I set up SBC phone and DSL in Sept. 2004. In Oct. 2004 I received my first bill. I noticed unauthorized charges for 2 AOL accounts at $29.99 each, under a section titled e-billit. I never signed up for AOL, nor had accounts with AOL in the past. In addition these services were never received.
Summary of events- (further documentation and more detailed information available)
I called SBC Billing and was put on hold,then was transferred to customer service who then transferred me to someone else, who put me on hold while she located a supervisor. Instead of putting me on hold she hung up on me.
I then went online and located a phone number for AOL Customer Service. I called this number- it was automated and I was unable to enter a member ID as I was not a member, nor was I looking to set up an account- somehow I was able to speak to a live person- and was eventually transferred to a supervisor- who told me there was an error due to being assigned a phone number by SBC that was the same as another person previously, who had ordered AOL services. I was told that they would close the accounts and send a credit to SBC. I was advised this could take a couple months to go through and show on my bill.
I sent an email to someone per SBC website informing them of the problem, and the reason I would not be paying the entire bill- that I would not include the false charges in my payment. I was told in reply to my email I needed to contact customer service by phone.
I chose not to call again since I had already devoted quite some time to the matter and of course had been hung up on the last time I attempted to contact SBC.
I then received notice from collections and a seperate disconnection notice from SBC. After this occurred my things get hazy for me- but I did attempt to document everything and get names.
Basically the pattern was this:
I would call SBC. I would be told everything was cleared up and would not be penalized on my account. I would pay my phone bill ON TIME, minus the false charges. I would receive more collections and disconnection notices, and my phone bill would continue to incur late fees. I would call SBC...
The disputed amount was small- approx. $60 plus late fees. I could easily have paid it, but it is my principal that I should not have to pay for something I never ordered, never bought, never received. I thought about others out there who may be experiencing the same thing- I didn't think many would raise such a fuss as I did- and the thought of SBC profiting from this just made me steam.
I made a report to the FCC. I was told in their reply that FCC does not handle internet complaints and that I should file a cramming complaint with my state government. I made a report to the WI Consumer Protection in November or early December (I have a copy) -and I received notice that the matter was being investigated.
In January I again contacted SBC- and this time I refused to hang up until the matter was resolved- I demanded service and asked for supervisor after supervisor- Every person I spoke to said I had to call AOL about it- it was not SBC's responsibility. They claimed having no documentation of my prior calls to SBC. No one took me seriously and claimed I was lying. They laughed when I said WI Consumer Protection had an open investigation regarding this matter. I was treated like an idiot.
At this point I broke down and started sobbing hysterically. Finally the supervisor agreed to help me call AOL through a 3 way call with AOL. The SBC supervisor that assisted me then had to go through the same process I have had to do every time I call customer service- we were put on hold, transferred from rep to rep and finally to a supervisor. They both argued with one another over who was responsible- and suddenly the SBC supervisor stated "I'm going to handle this Christina" I will call you back.
I have not received a call back.
It is now Feb. 2004, and I received my phone bill for January. The last bill was $106 approx, and I paid approx. $50 and did not pay for the long disputed charges from Sept including late fees. They deposited the check and the bill shows that. On the bill it says there is $117 past due. How can this be? The AOL e-billit charges have still not been deducted- there is a small credit for $20 but it doesn't explain what for- and includes fees for processing the $20 credit!
My WI report to Consumer Protection has gone no where to my knowledge.
I have a mental disability. I suffer from severe major depression and have now been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I believe the problems I had with SBC may have contributed to me cycling into a major manic episode. This led to hospitalization in late December- the week before Christmas, which eventually led to my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.
I am currently on Family Medical Leave and working part-time. I have exhausted my vacation and sick time, so now I am losing wages. I also have had to move in with my parents temporarily while I recover from my illness.
Due to my mental disability- I am unable to continue with my small "crusade". I have been advised that stress and becoming overly involved in a project or work may trigger another manic episode. (I shouldn't even be writing this letter.)
So this is it. My last attempt for help. I may end up just canceling my service and paying it. If I don't get my problem resolved perhaps my story will help someone out there.
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