December 19, 2008

WEB-ONLY: Market inefficiencies

To Whom It May Concern:

Included in this envelope is a personal check for the amount $79.11 to cover my cellular phone account expenses from June 6 to July 5. You may notice, however, that the included bill indicates that I owe $112.34. The aforementioned account balance of $79.11, which I am paying today, was reached as the resolution of a conversation today with REDACTED representative Dannette Rodriguez, who indicated that once a year, your company offers to halve a charge for exceeding the amount of minutes offered by one’s plan. Thus the amount I am paying, which by all appropriate calculations should render my balance at $0.

That said, I am compelled to write this letter to address a more fundamental problem within your representation and policy paradigm. On June 30, I called a REDACTED representative with a question about rollover minutes, as my monthly allotment of minutes was by that point insufficient and I was concerned about exceeding the parameters of my plan, given the business that was left to conduct. I was told during this conversation that despite their failure to appear on the REDACTED website, 139 rollover minutes would be available to me, as the previous month I had used 311 of my available 450. I asked that she confirm to me three (3) times that I did, in fact, have 139 minutes available, which she obliged. I concluded the conversation by restating the following: “To be clear, I currently have available 139 rollover minutes that will apply to my next bill. That means I can go 139 minutes over 450 and not be charged an excess fee?” She replied simply, “Yes.” She seemed distracted by this point, so I pushed further: “This is a grand total of 589 minutes. Is my math correct?” Answer: Yes.

Fast-forward to today, when I received a bill for an outrageous and, frankly, heinous fee for something I was told by your very support staff did not actually exist. Ms. Rodriguez informed me today that there is, quote, “nothing you can do.” I requested to speak to her superior, to which she responded, in a surly and dismissive tone, “If you want to wait around 15 or 20 minutes I can try to find somebody.” Risking now the threat of physical violence toward the $289 piece of plastic through which I had been communicating to this point, I demurred, maintaining an appropriate level of aggression.

“I reject that reply,” I told Ms. Rodriguez.

“Look, I told you, if you wanna wait around, I can see about finding somebody, but they’re not going to tell you anything different.”

At this point it became clear my efforts were futile, and that Ms. Rodriguez’s interest was in preserving her own assuredly stellar record of employment rather than my satisfaction as a customer. I clicked off the phone.

Unequivocally speaking, I was the unwitting beneficiary of both poor judgment and poor attitude from two (2) REDACTED customer service representatives, and in the process was burdened with an excessive fee, one that I can hardly afford to meet. In fact, I will tell you now I do not intend to even attempt to make this payment.

If you disagree with my decision, I will make every effort to find someone who is available to discuss this with you. You may have to wait a few minutes.

Sincerely,

Stephen George

 

To Whom It May Concern:

Enclosed you will find a check for $19.95, which represents the current balance I maintain with your company. Also enclosed are the two bills I have received since having your service installed at my home less than one (1) month ago. As you will see, both bills display outrageous and inaccurate balances, the first ($119.08) being the full amount charged for installation and services, despite the current rates at which your company is providing new service, under which my service was originally rendered. I phoned your customer service department and asked that my account be adjusted to represent the accurate balance, and after speaking with a man named Rome for quite some time, I was assured that I would receive a new and accurate bill shortly, representing the $19.95 he ensured me that I owed. Alas, four days later I received a bill for $133.79, adding the proverbial insult to the injury this miscalculation (or perhaps incompetence) has already delivered. Again I was made to phone customer service, and after speaking with a woman named Lucianne (or perhaps Lucy-Ann or Lucy-Anne; I apologize if this is misspelled — it seemed trite to ask for the proper spelling of her name given the context) for another twenty minutes or so, was told that despite what my two bills said, I only owed $19.95. I requested that she mail me a printout of my account summary, which is also enclosed. I have highlighted the pertinent portions.

Finally, you should know that as a first-time REDACTED subscriber, this has turned my stomach. I am abhorred at the obvious disconnect between your company and your customers, particularly someone new to the service who was attempting to take advantage of one of your heavily advertised “deals.” While your customer care representatives have been cordial, the inefficiency of your business is striking.

I would also request that my next month’s bill be precise, and that it contain an accurate account summary.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Stephen George 

Tagged: Editor’s Note |