- Report: #116798
Report - Rebuttal - Arbitrate
Complaint Review: Singular - Cellular One Wireless
Singular - Cellular One WirelessP.O. Box 13802 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S.A.
Singular - Cellular One Wireless ripoff incompetancy and predatory practices In Pennsylvania
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The reason I chose this plan is that I live in NJ and had two daughters attending college in Baltimore MD, which was within the extended calling area.
My first bill from Cellular One was on 01/02/2000 in the amount of $137.34 and was due on 01/25/2000. I paid the $137.34 on 01/24/2000.
On my February 2, 2000 bill, in the amount of $132.50, which was due 02/23/2000, numerous calls appeared on it from Fredericksburg, VA, Martinsburg, WV, Winchester, VA, and Bowling Green, WVA which were unexplained. These calls totaled $19.67.
At that time I called Cellular One and spoke to a Customer Service rep named Jerry and was told that there was a problem with their system which was causing calls from the Baltimore, MD area (where my daughters attend school) to be picked up by towers in the cities in VA and WV noted above. I was told that the problem was being remedied and that my next bill would reflect an adjustment for the $19.67. I sent in a payment for $112.83 ($132.50 less the $19.67) on 02/29/2000.
My next bill, dated 03/02/2000, due 03/23/2000, in fact, showed an adjustment of $20.26 from the prior month, resulting in a Balance Forward credit in the amount of $0.59. However, it also included $166.27 in unexplained calls from the same cities in VA and WV.
On 03/22/2000, I called and spoke to a Customer Service rep named Celli and explained to her that I wanted to pay my bill but was still getting unexplained calls from VA and WV, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, and I also noticed on this bill that I was being charged toll charges for calls made from my cell phone to my home number. I was told that, since I had initiated my plan in Deptford, I was assigned Haddonfield phone numbers for my phones and that was the reason I was being charged tolls for calls from cell phone to home phone. I was told I would have to go to the CELLULARONE store in Pleasantville, NJ and have my phone numbers switched from Haddonfield numbers to Atlantic City numbers. She said she would look into the matter and get back to me with an adjusted figure. I never heard back from her.
On 03/26/2000, I went to the Pleasantville, NJ CELLULARONE store and obtained new phone numbers for my phones. This apparently caused my account to be closed and a new account to be opened.
Having not heard back from the CELLULARONE rep, Celli, as promised, on 04/04/2000 I called and spoke to a Customer Service Rep named Tammi and she advised me that a $166.27 adjustment for the erroneous calls on my 03/02/2000 bill would appear on my next bill. I sent in a payment for $98.64 on the same day. I was also assured that the problem with the calls from VA and WV, which had been in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, was corrected.
My next bill was 04/02/2000, in the amount of $226.27, plus a $3.96 late fee, for a total of $230.23. It included only a $10.90 adjustment from the previous month as opposed to the $166.27 adjustment I was told would be made. One again, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, there were charges for calls from VA and WV, this time in the amount of $118.39.
By this time I was completely frustrated with the CELLULARONE billings and violations of my contract and I deferred on any payments until I could grasp what I actually owed.
Right around the same time I got my 04/02/2000 bill on my old account, I also got my first bill on my new account in the amount of $117.43. This bill did not include any erroneous calls from VA and WV.
On 05/01/2000 I got my next bill on account my new account. It was in the amount of $179.05 plus a $1.76 late payment charge. It included $41.16 in erroneous charges from VA and WV, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, and there was no credit issued from the other account.
On 05/02/2000 I got another bill on my old account which did finally reflect the credit for $166.27 and a credit for $4.99 for the 3 percent federal taxes on that amount but it also included another late payment charge in the amount of $4.80 and another $0.14 for a 3 percent tax on the late charge.
On 05/26/2000, despite all of my communications with CELLULARONE regarding the questions I had regarding its ongoing violations of my contract, I was sent a past due notice for $298.24.
My 06/02/2000 bill on the old account reflected no additional adjustments and contained another late payment charge in the amount of $5.00 and $0.15 for a 3 percent tax on the late charge.
I was extremely frustrated with CELLULARONE's deceptive billing practices and its apparent ineptness in being able to correct the problem in its system which caused calls from Baltimore, MD to be picked up by towers in Fredericksburg, VA, Martinsburg, WV, Winchester, VA, and Bowling Green, WVA, resulting in erroneous roaming charges, tolls and taxes on my bills, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. .
