• Report: #520532
Complaint Review:

Michael From Pinnacle Financial Group

  • Submitted: Fri, November 06, 2009
  • Updated: Thu, March 11, 2010

  • Reported By: floweringcactus — Canton Ohio United States of America
Michael From Pinnacle Financial Group
7825 Washington Blvd S. Ste 310 Minneapolis, Minnesota United States of America

Michael From Pinnacle Financial Group Pinnacle & T-Mobile Minneapolis, Minnesota

*Consumer Suggestion: ideas

*Author of original report: Pinnacle Financial Collection Agency

*Consumer Comment: Let's address the issues . . .

*Consumer Suggestion: I'm familiar with this brand of idiocy

*Consumer Suggestion: Your Rights

*General Comment: prank calling

*Consumer Comment: You'll find this funny

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Three years ago my husband wanted to switch our cell phone provider from T-Mobile to Verizon. When we notified T-Mobile of the switch, I was shocked to have them tell me that one of our four lines had a new two-year contract extension. This line was used by our son who was then living out of state. I knew I hadn't extended the contract, and our son was not authorized to do anything other than use that phone.

T-Mobile says that we upgraded the phone on that account, and that's what necessitated the contract extension. What actually occurred was this: My son's Motorola phone quit working. The battery would not hold a charge, and could not be charged. My son tried to take it to the T-Mobile store where he was living to see if it could be repaired. He was told by the T-Mobile representative that they didn't fix phones. He tried to get the phone replaced, but since the account was in my name he wasn't permitted to do anything with the phone.

A couple weeks later my son made a trip home. It was a very brief trip, so I went to the T-Mobile kiosk in our local mall. I was also told that no repair to the phone was possible. My only option was to be given a new phone. I knew the rules about phone upgrades, so I specifically asked the representative if that meant I would have to extend the contract. I was told that because I was merely replacing a defective phone there would be no contract extension. In fact the new phone, other than being new, was a downgraded phone. The defective phone had a camera. The replacement phone did not. The new Motorola phone had no special features at all.

Thus the shock at being told that we were terminating that particular contract early. I explained to the T-Mobile employee on the other end of the line that there had to be some mistake. She said that the mistake should be easily rectified, and it would be no problem for her to take care of it. After going through the particulars with her over the phone, she said everything was handled and there would be no charge for early termination.

Obviously, that wasn't the case. About a month later I got a statement from T-Mobile with the $200 charge on it for early termination. I called T-Mobile, I wrote T-Mobile; but it was all to no avail. The next thing I knew, the account was turned over to a collection agency. I received a call from the collection agency, was able to explain the situation to a reasonable person, and then sent a letter of dispute. The matter was dropped - until T-Mobile sent the account to yet another collection agency, and another. Those collection agencies also had reasonable people I could talk to, and when they received my letters of dispute, the matter was promptly dropped.

Pinnacle Financial is the fourth collection agency that T-Mobile has used to attempt to collect on this bogus early-termination fee. Pinnacle called before their first letter was received by me. The first caller was a woman who seemed very nice at first, but when I tried to explain the situation to her, she began to treat me with disdain as though she thought I was stupid. She assured me that she has an account with T-Mobile and that they would never make such a false accusation. I had to be lying, or making up a fairy tale. She also proceeded to inform me just how a contract extension works. There was a lot of nonsensical double-talk in what she had to say, which was very frustrating. But I listened politely.

The second call came just two days later. I had just received the letter from Pinnacle the day before and had not had the opportunity to write my letter of dispute. The man that called was argumentative and accusatory right from the start. I could not be heard by him over his yelling. I finally gave up and just hung up the phone.

The third call was the same. Although I had sent my letter of dispute out by the time of the third call, I was willing to be patient because I didn't feel they had had time to receive it yet. However, the man was loud and rude, and would not permit me to speak. If I tried I was immediately interrupted. I hung up on him.

