Ripoff alert: NetOpus.net

I almost used the words “fraud alert” in my post title, but that’s a little strong for something that hasn’t been proven in a court of law. In any case, if you’re a business owner, you need to know about this company’s tactics.

Over the past week, I’ve been right in the middle of a huge can of worms. Thursday evening last week, I sat down to pay my phone bill and noticed a third-party billing service item that I didn’t recognize. www.paymentone.com had put through a $34.95 charge on behalf of “netopus.com” for something called “NetOpus Silv er Mnthly Fee” (sic). I attempted to call both my phone company and the phone number listed for NetOpus, and both were after hours. And the website netopus.com states this: “If you recently received a letter from NETOPUS.NET concerning services that you did not order, please direct your inquiry to NETOPUS.NET. This domain is NETOPUS.COM and we have nothing to do with the company operating at NETOPUS.NET although we are getting a whole lot of people contacting us incorrectly in response to the letter from Netopus.net.”

Because I couldn’t get it taken care of right then, I began to do some research online. I found incident after incident posted by other victims. Victims claim that the telemarketer who calls asks the person who answers the phone to simply verify business information for their directory, then afterwards doctors the recording so that the victim agrees to a monthly service that they’ll be charged after a 15-day trial period. From what I gather, the service is for website hosting. Huh… why would I agree to website hosting when I already have a website and hosting that’s vastly cheaper than $35 a month?

My phone company has taken the charge off my bill and the third-party billing company has also agreed to do the same if it continues to be an issue. But that’s not enough – I would really like to protect other unwitting small business owners.

I hesitate to post much more than this… just that the telemarketers instruct you to say “yes” for their recording. Don’t agree to anything until you ask for their terms in writing and be wary when verifying any information, even if they have only information that’s in the public domain. If you want to know more, contact me directly.

15 thoughts on “Ripoff alert: NetOpus.net

  • Gayle says:

    We are in the process of fighting this company on this very thing. We received a “welcome” letter from NetOpus which notified us of the charges with a 15 day free trial. The letter was “delayed” in getting to us. We actually received it on the 15th day. I called NetOpus immediately to cancel anything they believed they had with us. I also sent them a letter. They assured me over the phone that they cancelled everything, but here it is two months later and charges are showing up on my phone bill, the first charge going through BEFORE the 15 day free trial was over. I’m trying to figure out how to shut down this company permenantly. Maybe if enough of us stick together we can get something started. What do you think?

  • Sara Hurd says:

    Thank you, Gayle, for your comment! I would love to have a hand in getting this stopped. I have a connection I’d like to share with you… give me a call (801-732-0932).

    You can read the experiences of other “victims” at http://www.complaintsboard.com, search term “NetOpus.”

  • Barry Koehler says:

    I am a web developer. One of my clients got hit with this scam. They are asking me what to do about it, as they really are not savvy about these issues.

    First, thanks for posting the information on this site. It’s been very helpful. I looked at the complaintsboard link, and from what I can determine, it seems to be a waste of time to try and contact NetOpus.

    My feeling is that it’s best to just contact your phone company and get them to deal with this.

    I’d be interested in hearing any more info you might have, but if not, thanks again for your time spent in letting others know about these scammers.

    Sincerely,
    Barry Koehler

  • Charlotte Staggs says:

    I tried to cancel this the day after they called and I realized I had made a major mistake–twenty times I called and was disconnected due to high call volume! Really!!! So, I faxed a letter to them! However,I was still charged. I have not been able to get to the website to see if I can cancel through that means. I am not happy and am at a loss for what to do next! C Staggs

  • Joe Hanson says:

    I also was scammed by NetOpus. First I contacted my phone company and told them I would not pay the charges and wanted to know when they started. They told me that I would not have to pay but I would need to contact Payment One at 888-296-8076 who was doing the billing for NetOpus who removed the billing from my account and they gave me the number for NetOpus 800-736-7500 then they tried to tell me that a Sarah in my office had authorized the charges which is impossible because I run a one man office and better yet they sold my company a web site when the business that I own and run is a web site development service so why would I buy a web site from another company??? They had no answer for me on that one. I did receive an email from their customer service department that I would be happy to forward you if you like. I hope this helps. Joe

  • sundar says:

    Confirmations and verification of orders at Netopus is done by third party verifiers.
    Netopus does all its businesses ethically and legally.
    All the complaint emails will be reviewed and responded by the QC Manager.
    Please address all your complaints to Selena Tran at stran@netopus.net.

