BBG Communications: $27 for a 1-Minute Phone Call

I survived driving on the left in Ireleand, its narrow, winding, and bumpy roads, and what must be more than 300 roundabouts.

The GPS maps for Europe I bought for $110 turned out to be a good investment. My vacation would have been much more stressful without the GPS.

As far as money is concerned, things worked out OK. They accepted my World MasterCard for rental car insurance. That saved me about $300. There are a few stories and observations I’d like to share over the next few days. The first story is $27 for a 1-minute phone call.

After I finished the paperwork for getting my rental car, I headed to the ATM machine to get cash. To my chagrin, it didn’t work. After I entered my PIN and the desired amount, the machine just spit out my card with a message saying “this transaction cannot be completed.” I tried five or six times with different amounts, but the results were the same. I tried it at a different ATM. Still the same thing, although the two ATMs were from the same bank (Bank of Ireland).

My immediate reaction was that my card declined the withdrawal because I was doing it from an international location. Before I left, I called them to let them know my travel plans. Maybe they didn’t record it correctly. No problem, I thought. There’s a phone number on the back of my card which I can call collect from outside of US.

I called collect to that number, but the automated system said it couldn’t complete the call. I tried to get an operator to help me place the collect call, and the operator told me he couldn’t do it either.

I panicked. Not having access to cash would make it really difficult for my vacation. I also wasn’t thinking clearly because of the jet lag. It was 2:00 a.m. in my time zone. It had been 22 hours since I got up. I only had off-and-on naps on the plane.

I decided to call that number on the back of my ATM card straight, with my credit card. I got a recording, which gave me a different number for lost and stolen cards, and a message saying customer service is available between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern Time. A few days later I found out that 1-minute phone call cost me $27.

In the grand scheme of things, $27 isn’t a large amount. When you are traveling in a different country, you end up paying a lot more than the locals do. You don’t have time and resources to shop for good deals. The foods in tourist places are both bad and overpriced. I could’ve easily saved $27 elsewhere during my vacation.

But still, $27 for a 1-minute phone call is excessive, don’t you think? I will dispute it with my credit card company because the rate was never quoted to me, nor accepted. I don’t expect to win though. I don’t think the credit card companies are on the cardholders’ side.

The company that ripped me off is BBG Communications. The name that appeared on my credit card as a pending authorization was originally BBG Luxembourg. It’s a global company that prays on tourists from payphones, airports and hotels worldwide. Ripping off people is BBG’s business model.

Remember that name and stay away! Class action plaintiff attorneys should sue this company out of business. [Update on December 9, 2010: A class action lawsuit was filed in March 2010.]

If I wasn’t sleep deprived, there were a number of things I could’ve done in that situation. I could’ve tried to find an ATM machine from a different bank. When I did that a few hours later at a different location using a machine from Allied Irish Bank, my ATM card just worked. I could’ve tried using the debit function for a purchase at the airport, just to see if the card blocked international transactions. I could’ve tried withdrawing cash using my credit card. A 3% cash advance fee plus interest for 10 days is still a lot less than $27. I could’ve looked for a calling card for 5 or 10 Euros for my call.

There are also a number of things I could’ve done before I left the U.S. which would prevent me from getting into the panic situation in the first place. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Lessons learned from my cash woes:

1. Never, ever make a call with your credit card, both in and outside of U.S.

2. Before leaving the U.S., call the toll number on the back of the cards you plan to use and ask about their hours of operations. This will also confirm that the number hasn’t changed.

3. Have a backup for getting cash. It can be a second checking account with extra money in it. Or it can be Traveler’s Cheques. Many banks and credit unions sell Traveler’s Cheques without a fee. AAA also sells them without a fee if you are a member. Unused Traveler’s Cheques can be deposited back to a checking account like any other checks.

4. Get a calling card that works from outside of U.S. Many calling cards that work in the U.S. also work from outside of U.S. You just need to know the access number in the country you are traveling to.

For example, I use OneSuite for long distance calls in the U.S. OneSuite has international access numbers in 25 countries. Ireland happens to be one of them. Their rate isn’t the lowest but it isn’t outrageous either. Had I known the OneSuite access number, my 1-minute phone call from Ireland would be $0.51, not $27.

The Verizon/MCI calling card sold at Costco also has international access numbers from 138 countries. Because the minutes never expire on the Verizon/MCI card and it works from practically anywhere in the world, that makes it a good all-purpose emergency calling card. Had I known the Verizon access number, it would be $0.25 a minute, not $27.

I learned these lessons the hard way so you don’t have to. Live, learn, and share. That’s the purpose of this blog.

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Comments

  1. Wai Yip Tung says

    Bring some cash. Never count on the ATM card alone. My worst fear is it will confiscate your card after 3 failure.

  2. Wai Yip Tung says

    $27 is crazy. I made a one minute roaming call to the AT&T wireless customer service and they charged me $3. I thought they are robbing me already.

  3. ZXT says

    $27 per minute is absurd! Good thing you only got a recording and didn’t able to talk to a live person or else you might end up talking for 5 minutes or worst more if you put on hold.