As I calculated it, I owed the following, based on my position that I should not have to pay late charges in this fiasco:
Old Account (final):
Amount billed to me, excluding adjustments and late charges: $771.90
Amount that should have been adjusted for erroneous calls: ( 304.33)
Amount I had paid to date: ( 348.81)
Balance owed: $118.76
New Account (through 05/01/2000 billing):
Amount billed to me, excluding adjustments and late charges: $296.48
Amount that should have been adjusted for erroneous calls:( 41.16)
Amount I had paid to date: ( 0.00)
Balance owed: $255.33
I sent checks on 06/08/2000 in the amounts specified above and expected those payments to settle my closed account and to bring my new account current through the 05/01/2000 billing.
With that 06/08/2000 payment I sent a letter detailing the foregoing and made it known that I expected that that the problem with the CELLULARONE system, which caused calls made from Baltimore, MD to appear as calls from Fredericksburg, VA, Martinsburg, WV, Winchester, VA, and Bowling Green, WVA, would be corrected in an expedient manner as I could not afford to spend all the time required to figure out what I owed. I informed CELLULARONE that I would seek another provider of cellular service if it could not do so and continued to violate our contract.
The same day I sent that letter, I received my 06/01/2000 bill on my only remaining open account and it reflected the $298.24 past due amount referred to in the 05/26/2000 notice from CELLULARONE, another $5.00 late fee, and $151.69 in "current charges, $40.48 of which were additional, erroneous calls from Fredericksburg, VA, Martinsburg, WV, Winchester, VA, and Bowling Green, WVA, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, .
Some time after receipt of that bill, my wireless service was disconnected for non-payment, apparently in retaliation for the letter and adjusted payment which I had sent on 06/08/2000.
I called CELLULARONE and eventually spoke to a Mr. John Cabnet. I explained to him that my service had been disconnected and further explained the recurrence of the erroneous charges from VA and WV, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE . He advised me that service would be re-connected and he advised me that I should deduct the $40.48 and send in the balance of $111.21, and a credit for the $40.48 would show on my next bill. I did this on 06/29/2000. I asked him why the problem of the recurrence of these erroneous calls, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, was not corrected despite my numerous inquiries in that regard and he said that he did not know and that he had no control over that. He did say, however, that he would put my account on some type of automatic review process whereby it would be automatically reviewed each month and the erroneous charges would be credited back on each subsequent bill. He said that I would have to review each bill, identify the incorrect charges, total them up, and deduct them from the billed total and send in a check for the difference. I found this to be a somewhat bizarre and unprofessional manner of doing business, in that I was being told that I would be over-charged for certain calls each month, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, and that I would have to spend my time to sort out the mistakes and deduct them from the inflated amount I was being billed.
Despite the bizarre nature of Mr. Cabnet's proposed solution to the ongoing billing problems, I decided to go along with it due to the fact that Mr. Cabnet had been very courteous and concerned and appeared somewhat frustrated with the fact that the erroneous charges were recurring in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE.
Upon receiving my July bill, I noted that I had been charged $35.00 per phone (4 phones) for re-connection and I was also charged $58.21 for erroneous charges from VA and WV, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. I believe I called and spoke to Mr. Cabnet again and this time and he told me to disregard the $140 re-connection charge and to send in a check for $104.14 which would clear my amount due. I mailed a check in that amount on 08/01/2000.
On my August, 2000 bill, I was assessed an additional $13.87 in erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE.
On my September bill I was assessed an additional $14.08 in erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. Nonetheless, I sent in the $161.60 showing as the amount due, even though it was $27.95 higher than I believed it should have been due to the erroneous calls from VA and WV, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE.
After paying the inflated amount on my September bill, the past due amount on my October, 2000 bill finally read as zero, however, I was once again assessed charges for erroneous calls from VA and WV, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE, this time to the tune of $75.93. After spending my own time to sort out the incorrect charges, I sent in a payment on 10/27/2000 for $107.67 (The $183.60 amount due on the bill less the $75.93 in incorrect charges.)
On my November, 2000 bill, no credit was issued for the erroneous calls from the prior month, contrary to the verbal representation of Mr. Cabnet and in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. Also, the bill showed a $75.93 past due amount (the amount I deducted for incorrect calls from the prior month) plus a $5.00 late fee. .(Payment had been sent about 4 days late the prior month but, as usual, I had to spend my own time auditing the bill for incorrect charges before paying it.) I was also assessed an additional $4.46 in erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. I ignored the $75.93 past due amount and the $5.00 late fee and sent in $172.92 on 12/02/2000 representing the current charges of $177.38, less the $4.46 in erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, in violation of my contract with CELLULARONE.
On my December, 2000 bill, I was not assessed any erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, however, for the second consecutive month, no credit was issued for the erroneous calls from the prior month, contrary to the verbal representation of Mr. Cabnet and in further violation of my contract with CELLULARONE. I was also assessed another $5.00 late fee. I therefore deferred payment to see if these owed credits (now totaling $94.47) would appear on my next bill.
