Bit of background. Back in 2001, I signed up with the cable company for cable, landline phone, and Internet. I asked them what the total monthly bill would be, including taxes, fees, surcharges, etc.. They quoted me a price that didn’t include those and assured me the quoted price was the total price. Imagine my non-surprise when I got the first bill that was 22% higher than expected. Fast forward to December 2014. I asked five (5) employees if I paid in person if my electronic withdrawal would be taken out. All 5 of them said no. I paid in person the full amount of the expected bill using a different bank account before the due date and immediately cancelled cable and landline. I never got refunded what should be around $70. No bill deal. I told these employees if they did an electronic withdrawal for the full amount, it would overdraft. Had any of them had said yes the full charge was going through, I would cancelled all service immediately. Imagine my surprise about a week or so later when I get an overdraft from the first bank because the cable charged the full amount. Had they charged the amount for Internet only, it would not have overdrafted.
The next business day which was sometime in early January 2015, I went down to the cable office and told them to cancel my Internet service in very plain English. I also mentioned I had a cable modem from them. They said no I didn’t or that it must be an extra and I could keep it. I asked him if I owed him any charges several times. He said no each time. I don’t know the details, but instead of cancelling my Internet service, he didn’t. As I wasn’t using their service at the time, I didn’t check my cable Internet e-mail as I thought it was cancelled. About a month or so went by and I got a business card from one of their representatives on my door that said anything about waiving old bills. As I had cancelled and had no known old bills, I ignored it.
Fast forward to about another month or so later, I get a nasty business card note from a collection agency demanding the modem back. That was the only contact I had with this agency – no letter or other attempt at collecting for a past due balance from the cable company – either from the collection agency or directly from the cable company. I had signed up for paperless billing back in 2001 and as I believed my Internet had been disconnected hadn’t used it or used the e-mail account associated with it. At no point, did the cable company send me anything indicating I owed for two months of access.
The next day, I go to the cable company and returned the modem. I verified multiple times I did not owe anything. Never did they inform me I was overdue on two months or I would have complained politely about how I cancelled back in early January.
When I called the cable company today to see about taking advantage of the great deal they were offering, this was the first time I learned about two months of service – January and February 2015. They switched me to a different department that refused to help me as the account had to be handled with the collection agency. I refused to deal with them and wasted a lot of time dealing with the very unhelpful billing department. I made it clear I cancelled my account before the January bill was due and she had no explanation on why I was charged for the two months. She was adamant that I owed it. Had the CSR actually did his job and cancelled my account back in January 2015, this wouldn’t be an issue.
This is a principle issue. I cancelled in person before the due date for my next bill, but the CSR decided to not cancel my service. That’s wrong. If I had to guess by not taking back the modem, he didn’t cancel my service. Not what I consider ethical, moral, or legal by any stretch of the imagination. Looks like my next step is to file complaints with 3 state Attorneys-General offices, the U. S. Attorney-General office, the FCC, the FTC, and the SEC. In terms of time, it would be cheaper for me to simply pay the amount owed, bit over $143 than to dig through all the hassle of filing online, then answering hours worth of questions on online forms from the various agencies and waiting what could be months, or even years, for final resolution.