    This is the reason why I bring some cash whenever I travel just enough to last me a couple of days just in case there would be a problem with ATM’s. I also take note of the access number overseas. In my case I also use Onesuite so I write down the local access number plus the rate so I know what charge I’m expecting for using the service which is usually way way lower than using my mobile (roaming) or like in your case BBG Communications.

  4. Catherin says

    That is weird… My bank called me yesterday to ask for a pending autorization from BBG communication in Luxemburg… and I didn’t use my card for a while… and not to make any phone call…

  5. Rahul Joshi says

    My story is also same, for a 1 minute local call BBG Communication charged me 17$. I was in hurry at the airport, saw a payphone, first tried to call using coins but it was not connecting , then tried to call using debit card, after that call got connected but was shocked to see 3 transaction for BBG Communication. In total they charged 17$.One should avoid using payphone with card.

  6. Harry Sit says

    @Mary – My credit card dispute is still being investigated/processed. I suggest you also file a dispute with your card. First you may win. Second, even if you don’t win, BBG will have to spend (wo)manpower on responding to the disputes. BBG’s bank may charge BBG a fee for processing each dispute because the bank also has to spend (wo)manpower on responding to the disputes. If every BBG’s charge comes back as a dispute, BBG’s bank may cut BBG off from processing credit cards. That’s the end result I’d like to see. Also write to California state Attorney General. BBG’s US business appears to be in San Diego.

  7. Márcio says

    A one-minute call from a payphone at Caesar’s Palace Casino (Las Vegas) to a cell phone in New Jersey costed my son exactly $20.44.

  8. DH says

    I actually called BBG Communications and got them to dismiss the charges because the rates were not disclosed and I had never heard of nor used their system before. I’m sure that was only a one-time deal, but I think they’ve had so much difficulty with people disputing the charges that they’ll grant you a reprieve as it’s less costly for them (and there are plenty of people who never think to call them and ask!)

  9. Jantho says

    I also used my credit card to make a call, but the prices were clearly outlined.. Now a week later BBG Luxembourg is charging me AGAIN with 6 Dollars after they allready made me pay the dollar as written in the cabin.
    Weird company

  10. SUMMER KENTON says

    I MADE TWO PHONE CALLS FROM OUR COSTA RICA HOTEL ROOM, NEITHER OF WHICH WERE ANSWERED (BY THE PERSON I WAS CALLING), AND I WAS CHARGED A TOTAL OF $83.85! NO RATES WERE DISCLOSED AND I PLAN TO DISPUTE THE CHARGES AS WELL, FIRST BY CALLING THEM, AND IF NO RESOLUTION, WITH MY CREDIT CARD/ DEBIT CARD COMPANY. THIS IS INSANE!

  11. Ryabchikov says

    I made 3 min telephone call from Davos, Switzerland to Moscow for which I paid same day from visa card 1 USD. Then 10 days later BBG subtracted from my card 31 USD without any explanations.
    I think it is criminal company and it should be punished.

  12. Franko says

    I made 2 one-minute calls from Narita airport in Tokyo to Seoul ( it’s not that far…)and they charge me 66 US$!!!

    First they charged me 1 US$/call, even for some calls that nobody answers, which was ok…but 66 US$ for 2 one-minute calls, no way!

    There is no way I am going to let them screw me like that…I’ll sure call them and contact my credit card company to contest the bill…

  13. SUMMER KENTON says

    I CALLED AND SPOKE TO “CINDY” (07/15/09) WHO TOLD ME THE CHARGES HAD TO “POST” TO MY ACCOUNT BEFORE I COULD DISPUTE THEM. WHEN THEY INDEED POSTED (07/17/09), I CALLED BACK AND SPOKE WITH “SCOTT” WHO WAS NO HELP AT ALL – WHEN I ASKED TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE HIGHER WHO COULD HELP ME, HE TOLD ME I NEEDED TO CALL BACK AND GET ANOTHER REPRESENTATIVE. HE WAS A JERK! HE PROCEEDED TO EXPLAIN TO ME THAT I SHOULD HAVE CALLED THE COMPANY FROM MY COSTA RICA HOTEL ROOM (BEFORE I EXECUTED THE CALL TO FLORIDA) AND HAVE ASKED FOR THEM TO DISCLOSE THE RATES. THE RATES OF: $30-45 DOLLARS FOR THE FIRST 5 MINUTES, $1.00 CONNECTION FEE, $3.99-5.99 FOR EACH ADDITIONAL MINUTE AFTER FIRST 5. THAT IS CRAZY! MY CALLS WEREN’T EVEN ANSWERED BY A HUMAN; THEY RANG UNTIL THE VOICEMAIL PICKED UP AND THEN I HUNG UP! IF I HAD KNOWN I WAS GOING TO GET CHARGED ($84.35) FOR THE FREAKING CALLS I WOULD HAVE AT LEAST LEFT A MESSAGE- AND PERHAPS HAD ONE WAY PHONE SEX FOR 5 MINUTES ON THE VOICEMAIL! I FEEL SO SCREWED AND I DIDN’T EVEN ENJOY IT! BEWARE OF THESE SCAM ARTISTS!!!!!!!!

