Chelsea moved to London while she was still under a T-Mobile USA contract. This would be a perfectly legitimate reason to let her out of her contract without an early termination fee. Unfortunately, she wrote to Consumerist, she can’t prove to T-Mobile’s satisfaction that she no longer lives in the United States.
Sprint has confirmed they will increase monthly regulatory fees from $.20 to $.40 on January 1st, creating an opportunity for customers to drop their contracts without incurring an early termination fee, which could save you up to $200.
Yesterday, ECA President Hal Halpin emailed Consumerist and other blogs a formal statement addressing the charges that the ECA is deliberately making it hard for members to break free. I’m printing the letter below, along with a summary of the key points Halpin makes and the issues that remain unanswered.
Some members of the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) are pretty upset that the consumer advocacy group for gamers removed the ability to turn off auto-renewal on member accounts. They’ve also removed the phone number you used to be able to call to cancel. In fact, the only way to cancel your ECA membership now is to mail them a letter–and if your request isn’t processed at least 30 days before your membership is due to renew, you can expect to be charged again. Update: The ECA has responded, but their formal statement leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
Gregory Rowell has been dead for nearly two years, but no one knew that he’d set up an auto debit with Planet Fitness on a second checking account. The gym continued to debit his account each month until a bank employee notified the victim’s mother, Patricia Rowell. When she provided the death certificate and asked them to refund the money, they not only refused, but said it was her fault and offered her a six month membership instead. That’s when Rowell took her story to the local newspaper.
Valerie just wants to cancel her Blockbuster Online subscription. They tell her to click… but there’s nothing there.
Look, Comcast, when you take back someone’s equipment and give them a receipt confirming that their account has no balance, it’s not unreasonable for them to think that their account is canceled. Don’t keep billing them for service and equipment rentals, and don’t tell them that you “can keep [the account] active and [bill] indefinitely until [you] decide to disconnect it.” Because if you do, they’re going to call their state Attorney General’s office. At least that’s how Paul convinced Comcast to finally cancel his account.
Gold’s Gym in Oxnard, California won’t stop billing Molly’s brother for membership, even though both he and his mother have repeatedly sent the gym copies of his deployment orders to Afghanistan. Two months later, the gym claims that it has “misplaced” the deployment orders, and is still billing for services Molly’s brother can’t use.
If you cancel your Vonage service before the end of the first year, you’re going to need to pay $70 for Vonage’s proprietary router on top of a $29.95 cancellation fee. Don’t even try to return the soon-to-be useless router because that’s simply not an option.
A month ago, we wrote about Brice’s struggles with E*Trade to recover the balance on an account they closed. After eight months of letters and phone calls, Brice got E*Trade to close the account, but it continued to accrue interest and Brice never received the balance. Finally, after launching eight Executive Email Carpet Bombs, Brice has his money.
It looks like AOL is up to its old shenanigans and is still making hard for some people to cancel service (yes there are still some people using AOL), but reader Richard figured out a way to finally get through to them, with a highlighter. He writes:
I could not find a way to contact AOL to stop my service. So I took a yellow marker, drew a line though that line item on my credit card bill, and wrote on the bill….”Do not pay, account in dispute”. I paid all the other items on the CC bill that month. It took AOL about 2 weeks to call me…..I told them what I thought of their service, and instructed them to terminate my account, while I was still on the phone. It worked. They seem to understand when you tell them you are not going to pay.
That’s one way to go about it. You could also call up your credit card company and request a chargeback, but this has the added benefit of zero hold time. First rebates, now AOL cancellations, this highlighter is starting to look mighty potent.
After eight months of calling and writing, Reader Brice finally annoyed E*Trade enough to close his account. At least that’s what the letter from E*Trade said; in reality, Brice never received a check for his balance, and although he couldn’t access his $3,195, his account is still earning interest.
New reader Lynne (Hi, Lynne!) shares with us a letter that she recently sent to Poland Springs after they refused to stop delivering and billing her for water she did not want. Originally, she simply wanted to place her account on hold while she moved to a new home. Poland Springs complete inability to follow her simple requests turned a loyal customer into a former one.
Eliot Van Buskirk over at Wired found that he was no longer in need of his Rhapsody, Napster and Yahoo! Music subscriptions now that the RIAA is starting to warm up to the idea of DRM-free music.
AOL has avoided what was certain to be an entertaining court battle by settling with 48 states and the District of Colombia over allegations that it made it, uh, difficult to cancel for the many customers who were fleeing to broadband.
Great job, Crapitol One! You just lost a(nother) customer! — BEN POPKEN