Past Investigation: BBG Communications

Four years ago John Mattes uncovered a worldwide pay phone scam, where travelers in airports were overcharged on pay phone calls placed within the airport. The targeted victims were frequently United States soldiers trying to call home. Tens of thousands of innocent travelers were victimized.

Sgt. Richard Coder

I-Guy Investigations caught BBG Communications wildly overcharging consumers for long-distance calls in airports all around the world. The targeted victims were frequently United States soldiers just trying to call home. Mattes found that BBG had rigged phones at the Leipzig Airport, a refuel stop for our troops, and was charging the troops up to $41.00 a minute for calling home to America.

One soldier, Sgt. Richard Corder, spoke out about the outrageous charges and demanded refunds for all the troops that have been victimized. The response was overwhelming. Troops all over the world were angry and demanding justice. Comments poured in from the public, outraged that a company would deliberately seek to swindle our troops.

Sgt. Corder’s story was first reported in the Army Times last fall. More recently, The Today Show on NBC reported this story. In their broadcast, a top Better Business Bureau official called BBG’s conduct “disgusting”.

In a story the next day, The New York Times reported one soldier as saying, “My wife and I were completely shocked that they could charge rates like that, especially for troops that are a captive audience.”

It wasn’t only troops who spoke out. The newspaper Stars and Stripes reports that California Senator Barbara Boxer wrote a personal letter to the president of BBG demanding they cease what she calls their deceptive practices. “Seeking financial gain on the backs of our military men and women and their families, who make such great sacrifices, is wrong,” the letter reads. “No service member on deployment should face such excessive charges simply to talk to their loved ones.”

New revelations about the scandal continued. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that one soldier who made just 2 calls at the airport was charged over $600 by BBG. He had no way to dispute it once he got back into a combat zone in Afghanistan.

One can imagine how many millions BBG has pocketed from the over 800,000 troops who have stopped at the Leipzig Airport.

Recently, the Daily Beast /Newsweek revealed new details of how the scheme has worked. According to the story, operators that handle BBG calls are trained to not reveal rates, so that troops have no way of knowing how much the call will really cost. They quoted one former employee as saying, “If someone knows the cost of the call they aren’t going to use the service.”

If you have been a victim of the BBG Communications scam, contact John Mattes; send details so we can alert authorities, and can demand refunds for all the service members victimized.