  14. Aneri says

    Just got a call from my bank as well….$27 for 1 minute – but talked for 20 seconds. Yeah, that’s some new math that makes them a fortune…a**holes!

  15. Betsy M. says

    My son is in the UK and just had the EXACT SAME EXPERIENCE as you did with BBG Telecommunications. I wish I had seen your column before he made the phone call. Thanks for putting this info out there.

  16. Yacila says

    I made a phone call from Geneva to Peru the 8th of August. It didn’ t work and it costed 1 euro. Now I have a bill of almost 30 euros with the same number of reference, for “buy phones articles the 11th” with the BBG name in my credit score…They are stealing…
    Can you help me? I am student and I need the money.
    Thanks

  17. Rachel says

    I was just charged $49 for leaving a 30 second message. I made the call from a hostel in Costa Rica to the U.S. I am going to try to dispute the charges as well.

  18. Colby says

    Same here. $87 for a four minute local phone call from the airport in Prague to a hotel in the same city.

  19. Jeffrey says

    Can anyone who has tried to resolve this give me a hand? I have the same story, a $76 charge for 1 phone call that lasted roughly 10 minutes. When I called the number listed on my credit card statement the guy who answered the phone would do nothing unless I gave him my entire credit card number. I explained to him that I was calling to dispute a charge from his company and was not comfortable giving him my credit card number. If he wanted the last 4 digits or my name and some other info I told him I would provide it. He wouldnt move past getting my credit card number and I eventually hung up. Am I right here? I really dont feel comfortable giving that out over the phone to some guy whose company already ripped me off. Has anyone actually had success resolving this? Thanks, Jeff

  20. Harry Sit says

    Jeffrey – I disputed the charge with my credit card company. They credited me and I never heard about it again.

  21. francesca woolls says

    I used my debit card in a Sydney payphone to make a call to the UK and was only on the call for 30 seconds maximum leaving a voice mail. I’ve now been charged 3 times for $57.59, $15.81 and $3! One of the transactions on my statement is listed as 1800-185-615 LUX, does anyone know if this is the company BBG Communications and is there anything I can do?

  22. Erica says

    i was charged to charged for 78 and 89 dollars also my boyfriend who i called and spoke with for less than 5 minutes was charged 99 dollars

  23. Les Durham says

    I called from a phone in Heathrow. One was a voicemail, the 2nd was a 2-3 min quick call. I’m being charged almost $90. The phone was clearly marked with: “International calls for 40 pence a minute”. Unfortuneately I didn’t have any English change so I put it on my debit/credit card. I would not have looked at my statement for awhile if it was merely a credit card, and possibly not have even noticed it when I did. This is what these scam businesses intend on happening. I’m refuting the call and I’m thankful someone mentioned they have a company in the U.S. because they will be called also.

  24. Les Durham says

    EVERYONE, MAKE SURE YOU REFUTE THESE CALLS!!!!!!!! START WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY AND SEE IF THEY HAVE ANY MORE SUGGESTIONS BUT JUST MAKE SURE IT’S DONE.

  25. Harry Sit says

    To all who are watching this thread – I was contacted by a class action attorney who is investigating BBG. If you would like to contact the attorney or to be contacted, please use my contact form and give me your e-mail address. I will forward the attorney’s contact info to you.

  26. Steve says

    £2.20 English Sterling for a phone call which connected for only 2 seconds before I hung up (it went to voicemail)
    That was from a British Telecom Phone Box which is disgraceful

  27. Pankaj says

    Hi ALL – Here is the what I am charged for for approximately 5 minutes of calls

    $124 USD

    ????????????????
    Does anyone knows this organization ?

  28. Surupa says

    I had a similar experience when somebody made a call using my card and I was charged twice…..
    This is big scandal please beware

  29. Sueli Casanova says

    I received an inquiry from my Credit Card company about a charge in the amount of US$ 41.91 made my BBG – Luxembourg-United Kingdom that they thought was fraudulent. When I called the credit card company, they asked if I had charged a telephone call to my credit card. Last week I did make a call from São Paulo Airport to the US, with time only to say I had arrived. It couldn´t take more than 1/2 minutes and I was charged US$ 41.91. It there have been so many cases, I wonder why a bank like Chase accepts this Company´s debts.
    I´m going to dispute the charge but would like to know what else I can do, in face of so many people complaining???

  30. jasmine lux says

    !@#$, I wish I had read this before trying to make an international call from Fiji to Canada with my credit card because it was a complete emergency…

    @#$%.
    But mine was 2 minutes each, thus 150$ down the drain for this winter…
    What a ripoff!!!

  31. Elize says

    I had the same experience from this company. I was on Frankfurt Airport on 12 December 18h030, had a World Call Card (10 Euros), but it did not work with the payphones (T-Mobile) on the airport, did not want to accept my code for authorisation on the card. I have made a call to my friend in Scotland; the lady did not disclose the cost to me. My friend’s phone went to voice mail as he was not available and I hung up. The call was not even 2 second. I received a SMS from my bank for the cost of R325.00 (30 Euros) and when I have checked my credit card statement I have noticed that I have been debited yesterday with R7.00 and again today with a further 325 Euros. This is ridiculous to pay this kind of money for a call that was not even been made. This is even more expensive than opening up your phone for international roaming. If I look at all the complaints against this company, I am surprised that nobody has done something to the company as this is a total rip-off of uninformed tourists. Surely one can be warned about the high cost before the call. I will never make use of their services again.

