Jennifer wrote to us about the trouble a family in South Carolina is having over a huge T-Mobile bill: “Zeb, a special needs adult living with his parents, had his cell phone stolen just prior to Christmas. By the time the theft was discovered, $6000 in calls and text messages had been made to Honduras.” The good news is that T-Mobile hasn’t asked the family to pay the full $6,000. The bad news is that they do want them to pay a fourth of that. Update: T-Mobile has let the family off the hook. [More]
Ryan’s life is an Alanis Morissette song: “It’s like being told your AT&T account is paid off, and then meeting his beautiful collections agent coming after you for the money you were told you didn’t owe.” [More]
At least one official with the FCC is not impressed by Verizon’s latest explanations of its Early Termination Fees (ETFs) and Mobile Web billing practices. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn released a statement (pdf) last night where she called Verizon’s explanation “unsatisfying” and “troubling,” and she closed with the fighting words, “I look forward to exploring this issue in greater depth with my colleagues in the New Year.” [More]
Last month, David Pogue at the New York Times published a tip from a self-described Verizon employee. The employee accused Verizon of deliberately rigging its system to trap customers whenever they accidentally press the “Get It Now” or “Mobile Web” buttons on their phones–even if they cancel the operation immediately, they’re charged a fee of $1.99 each time. Both Pogue and the FCC asked Verizon to explain why this happens. Verizon’s response: it doesn’t, and Pogue and the hundreds of people who wrote in to confirm this practice are all crazy. [More]
After a man added his 13-year old son to his Verizon plan, his cellphone bill rocketed to nearly $22,000. [More]
We’ve posted before about how to break your cable habit without giving up on TV altogether–it’s possible, but can’t happen without some work on your end. This week, the New York Times’ Nick Bilton explained how he and his wife have combined their existing devices with a few new ones to create a content stream that enables them to watch what they want without cable. [More]
In Michigan, utilities can increase rates without first getting approval, but that means the Michigan Public Service Commission can later reduce them. That’s what happened on Monday, when the Commission ordered Consumers Energy to refund about $39.6 million to customers it overcharged since last May.
Bonnie’s elderly parents switched from Verizon dial-up to Verizon DSL, but Verizon didn’t turn off their dial-up account when switching them to DSL. They somehow failed to notice when they continued to be charged for dialup. For two years.
Your new washer, dryer, fridge, monitor, or TV set may have an Energy Star label on it, but it turns out that nobody is making sure that means anything, reports the New York Times. Our parent organization Consumer Reports pointed out that this was a problem a year ago.
If you signed up for Frontier Communications’ Price Protection Plan—a combo phone and broadband package—between January 2007 and September 2008, and you canceled the agreement and were charged an early termination fee (ETF), you may be getting some cash back.
Comcast is going to start rolling out a $2 fee hike across the country this fall, which means your cable modem rental fee will go from $3 to $5 by the end of the year. Comcast says they absolutely have to do this or they’ll never be able to pay for service and equipment upgrades, which makes us wonder how the poor underfunded company manages to stay afloat at all.
Having trouble paying your high power bill? The law of supply and demand may be your friend. Americans’ electricity use is decreasing for the first time since 1949. (Maybe it’s all those compact fluorescent bulbs.) This means that your electric bill could be slightly lower in the coming months…or at least not increase as much as usual.
A new survey from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) compared annual costs around the world for consumers who have cellphones, and the U.S. is in the top three for most expensive. How expensive? DSLReports notes that “on average, the OECD found that Americans pay $635.85 on cell phone service, compared to $131.44 per year in the Netherlands or $137.94 per year in Sweden.”
We think AT&T just stole about $157 from commenter Spoco. They applied the payment as always via his Amex card, but then said that it was declined and auto-debited it a second time a month later (+ late fees, of course). The only problem is, it wasn’t declined, and Spoco has proof. He just can’t get anyone at AT&T to care.