A PENSIONER has been left puzzled after receiving a £500 phone bill for premium rate phone calls he says he didn't make.
Antonio Villa, 65, of Whalley Road, Altham West, said that his average monthly bill is about £70 so he was horrified when he received the bill from telecommunications company One.Tel.
Mr Villa who lives with his wife Georgina, 56, is adamant that they did not make the calls and believes he has been a victim of telephone fraud.
He said that they first became aware of the problem when his wife tried to make a call and the phone line was dead.
She called One.Tel and was told that there was an outstanding bill of £373, which they agreed to pay by debit card in order to get the service resumed. But when they later received a bill for another £127, taking the total monthly bill to £500, alarm bells started to ring.
Mr Villa said: "Our bill is usually £70 and now I have a bill for £500 and nobody wants to know."
"The calls were made on Saturday and Sunday morning, when me and my wife were together and some were made when I was in work. They were made in groups and there were six calls between 10.30am and 1.30pm on Saturday."
"I don't want to pay the extra £127 and nobody wants to take any responsibility for it. This is fraud, somebody is defrauding the company. I don't know how it happens but somebody somewhere is making a lot of money out of us."
"If I had made those calls I wouldn't argue with the bill I would just pay it. Somebody needs to launch some sort of investigation. If nobody does anything about it it could happen again."
A spokesperson for One.Tel said: "We are aware of Mr Villa's problem and there is an on-going investigation. We have advised him to contact ICSTIS, the Independent Committee for the Supervision of Standards of Telephone Information Services, which regulates premium rate numbers."
"We can confirm from our call data records that the disputed calls to premium rate numbers were made from Mr Villa's number."
"One.Tel neither owns nor manages premium rate numbers and at this stage we cannot absolutely rule out fraudulent interference by a third party. We would urge a police investigation."