The trouble began in March 2009 with an Earthlink system outage that left my family unable to access the Internet for days. I rely on the Internet for my work, so I have to have this service or I lose money. I tried repeatedly to reach tech support and finally got someone on a Monday I think. They couldn't resolve the problem, and in fact no Earthlink agent could or ever did although the system outage was over.
During one of these phone calls a technician learned I had several computers on a network. He (or she not sure which since I spoke to a lot of different agents) then told me I should get Earthlink's networking services. At first I thought we had this service, then when I was told we didn't and offered the service again I declined the offer, the agent dropped it and that was the end of it - or so I thought. It's important to know that at no time in any of these conversations did I place any orders for services or equipment in any way, shape or form. A week later my husband and I signed up with another ISP since Earthlink couldn't fix the problem and had us on dial-up as a temporary solution. My husband and I resolved to cancel Earthlinkk before the end of the month then forgot about the whole thing.
So imagine mine and my husband's shock yesterday when he gets an email telling us Earthlink has charged his bank card nearly $200 for an expensive Earthlink router, networking service and other items that we still haven't figured out. We never received any router or other packages from Earthlink and couldn't figure out what they were doing or why they were even charging us.
I called Earthlink and spent an entire day trying to resolve this matter. It turns out they used my husband's bank card because he paid our Internet service with online banking, so that was how they were able to access his account. And I learned that supposedly on one of those calls I made to get technical support a week or so ago one of the agents (Earthlink won't tell me the agent's name or identity) filled out a fraudulent report that I had ordered the router, networking service and more. I also found out the router was sent to an old address where I used to work - over four years ago. I have no connections to this address now or way of getting the router and I doubt anyone at the place would even know who I was or how to get it to me. Requests to talk to the agent, have a supervisor review the phone call where I supposedly made the order, send me a copy of the so-called contract, pleas to let me talk to someone who handles customer relations all were met with an apology and a firm no can do.
It got even worse when I went to cancel our Eartthlink account and was told there would an additional charge of $99 for early cancellation of our new "contract." A document that apparently only exists on Earthlink's computer system and that has never been signed, seen or in any way authorized by me or my husband. According to a supervisor in the billing department that one document filled out by their agent is proof to Earthlink that the order is valid and they won't give us the money back, or investigate to see if it's true or not.
Since when did contracts become all verbal only with a document that the merchant could fill out however they see fit? Yet according to the supervisor because one of their agents filled out some sort of company form they won't budge and are making us pay for the service. When I broke down in tears of frustration the "compassionate" supervisor's solution was to offer me a generous $50.00 off the bill.
I also learned from this supervisor that another billing employee lied to me earlier in the day by giving me a bogus email address and made up department name that don't exist telling me, "They'll handle the complaint." I copied the text of the live chat conversation on that one so I have proof that I was lied to.
As it now stands my husband and I are now being blackmailed under threat of a $99 fee to stay with Earthlink, and their employees are free to make up stories and charge bank cards all they want to make their quotas. I'm sure it's sweet deal for Earthlink too - free money for no services and an airtight way to score some extra cash.
I looked online to see if this has happened to anyone else and I was appalled. If we'd known this earlier we would have left them long ago. Is there anyone out there who has ideas or suggestions of criminal and civil recourse? I'm a former medical fraud investigator and I've got to admit I always look at my doctor bills and even my phone bills, but I did not see this coming.
Los Angeles, California
U.S.A. Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on EarthLink