• Report: #131156

Complaint Review: SBC, SBC LONG DISTANCE, SBC WISCONSIN , SBC YAHOO! DSL , SBC INTERNET SERVICES AND AOL

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  • Submitted: Sat, February 12, 2005
  • Updated: Tue, July 12, 2005

  • Reported By:Little Chute Wisconsin
SBC, SBC LONG DISTANCE, SBC WISCONSIN , SBC YAHOO! DSL , SBC INTERNET SERVICES AND AOL
Www.sbc.com Internet U.S.A.

SBC WISCONSIN, SBC LONG DISTANCE, AND AOL, SBC YAHOO! DSL, SBC INTERNET SERVICES AND AOL SBC E-BILL IT Error, customer-service/collections' repeated negligence led to Hospitalization & lost wages - Person with Mental Disability Internet

*UPDATE EX-employee responds: Can you Document what has Happened to You?

*Consumer Suggestion: 3rd Party charges on SBC bill Check your monthly SBC statment

*Consumer Comment: SBC and third party billing should be outlawed

*Author of original report: Addendum - Whether AOL was responsible or not- I owed payment to SBC- not AOL.

*Consumer Suggestion: SBC - WHEREVER THEY ARE LOCATED

*REBUTTAL Individual responds: Sorry but NO kids

*Consumer Comment: Sbc is truly not at fault

*Consumer Suggestion: sbc is in bed with 3rd party illegal billing practice, cannot be trusted either

*Consumer Comment: Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

*Consumer Comment: Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

*Consumer Comment: Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

*Consumer Suggestion: I feel for your situation, Christina. AOL is a complete fraud.

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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.

Thanks.

Anonymous
Appleton, Wisconsin
U.S.A.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 02/12/2005 03:01 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/SBC-SBC-LONG-DISTANCE-SBC-WISCONSIN-SBC-YAHOO-DSL-SBC-INTERNET-SERVICES-AND-AOL/internet/SBC-WISCONSIN-SBC-LONG-DISTANCE-AND-AOL-SBC-YAHOO-DSL-SBC-INTERNET-SERVICES-AND-AOL-S-131156. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

Click Here to read other Ripoff Reports on SBC, SBC LONG DISTANCE, SBC WISCONSIN , SBC YAHOO! DSL , SBC INTERNET SERVICES AND AOL

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 11Consumer 1Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE EX-employee responds

Can you Document what has Happened to You?

AUTHOR: Kate - (U.S.A.)

If so, contact the FCC online. Run a yahoo search and file a complaint.

I have a secret to tell you - there isn't any reason to feel like you haven't any right to complain if you have psychological issues. The truth is we all do - on one level or another. Some people refuse help/diagnosis. But you aren't living in America if you aren't having trouble with a company like this. You are not an anomaly -you ARE the norm.

You are not discredited because you're having trouble. If a company behaves in such a way as to cause you grief and anquish - you have a real right to complain. They are doing business in OUR communities with the permission of OUR elected and PAID electorates. It isn't acceptable.

Stand up for youself, this is stll America y'know.

God bless, I'm praying for you;
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

3rd Party charges on SBC bill Check your monthly SBC statment

AUTHOR: Dianne - (U.S.A.)

I have read your complaint about SBC billing for 3rd party charges that were not authorized by you, the consumer. SBC does have contracts with these billing aggregates and only bills what the companies are telling SBC to bill.

To get the charges off of your SBC bill call customer service and ask them to "recourse" the charges. What this will do is remove the unauthorized charges from your bill giving you a credit for those charges.

The orginial charges will be sent back to the billing aggregates. Now you may in turn receive a separate bill from the company ie AOL for those charges but at least the charges will not appear on your SBC bill.

Make sure you tell the rep. at SBC to also credit the late payment charges associated with the unpaid balance.

You will also have to contact the company billing you the unauthorized charges and tell them you do not want their services even though you never ordered them.

Check your monthly SBC statment to make sure there are no other unauthorized charges. I hope this helps. Good luck
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#3 Consumer Comment

SBC and third party billing should be outlawed

AUTHOR: Charles - (U.S.A.)

Third party billing on your SBC phone bill should be outlawed. A lot of the third party billing on your phone bill is fraudulant and they bill it this way because people will pay it rather then get their phone disconnected. I do not think SBC (or any other phone company) should be able to bill you for anything other then the service they provide.

Your long distance carrier should send you their own bill. One of the telephone scans that goes around is where you get a messagwe stating that a relitive is in trouble and asking to call a phone number (most common is in the 809 area code) that turns out to be outside the US and therefore are not subject to US law and is a Pay-Per-Call line (like 900 and 976 numbers) and you are billed for $50 (or more) per minuet for the call.

It is hard to dispute the charge since you did make the call and the phone company states that they are just a billing agent for the other company and you have to dispute the charge with the other company. Since the other company is outside the US they state that they did not break any laws and you are responsible for the bill.

If phone companies were not allowed to do third party billing it would cut down on this type of scam (and yes this is a true scam, if you do not belive it go to scambusters.com and do a search for 809 (the area code a lot of these scams are initated from (I think this area code is in the British Vergian islands))).