My January, 2001 bill did reflect a credit of $80.78 and did not show any erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, however, it did assess another $5.00 late fee and, on 01/16/2001, prior to its due date, my service was terminated by CELLULARONE for non-payment, despite its own prior violation of my contract for erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV and its prior failure to meet its obligations made via the verbal representations of Mr. Cabnet that these charges would be credited back to my account.
I immediately called CELLULARONE and spoke to a Mr. Joe Opiary, who said that, in order to have my service restored, I would have to pay $126.61 by credit card over the phone, which I did. My service was restored and on 01/22/2001 I paid the $94.03 current charges for the January bill.
My February, 2001 bill, which announced that CELLULARONE had become cingular wireless, did not show any erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, however, it did assess another $5.00 late fee. It indicated a balance forward of $15.00 for prior late charges, and current charges of $116.51. In light of CELLULARONE's ongoing violation of our contract and the resulting time and aggravation it caused, I ignored the $20.00 accumulated late fees and paid the $116.51 on 03/15/2001.
By that time, I had already received my March, 2001 bill, which did not show any erroneous charges for calls made from VA and WV, however, it did assess another $5.00 late fee.
On 03/16/2001, while my February payment was in transit, and just 20 days past the February due date, my service was once again terminated for non-payment. At this point, I was already sorry I ever signed on with CELLULARONE due to its billing inefficiencies, its refusal to correct its mistakes and its predatory manner of fee assessment and I didn't even bother to call to have service reconnected.
Some time around the beginning of April, I was contacted by a representative of cingular one and was told my March 22 payment was past due. I pointed out to her that my phones were disconnected and I didn't even have service. I told her I did not wish to pay the $35.00 per phone reconnection charge for 4 phones and asked her to send me a final bill including the $175.00 termination fee and that I would seek another wireless provider. She advised me that my cancellation fee would be $175 per phone, or a total of $700.00. I told her that was outrageous and that it was not what I understood from the sales rep who sold me the service back in December of 1999. She said that the sales person should have made that clear and, even if he didn't, I should have read the contract, which specifies that the cancellation fee is per phone. She also advised me that, if I did not pay the $700 cancellation fee, and did not pay the $35/phone reconnection charge, I would be still billed the $85.00/ month charge under the Family Talk contract for the next 11 months until my 2-year contract expired. I pointed out that I entered into the 2-year contract in December of 1999 but she insisted that I would be held responsible for 11 more months under the contract, which would be $935 with no active service. At that point, I simply told her that I did not intend to have service reconnected and did not intend to send in any more payments and that cingular wireless could take me to court if they wished. I told her that I would check my copy of the contract although I did not doubt that it was buried somewhere in the fine print that the cancellation fee was per phone. She then proceeded to advise me that if I didn't make payment in accordance with the contract cingular one would see to it that a report was made to the credit bureaus which could cause me to regret my decision.
Some time around April 8, 2001, I received my April 1, 2001 statement showing a total amount due of $242.42. Lo and behold, this bill contained $8.51 in erroneous charges for calls made from VA , representing a violation by cingular wireless of my contract with CELLULARONE/cingular wireless .
After considering my options, which appeared to be few, I called cingular wireless on 04/12/2001 and spoke to a rep named Michende. I asked what it would take to simply get one phone re-activated and was told that I needed to immediately pay one-half of the amount due on the April bill ($121.21) by credit card. I was told by doing this I would have service re-activated with no reconnection charge. Based on this representation, I made a credit card payment of $121.21 and service to one of my four phones was reactivated shortly after.
On or about 04/15/2001, I received a form letter dated 04/13/2001, the day after I made my credit card payment, from DUNSCOMM, a collection agency, for $242.42, half of which had been paid the day prior to the date of the letter.
On 05/04/2001, I sent a payment in the amount of $126.21, which was actually $5.00 more than the remaining balance on my April bill which was due on 04/22/2001.
On 05/07/2001, I received a call from my wife advising me that the cell phone was not working and appeared to be disconnected.
Also, on 05/07/2001, I received my May 1, 2001 bill from cingular wireless and, although it did not contain any erroneous charges for calls made from VA or WV, it did have another $5.00 late fee and a $35.00charge for reconnection contrary to the verbal representation of a representative of cingular wireless.
Also, on 05/07/2001, I received a check from cingular wireless in the amount of $10.51, identified as a refund on my account.