  32. David says

    Same thing.. Local call in Heathrow airport (London, UK) to a friends cell# (English number), $9 for first call (1 minute voicemail), $19 for second when i spoke to him for 2 mins or so. THIEVES! Because it said British Telecom I thought I was safe.

  33. Zoe says

    I made four phone calls in Costa Rica using BBG none of them were answered and the company is charging my visa $212. This company must go DOWNN

  34. Walter O'Neill says

    My daughter called us from Costa RIca…for a 5 minute call…$110 on her VISA from BBG. I will start to contact both the company and the attorney mentioned above and recommend to anyone to do the same!

  35. Noam says

    Does anyone have the contact info for the company? I want to dispute their charges with them, but I’m not actually sure how to reach them. Thanks!

    I was charged $36.90 (and possibly an additional $47 that’s still pending with my credit card company) for a two minute phone call from a hotel in Spain to the U.S.

  36. Noam says

    Correction: I just talked to my credit card company and they gave me the number: 1-800-608-0855. I called the company and after being placed on hold for a ridculously long time and yelling at the unfortunate customer service person he was willing to give me a one time $10 credit. I’m still going to join in with the class action lawyer…

  37. Chintu says

    Local Call from LHR:

    24 Mins = $85

    $15 Connection Fee and $2.88 per minute charges.

    Called and they are giving a one time credit for $30. The pricing was not published any where :(

    Chintu

  38. Jean says

    my credit card company sent me an Confirmation of recent transanction: BBG was approved on or around xxxx LUXEMBOURG, United Kingdom.
    I was shocked that my daughter only phoned me about two minutes and it was charged $49.10. It is found service comes from BBG. What should I do ?My daughter told me she could not get any information about rate.

  39. Jean says

    Cont, my daughter was offered free hotel in Barbados airport due to her flight was cancled. A staff of hotel told her to use phone in her room via credit card. She could not find any informaiton about rate of call from Barbados to USA.

  40. L says

    I got charged AUD $55.16 three times for three calls at Bali Denpasar airport. That is a unbelievable $165. First two calls i got voicemail, third was for about 5 minutes. Trying to get hold of bali airport to see which company it is that charged me, but no one there seems to speak english “all of the sudden”. Well, no surprise there I suppose…

    Filed it with my bank who will investigate. Complete ripoff!!!

  41. Maria says

    I was in Depasar, Bali (Indonesia). I had to make an emergency call and i made 2 calls – one didnt go through so i thought it wouldnt charge me but the other one i talked for 30 seconds or even less and its charging for three calls, two for $56 and one for $59. I am thinking of disputing with the bank. Did any one get a postiive reply?

  42. Sharmila says

    I have a similar story, amount being 70$ and location being Frankfurt airport. No prior rate disclosed, or post-call receipt provided.

    Everyone has the same story, but no one has posted a solution.
    Is there any lawwer who can advise us on what to do ?

  43. mary lou says

    I was on vacation in St. Maarten. I had a mesage from my company to return a call. However, I had to use my credit caard according to the sign in the room. I had to make a couple calls because my bodss’s voice mail was full. In the meantime my card wa cut off because the bank thought it was being compromised. So I had to use my othr half’s card. When I got home and called the bank I was SHOCKED at what the calls cost btween the 2 cards it was $255.00. Then I pulled the info from your website and was floored at the number of people who had the same problem. So now my company won’t pay me the money I had to shell out and the bank will not consider it as fraud because I did make calls. In the meantime I had to wait for a new credit card with a new number. There has got to be something that can be done about this company. I thought there was a class action suit against them at one time.

  44. Fran Hunter says

    They got me too… 5 calls at 49.00 a piece… never connected on any of them, no markes on phone..

  45. ciannella says

    THIS FIRM BBG LUX ARE BASTARD

    BUT WHY NOBODY OF THE GOVERNEMT INTERVINES

    WHAT THE HELL IS THAT

    WE PAY TAXES

    HELLO JUSTICE MINISTER DO SOMETHING

  46. stef says

    My husband got ripped off too making a 7 min call from germany to USA. we’ve both called the company many times all to the same end: no information, or they keep changing the amounts and only gave averages, not exact amounts for ‘his’ call.
    i dont know (with how old some of these are) if the class action attorney is still investigating. i’ve emailed the contact form given. i will post again if anything comes of it.
    -seems as though there are a LOT of angry people and only one guy giving solutions. i’ll see if it’s still valid.