The fourth call came yesterday, 11-5-09. This young man started out calmly enough, but his belligerent attitude quickly came to the fore when I tried to tell my side of the story. He, too, has a T-Mobile account with five lines. Hmmm! And strangely enough, there is no record of my letter of dispute which was mailed on October 20, 2009. Hmmm! Before I ended the call with this young man, he was yelling at me, "You should have taken care of this from the get-go! You should have taken care of this from the get-go!" I yelled back that I did take care of it from the get-go. But the man wouldn't listen.

Taking my husband's advice, I terminated the call with this latest, and rudest caller yet, and placed a call to a Pinnacle supervisor. But the "supervisor", if he indeed was one, was even more rude than any of the previous callers. He got upset with me when I "lumped him in" with his rude employees. But I realized then that he was probably the one who trained the employees to be as rude as they are. This supervisor actually blamed me for there being no record of my letter of dispute. After all, I "didn't send it certified mail." I never had to send any of my other letters of dispute to the other collection agencies by certified mail. And, actually, none of the Pinnacle employees said that they never received my letter of dispute - they only said there's no record of a letter. Hmmm! I think my letter did arrive there because I had the correct address as it was recited to me by the fourth caller.

Yesterday, after my encounter with the Pinnacle supervisor, there were four calls that were placed to our home phone where the callers did not respond when we picked up the phone. We could hear them on the other end, but they didn't say anything to us. I cannot say for sure if all of these calls were actually from Pinnacle because the phone numbers were all different. But the circumstances are very suspect. I have heard that this is one of Pinnacle's thug tactics. The last call came at 8:05 PM. Am I correct in my thinking that it is illegal for them to make calls that late in the evening?

I sincerely hope that something can be done to stop the people at Pinnacle from  harassing more former T-Mobile customers. I will oblige the Pinnacle supervisor by sending out one more letter of dispute, this time by registered mail with a confirmation of receipt. I hope that will take care of the matter, and that T-Mobile and Pinnacle will learn that I mean what I say. My yes means yes, and my no means no. I do not make it a habit to pay others for mistakes they have made where my money is involved!

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 11/06/2009 10:50 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/michael-from-pinnacle-financial-group/minneapolis-minnesota-55439/michael-from-pinnacle-financial-group-pinnacle-t-mobile-minneapolis-minnesota-520532. 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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#1 Consumer Suggestion


AUTHOR: Rick F - ()

Here is something I used wqith Direct TV that will work with other carriers etc.

When I went to cancel they told me I owed $300.00, So I said give me a minute, I came back and said my contract was for you to provide 24/7 TV service correct? They said yes, I said well I figured during the contract the picture and service was out X amount of time, I said I figure you owe me $500.00, after a pause they responded, the debt will be removed, I responded, so will mine, goodbye!

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#2 Author of original report

Pinnacle Financial Collection Agency

AUTHOR: floweringcactus - (United States of America)

I am very happy to report that I did not take the advice to "throw in the towel" and pay the "only $200" early termination fee. It turns out that the problem with Pinnacle was easily handled by telling them that they are definitely not permitted to call once a letter of dispute is sent. They cannot just tell you that they have no record of having received a letter of dispute, since that is undoubtedly misleading. They have the letter, they just did not record that they received the letter - or letters in my case.

If Pinnacle calls after receiving a letter of dispute they are in violation of the law, and you can inform them of your intent to call your state's Attorney General. That information caused Pinnacle to stop calling me immediately. I was amazed! Unfortunately, I had to raise my voice to the last Pinnacle employee who called in order to get them to listen. But I did not use foul language, call them any unkind names, or make any threats against them personally. The last call came in over a month ago, and there have been no subsequent calls since then. What a relief!

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#3 Consumer Comment

Let's address the issues . . .

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

To the OP:

You have two issues here: the debt itself, and the people trying to collect on it.

