I apologize in advance for the length of this. About 12 months ago I switched my business phone service from Verizon to AT&T for local and long distance service. About 9 months ago my girlfriend went to Cyprus for an extended vacation and she got a phone there. I called her a couple of times but I knew the rate would be high, so I searched online and found "10-10-987" provided by TelecomUSA who advertises a much better rate. Being a wary consumer, I called TelecomUSA to confirm this, and they said it *IS* available in my area, and that if I dial 10-10-987, I will either get a 2nd dialtone meaning it works, or I will get that "we're sorry, the number you have dialed....etc etc". About the same time an AT&T rep called about other services, so I asked if 10-10 numbers work and she said sure, and agreed the rate would be far superior to theirs. So, I try dialing 10-10-987 it and it works. I didn't remember to use it all the time (although I am sure I used it 99% of the time), and then I get my next bill at my work for over $600. I was alarmed, but I paid it and told myself I had learned my lesson, and started using 10-10-987 for every call. I dont remember when that was, but it was probably around February or so. I kept getting big bills from AT&T in March and April, and I was calling them and they were "looking into it" and kept putting the calls to Cyprus in "dispute" until it was resolved. Finally in late May I get a bill for over $2,000 that has a previous balance as well as $1,400 in new charges. I was *SURE* I was using this 10-10 number 100% of the time, and poring over my extremely confusing bill, I realize they are billing EVERY call to her at $1.50 per minute. I call them and a helpful guy looked into my history and asks if I have a "merlin system". I had no idea what it was, and he explained it was some sort of setup where you could choose how calls were dialed/routed. I have ANALOG phones, and when I told him this, he said that something was wrong since I was setup as having a "merlin" system and therefore all calls were being routed through AT&T and they were billing them all as direct dial. He agreed it was a mistake and put these calls in dispute (now $1,100 worth). I paid the rest of the bill. Today I get a letter from AT&T saying the dispute has been resolved and I must pay the money. It says "we recommend the customer check his equipment and its configuration as the source of the probelm". Furthermore, it says I must pay it ASAP or risk termination of service. I call them and the woman says they ONLY provide the line and whatever gets dialed is what they do. In essence, telling me I'm lying and I must have dialed direct or that I have some special system that I am unaware of. I told her I have AT&T brand ANALOG phones - just a jack, with a phone plugged in - no digital phone, no special system, nada. I ask her to read the dispute comments and she kept declining saying it was irrelevant. She said they do not deal in hardware and whatever the previous guy told me was not something he should have gotten into. FINALLY she did read it and it says "customer is setup with as having an autodialer which he says he does not have". The woman keeps telling me there is NOTHING she can do, and that they only provide the line, and whatever I dialed is what they billed me at. She furthermore says they DO NOT do 3rd party billing, in other words telling me they would never put TelecomUSA charges on my bill, and if I had used them I would get a seperate bill from TelecomUSA. When I call TelecomUSA, they confirm they never had me shown as using their service, but they also tell me that when I dial 10-10-987, and I get that pause then a 2nd dialtone, that the 2nd dialtone should be coming from their equipment and I am on the TelecomUSA network. They say that if I indeed did dial the number but it was billed by AT&T, that AT&T must have some configuration error preventing the call going to their system. They apologize but say its between me and AT&T. They don't care enough about the calls to get into it with AT&T on my behalf. AT&T tells me there is no appeal process of a dispute once they make a decision. I ask if I can speak to someone who made the decision - answer "no". I offer to make a call on 3-way conference with this woman so she can hear me dial 10-10-987 and she can look in her computer and see if it was billed direct or through 10-10. She says she can't see real time data and she is unwilling to do that and make a note that at "X" time I made a call and she witnessed it and I did dial the 10-10 number. I ask how I am supposed to get a fair decision since I can't appeal, can't speak to who makes the decision, and they won't take the time to do an unbiased test to see if its actually happening or not. She says the only thing they will do is open ANOTHER dispute but that after this one, I will have to abide by the final decision. Now obviously they are biased in this, they are making a decision alone and without even calling me to ask my side of it. The simple solution that would PROVE this is just to have them and I agree on a call time, let them witness it, and see how it shows in their system, but they WILL NOT do this. THIS IS BS! By this point I am keeping my calm but my blood is boiling. They are holding my account hostage. They tell me if I don't pay they will give it 30 days then turn off the service. This is a BUSINESS line and thats not an option. What can I do? When I first stated getting these big bills, I looked around at different services, and last week initiated a switch to another provider. I have 3-4 weeks left with AT&T, but I have great business credit and won't ruin it because of their mistake. And I don't want nasty letters and collectors calling me over their mistake. The ironic part is if I stupidly paid their $1.50/min rate thinking I must have started using this 10-10 number later than I thought. I think they actually OWE ME about $800! My plan is to use the 10-10 number to call the National Atomic Clock in England which is an automated service that speaks the date and time. When I get the bill, I will have proof that I called X number at Y time and the dialtones will be recorded showing the 10-10 number usage. Then, when I get the bill it will show the overbilling amount. But if AT&T again refuses to fix this (as I am sure they will), whats next? I am a stubborn SOB and I am 100% willing to sue them in court for this. But could I do it in my city or would it be in whatever state AT&T business is in? Could I sue them for the overbilling going back to when I swithed to AT&T? Should I even mention this to them or will they stop talking to me and refer it to their legal dept? Should I send them a last-chance-to-resolve letter? Should I contact the AG office? The BBB? I just want to be charged correctly and not be threatened in my business because of their mistake. And after all this, I would very much like to get my overpaid amount back. FYI, AT&T has no knowledge I have switched - they won't know until they get the switch order in 3-4 weeks. But my new provider did mention they may roadblock my switch if I have a large outstanding bill since they don't want people racking up bills and then just switching and ditching them. Any advice? I'm at my wits end!