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.
A woman has sued her wireless provider for $600,000 for outing her as a cheater to her husband. After the they added internet and TV services to the woman’s previously single-user cellphone bill, the wireless company began sending the husband a unified bill, which included several hours long conversations to an unknown number. The husband walked out, and the lawsuits began.
Four years ago Bob and Mary’s and their son used their Verizon Family Share plan to send 33 text messages, talk for 184 free minutes, and to download 1.13 gigabytes of data. The bill? $17,984.02.
Last month, Daniel wrote in to complain that the Art Institute Online, which is part of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, had completely jacked up his final semester with them. When he wrote to us, he had no diploma, and he was being charged nearly $3,000 for undisclosed course requirements that the school had promised to comp. Fortunately, he’s written back with some good news.
Reader Chad was deployed to Iraq from 5/05 to 6/06. American Express gives a special rate to service members when they are deployed, but apparently Chad wasn’t getting it. They figured this out and let him know that they would be crediting his account with a mysterious number they couldn’t explain. Then they credited all his accounts with this exact amount of money– even new ones he didn’t have while in Iraq. Free money is nice, but he’d rather they just give him the right amount.
Bob stumbled onto Verizon’s dirty little non-secret — if you want a detailed billing statement with your calls listed, you’ll have to pay $1.99 more a month.
If you have a spending limit on your Sprint account because of your credit history, or in order to prevent runaway data bills, as of today you’ll have to pay for that privilege. Sprint has imposed a $4.99 per month surcharge on all mobile phone accounts that have spending limits in place.
Yesterday I posted about Zeb, a special needs guy whose phone was stolen shortly before Christmas. Between then and when his family found out about the theft and reported it to T-Mobile, the thief had made $6,000 in international calls and texts–and T-Mobile wanted Zeb’s family to pay $1,500 of that.
Today I received word from Zeb’s dad that T-Mobile has changed its mind and won’t hold Zeb or his family responsible for the bogus charges. His email is below.
Matt owns his own cable modem, and it’s worked fine so far with his $165-a-month Comcast Triple Play package. He wanted to check into how he could reduce that ridiculous $165/mo burden, so he chatted online with someone from Comcast to see what his options were. Then he ended the chat and went back to whatever it was he was doing, and Comcast killed his cable modem. Update: Comcast says the end of life (EOL) event was not related to Matt’s chat with the CSR.
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.”
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.
Shoes.com doesn’t seem to like Lora. Not the people at Shoes.com, who were helpful enough, but the website itself. Each time Lora places an order, the system cancels it–and naturally, owing to its hatred of this woman, it won’t tell anyone why. Whatever Lora did to hurt Shoes.com’s feelings, it worked.
(Okay, it may have something to do with billing addresses, but nobody is sure.)
Dan says he’s feeling a bit untrusted by Comcast, which has released the collection agency hounds on him, despite his bill’s due date still being a ways off.
Dave is the responsible roommate — the guy who volunteers to handle all the bills and finances for his pals.
Victor, who picked up Verizon’s new iPhone competitor, the Droid, says Verizon billed him for $40 a month in redundant charges.