We switched to MCI for our phone company in January 2005, they had some great deals going on and our phone bill was immediately $28, a nice drop from the previous $38 with our other company. Things went ok until April. Suddenly our bill jumped to $40. MCI's bills are not detailed or explanatory at all. It lists a "General" charge for the phone calls made and then taxes and any add-ons like Caller ID. We tried to call and find out why our bill jumped up $12 when we were using the phone the same way and making no long distance calls. MCI bullshitted around, saying rates had gone up and we'd get a letter explaining them. So we paid the bill and waited. Honestly at that point I thought maybe there was a clause I didn't see about how the service is cheaper the first months. I reviewed every piece of paper I had from them though and nothing like that was even hinted at.
No letter ever came. But our May bill was $53. Again, the bill didn't show anything that could have made the bill go up beyond a $.67 tax increase. We called again and they said that we simply used the phone more often that month. We asked if they could sent a detailed list of all the charges, instead of the crappy bill that was so general. They agreed.
A few days later, they sent something. Not a detailed list of charges though. They basically sent their monthly bill, only this time with $0 due. The charges were laid out like this;
Local Service: $42.67
Caller ID: $3.77
Paper Billing Fee:$.99
Nearly $20 is too much for taxes in my opinion, but thats another rant. I called again and the girl on the phone got huffy and told me "That is as detailed a record as we keep, Ma'am. We are not the FBI or something" I'm pretty sure that is a lie, but I had no proof to call her on it.
We paid the bill but immediately started shopping around for a new company. We settled on Verizon and started their service on June 15th. MCI's June bill was $65, which we paid and then called and canceled MCI. They gave us a hard time about it, but in the end they confirmed it was canceled.
Fast forward to now. We've been happy with Verizon. Low monthly bills of around $30, the bills are laid out by whom we called and how long we talked, and the taxes aren't nearly as high. But yesterday, MCI sent us a bill for $450. According to them they never canceled the service so we owe the past 7 months of phone bills and late fees. Upon calling, they were nasty and said that we have indeed been using their service for the past 7 months. They had no counter when I told them how Verizon has been laying out the detailed charges so I'm quite certain I've been paying them for service and that if we had been using their service, why was a monthly bill not sent until now? All I could get out of the reps I talked to was "Pay the bill and we'll cancel the service. We can't cancel it with a balance. Until the bill is paid, we have to keep charging you" That does sound like it's probably semi-true, as far as it cannot be canceled with a balance, but it should have been canceled in the first place when the balance was paid off!
A lawyer is being consulted now, because this is ridiculous. I'll be moving in about three weeks and I don't want to have to deal with these people beyond that, because I don't plan on leaving a Forwarding Address and I don't want them showing up on a credit report or tracking me down later. The whole thing just seems rather fishy, charges not being explained and then being billed for 7 months of service all at once. Plus the reps who claim they don't keep track of charges and can't cancel a service that was actually canceled months before.