We originally opened an account with Highland Cellular dba Cellular One at the Hinton, WV location in Dec. 2003. We signed a two-year contract and received the Nokia phones then (we got two lines).
When that contract ended we re-signed at the Crossroads Mall location in Beckley, WV, but changed our plan to a less expensive one (19.99 per line plus taxes). That was Jan. 21, 2006. We signed to a one-year contract on that date. We kept the same telephones and numbers.
On Feb. 11, 2007 we called Cellular One to determine when our contract was up so that we could cancel it, as we wanted to switch to a prepaid plan and stop wasting money each month on a phone and service we weren't using. We were told by the customer service representative that our contract ended on Feb. 12.
We thought we had to go to the store to cancel the plan, so the next time we were able to go to Crossroads Mall was on Feb. 17, 2007. They informed us that we had to cancel by telephone. So, we called on Feb. 17 and spoke to Paul, who agreed to cancel the service but said that it wouldn't be effective until 30 days later. At the time, that didn't register with us, as we have a new baby and taking care of him was first and foremost on our minds.
The next day, someone called us back and told us again that the service would terminate in 30 days. At that point we began to wonder what was going on and looked at our signed contracts. Since they didn't say anything about a 30-day termination policy, we started to wonder what was going on.
When we got a bill in the mail on Feb. 20 for another month of service we called back to Cellular One customer service. We were then put in touch with Chris in "Customer Retention" who was very rude and told us that it was Dobson Cellular's policy to have a 30-day termination policy and that the company had sent us information regarding the buyout of Highland Cellular. We disputed this fact with him and told him that all our bills are carefully examined for extra messages, such as buyout information, and this was never seen.
Unfortunately we did not have copies of old bills, as we shredded them after we paid them. We asked him to send us copies of these bills which would have told us of the change in ownership, which he said would arrive in 10 business days. Additionally, he said that we should have read the Dobson Cellular web page for any changes to our policy. We argued that there was no reason for us to have looked at it because we didn't know it had changed hands.
We ended the conversation with Chris expecting to receive the old bills reflecting the new ownership notification, but we never received them. We then contacted their customer service office and requested copies of our contracts to make sure we had all the information they did.
We received both our contracts, as well as someone else's contract (we can only assume the organization there isn't all that organized). In any case, there is no mention of a 30-day termination period. The only mention of any cancellation information states that if you terminate your contract before the required amount of time that you will be charged for that. We clearly were not in violation of that. We paid the bill we received in full ($62.56), so as not to affect our credit score and filed a complaint with the WV Attorney General's office.
We then got another bill from Dobson Cellular for another five days of service in the amount of $26.84, which we also paid so as not to affect our credit rating. We sent this information to the WV Attorney General's office as well. On April 7, 2007, we received a copy of a letter from Dobson Cellular to the WV Attorney General's Office stating that they would reimburse us $6.70. Their letter indicated that the Highland Cellular policy was to also charge for the full month of service until. Again, there is no mention of this on the contract we signed.
The WV Attorney Generals Office stated that since the company agreed to refund $6.70 that they were closing the case. We paid $89.40 more than we should have and they are only giving us $6.70 back. That seems completely unfair. We fulfilled our obligations to them, completing our contracts and paying our monthly bills, and they continued to bill us, knowing we would have to pay or risk ruining our credit scores, which we have worked hard to maintain. As there is no mention of any termination policy, and we have never had to wait 30 days and continue to pay for unwanted service to cancel with any other company, we want our complete amount refunded and we want them to disclose this information to potential customers in the future.
And now, we have received yet another bill, this one for $9.50, which they claim is "regulatory fees". They are a bunch of crooks if you ask me!
Hinton, West Virginia
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