Early December 2007 received phone call from individual stating that they worked for Verizon (my actual phone service provider). The individual stated that several mailings had come to my billing address informing me that the long distance provider for Verizon was splitting off on their own and that we were to have chosen a new long distance phone company.
The false representative stated that we had until the next day to make the decision and encouraged me to simply go with the same company that I had always had...this spin off company. Charges were discussed that sounded reasonable and before long, we had a third party verification service (again, appearing normal and reasonable).
We made the switch and received a transfer charge on our December bill for $4.95. While this is not a huge amount, it was never mentioned during the previous series of calls. I started to question the entire transaction.
In early January 2008, I contacted customer service at Verizon, shared the information above; and the Verizon Rep said that what I described would never happen. Furthermore, there had been no spin off of long distance service.
While $4.95 is not a huge amount, multiply that by hundreds of calls, even thousands of calls, a day just like the one I received, and you have a huge scam. Then multiply this monthly charge to X number of consumers. Well, you get the picture.
Now I called USBI to lodge the complaint and to discontinue service. I had to call 5 times to get a live person. Each time you call, you are given a recording outlining hours of operation. No matter whether you are within those hours or not. Then they hang up on you. For $4.95, many people would give up. On the fifth call I was put in to the ques to wait for the "next available agent". All the while, the recording is encouraging you to hang up and go to the web site.
Twelve minutes on hold until a live person answered. I explained why the phone call. She responded "what is the amount that you are disputing". I never said that I was calling to dispute anything. I said that I was a victim of misrepresentation. She said, what is the amount that you are disputing? Sir, what is the phone number where the billing error occurred?
I said that I had to key that number in to get to you. It must be on your screen in front of you. She said what is the amount of the dispute. I said, you handle the billing, you are looking at my account, you tell me what I have been billed....and that is what I am disputing.
She said "let me connect you with Nationwide Long Distance Services (NLDS). Their customer service department likes to handle their own issues. I said that I did not want to be transferred. I wanted to lodge a complaint with USBI and would like to speak with a supervisor. She transferred me to Nationwide Long Distance (NLDS) anyway; and I was not allowed to lodge the complaint.
Customer service at NLDS received my call. In addition to the four dropped calls, I have now spent 20 minutes on the phone over the $4.95 transfer fee. Customer service canceled my long distance service with them at my request. They said that they would credit my account and that I would not be billed for any other charges. The representative also said that they "have outside sales reps that make false claims from time to time in order to boost sales". I said that this was illegal and that I would like to speak with a manager.
After putting me on hold, she came back and said that managers were busy and asked if I wanted to hold further. She said that it could be 5 to 10 minutes. Considering I was on the phone for nearly a half an hour, I required her to have the manager call me back and verified my contact phone number. That was now 2 hours ago and no one has called back.
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