Help With Telephone Bills Is Just A Phone Call Away

Pocket News, By Susan Sarinas, Program Manager


When you think of ACC Senior Services (ACC), you might think of the ACC Nursing Home, ACC Rides Transportation Services, Respite or even the Lifelong Learning and Wellness classes. But did you know that ACC Senior Services Center also provides assistance with your telephone services?

Since 2009, ACC has been a member of the TEAM Collaborative (www.telephoneissues.com), a program sponsored and funded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). TEAM stands for Telecommunications Education & Assistance in Multiple-languages.  ACC is one of over thirty community-based organizations (CBOs) throughout the state of California that have trained staff who can provide free education and complaint resolution assistance to seniors and others who are not proficient in English. ACC is currently the only CBO providing this service in the greater Sacramento area.

Although it may be one of the lesser known programs at ACC, TEAM is an invaluable public service. The telecommunications market is very competitive and there are a myriad of options: traditional landline, wireless, cable-based, and internet-based. These choices can be confusing and intimidating to customers who are elderly or not fluent in English and can make them more vulnerable to fraud. Seniors and limited English proficient speakers may also have trouble resolving billing issues with their phone companies.

In one notable example, we helped identify charges on an elderly client’s telephone bill that were the result of identity theft. We contacted the company and were able to obtain a refund of two years worth of fraudulent charges totaling over $400! The client wrote “I just didn’t know who to ask, but you were there! How could we ever thank you and your kindness and patience.”

ACC also provides educational workshops for community organizations, schools that offer English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, senior meal sites, and community centers. We do monthly phone bill review clinics or can meet with individuals by appointment to review phone bills for excess charges or ways to save money. You will even find ACC at community fairs distributing telephone education materials in various languages.

In addition to TEAM, ACC is part of a pilot program, known as CHANGES (Community Help and Awareness of Natural Gas and Electricity Services). This program began in 2011 and is also sponsored by the CPUC and is funded by PG&E. Similar to TEAM, we provide free education and assistance to consumers with their PG&E natural gas and electric bills. We inform consumers about the various assistance programs, help resolve disputes, and arrange payment plans.

If you need assistance with your telephone or PG&E bill, if you would like to schedule a workshop or bill review for your community group or organization, or, please contact Soojin Yoo at ACC Senior Services Center, 7375 Park City Drive, Sacramento, (916) 393-9026 ext. 338, team2@accsv.org.


This article was taken from http://issuu.com/valcomnews/docs/pn1407/9?e=5269339/7344539.