  47. some help says

    after looking via google for a few hours i did find these:
    -What I did, was call them up ( 8005765402 ) place a complaint, tried to talk to customer service (they seem very well trained to handle this type of call). Basically she offered me a $15 dollar credit (yeah right!? I obviously didn’t take it, as accepting anything here would nullify you from further refunds). After searching like many of you have, I found a couple sites with ’some’ info. And using that info I emailed:
    Noemi Olmos => [email protected] OR phone: +619 671 0199 [might work]
    submitted a BBB complaint in the local operating area of BBG Communications.
    In my email, I explained my next steps, BBB complain / writing local senator in the area / etc.
    It took roughly 2-3 weeks, but she replied, I explained my situation (like many of us) we were not told of the charges, and that I felt like I was being scammed, she offered me a FULL (one time) refund.

    -I learned from American Express that it has a standing agreement with BBG Communications to reverse charges immediately whenever a creditcard customer complains!
    BBG Communications apparently is counting on 9 out of 10 victims not bothering to complain.
    The company’s almost anonymous web site, http://www.bbgusa.com/altindex.html (under Company), boasts to its clients, hotels, airports etc., the following:
    “BBG has also developed a unique expertise in the billing and collection process to maximize profitability in person-to-person calls.”
    To all victims of BBG Communications, 800-5762118: File your complaints! Eventually the FTC or a Class Action will put them out of business.

    -EVERYONE, MAKE SURE YOU REFUTE THESE CALLS!!!!!!!! START WITH YOUR CREDIT CARD COMPANY AND SEE IF THEY HAVE ANY MORE SUGGESTIONS BUT JUST MAKE SURE IT’S DONE.

    -What we could all do for others
    I’ve had some thoughts on what we could do collectively (short of some kind of multi-national lawsuit) to curtail BBG or at least warn others, and my best idea is that we contact a local TV station in the area that does that kind of ‘local scams” reporting, and have them corner someone from BBG seeking information. Anyone have any other ideas? I feel too many people are getting burned on this.

  48. Chong Chen says

    I had the same experience. Two one-minute calls from Narita (Tokyo) airport to US via credit card. I was charged $25.59 and $24.59. It’s really unfair because they didn’t disclose any information about the rate. I tried to look for the rate before I made the call without any result. That company sucks! I will contact them.

  49. JeffmKosoy says

    I placed 1 call from Cancun Mexico to Chicago using BBG and was billed $49.10 2x for a total of $98.20. Spoke for less than 1minute.

  50. mary lou grisanti says

    On Friday 2 5 I decided to call bbg at the number 800 576 2118. I explained the situation of the calls and the cost of the calls I had made from St. Maarten. Yes I did make two calls so that is not the issue. There were 2 others listed. IHe asked me for the cre3dit card involved. When I gave it to him he said “Oh you dese4rve a full credit but since your card was cancelled we cannot give it to you. I told him I was issued a new one but he said I co uldn’t get the credit on the ne carad because they had no record of the calls on that card (although the bank had the4m on the new card). He was a nasty bugger and when I asked for a supervisor he said he WAS the supervisor for that shift. I asked how they could live with themselves. Supposedly they do type in the complaint when you call. who knows. I also told them I was contacting the FCC and my bank (again). I called my bank and they told me to send a lettr via mail or FAX and give them the ref # on the bill and tell what happened. They would put it into dispute.
    fMy dispute is twofold 1 I didn’t make the 2 other calls and they never said how much the cost would be. Now I know to bring my ATT calling card or my Comlinq prepaid card with me. In the meantime, my company won’t pick up the charge even though I returned calls to my “boss” (the idiot).

    I am also going to email this company at http://www.bbgusa.com/altindex.hotmail
    I will also try that email for noemi that someone else sent to and the 619 671 0199 must be a fax machine. Got high pitch when I called it. I am also going to call that other 800 576 5402 and see if I get that same crew. They should not get away with this.

  51. michael hinton says

    I was charged 49.00USD 4 times for failed calls to the US from Germany, One call was completed for about a total of 2 minutes. I agree BBG is corrupt and should be looked into

  52. Rob Godin says

    Tried to make a call from Paris to Toronto using my visa. No rates posted. Got charged $43.19 for the attempted phone call. Thankfuly when I tried a second time to make the call Visa denied the authorisation. This is criminal.

  53. Jane Wilde says

    I attempted to make a phone call from Frankfurt to Japan with my VISA last October. No information on charges such as connetoin fees or rate-per-mintes was posted. I would NEVER have authorized if I had known this trouble!
    Next month they charged me about US$53!!
    Although I contacted my credit card company and BBG
    I have been disputing with the card company and BBG, but it seems to take more time to get the money refund (for them to dismiss the charge).
    I filed my case on FBI and Office of California Attorney General online.

    I can not believe VISA has a tieup with this “organizational crime” company ever.