  • Sara Hurd says:

    Sundar: Thank you for an alternative viewpoint on this issue. However, all data I have found on this company, including at the Better Business Bureau website, paints it in a dubious light.

    Luckily, my issue was easily resolved through my phone company and PaymentOne. Really, if NetOpus does all its business ethically and legally, why use billing via telephone bills, which is easily done without the consumer’s prior knowledge or approval? I shudder to think that some victims who do not check their phone bills carefully continue to pay for a service–that they are not aware they agreed to–month after month.

    I remember the phone call from the “sales” representative clearly. Not at any time did I agree to the service that I was charged for. However, I believe that NetOpus probably has a recording of me saying “yes” to the service, as I was instructed more than once to say the word “yes” (no other affirmation would do) to confirm my business information (name, address, phone number) for an online directory. Because the business information was in the public domain, I didn’t think anything of it. I heard nothing about a service for which I would be charged. Perhaps, as other customers allege, the recordings are doctored. I can’t say, as I haven’t heard the recording that was made of me.

    Again, Sundar, perhaps NetOpus believes that they conduct business ethically and it is the representatives that are fraudulently enlisting customers. I appreciate your viewpoint, but I believe that SOMETHING SMELLS.

  • Scott says:

    I would advise anytime there is something unrecognized on your phone bill to call the phone company and have it removed as CRAMMING Charges! What then happens is after enough complaints they lose the right to bill on the phone bill essentially shutting them down… Problem is then the owner takes the millions they have made and starts a new company and repeats said process…

    Unfortunately it is a never ending cycle of ripping people off…

  • Chris says:

    Sundar you are either uniformed as to how they do business or you are shioll for these scammers. Which is it?

  • Harry says:

    Our office admin just brought our Qwest phone bill to my attention and we’ve been getting charged $34.95 by NetOpus.net for months. NO ONE in this office has ever agreed to, heard from, or has any record of NetOpus.net.

    After contacting the NetOpus.net number listed on our bill, 888-296-8076, and asking them for a record of authorization, we were told they did not have the actual bill or record in front of them and therefore could not verify anything. To dispute anything with them, we were told to fax 408-362-2790.

    I then called Qwest to ask what they knew about NetOpus.net and the other company involved PaymentOne.com. They were familiar with paymentone.com, but claimed no knowledge of NetOpus. After explaining that did not authorize anything from NetOpus and had already contacted them to cancel, Qwest immediately offers a 3-month credit for the charges. When I push the point further, they agreed to credit the last 6 months (stating that is their limit).

    If NetOpus cannot show any records of services authorized or even rendered, how is that not illegal to then charge $34.95/month?

    Also, doesn’t that make Qwest complicit in what seems to be a crime? They seem suspiciously quick to credit our account even though the bill clearly states “There is no connection between Qwest and PaymentOne.com-Spec Svcs.”

    So it would seem that Qwest know somethings but won’t (and doesn’t have to) tell individuals, and until enough people complain and document these issues with their regional PRC, nothing will happen to these scams.

  • Harry says:

    also, to state it this way, like Joe Hanson (comment above): How did Qwest verify that NetOpus was authorized to charge our account?

    Did NetOpus only provide our company name and phone number and simply tell Qwest to start billing us?

    Somewhere Qwest should have an authorization record or procedure for billing 3rd party services—but they claim not to. why not??

  • sarahurd says:

    Harry, I’m sorry to hear that your company has been a victim of this company. I’m not sure what Qwest requires before they put through a charge on behalf of a third-party. When I talked with the third-party billing service (basically the middleman between NetOpus and Qwest), they claimed to have recorded authorization, which seems to be fabricated by NetOpus based on recordings of simple words like “yes” and “no.” If they got a hold of anyone at your company, they possibly could have fabricated a recorded authorization, even if no one at your company remembers talking to them. Of course, none of this has been proven as far as I know, but this is what it seems like to me from my experience.

    It seems to be too easy for companies to attach charges to your telephone bill. I would definitely like to see that changed.

  • Let me begin by saying I have longtime reader, but this is my first comment. I figured I might as well say thanks for posting this piece (and all your others), and I’ll be back!

  • Renato Chain says:

    Great blog post, exactly what I was in search of.

  • Greg Lee says:

    Thanks for the post. I just caught theses guy’s on the first charge. You info will help.

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