I signed up for Dish Network via VMC Satellite. I was billed 49.99 on my cc, but was not credited for it on my Dish Network bill (as promised by VMC). I contacted VMC, and was told to contact Dish Network. Dish Network was totally clueless.
Since my phone calls did not get me anywhere, I wrote in. I did not get any answers as to why my account was not credited for this charge. I disputed the charge with my cc co. to get some answers. Apparently VMC could not prove I had received the proper credit, so my cc refunded my money. (I ended up paying Dish Network directly.)
I was surprised to receive an invoice from VMC for $25. When I called to ask what this was for, I was told it was for the fee mc assessed for a disputed charge. I explained to VMC's rep that I tried dealing with them directly and was referred to Dish Network. When I contacted Dish Network they were equally unhelpful, and that is why I resorted to filing a dispute with my cc co.
I also found out from mc international that a co. can not pass on their fee to the consumer-especially when I had a valid dispute. I tried discussing this with VMC on several occassions, and everytime I was PROVING my point the rep would hang up on me. Which according to mc international--businesses signed up with them can not refuse to discuss disputes with customers.
Since VMC refused to discuss this over the phone, I sent them a letter via certified mail. According to the Federal Trade Commission's Fair Credit Billing Act VMC needed to respond in writing within 30 days. I made sure to inform Mike Lausten of this via phone, so that he would have the opportunity to respond. He refused to send me anything in writing. I even asked, "So you are refusing to respond to my letter via correspondence as required by the FTC's Fair Credit Billing Act?"
His reply was an emphatic, "Yes I am!"
According to the FCBA if a "creditor" does not respond in writing within 30 days of receiving a letter from the consumer, via certified mail, then the "creditor" can no longer attempt to collect the funds. I figured that was the end of it, especially when I did not owe VMC anything anyway.
Imagine my shock when almost 2 years later I receive a collection notice from Armor Systems Corporation stating I now owe $390 to VMC Satellite. (I think VMC waiting this long to send a bogus claim to collections thinking I would not have all my documentation.) I called Eric Brown that day. He called me the next day, and left a rude message--like I was a deadbeat avoiding him. I called him back and he informed me that this was probably because I cancelled my Dish Network Service, or paid late. I told him my Dish Service was still on, and it has always been paid on time.
I wrote him a letter disputing this collection item, and sent it certified mail. I detailed all of my dealing with VMC. Eric Brown said he recived my letter, and was forwarding it to VMC.
Today I received a call from Eric Brown. Now he claims I owe $100. I explained to him yet again why I do not owe any money. I also went into (again) how VMC has violated the FTC's Fair Credit Billing Act, and this bars them from any further collection attempts. I also told him that I feel that the tactics employed by VMC Satellite amount to extortion, and harassment.
His response is that he has to take his client's side. My response is he is now violating the FTC's FCBA by continuing to attempt collection on VMC's behalf. As I start to read off the deatils of this act (and am proving that I am in the right) he cowardly hangs up on me.
I now have a call into his supervisor, because I am trying to protect my spotless credit rating.
I urge anyone having dealings with VMC to report them to the FTC for unfair business practices, the better business bureau, the attorney general's office etc. Also, go to www.ftc.gov and read the fair credit billing act.
If VMC truly thought I owed them any money, they should have talked to me when I first contacted them. They also could have responded to my credit card company. They also had the chance to respond to my letter. Instead they ignored me, and have resorted to extortion by threatening my spotless credit.
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