Phone Alarm

Reporter: Belinda Wilkinson

Annette Walker's not a big talker, so when she got a phone bill for two thousand dollars, she couldn't believe her eyes."Oh shocking....I only get a bill of something like anywhere from 60 to 140 dollars and I asked them how come it was so high and they said this number was getting rung ever minute of the day.That's right......every minute of every day for over a month........two thousand calls a week, at 25 cents a pop.Annette's twenty eight year old son wasn't making the calls......her phone line had been hijacked by her security system."this was your bill for one month......yep one month, 142 pages approximately of 2000 dollar phone calls made from a 1300 number that Telstra did not inform me of until I called Telstra myself to find out why my services had been cut."The alarm hasn't been monitored for more than ten years.....then suddenly it woke itself up and went crazy.......ringing the old security company......every sixty seconds.Security Expert Michael Dyer says Annette's problem is all too common.......he hears horror stories all the time of alarm systems ambushing phone lines."The monitoring station will receive those calls and so therefore there will be a charged call because the call has been answered by a computer but because the account has been cancelled there is no confirmation as to who owns the account now the information's gone."The Security Agents Institute says thousands of calls are made every day to alarm monitoring stations around the country, in many cases homeowners and tenants don't know the calls are being made, but they're still paying for it.Unless a security company formally cancels and decommissions the alarm monitor, it' will keep on making calls to never land......but here's how to stop it. "firstly stop the charges from the monitoring company by sending them a written cancellation notice and then ask for the system to be physically disconnected from the phone line and decommissioned so it doesn't cause any phone calls in the event that someone plugs it back in again."So who should pay the bill?Luckily for Annette.....Telstra's decided to waive the two thousand dollar bill......company spokesman Tony Hancox.But other security alarm owners be warned.....To have your alarm system properly decomissioned by a professional technician costs about 90 dollars.

More info:

Security Agents Institute of WA

http://www.saiwa.asn.au/