  54. eric petersen says

    I was killing time in Costa Rica on vacation, and decided to call work to check in on some open projects and say hello. I thought it was like 2 dollars per phone call from the sticker on the pay phone. I called got 3 voice mails and did not leave a message but on one I did. Only that one phone call might have gone over a minute. But I got charged a $15 dollar connection fee each and a 6 dollar a min call charge with the instant it connects is 5 mins on each one. I tried calling BBG and they said they can take $30 dollars of the charges which is now close to $200 for talking to no one which I think is insane. I am so mad and have no idea what to do. I am not a rich man and this really does screw up my life a little. Please let me know what you have found out and if there has been any resolve or lawsuits. I am willing to help in any way possible. Thanks Eric Petersen Chicago IL

  55. Leon says

    Stayed at Westin Regina Cancun, Mexico for a trip. Used the hotel phones with my credit card to make a quick “Im here” call to my family back in Canada. The rate was advertised as approx 17 pesos per minute. Made 2 calls on April 30th approx 6 mins total, got hit with charges of 54.95 and 41.91 on my VISA bill. Called customer service on May 13th and was told that they collected “connection fees” of $25 US every time. The customer service rep continued to insist that these charges were legit when these extra “fees” were not advertised. Asked to speak to a manager but none were to be had.

    FALSE ADVERTISING
    CHARGES FRAUD

    This is obviously not an isolated incident. As numerous complaints to BBB have been filed.

    GET THESE CROOKS OFF THE MARKET.

  56. some help says

    i tried to check into that class action attorney, but really got no where. even so, he would not be able to help me personally out or get me my monies back.
    i did call my bank and credit card company, which (unfortunatly) would not help me. some banks will, some won’t. both myself and my husband called the BBG company. when talking to my husband, they gave 4 different connection fee amounts, and 4 different min- rates for his call (all from one guy in one conversation). his ‘excuse’ was that the amounts vary from where you’re calling to and from. my husband got so upset and had to go back to work, so he just hung up.
    when i called a day later i was told that they had explained the charges to my husband and he had ‘accepted’ them. so they would not refund us. when i spoke to my husband later he said he never said he understood the charges. that he had hung up mad.
    this company is SO shady! because of my bank not working with me, we are switching banks to one that would help us if any fraud is going on on our account (which happened two months ago, and they wouldnot do anything about thoes charges either. i do NOT recomend Bank of America) so i suggest finding a bank that will help you.
    we have ‘taken the hit’ and learned from our mistakes. all i can do now is warn my family and friends.
    never accept charges that are ludicrious! and if you have to hang up, tell them you’ll be calling back later and you do NOT agree with the charges!!!!
    sorry i couldnt find better help.

  57. Gennadiy says

    Similar incident in Franfurt Airport, 17-May-2010.
    Made one call using Euro coins ( around a minute using 2 euro), then needed to make another call but had no more coins. Made call using credit card. No information about additional charges was provided.
    Finally have (results of one call):
    $ 0.95 charge
    $ 54.33 charge
    $ 31.77 charge – temp authorization.

    Called BBG (800-608-0575) they said they can credit me back ~ 14 USD.

    Considering this as fraud via unauthorized CC charge.

    Going to do:
    1) file dispute to CC company
    2) report incident – need advice – where to report?

  58. xpkid says

    I was charged by
    (1) $0.95
    (2) $24.95
    (3) $25.95
    for one 1-min call in Tyoko Airport, May 25, 2010.
    I have never been told the price of such call, either in the labels pasted on the phone, or told by the voice.
    I think if the BBG clearly shows the price, people will never use it.
    We consumers should united to against such dirty scams!!!

  59. Gennadiy says

    Cont to post 63 (Gennadiy on May 22, 2010):
    1) BBG credited 0.95 back
    2) BBG removed temp auth of 31.77,
    3) so only one charge left – 54.33
    4) called to BBG – they promised to credit ~16 USD back
    5) called CC company (Bank of America )- they said can not help (same as post #62 – Bank of America did not help them either)

    if anybody knows good way to stop this company – please let know. Question is not to return money – I feel angry at this cheeky fraud.

  60. mirsad says

    same thing happent to me, in frankfurt,germany. i have 3 pending transactions in my bank that are
    $53.31
    $ 31.77
    $ 31.77
    for 3 phone calls that i did to albania!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    unbelievable…. Scam company, 119.85 for 3 minutes????????
    i used the phone in Lufthansa airplane and it was 9.95 per minute(tax incl)
    thats a big fraud

  61. blur_girl says

    Same thing happened to me, I have 3 instances of $37.99 and another for $57.66 pending on my credit card for 3 calls that did not connect and one that only lasted 5 minutes … that’s $171.63!!!!!!! This was for calls made from Iceland to USA. Ridiculous and criminal!!!!!!!! A dispute has been filed with my cc company.

  62. Ashish Gupta says

    I was on Hethrow airport and need to make aphone call, but did not hadthe coins. so decided to call froma pay phone of BBG using my Mastercard. I just spoke for less that 15 seconds and hanged up. I got the sms on mobile that i have been charged US$ 25.00 for that call. completely insame.

    this company is a thief, why the airport authorities have placed this co’s phone booths installed at the airports. Is there any connection of the company with airport authorities???? may be the airports are getting some kind of monetary benefits from this company???

    now after 3 days i have been agian charged US$ 1.00 on my credit card. for the call i did not made and came back to india 3 days ago. This is completely ridiculous and disgusting.

