Amid recent reports of Verizon Wireless customers getting dinged on their phone bills with unexpected data overages, it may come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission has seen a spike in complaints related to the company. [More]
You’d think that being the senior U.S. Senator from Missouri would help Claire McCaskill get better service from her cable company, but you’d be wrong. As this recording demonstrates, the legislator has just as much trouble as the rest of us trying to get anything resembling decent service from her pay-TV provider. [More]
Nearly two years after Consumerist reader Robert shut down his business-tier service with Comcast, he’s still fighting with the nation’s largest broadband provider over a $1,775 early termination fee that should not have been assessed. Comcast even admits the money shouldn’t have been debited from Robert’s bank account, but now says it’s his responsibility to sort the mess out with his bank. [More]
Apple’s new streaming music service costs $10 per month. So does competing service Spotify, but if you subscribe through the Spotify iPhone app, they charge you an extra three bucks because of Apple’s 30% cut of every subscription sold through apps on their devices. However, Apple’s rules for what’s okay to put in an app mean that Spotify can’t actually tell you this, so they sent an e-mail to users explaining how to change your subscription. [More]
When a 79-year-old Comcast customer accidentally included her rent check with her Comcast bill, not only did the cable company cash the check — which was more than 10 times the amount of her bill and was made out to someone else — but it also refused to issue her a refund when it acknowledged the goof. [More]
While Yahoo’s photo sharing site Flickr now offers free users a reasonably hefty 1TB of storage, it didn’t use to be so generous, and the only way around those old limits was to upgrade to a Pro account for $25/year. When Flickr stopped offering the Pro tier last spring, Yahoo grandfathered in existing Pro accounts at the same rate. But if you’re still paying for Flickr Pro, you may want to keep an eye on your bank statement when it comes time to renew your account. [More]
Robert and his wife aren’t poor: they’re currently in the process of buying a vacation home. His wife opened up a Macy’s credit card in order to get an additional discount, because yay for discounts! Robert set up “green” or paperless billing after gaining online access to the account, but it turned out to be more like billess billing: they never saw any bills. Should they have noticed that no bills were coming and checked their spam folders? Maybe. But no bills came.
Sandra was trapped. She was trapped in the enchanted prison of the Disney Movie Club. She didn’t need someone to cast a spell and set her free, though: what she really needed was to pay off her entire account balance. The problem is that the enchantment robs the Movie Club of the ability to read checks, so they dragged out her departure by logging her $35 check as a $25 one.
Rick should not have needed to speak to six separate customer service representatives at UPS in order to pay his bill for an international package. He received a bill with no indication that they accept credit cards: only a stub to return with his check or money order. He doesn’t use checks and found this all very mysterious and old-fashioned. Instead of buying a money order, he called UPS to see why their international billing department couldn’t join the current decade. That’s when he became a strange sort of hot potato, passed around UPS as if his request were completely unheard of.
Way back in 2004, Cameron had DirecTV service. When he moved, he ended his service and turned his equipment back in. At least, he thought he did. It wasn’t until this year that he learned the account had gone zombie back in 2005, charging the debit card of a bank account he didn’t watch closely for two years before going dormant–likely because the debit card expired. The zombie account had been slain, and a collection agency tracked Cameron down earlier this year to make him pay the balance on the account that he had never reactivated in the first place. Never mind that he had paid almost two years’ worth of bills without noticing it or even having a dish at the time.
Bally Total Fitness teased Jonathan with an introductory rate, drawing him in. Once that special rate was over, he canceled his membership. Or so he thought. He received a bill for his $29 “annual fee” and learned that he had somehow racked up a $400 balance after he thought the membership was already canceled.
David, a Cablevision customer, recently moved outside of their service area. They were evidently sad that he left, because they just can’t let him go. Or figure out whether he owes them money or not. First he had a zero balance, then it was weeks overdue, then he had a small balance from his last month of service, then he received a letter from a collection agency. He called in to verify whether he needed to pay this bill or not, and learned that Cablevision isn’t able to send him a document stating that his balance is paid in full. Because they just can’t.
Lured by the iPhone and the potential of less crappy reception, Chris and his wife walked away from T-Mobile and ported their numbers to Verizon. T-Mobile tried to bill them for an entire month’s service when they had only used a few days’ worth. Chris couldn’t accept this, and called up customer service. They told him that the no prorated bills rule was part of the terms of service he signed when he joined T-Mo. Boo. Funny thing, though. He had saved that original decade-old sheet with the terms of service when he signed up, and they said no such thing.
The workers who came to Matt’s house and installed new gutters did a great job, but they damaged the siding. He doesn’t want to pay their bill until the (very minor) damage to his house has been fixed. But he also doesn’t want the company to sic a collection agency on him. What would the consumerists do?
Earlier this year, we posted a handy tip to avoid zombie billing: for a service that you plan to stop using after your contract is up, use a credit or debit card with an expiration date shortly after the end of the contract. The idea behind this plan is that an expired card can’t be billed. This didn’t work so well for Rob, whose expired credit card was zombie-billed by Microsoft for his Xbox Live subscription.
After a recent move, Vincent signed up with DirecTV for his television-beaming needs. A sales representative quoted him a price, then assured him that no, there would be no extra fees on top of that. No one will be surprised at what happened next: a $10 per month HD fee appeared on his monthly bill. The person who originally signed him up refunded the fee and called it an “error.” But it didn’t go away with his next bill. Or ever.