Over at our former sibling site Gizmodo, they have cobbled together what they believe is a list of the basic rights any cable customer should have when it comes to service, billing and selection. We wanted to throw it out there to see if you agree.
Jill is a T-Mobile customer. She and her boyfriend ended their old family plan contract and started new contracts so they could get new phones on separate accounts. They would very much like to send T-Mobile money for the final bill, but their money is no good to T-Mobile. They just don’t want it.
Brance writes in that he signed up with DirecTV who was advertising a rate that was “locked in” for 12 months. 3 months later, he noticed that his bill had gone up $10. When he called DirecTV to complain, the supervisor told him it didn’t matter, they still reserve the right to raise rates when they want. “In the world I grew up in, “locked in” means it will not change,” writes Brance. Well now we live in a world where every promise comes with an asterisk.
Shawn moved into a new apartment and wants to start paying Comcast and Verizon monthly bills, but he says neither company will accept his money because the previous tenant hasn’t canceled his services yet.
On Wednesday, we shared Mike’s Verizon billing horror story. Instead of putting all of his Verizon and Verizon Wireless services on one bill as they were supposed to, the company pummeled Mike with a half-dozen different bills that added up to $1,100 for about a month and a half of service. He spent hours on the phone trying to fix this mess before writing to Consumerist. Then a higher power interceded: Verizon’s Executive Support and Media Relations departments, who we had passed Mike’s story on to in addition to publishing it.
MIke writes that he’s having some catastrophic billing issues with Verizon. He’s never had good luck with their customer service, which was fine with him because he never really had issues with his account. The simple act of choosing a new home service bundle set off a chain reaction ended up with Mike receiving multiple bills with different charges for different things, totaling about $1,100 for a 45-day period.
When he threw up his hands and asked Verizon to just cancel his service, waiving the early termination fees for his trouble, they couldn’t handle that, either. Update: Verizon has fixed the accounts and given Mike a full refund.
Last week, we asked you what annoyed you most about your mobile phone plan, and most of you picked “cost.” Now comes news that the Federal Communications Commission is going to review new proposals intended to keep you from spending more on your phone bill than you’d planned.
Here’s an excellent example of how a company will put more effort into getting you to notice its junk mail than any important account related information. David says this happens to him all the time, and it’s usually a serious notice (as in “impending disconnection”) thanks to a recurring billing error.
Charter To Customer With Five Failed Service Calls: "You Haven't Bugged Us Enough To Resolve Your Problem"
Charter tells it like it is: the problem with Eric’s incorrectly installed Internet service is that he hasn’t been trying hard enough to fix it. Here’s a copy of an email that Eric tried to send to Charter’s CEO last week, but it bounced back. Maybe someone at Charter can read it here?
One of our readers just switched over from T-Mobile to AT&T, but he discovered that pretty much everything the salesperson promised him at the retail store turned out to be a lie. At least, that’s what the angry AT&T customer service rep told his wife when she called in to dispute her first bill.
Ian writes that he was once a DirecTV customer. He wasn’t unhappy with their service, and would have considered going back if the stars aligned correctly one day. Switching to Comcast, however, currently saves him $100 per month, which is nothing to sneeze at. What has Ian sneezing mad, however, is that while DirecTV told him that he’d receive a final bill to pay in the mail, the company instead went ahead and charged his credit card for the final bill without his permission.
Emergency room bills bring a special sort of sticker shock, because they don’t usually show up until weeks later, and then come packed with all sorts of over-inflated fees and add-ons. The New York Times calls them “notoriously high and perplexing,” and although it’s unlikely you’ll ever end up paying the full amount listed on the bill, there are strategies you can use to bring that initial figure down.
In the rush to drop HD fees to attract new customers, DirecTV pulled a boner and forgot to remove the charges for at least one customer. Andrew says he called the company, reminded it of the oversight and got it to take HD charges off his account.
Lindsay was stuck with an overdue cable bill because her flighty live-in ex bailed on her, but found sympathy in the least likely of places — Comcast customer service. She explained her situation and got the company to give her a mulligan.
A fellow whose last name is Ernst — or is it “Earnest?” — says he’s annoyed with Comcast misspelling his name on its billing statements. He writes:
A man in New Mexico is suing Verizon Wireless over a series of harassing phone calls made by Verizon bill collectors last year. The man, Al Burrows, says the calls were concerning a relative’s unpaid cellphone bill. When he hung up on one of them, the disconnected Verizon rep called back, said she knew where Burrows lived, and added, “I am gonna blow your mother fucking house up.”
S. writes that in 2008, she owed a lot of money–about $8,000–to her dentist. She worked out a payment plan with the office, and asked them to auto-bill her credit card every month. They frequently forgot to bill her, but she wasn’t too concerned about the situation. At least, until a debt collector called her, saying that the dentist had sold her balance to them. The dentist’s office claims that this is a mistake. Now both entities want S.’s money, and she’s not sure who she should pay.
Mike’s mom is one of the fifteen people in the U.S. who doesn’t have a cell phone, so she called him collect from a pay phone in California. Mike and his mom didn’t know it at the time, but they fell into the sarlacc pit that is Custom TeleConnect, a creature that hides in payphones and charges $20 fees for less than half a minute of talking.