  63. Stephanie Louis says

    Just got back from Aruba when I arrived there on jun 2 made a quick call to my mom in Denver to say we made it and got charged 41.90 plus the .95 cent validation fee the a couple days later had called my mom again after asking the front desk how much am I being charged for the call and she told me 3 dollars so I was thinking ok not bad I’ll call real quick so I did for about 5 minutes and got charged again another 49.10 plus the .95 cents so about 100.00dollars for about 8 minutes of phone calls… Ridiculous I’m going to call and see what they can do

  64. Stephanie Louis says

    so i just got off the phone with them and they offered me 12.50 ….so i took it its better then nothing but for sure learned my lesson to never call using my cc again…..

  65. Viarra says

    Got charged $17 for a 1 minute call in Frankfurt airport to a local number, which normally would be a few cents. I was not informed of the charge and given current market prices for local and long-distance calls from various locations, where the highest I have paid per minute was around $5, I did not expect anything above that. Was alerted by my CC company and I have advised them not to process this charge. Trying to contact BBG but cannot connect to their customer service number. The numbers I tried was the one in San Diago (619 – 66106661) and a CS number 1-800576 2118. If anyone has a different contact number, please post as neither number worked for me.
    I don’t mind if a company wants to make money – that’s part of business. However, I have a big problem when a company makes money by exploitation. In this case, providing an overpriced service with no price quote to unsuspecting customers. Just count the number of customer complaints on the web and note that a one time user of this service will never want to use this service again to know that this is the wrong business model.

  66. Michel Starck says

    We got the surprise as well..Frankfurt Airport told us they deal with the Head Office (go ogled) BBG Global AG..For rate info or complains you need to fax them..If the don’t give an answer on your billing issue contact your credit-card company..
    http://bbgcommch.com/contact.htm

  67. Andrea says

    I made one phone call from Grand Cayman to the US for 3 minutes and was charged $49.10!! I also have a temporary charge that has yet to post – I will be disputing these charges with my credit card company.

  68. Marco says

    Barcelona Ramblas: I tryed to call to a local Spanish number with my Credit Card in a public Telefonica phone.
    I did not get connected to anyone, just a recorded voice and then nothing at all.

    Phone call finished. Tryed 3 o 4 times without getting connected to anyone

    Day after I’ve been charged 30, 00 Euros by the Telephone company owner of the public telephone and 42, 23 by BBG LUXEMBOURG.

    The credit card payment where pending on my credit card. The BBG one desappeared after blocking my credit card.

    The telefonica one is still pending on my card.

    this companies are full of shit
    This Companies are full of shit.

  69. peter says

    I want to alarm peolpe that They probably leak stuff about your card info. I have one special card that I ONLY use for this, and people have been making calls from places I never have been to. And on the 7th of august I change my flight in Amsterdam, I then thought I was going to make a test, so I made a call for 38 sec and it costed me 43 USD and there was no info about the fees on the phone and there was no info in the phone, so that makes me wonder if this realy is a leagal thing to do. My bank is getting tierd of me for calls i never made. Thank you BBG LUXEMBOURG

  70. Barry Echavarria says

    I just got ripped off from this company for nearly $600 while on vacation in Jamaica. I have filed a fraud case against this company to recoupe my money and will consult my attorney.

  71. Hannah says

    I was charged $70 (australian) for each connection fee and I called 4 times only once where I actually got connected! My phone call was 20 to 30 mins and was nearly $400 so in total these bastards have cost me nearly $700 which is a heck of a lot of money and will cost me a fair chunk of my backpackers holiday in Europe. The hotel said the call would cost £3.50 a min and thats all – yeah right! I was so niave and will be sure to never ever do this agian! I just dont know how to refute the company and get some of money back. any suggestions?

  72. Sam says

    For all of you who got ripped-off by these sleazy bastards, this is who you’re dealing with:

    http://www.bbb.org/san-diego/business-reviews/telephone-companies/bbg-communications-inc-in-san-ysidro-ca-1040993/

    You can find there all the names they are operating under, as well as the address of their business. After I got myself into the same situation as many other of their “customers”, I was able to force them to issue me “one time courtesy refund” IN FULL, after I reported them to BBB in San Diego, FCC, FTC, and filed a dispute with my bank.

  73. Adnan says

    BBG Luxembourg deducted USD21 and then USD45 for only one local call made from Hamburg Airport on 12 August. It was really disturbing for me.
    I have requested my bank to look into this fraud and get my money back.

  74. D says

    I filed the following report with the Better Business Bureau in San Diego:

    “I used a telephone owned by this company at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to call a United States number for a phone that was located in France. I inserted my debit card to pay for the call, but the phone also had a coin slot, so I assumed that the price would be limited to the amount of coins that a person might reasonably carry in his or her pockets… I used the service three times to call the same number, although two of the times the recipient did not pick up. There was some difficulty with using the phone each time, so I was connected to a live operator, to whom I gave my debit card information. The one time that the recipient did pick up, we talked for less than a minute before hanging up. Yet when I checked my debit card statement, I found 3 charges for $47.10, totaling $141.30, from “BBG LUXEMBOURG”! I also found some other suspicious transactions that may be linked to this. This is an absurd amount of money for a total connection time of about 30 seconds. Nowhere was it indicated that this would cost so much; in fact, there were several indicators to the contrary, including the coin slot, the lists of international calling rates right below the phone, and basic faith in the goodwill of humankind. I would very much appreciate a refund of my money, as I was misled into paying an exorbitant amount for my call time.”

