraudsters have a laundry list of ways to steal sensitive information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, from online shoppers.

How big is the identity theft problem?

Consider these stats from a 2010 FTC report that examined the fraud complaint database used by law enforcement officials:

  • 1.3 million consumers filed fraud and identity theft complaints.
  • 40% of consumer fraud complaints were credit card related.
  • In 48% of complaints, the consumer’s initial contact with the alleged fraudster was through the Internet or email.

You can shop safely online.

Some ecommerce merchants offer consumers an alternative payment method. These credit card free options, which are offered in the checkout section of the store’s shopping cart, allow you to buy the digital goods and services you want without exposing yourself to identity fraud.

For example, Bill to Phone is a payment method that charges purchases to your phone bill. During checkout, you simply enter your phone number. There’s no need to transmit a credit card or bank account number over the web. When your phone bill arrives, you simply pay for the online purchase along with the rest of your phone charges. It’s easy, convenient, and safe—everything you love about shopping online.

You deserve a safe online shopping experience.

If your favorite digital merchants don’t give you credit card free payment options, like Bill to Phone, let them know that you want to shop safely, without being forced to share information that could increase your risk of identity theft.  

Safe & happy shopping!

Check Your Phone Bill

What is cramming? How do I stop it? If you’re a consumer with questions, we have answers. Here’s our FAQ guide to cramming:

What is cramming?

Cramming is when unauthorized charges are applied to your telephone bill. Since the amounts are often small—typically a few dollars—they can be easy to overlook.

How do I recognize cramming charges?

First, it’s important to examine your phone bill every month. By becoming aware of “normal” charges, it will become easier to identify fraudulent or unauthorized transactions. The charges often have generic—but legitimate-sounding—names, such as activation fee, membership fee, or use fee. You might also discover charges for web hosting or long distance phone service you did not order.

How do I stop cramming?

  • Contact the company who applied the charges in question. If the fee’s description is unclear, request a more detailed description. Ask the company to explain the charges, and, if necessary, adjust them.
  • Alert your local phone company and tell them the situation. Ask the representative to explain the procedure for removing the charges from your bill.
  • If you’re unable to resolve the issue, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends filing a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) if the charges are related to phone services or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if the charges are related to non-phone services.

ILD Teleservices provides consumers with a safe and reliable way to shop online with Bill to Phone. Our service allows you to charge goods and services directly to your phone bill. Our company’s U.S.-based customer care team is an industry leader, offering dispute resolution and self-help tools. ILD is a BBB Accredited business and has earned an A rating from the organization.

If you have questions about an ILD transaction, please contact our help center.

No Credit Card Required

Customers prefer alternative payment methods when purchasing mobile content, according to analysis firm Strategy Analytics. The survey of more than 2,500 U.S. and Western European users showed that operator billing beat out other ecommerce payment methods, including PayPal, pre-registered accounts, and credit and debit cards.

Consumers were least interested in paying by credit card.

What’s more, it didn’t matter to participants whether the credit/debit card information was saved or if they were asked to enter the card info every time—the payment method still fell to the bottom of the preferred list.

Give your customers the billing methods they prefer.

In a customer-centered world, options that make life easier for the customer will increase brand loyalty and reduce churn. Here’s why alternative payment methods, such as LEC Billing (or Bill to Phone), which allows consumers to charge purchases to their phone bill, are so attractive to ecommerce shoppers:

  • Allows customers to consolidate billing; instead of several bills, the customer simply pays for the product/service on their regular monthly phone bill.
  • Saves the customer money because they’re not paying additional interest fees to credit card companies.
  • Unlike debit cards or some PayPal options, LEC billing lets consumers hold onto their money a little bit longer.
  • Makes online shopping convenient because there are no long credit card numbers to enter or microscopic security codes to decipher.
  • Reduces the consumer’s risk of identity theft because they’re not required to share sensitive financial info over the web.

ILD Teleservices will help you give customers what they want.

As one of the nation’s leading alternative payment processors, we have the merchant tools and billing experience you need to increase brand loyalty and reduce churn. Contact our team today to learn more about implementing the alternative payment processing services that will help your brand grow.

The products are chosen. The inventory is ready. The staff is hopped up on caffeine. Let the 2010 holiday shopping season begin! The National Retail Federation expects a 2.3% increase in consumer holiday spending this year. No matter what your usual preparations for the fourth quarter might be, it’s possible your online store is missing the hottest thing in ecommerce this year: alternative payment solutions.

www.marketingpilgrim.com

www.marketingpilgrim.com

Here’s why you should add alternative payment options, like bill to phone, to your ecommerce site:

  1. Ecommerce merchants are beginning to recognize there’s a huge market in the underbanked, those consumers with poor access to banking facilities. Estimates vary, but some sources believe as many as 40 million Americans have little or no interaction with conventional financial institutions. That means a portion of your target market may not own credit cards or have access to a bank account.
  2. Consumers are more risk averse. Identity thieves stole about $54 billion dollars in 2009, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. The fear of identity theft and credit card abuse may make some consumers hesitant to submit credit card information over the Internet.
  3. Consumers are more money conscious. Just because consumers have credit cards doesn’t mean they’ll use them. Why? As interest rates rise, more consumers may cut back on card use to avoid paying bloated rates. In addition, the economy has forced others to come to terms with their debt load, and, as a result, they may work to actively reduce the amount they borrow from banks and credit card companies.

