Another $400 Refund for Phone Bill's Errant 'Simplified Municipal Tax'

Another $400 Refund for Phone Bill’s Errant ‘Simplified Municipal Tax’


Action by a Kane County consumer, a River Bend community-group leader, Kane County and city of St. Charles government officials, a newspaper column by Denise Crosby and a phone company that’s doing the right thing have resulted in another $423 account credit for the “simplified municipal tax” that was wrongly charged to some customers who live outside municipal borders.

You might recall the Kane County Connected article and Facebook post or the Crosby column in The Beacon-News and Courier-News that put the spotlight on a the MTT that shows up on some folks phone bills even if they live in unincorporated areas.

Fox Bend Community Group President Chuck Ingersoll was initially made aware of the situation when he was contacted by John Fenlaciki, a resident of Fox River Estates in St. Charles Township. Fenlaciki discovered the charge in the fine print of his phone bill, dig some digging and eventually got in contact with the Midwest president of Verizon, who issued a “profound apology” and a $639.87 credit for errant charges going back to 2005.

Since then, several residents of unincorporated Kane County have contacted Ingersoll to say they’ve protested and received a refund, as well.

The latest came Friday in the form of this email:

I followed the directions for submitting the (certified mail) letter to Verizon, our carrier, as outlined in your post on 3/17/14 and got a credit to my account yesterday 4/25/14 of $423.26 from Verizon.  Tell the person that notified you of this tax scam thank you for the information.  I really wonder how many people across the United States living in townships like us are (having the same problem with) their cell service providers.”

Credit a lot of people for taking the time to bring the issue some attention.

Those folks include Fenlaciki, Ingersoll and Crosby, but also Kane County Development and Community Services Director Mark VanKerkhoff and his staff and St. Charles Finance Director Chris Minick, who did research to confirm that, in fact,the tax does not apply to folks living outside the city limits.

And give credit, too, to Verizon officials, who not only recognized the problem once it was called to their attention but made the proper apologies and took action to make sure the consumers were refunded in full.