Over the past year, hundreds of you have asked Whistleblower for help. While we can’t investigate each tip, we want to share more of what you tell us. In 2009, we started publishing a few tips each week to stimulate online discussion and create ways for our readers to help each other. Unlike our news stories, we have not verified this information, so we do not include the names of the parties involved. If you have a tip, send it to whistleblower@startribune.com.

A Ham Lake woman was hit with a $171 bill for three collect calls from her son recently. Her son was receiving in-patient care at a chemical dependency and mental health treatment center across the border in Wisconsin.

“Of course I accepted the calls but had no idea about the cost of those calls,” she said.
The calls lasted 55 minutes total. The taxes, fees and surcharges added up to $41.35, so the per-minute charge averaged $2.37.
The woman says she received the bad news from a Florida billing service that contracts with local telephone companies.
“I believe this is highway robbery,” she said.
Do you agree? Does a phone customer have any recourse?