I think everybody should refuse to pay any third charges on their phone bill to try to put a stop to this.
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#4 Author of original report

Addendum - Whether AOL was responsible or not- I owed payment to SBC- not AOL.

AUTHOR: Christina - (U.S.A.)

WHO DID IT
In regards to whether SBC or AOL is responsible- that doesn't help the consumer. Whether AOL was responsible or not- I owed payment to SBC- not AOL.

ADVISED ACTIONS ALREADY TAKEN
I DID contact AOL- AOL says they credited and closed the account. I wasn't billed by AOL again.

HOW DO YOU FILE A COMPLAINT
SBC doesn't include an address to send a letter to like credit card companies do- they spell it out clearly, how many days you have, and what is the complaint etc.It is on the back of my bill. But with SBC, you cannot email. You have to call customer service.

HOW IS THE COMPLAINT PROCESSED?
After contacting customer service, the consumer is told I can't help you, because it is not SBC's fault. AOL customer service tells the consumer me their records show the credit was issued to SBC, so it is not AOL's problem and you need to contact SBC. The pattern may repeat itself a few times.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW?
What happens when the normal solutions fail?
Where is the accountability- the checks and balances? As far as I can see there is none. What exactly am I supposed to do? Hire a personal investigator to determine who paid what? Am I supposed to go to court? Do I go to my local police department and report a theft?

COMMENTS/CONCLUSION
My problem is the bill I have to pay to SBC.

AOL is SBCs problem, not mine.

Or at least that is how it should be. When I spoke to an SBC rep, I was told to think of the charges like a credit card. Well one, you have to sign up for the credit card service. I didn't authorize it- I signed up for a PHONE service.

It is interesting to me that my experience with credit card companies, if you dispute the charges- THEY do the investigation FOR the consumer- I know this becausee I have been falsely charged on a credit card through forgery They figured out the handwriting didn't match mine, and it was cleared.

The difference with Credit Card companies is they know you can go somewhere else for service- I had no choice as to who could be my carrier and SBC knew that.

CHARGES AGAINST SBC
The fact is that SBC allowed another party to put charges on my SBC bill. I never gave them permission to do that. SBC should verify with the consumer first- I believe the burden should be on THEM. Not me. Not AOL.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

SBC - WHEREVER THEY ARE LOCATED

AUTHOR: S.n. - (U.S.A.)

I have had problems with SBC trying to bill for THEIR internet services which I have declined more than once (there is a report on this site). I got their attention by contacting SBC's media rep and requesting information on all board members and the CEO so that I could register a complaint. These idiots even shut off my phone because of their late fees and unpaid internet service. I recieved a call a week ago from their head office indicating that everything had been taken care of and that they would be monitoring my bill for the next two months to ensure that it didn't happen again.
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#6 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Sorry but NO kids

AUTHOR: Christina - (U.S.A.)

Sorry but no kids no anyone- I did NOTHING to cause this other than buy a phone line in which I only had the phone for less than a week before I was charged for two AOL accounts- so 45 days doesn't apply either.

SBC has finally resolved my complaint after threat of pursuing legal action and after 7-8 months attempting to resolve this. The government- state and federal failed to respond to my complaints.

I believe the only way to actually fix this is to hold corporations accountable for their actions and increase government funding for consumer protection/with more oversight to ensure they do their job.

Thanks for all the imput.
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#7 Consumer Comment

Sbc is truly not at fault

AUTHOR: J - (U.S.A.)

What you were told by the previous reps about having to contact aol is correct. The only thing SBC does is bill the charges sent to them. Sbc could send the charges back to AOL but it would not stop future billing or cancel your AOL service that is why you need to contact AOL. AOl should have been able to look the account up under your billing telephone number even if you don't have an account name. Do you have kids?

I have heard of several instances where AOL service is set up by kids who are unaware that the service is charged after 45 days if not cancelled. Everyone who has SBC service can block third party billing. Call SBC customer service and request that all carrier charges be blocked.

That means that if a company wants to bill you for something the have to bill you directly, not on the SBC bill. If you feel like this service was crammed onto your phone bill you can have the SBC rep fill out a cramming complaint form which is sent to aol to investigate. Hope this helps.
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#8 Consumer Suggestion

sbc is in bed with 3rd party illegal billing practice, cannot be trusted either

AUTHOR: Sam - (U.S.A.)

They no not verify 3rd party company who will bill you on behalf illegally. I'm really fed up with the way we are treated " guilty until proven innocent" so we are owed bogus amount until proven that we owe nothing.

We have lost our rights as a consumer and are forced to pay, prove that we owe nothing later or get service disconnected much like a mobster kidnapping your children demanding full payment by due date.

I'm ready to dump SBC any days now cause they keep saying "pay in full by ..." How the hell can I pay in full for something that may be overbilled, or due to scams running rampant in our society? That's such idiotic with the way they treat us who they think has limited functionality, low iq and so they treat everyone like their dumb, brainless, clueless. Sorry I am not one of them, they have screwed with the wrong person this time.
So must I pay in full everytime then beg for the rest later at their whims and our inconvenient?