As for the debt itself, I HIGHLY doubt that the guy working at the T-Mobile kiosk had any knowledge of the effect that the phone switch would have on your contract. And his word alone is not going to be sufficient to alter the terms of the original contract.

So, if the original contract called for an extension in your situation, or even if it didn't specifically except your situation from the occurences that could result in an automatic extension, then it is likely that the contract extension is valid (per common contract law, which would require a written statement to modify the terms of a written contract).

Given that these cell-phone contracts are SO one-sided in favor of the company, I'll bet dollars-to-donuts that the replacing of the phone DID extend the contract, and that this extension would stand up in a court of law.  

That's not to say that what they are doing is ethical, or that I condone it in any way. I would thus suggest sending a letter to someone appropriate at T-Mobile explaining the situation, asking that the debt be forgiven, and requesting that any assignees of the debt be informed of such. I know that you already tried this, but I would give it another shot, and maybe alert them to this report.

As for the collection agency, it seems to me a cease and desist letter is in order. You can find good templates and instructions on this all over the web (I'm sure budhibbs.com has some good stuff).

Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg, because you're also going to have to deal with credit reporting agencies and a few other ancillary issues. So you may want to bear in mind that this is only a $200 debt, and evaluate the benefits of throwing in the towel, painful as that may be.

Best of luck!

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#4 Consumer Suggestion

I'm familiar with this brand of idiocy

AUTHOR: Bnefriends - (United States of America)

Pinnacle Financial Group engages in harassment over telecommunications per federal law. They were calling my grandmother's cell phone over an invalid bill, and they'd call and call and call after ignoring their calls. They were very unreasonable when attempting to discuss the matter. Heck, I put a REAL disconnected message on Grandma's voice mail greeting that fooled my mom and other legitimate callers, and it seems as if it fooled them as well because their voice mails ceased, but they continued to call despite, failing to remove an apparently disconnected number from their list. God, it'd have to suck for someone inheriting a number on their list that had actually been changed! The only way we were able to get rid of them was by working with the credit card company that had hired them, who quite reasonably responded to our complaint with the Better Business Bureau. In my opinion, this company should be criminally prosecuted.
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#5 Consumer Suggestion

Your Rights

AUTHOR: mrstyger26 - (United States of America)

There are many laws surrounding debt collection these days. What hours they can call and how often they can call you are part of the fair debt collection practices act.

I suggest you read up and take appropriate action. :)

Here is the link to the act: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre27.pdf
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#6 General Comment

prank calling

AUTHOR: debtexpert - (United States of America)

I hate to break your heart, but you certainly are not the first person to call and call a collection agency.  I have investigated plenty of these types of companies, and at least one person pulls that sad stunt every day.

First of all there is no such thing as a 24 hour collection agency. So I guess if 9pm or so is "all hours of the night" that is unfortunate.

I have seen some very bad collection agencies, but humiliating yourself by calling and calling them is not the way to fix it.  You might want to look into counseling. 

If it is a wrong number they are calling, as for fax num, take time to put it in writing, and if they call again, then you have grounds to sue.

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#7 Consumer Comment

You'll find this funny

AUTHOR: Alison Cbar - (United States of America)

Those criminals kept calling me for months looking for someone Ive never heard of, they kept calling me at all hours of the night, calling me horrible names, saying that I was hiding this "Jose Gonzolaz" guy that I've never heard of in my life! I faxed them over the cease and desist letter as well as a certfied copy in the mail-

The last time they called me I told them I wanted employee ID numbers, first last names, birthdays, social security numbers and all haha and that I was going to report them to not only the FTC, BBB, State Attorney Generals office but that I was going to have the individuals personally arrested for harassment (which you can do if it's not your debt) and the a$$holes hung up on me so I was FURIOUS by this time, I called them back 113 times in a row over and over and over flippin out on them asking them how it felt to be harassed- I didn't stop calling until really late at night! Guess what- They have NEVER called me since! LOL

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