    Luckily, I was able to get Bank of America to cancel all (!) related charges, though I also had to go through the extreme inconvenience of canceling my debit card while abroad. BBG actually responded to my complaint after the BBB’s second attempt to contact them. Here is the woman’s contact information for anyone else who may wish to get in touch:

    Alma Perez
    Customer Service
    1658 Gailes Blvd. Ste. B
    San Diego, CA 92154
    (619) 671-9266 fax
    (619) 498-9242
    [email protected]

  75. Monica says

    Same thing happened to me, I tried to make a call from LAX airport to a local number, I entered my CC information and I pressed option #3 to get information about the fee, the second that I heard that I was gonna be charged $7.00 for the first minute plus the connection fee I hanged up the phone… I didn’t even got connected to the number I was dialing… still I have this $20 charge from BBG… For what??? For listen the operator instructions?!?!?!

  76. Ivan says

    $54 for 2 mins in Frankfurt airport. Frustrating but I don’t want to spend time calling and arguing about the charge, will know better next time I travel.

  77. Siva says

    I have been charged $30AUD for a phone call to India from Singapore airport which never got connected.

    I have called singapore airport but their response was crap and said it was not something they look after.

    So I am disputing the transaction with bank. See what happens.

  78. alexinho says

    i think its a great company provides good service plus you people are dumb for not requesting the rate information before giving out the credit card number

  79. Sheldon says

    A quick update for people looking to make calls from Frankfurt airport.

    I got scammed by BBG the first time I transited through. This last time, I realized a few things:

    1) DO NOT BUY the calling cards from the machines around the airport. They have calling card vending machines right next to the payphones. As absurd as it is, these calling cards DO NOT work on their own payphones. The 800 access number on the card is blocked from the payphones. So its a complete waste of your money.

    2) The rates for the payphones are clearly displayed on the LCD phone displays, and these are the cash rates. In theory, disputing the charges from BBG should be trivial if we can get a screen shot of the LCD displays. The display says that calls to the US are $1 or so per minute. Unfortunately I did not have a camera, so could not take a shot. Can someone who sees this please take a shot and post it?

    3) And for folks who actually need to make a call… USE COINS. I got a few Euro coins at the money changer, and called home for a couple minutes to the US for just 2 Euro. Best of all, total peace of mind that there are no hidden charges.

    Hope this helps someone out there.

  80. Paul says

    Boooo! Same thing here – $105 at the Frankfurt airport for a three and four minute pair of calls to enable my credit card and to enable international roaming on my phone, ironically. (I did both ahead of time, but somehow didn’t go through)

  81. Olivertree says

    I wish I had read the posts here before I travled.
    I also made a call for about 3 minutes using the payphone at Frankfurt airport, Germany because I needed to inform my friends that my flight was delayed. When I came back to USA, I noticed that my credit card was charged about $54. I called BBG using the number on my bill statement. They told me that the only thing they can do is to refund me for $19 because it was the first time I used their service. Are you kidding? I will never use this service again. Then through the internet, I found many peoples were robbed too. This greedy action of BBG must be stopped!

  82. pavan says

    exact same issue
    dialed from within germany to another german local number …. net charge: 18.60 :(

    what the f is this ?

    the t-mobile machine where i made the call from said around 0.50

  83. subhash says

    Same was the experience. I used payphone in london heathrow airport to make a local call using my indian credit card. They charged $72 for a 8 min call. I verified the bank with this transaction and it is BBG Luxembourg, merchant was. They r robbing us guys, we need to rethink on how we can complain n bring to the notice of higher officials.

  84. Harry Sit says

    Everyone – The class action attorney who contacted me before released this FAQ document. A class action lawsuit was filed in March 2010. The case is in progress in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you wish to contact the attorney, the contact information is in the FAQ document.

  85. Marisol says

    F*&@$*(#&%@$*& I got cherged $104 for 2 phone calls (2 mins each). SCAM!!!!!!!!! DFW airport should be ashamed of this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  86. investigativeguy says

    Yes the scam goes on
    We did a story on this scam 4 months ago and the scammers just keep on preying on travelers.Recently the Amsterdam airport posted the true costs of BBG call,but they only posted it on their web site ,not on a single phone.
    Now you see why they can’t post what they charge , for the simple reason not a soul would pay their rates.So they have to hide their rates and steal from consumers.

    Ok here are the real rates
    When paying by credit card:

    * Within the Netherlands: € 5, = connection fee, then € 1.50 per minute
    * Europe + Turkey and Morocco: € 9, = connection fee, then € 3.99 per minute
    * USA and Canada: € 18, = connection fee, then € 3.99 per minute
    * Other countries: € 12, = connection fee, then € 3.99 per minute.

    You pay only when a call is actually formed.
    The credit card service will be provided by BBG Communications.

  87. investigativeguy says

    BBG keeps ripping off consumers. Now there is a web site devoted to exposing them BBGovercharge.com . Yes there is a class action suit demanding refunds for consumers. Meanwhile watch out they have 350,000 phones worldwide