Get on the “Hot” list this year by offering consumers an alternative to credit cards and bank account based payments like Pay Pal. A bill to phone payment option allows consumers to charge your online content and services to their phone bill. When they pay the phone company—using whatever payment method they normally use—they also pay for your products.

The tinsel, gift wrap, and cheesy TV holiday specials will be here before you know it—and, hopefully, so will the consumers. Learn more about adding bill to phone options to your ecommerce store by contacting the alternative payment experts at ILD Teleservices.

Does your payment solution pass the no-hassle test?

The kids are back to school and no doubt some of them are moaning and groaning about quizzes and tests. As an ecommerce professional, though, tests are a chance to make sure that you’re giving your customer the best experience possible—the kind of experience that makes it easy to complete their transaction with you. Providing hassle-free ecommerce payment solutions is an important part of converting shopping carts into sales receipts. Do your payment methods pass the no-hassle test?

Credit Cards

For years, credit cards have been the go-to method for ecommerce merchants. And they are convenient—if the customer owns one, that is. Nearly 25% of Americans don’t have a credit card. What’s more, only about 41% of college students—a market ripe for online media and video games—own a credit card, writes CreditCards.com. For these consumers, requiring a credit card for purchase is anything but hassle free.

PayPal

The popular online payment service has gained popularity because it allows anyone with an email address to pay for goods and services with a credit card, electronic bank transfer, or personal check. Sounds easy, right? Not so fast. The payment processor requires consumers to set up an online PayPal account that retains credit card or bank account details—info that risk-adverse consumers aren’t likely to share. In addition, the account verification process can take up to several days. If you limit ecommerce payment solutions to PayPal, customers might find it’s more hassle than your product is worth.

Bill to phone

This third party payment solution allows consumers to receive a bill for your services in their monthly phone bill. For non-credit card owning consumers, it eliminates the hassle of finding a friend or family member who does own a credit card (assuming, of course, the consumer would take the time to do even that.) There are also no ponderous, time-consuming accounts to set up. All your customer provides is very basic information, including their telephone number. It’s a simple transaction that requires no real effort on the consumer’s part—and that means a higher conversion rate for you.

Does your ecommerce payment method pass the hassle-free test? If not, contact ILD, a leading bill to phone alternative payment processor with the tools and know-how to deliver easy online payment solutions.

savvy_shopperSavvy Shopper Alert! Sweeten the Deal with Payment Alternatives

Savvy shoppers know there’s a lot more to getting a good deal than a low price. Will the product work? Will the service make your life easier—or harder? Now consumers have another option to consider when it comes time to score a deal. Many ecommerce merchants are adding a quick and easy payment method to their online stores: bill to phone. This checkout option allows customers to charge digital goods and services to their monthly phone bill. Here are three advantages this choice offers to shoppers:

Stop paying credit card companies.

When you pay with bill to phone, you simply submit payment when you pay the phone bill. That means you’re no longer roped into paying increasingly rising credit card interest rates. There are no fees to choose this payment method either—it’s completely free for consumers. You work hard for your money, so hang on to more of it by paying bills interest free with this alternative checkout option.

Stop stressing about identity theft.

Credit card fraud and identity theft are very real concerns. However you shouldn’t let them stop you from enjoying digital products and services. When you choose the bill to phone payment method, you’ll enter your home phone number along with the last four digits of your Social Security number. (The last digits of your Social are used only to verify your identity.) There are no credit card numbers to transmit over the web, which helps protect your financial and personal information.

Stop handling so much paper.

We’re all busy. Whether you hold down a full-time job while finishing a degree or take care of your young children and aging parents at the same time, there’s so much to do—and entirely too little time. Do you really need one more bill cluttering your desk? By choosing the bill to phone payment alternative, you choose the freedom that comes with having one less due date to remember and one less check to write. The bill for your online purchases comes conveniently rolled into the phone bill you already pay each month.

To learn more about how bill to phone works, check out our visual guide. If you have questions about alternative payment solutions, contact the ILD customer care team.

Bill to Phone & ILD Teleservices – A Consumer Affairs Guide

ILD Teleservices“ILD Teleservices.” You see it on your phone bill and wonder: Who are they? Why are they billing me? Is this right? Well, look no further. This guide will give you the 411 on why you might be seeing our name on your phone bill and how we work with vendors to provide a safe and reliable alternative to using a credit card for purchases.

Why “ILD Teleservices” appears on your phone bill

ILD is a third-party payment processor, acting as a link between merchants and consumers. When a consumer purchases a product or service and chooses the Bill to Phone payment method the merchant submits the information to ILD who, in turn, submits the charge to the consumer’s phone company. The consumer simply submits payment for the purchase with their monthly phone bill payment.