I called cingular wireless at 1-800-234-9666 and was on the line for close to an hour, mostly on hold. I initially spoke to an employee named Craig, who confirmed that my service had been disconnected for non-payment just 14 days past the April due date of 04/22/2001. He could not explain why I got a refund at the same time I got cut off for non-payment and said there was nothing he could do to help me even though I had sent in my payment 3 days prior. He transferred me to the billing department where I spoke to a female employee who could not explain the $10.51 credit, could not do anything about the $35.00 reconnection charge on the May bill (contrary to the verbal representation of another representative of cingular wireless), could not help me get re-activated, and transferred me to another department where I was put on hold and no one picked up. I hung up in frustration.
I located my original contract and ascertained that the front of the contract, where I signed, states I also agree that a termination fee of $175 may apply if service is cancelled after commencement of the term. It says nothing about the termination fee applying to each access number terminated. However, as one would suspect from such a predatory company as CELLULARONE / cingular wireless, on the back of the page, in the fine, fine print, buried in the middle of thousands of words crammed onto a single page, is the hook....Customer shall be obligated to pay Company a termination fee of $175.00 for each access number so terminated.
Interestingly, it also states in the contract that, as for late fees, Any amount which is not paid in full by the due date may be subject to a late charge of 1 1/2% per month or the maximum rate permitted by applicable law, whichever is lower, from the original billing date until paid. CELLULARONE / cingular wireless violated this term of the agreement on every bill since the inception of the contract.
To summarize the foregoing:
A) CELLULARONE, through its sales representative, in December, 1999 made a conscious effort to mislead me as to the cancellation / re-connection fees applicable to my plan.
B) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless violated its contract with me on an ongoing basis since December, 1999 by charging Roaming and Toll charges for calls made within the extended local calling area.
C) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless disregarded its obligation to correct its billing practices which violated its contract with me on an ongoing basis since December, 1999 by charging Roaming and Toll charges for calls made within the extended local calling area.
D) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless consistently and willfully violated Section 5 of the Wireless Service Agreement Terms and Conditions by charging me excessive late fees.
D) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless cancelled my service on several occasions in a retaliatory manner in response to my questioning of its billing practices which violated its contract with me on an ongoing basis since December, 1999 by charging Roaming and Toll charges for calls made within the extended local calling area.
E) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless applied its fees (late fees, reconnection fees, cancellation fees) in a predatory manner.
F) CELLULARONE / cingular wireless referred me to a collection agency, even after direct phone payment was made, in a retaliatory manner, in response to my questioning of its billing practices which violated its contract with me on an ongoing basis since December, 1999 by charging Roaming and Toll charges for calls made within the extended local calling area.
On 07 May 2004 and 15 October 2004 I received form letters from AFNI, Inc., P.O. Box 20939, Ferndale, MI, 48220. These letters were virtually identical. AFNI is another collection agency.
AFNI offered to allow me to pay 50% of a debt which they inflated 400% more than the originally alleged (and also disputed) debt to the original creditor. In recognition of their consideration in offering me such a discount, I made a counter-offer to them in a similar spirit.
I provided AFNI with the details of my ongoing dispute with Cingular and advised them that, in light of their good faith attempt to negotiate the matter as indicated above, I was willing, in a similar spirit, to TRIPLE my previous offer of $0.00.
I told them to not waste their time and mine by sending additional notices and discount offers to me so I can, in their words, no longer have to worry about this matter. I pointed out that i have much more important and legitimate matters to worry about.
I advised AFNI that if Cingular Wireless did not disclose to them that I disputed this matter as outlined in the foregoing, I would suggest that they demand Cingular return to them the dime on the dollar or such similar payment AFNI made to Cingular to be able to attempt to collect from me at a mark-up. Then, Cingular Wireless would once again be in a position to attempt to adjudicate the matter if they are confident of their position.
I noted that DUNSCOMM, the previous, and seemingly first-choice, hired gun of the original creditor, was apparently wise enough to drop this matter like a hot potato once they became aware of the full circumstances and suggested that it would behoove AFNI to do the same.
I further noted, on the other hand, if AFNI willingly took on this matter with the full knowledge of the circumstances, then AFNI, itself, needed to stop horsing around with form letters and challenge my position in court.
I informed them that I would welcome the opportunity to present on the record all of the documentation I have of the ineptitude and questionable practices of the Cingular and suggested that if AFNI intends to pursue this matter, they should do so through the legal system and not via additional, pointless form letters.
I have heard notheing further.
Jersey, New Jersey
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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/08/2004 08:04 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Singular-Cellular-One-Wireless/Philadelphia-Pennsylvania-19101-3802/Singular-Cellular-One-Wireless-ripoff-incompetancy-and-predatory-practices-In-Pennsylvan-116798. 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.
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