We have become too complacent, too nice for them to abuse us like this. I will take a stand and will have to deal with this bs by not paying in full no matter how much they say I owe them that I did not make. I can barely keep myself fed and all the bills are pilling up to my neck.

They are making me very angry and I am losing my patients as they like to play this game of theirs called "take as much time as they like" while forcing people to pay bogus fee, illeally billed just to please all of them so they can laugh their socks off how gullible we are as a consumer with no rights when it comes to disputing charges.
The customer is now always wrong where it use to be the customer is always right a decade ago.
The world is changing for the worst as everyone is slowly owned by evil corporation who cares nothing more then their own gains and profits out of our fear of losing their crappy service.

Consumers are very honest people and they never lied so why can't they do the same???
Maybe we all need to lie as well so we can screw them back with their so called "scamming the publics out of ignorants"

Do not give up no matter what, by doing so you will allow them to use this tactic on others who will probably pay in full later just so they don't bug you anymore, or receive disconnection notice out of fear and insecurity.

Their the one who is wrong, not us. Persistence is the only way to defeat them. Patience is virtue as time is not something that most can afford to lose. If we waste enough of their time on the phone then they will get fed up and just give in to our demands to have their bogus charges removed immediately.

When I say I have lost my patients, it means that I am very upset, it doesn't mean that I am impatient so don't get me wrong. Impatient people get nothing done, the end.
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#9 Consumer Comment

Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

AUTHOR: Gayle - (U.S.A.)

I have no choice for my local provider for phone service. Am rural and verizon owns the only company.
I took every thing I needed from verizon. They permitted OAN to charge me. Never heard of this bunch of lice. Then Longdistance from SantoDomingo. Don't know any live down there. Then assorted long distance call, with no back up or confirmation as to who made the call.
Then pushed WorldCom off my LD carrier.

The permitted at&t to charge me over $4.00 per min.

I should not be called anything but organized crooks. How many $'s to they illegally take each month. Do they submitt all the fees etc. to the government???

My wife had a check written for $28.09 for a "strickly home phone" When I got through with the crooks, they owed me $19.95
Come on feds, get off your ass and protect us.
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#10 Consumer Comment

Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

AUTHOR: Gayle - (U.S.A.)

I have no choice for my local provider for phone service. Am rural and verizon owns the only company.
I took every thing I needed from verizon. They permitted OAN to charge me. Never heard of this bunch of lice. Then Longdistance from SantoDomingo. Don't know any live down there. Then assorted long distance call, with no back up or confirmation as to who made the call.
Then pushed WorldCom off my LD carrier.

The permitted at&t to charge me over $4.00 per min.

I should not be called anything but organized crooks. How many $'s to they illegally take each month. Do they submitt all the fees etc. to the government???

My wife had a check written for $28.09 for a "strickly home phone" When I got through with the crooks, they owed me $19.95
Come on feds, get off your ass and protect us.
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#11 Consumer Comment

Verizon Aids and Abets Ripoffs of their customers

AUTHOR: Gayle - (U.S.A.)

I have no choice for my local provider for phone service. Am rural and verizon owns the only company.
I took every thing I needed from verizon. They permitted OAN to charge me. Never heard of this bunch of lice. Then Longdistance from SantoDomingo. Don't know any live down there. Then assorted long distance call, with no back up or confirmation as to who made the call.
Then pushed WorldCom off my LD carrier.

The permitted at&t to charge me over $4.00 per min.

I should not be called anything but organized crooks. How many $'s to they illegally take each month. Do they submitt all the fees etc. to the government???

My wife had a check written for $28.09 for a "strickly home phone" When I got through with the crooks, they owed me $19.95
Come on feds, get off your ass and protect us.
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#12 Consumer Suggestion

I feel for your situation, Christina. AOL is a complete fraud.

AUTHOR: Paul - (U.S.A.)

You agreed to have SBC phone service and a DSL line for your internet. That's reasonable. You did absolutely nothing wrong.

Then the AOL frauds stepped in and figured that they could steal $30 from you each month. SBC either allowed it or had no choice about putting it on your bill.

AOL is a complete fraud. There are many complaints here. I certainly don't expect them to ever resolve this. They have nothing of value to sell. The only way they can make money is by stealing it with this fake billing scam.

You know, I wish someone who is predisposed to violence would run the hell over to AOL and shank the asshole that runs this crooked company. I'm so sick of seeing large companies like this continue to use fraud to cheat the public. The government agencies do nothing to protect the public from these frauds.

When the laws don't protect the citizens of this country, it encourages them to find other methods of obtaining justice.

I refuse to even have a phone. I don't want the intrusive calls. The salesmen. The telemarketers. The frauds and scams. I sick of worrying about choosing carriers. Worrying about rates. Then, there are all these charges that come bundled into your phone bill.

No thanks! If you can't make a worthwhile service, then I'll opt out. Just that simple.
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