If a charge appears on your bill, it’s because someone in your household may have authorized a merchant to charge your phone bill for products or services, such as ring tones, video games, or Internet services. If you have questions or need help with a charge, please contact our help center.

Why Bill to Phone is a payment option consumers trust

  • It’s hassle free. With Bill to Phone there are no long credit card numbers to type in or super-small security codes to read. At checkout, customers simply enter information that’s unique to them, such as their phone number and the last four digits only of their Social Security number.
  • It’s peace of mind. Because you’re not entering sensitive information like a credit card number, you lower the risk of online fraud and identity theft. Bill to Phone is simply a safer way to pay for the online goods and services you want.

Why ILD Teleservices is a payment processor consumers trust

Consumer protection is a priority at ILD. Before we agree to partner with a merchant, we do a stringent background check on the company as well as its key personnel, such as officers and owners. Our team also works with third-party investigators to examine potential partners.

We also offer a help center to resolve customer issues, whether it’s canceling a subscription or disputing a charge for a service you never received. What’s more, the resolution center keeps customers in the loop by allowing them to check on the status of credits.

ILD Teleservices is a respected alternative payment processor. For more than 13 years, we have been a leader in finding payment solutions that work for both merchants and consumers. In addition, we offer businesses a range of services, including audio and web conferencing and social media strategy.

More questions?

For more information about ILD or ILD charges listed on your phone bill, check out these links:

ILD Consumer FAQ

ILD Help Center

ILD Contact Information

Credit Card Fraud

Credit Card Fraud

The competition between online merchants is quite high.  There are billions of online companies seeking to sell a wide variety of products and services.  With so many companies and services available, the consumer is left to answer the question of who has the best offer.  A lot of times the answer comes down to one or two factors. 

Method of payment can be a deciding factor when a consumer is making a purchase online.  Most merchants offer a variety of payment methods to the customer.  The most common of these methods offered are credit card and checking account.  Both of these methods have been used for years and are becoming increasingly dangerous.  The credit card and checking account methods of payment are both linked to the consumer’s personal credit information.  This information is highly susceptible to theft.  Customers today are wary of this fact. With each purchase made online using a credit card or checking account, the chances for identity theft increase. 

Here are some staggering stats on credit card fraud from creditcards.com:

  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims rose 12 percent to 11.1 million adults last year, the highest level since the survey began in 2003. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The average fraud resolution time dropped 30 percent to 21 hours. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • Nearly half of fraud victims now file police reports, resulting in double the reported arrests, triple the prosecutions and double the percentage of convictions in 2009. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, “Identity Fraud Survey Report,” February 2010)
  • The number of U.S. identity fraud victims increased 22 percent in 2008 to 9.9 million adults. However, the total annual fraud amount jumped just 7 percent to $48 billion. The report said this is because “consumers and businesses are detecting and resolving fraud more quickly.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Women were 26 percent more likely to be victims of identity fraud than men in 2008. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • 71 percent of fraud incidents “began occurring in less than one week from when the data was first stolen, up from 33 percent in 2005.” (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • “Lost or stolen wallets, checkbooks and credit and debit cards” made up 43 percent of all ID theft incidents in which the “method of access” was known. (Source: Javelin Strategy & Research, February 2009 study.)
  • Credit and debit card fraud is the No. 1 fear of Americans in the midst of the global financial crisis. Concern about fraud supersedes that of terrorism, computer and health viruses and personal safety. (Source: Unisys Security Index: United States, March 2009)
  • Arizona leads the nation in identity theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the state had 149 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. California (139.1), Florida (133.3), Texas (130.3) and Nevada (126.0) rounded out the top five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • South Dakota has the fewest identity theft complaints per 100,000 people in the nation. In 2008, the state had 33.8 complaints about ID theft per 100,000 people. North Dakota (35.7), Iowa (44.9), Montana (46.5) and Wyoming (46.9) rounded out the bottom five. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey)
  • Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas, is the metropolitan area with the largest number of ID theft complaints per 100,000 people. In 2008, the area had 366.8 complaints per 100,000 people. Napa, Calif., was second with 351.3. (Source: Federal Trade Commission, February 2009 survey).

 

Some merchants have taken this information into consideration and are accepting forms of payment, other than the traditional credit card.  Consumers are now able to apply some purchases to their monthly telephone bill.  This method of payment is becoming very popular.  Not only does this method of alternative payment appeal to the person wishing to protect their identity, those without credit cards are now able to participate in online purchasing.  Of those that have never made an online purchase, over thirty percent has been due to the lack of owning a credit card. Merchants wishing to reach out to these customers now accept alternate billing. 

Accepting this alternative method of payment can greatly increase the revenue for a company.  The process is easy to implement.  Consumers feel safe knowing their personal information is secure and are more willing to spend money on what they want when they feel safe.  Merchants are beginning to understand this and adapt in order to please the customer. If the customer is happy, they will return for repeat business and maybe even suggest products or services to others.  The alternative billing through the telephone bill is a win-win situation for both the merchant and consumer.