Honolulu Star-Bulletin - Kokua Line

Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Thursday, October 7, 1999

Customer challenges
GTE charge

Question: I noticed, on my GTE Hawaiian Tel bill, that I was being billed by something called the USBI long-distance-saving billing company. But MCI is my carrier. So I called GTE and they said, "Oh yeah." GTE then credited my account for about $43 for one month's bill and $42 for another. I'm wondering if any other people are being charged these outrageous charges for nothing. What is this USBI?

Answer: USBI is US Billing Inc., a "billing clearinghouse."

It collects and processes bills from other companies. Its charges then appear on the phone bills of local telephone companies like GTE Hawaiian Tel, said GTE spokesman Keith Kamisugi.

It is possible that you somehow authorized the charges, perhaps by signing up for a promotion by a long-distance phone company that bills through USBI, he said.

But since the customer service representative promptly credited your account, "we will be working directly with USBI on that erroneous charge," Kamisugi said.

GTE Hawaiian Tel's policy "is to have billing arrangements only with companies that meet our standards for correct billing and customer service," he said.

Q: On my way in on mornings, after a rain when the roads are wet, near the University of Hawaii offramp, the lanes are unrecognizable. When I traveled on the mainland one year in Colorado, they had reflective dots on the roadways like an airport runway. Is it possible for us to use those kinds of dots to demarcate the lanes on the highway?

A: Actually, the state Department of Transportation uses a combination of reflective buttons, white lines and both white and red reflectors, said Kelly Lee Sato, district maintenance engineer.

At the UH interchange, the highway has buttons, but the line dividing the onramp from the freeway is a solid white lane with reflectors, he said.

Sato acknowledged, however, the white line is faded and many of the reflectors are missing.

He said a work order was issued to have the lines restriped and the reflectors replaced.

Q: I was wondering if you might have the address in Japan of Hawaii's sumo wrestlers, Musashimaru and Akebono?

A: We got an address for Akebono from Larry Aweau, adviser to the Hawaii Sumo Club.

Aweau said you can write to Akebono care of Daigoro Watanabe (also known as Jesse Kuhaulua a k a Takamiyama), Azumazeki Baya, 4-6-4 Chome, Higashi Komogata, Sumidaku, Tokyo Japan 130.

If anyone can provide the address for Musashimaru, we'll print it as well.


To the beautiful person who returned my Seiko watch at Longs Drugs downtown Sept. 28 and to the pharmacy section for holding it for me. -- No name


To the Kalihi Valley District Park staff for keeping the swimming pool open all summer and these continuing hot fall days. It is such a joy to see so many happy youngsters (and some oldsters too) learning to swim and frolicking in the pool. Mahalo also to the maintenance staff for keeping the premises clean, especially the pool maintenance person who is daily observed vacuuming the pool and picking up debris from the water in the early morning hours. -- Daily jogger

Need help with problems? Call Kokua Line at 525-8686,
fax 525-6711, or write to P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu 96802.
Email to kokualine@starbulletin.com

E-mail to City Desk

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