Charter Bills For Returned Equipment, Sends Account To Collections

Charter accused Kevin of failing to pay for unreturned equipment, even though Kevin paid his final bill in full and has a receipt for a returned cable box. Charter customer service representatives were happy to play whack-a-mole whenever the bogus charges for the equipment appeared on Kevin’s bill, but Charter eventually tired of the infuriatingly unwinnable game and sent Kevin’s account to collections.

He writes:

My wife and I are in a really tight spot right now with a cable company, and being an avid fan of what you guys do I wonder if there is anything I can do to either fix and/or shed some light on our situation. We had been customers of Charter Communications in Southern California for roughly a year, and at the end of our service we returned our equipment and were issued a final bill from the company. The bill was paid, however, the company made an error when we returned our equipment and issued us further notices that the equipment had not been returned, and that we owed an outstanding balance to pay for their loss. After numerous phone calls to their customer service, and after presenting the receipt we were given when the equipment was returned, the company admitted their error and issued us another statement stating that we had a zero balance. Months later we received another bill from Charter requesting, once again, the money for the unreturned equipment. When we called to find out why an additional error had been made, a Charter Customer Service Rep assured us that the bill had been issued in error, and that we had a zero balance.

This evening we received a threatening letter from Credit Protection Association, stating that due to our “Refusal to pay our outstanding balance,” our “Repeated disregard for their past notices,” and my own “Ignoring possible damage to my credit” that they had reported an unpaid balance to the National Credit Bureau. This balance, a random amount not represented on any other previous statement from Charter, was going to damage my credit rating and that I must pay them immediately or face further antagonizing calls/mail from their organization.

When we called Charter to receive further information about this issue we were completely shut down. Customer Service was not only rude, not only threatening, but called my wife a liar and stated that they could not pull up any information on what the outstanding balance was for, and even after conceding that we had called the previous week and been told otherwise, this was now our burden to deal with and that they would not let us speak to any supervisor, billing department, or other party who could assist us in fixing their mistake. To reconfirm we called a second time and spoke to a woman who told us that although Charter had not sent us any of the bills mentioned in our letter from the credit agency, our own powers of deduction in sifting through previous bills of what we owed, what we had paid, the equipment cost and the equipment returned would have given us incite to surmise any outstanding balance ourselves.

Who do we speak to with regards to having this issue resolved? Charter, from all my previous experience, is one of the most coarse and difficult companies to deal with. Their poor service, numerous blackouts, and horrible bookkeeping make this situation a nightmare when they are fumbling with our credit. Is there any way I can ascertain their records? The Customer Service agents we spoke to refused to allow us to speak to any supervisor. Who should we get in contact with to right their error?

We have numerous documents to back up our story, but who in an organization such as theirs do we give them to so we can be taken seriously? Any assistance in this matter would be greatly appreciated. We are huge fans of this site. Thank you.

Your account may now be nothing more than chum for the debt collection sharks at the ‘Credit Protection Association.’ Your receipt for the returned equipment will prove invaluable. Make copies, and read up on how to deal with abusive debt collectors by phone, and how to dispute a debt collection notice. It is also worth calling Charter’s CEO to try one last time to resolve the issue. If you live in Los Angeles, you can always sic the Chief Administrative Office on Charter; they just love spanking telecoms on behalf of abused consumers. You can reach their hotline at (213) 974-2323.

(Photo: Stephanie Costa)