I still use this company (because my sister now works for them otherwise I would've paid the $200 I don't have to cancel my plan).
I used to be on Verizon, which had mediocre customer service in Colorado, but it was my parents plan and since I felt like their personal puppet, I wanted to get my own phone (as well as many other things in my life). I was on an internship out of state though without my car, so I spoke with a coworker about her 'great service provider' and cool phone, and she helped me order online.
I purchased a phone online as well as a service plan for what I needed at the time. I clicked the box for 'unlimted texting' at $15/month and a my favs plan with like 300 anytime minutes. I also chose a WHITE slider phone.
When it arrived it was a silver/grey slider, and (unbeknownst to me at the time) unlimited texting wasn't put on my plan. I let the color slide because I was busy and figured I personally could have missed a minor detail like that.
About 2 or 2 1/2 weeks later a paper bill arrived, with a total of over $500 (mostly in overage charges) due in 2 or 3 days. I'd spent a little bit of time in those 2 weeks trying to make an account online and set up my online stuff but it wouldn't let me create an account (I even had a friend back home try to do it, and a friend at work to see if it was my internet connection at home, they couldn't set it up either). As soon as I got the bill (about 40 pages, front and back) I called _____. Had to work my way through the automatic response system and finally was connected to someone.
I explained the problem, and they were very understanding and apologetic. She said she'd update the account with the unlimited texting and that she'd make it apply to the previous billing statement since it was my first month. I also mentioned that I'd been having trouble online and she said when she was done switching things she'd transfer me to the technical department.
We got disconnected. (I found that I almost never had a decent signal in my apartment complex, and work was even worse). I called back, explained the situation and that SoAndSo was currently working on updating my account with unlimited texting, and then would transfer me to tech support because of the online issues. This guy was rude and sounded like a teenager backtalking to his mother. "Well adding unlimited to your account is going to charge you $15 more each month and it's not going to help the bill we already sent you." I asked why and he said the billing cycle had already passed.
"But it hasn't even been a month. Aren't I supposed to recieve a bill each month"
"No, your first one comes now, then they'll come every month"
This made no sense to me so I went back and forth with him on it for a minute and finally had to leave for work and said bye.
A day or two later I called again, re-explaining the situation and that one person was going to help me and the next did not. I was told the same thing this time as the time before, but in a little bit nicer tone. I still didn't understand how or why my first bill came so soon and no one could explain it to me. I got frustrated and said I'd call back again in a day or
Finally I reached someone who was just as confused as I was at the service I recieved and the round-about answers I was given. They updated my account with unlimited texting, and tried to apply it to the account for the overage charges. "It looks like we just barely missed the billing cycle. You're already into your 2nd month now, so I can't apply it to last month."
"Wait, YESTERDAY was my actual billing cycle?"
"I was told it was over a week ago."
('YESTERDAY' by the way, was EXACTLY one month after the phone arrived at my door, which made a hellova lot more sense to me than 2 weeks after).
So after speaking with this person for nearly half an hour I decided not to cancel my plan, and that I would pay the overage charges. I couldn't afford to just give them $500 right then and there but I did have about $180 in my account, and $20 in my wallet that I could deposit into the bank that day. So I gave the woman my cc number and when she asked me if I wanted that card to just be charged the balance of my bill each month (a question she was required to ask, as the robot who takes your calls asks the same thing too) I distinctly remember telling her NO (because I didn't know when I was going to have the other $300, much less next month's balance). She understood and said so long as I make payments every time I can, even $20 here, $100 there, my phone would not be shut off.
Next month, drama in all other areas of my life hit and I had $0 in my bank account. I was looking into borrowing money from friends to pay a little bit on my bill (just enough to keep the phone on for the time being), when I get a statement from my bank that I'm overdrawn. By about $358. WHAT? First I think it's a suck on the account of the bank because there's no way I would charge over $300 worth of stuff if I don't have the money. There's also a $40 first time overdraft fee and another fee I can't remember. So I actually owe the bank $400. They tell me the company my cc charged to _____, my cell phone company.
Immediatly I call them up and ask wtf is going on. I'm clearly angry but still polite (both my parents are assholes when dealing with this stuff so I'm very aware of NOT being like them, sometimes I'm even a pushover for it but that's a whole 'nuther story).
First guy I connected with was working on an immediate refund for me, was very apologetic, and was going to credit my account a little bit for the inconvenience. We got disconnected.
I call back and I am told that last month I was set up on automatic billing and that I agreed to just have my cc charged each month for the remaining balance on my account.
I tell them that NO I did NOT agree to this, that I specifically remember asking to NOT be on it, and am told "That's not what my notes say." I ask to speak to their supervisor.
Almost the EXACT same conversation takes place, and I ask for THEIR supervisor as well. Rince, Lather, Repeat EIGHT times. Finally I get someone who REFUSES to let me speak to anyone higher than her and argues with me over the charges. She says it didn't matter if I agreed to automatic billing or not, that it was in their computer. I told her that I was going to pay the money WHEN I HAD IT, but they went and took money out of a bank account, money that wasn't even there. I was on the phone with her for 48 minutes, and the conversation just went in circles because she would not let me speak to anyone else and would not help me out with my situation.
When I said that I was looking into cancelling my plan she said "I can do that for you right now, I already have your credit card number, would you like me to charge you for the $200?"
"NO. ... I am not satisfied with this service or this phone call. I'll call back when I have more time to deal with this."
No one else could help me with this situation, and I didn't know what else to do. So I paid my bill and held on to the plan.
Fast forward to February. I've moved home after this internship and my college enrollment status has changed, so while I wait for that to sort itself out I'm looking for a job. I can't find one before my billing cycle for March begins, so I go online to switch my plan down to the minimum they'll let me have (no text messages, no special ring tones, 300 whenever minutes for $29.99/month). Should save me $50/month on my bill, just until I can afford my old plan again. A month goes by, I check my balance through my phone (as I've finally figured out this nifty feature) and supposedly I owe $80. I check my bill online to see what they're adding up, and I can't find it. Everything says I'm supposed to be charged $29.99 and yet they charged me $80.
My sister agreed to take a look at my bill since she works there and see if she can help but her car broke down, her son got suspended, etc etc and she hasn't had time.
I paid $30 on the account because that's what I had budgeted, and I didn't want the phone to get shut off.
But now I'm left feeling used, abused, and bruised. Everytime I tell them I have a problem with my bill I get no help, and somehow they continue to charge me more and more. I'm not good with these situations and the only thing I knew to do was ask for a supervisor, but you see how far that got me. So I have 2 questions for all of you. You seem to give great advice so:
1) What can I do to improve, when I have an issue, so that I can get results?
2) What should I do about this cell phone bill? I'm thinking I'm just going to pay it, and then fight it if it shows up too much again next month...I don't know.