Upon examination of March 16, 2011 Long Distance Service bill (Account # XXXXXXXXX) we noticed several billing errors.
In order to provide more context for this issue, we feel we need to report that we have experienced similar service disruptions in the past two of which occurred during critical times in need a death in the family, and serious medical condition. In August of 2008 we were unable to make long distance calls to Japan. We were entirely unimpressed by the two attempts it required to resolve the issue, the lengthy automated messaging service followed by almost 30 and 45 minutes on hold during each attempt. We were surprised and dissatisfied that Primus was not able to identify and correct the problem on their own as the problem existed for the several days before we reported it, and it still took several days to resolve once it had been reported.
We pay a $1.00 service fee for our calling plan and a $2.95 network charge each month. We do not make regular long distance calls, so we cannot confirm what percentage of the time we were being charged for a service that was unavailable due to a technical issue on behalf of Primus Cananda. We did however voice our dissatisfaction with Primus during the 2008 event and suggested that the monthly service charges for a long distance service that didnt work when we needed it to were really equivalent to charging us for a service that didnt exist. Primus Canada did not respond to our comments, but the technical issue with our long distance service was resolved.
On March 11, when we again attempted to call we encountered the similar inability to connect issue. We did not report the issue immediately as we assumed that the Japanese telephone system was overloaded due to the earthquake and tsunami on that day. We received our bill on March 18, 2011 and noticed that long distance charges had been applied to our account for the March 11 calls. We contacted Primus Canada via email that day to dispute items 8-11 on the bill which represented the four separate attempts to call relatives in Japan on March 11, 2011. None of the call attempts were successful, yet we received $0.63 in long distance charges. In my email notifying Primus Canada of the billing error, I requested a refund for these charges, and a reduction in the service and network access fees since as we had yet again received a disruption in our long distance service.
On March 22, 2011 I received the following response from Primus Canada:
"Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding your account 10926**** with Primus Canada. My name is Michael and I will be happy to assist you.
Any issues when calling overseas need to be addressed as it happens. Since we cannot determine what happened to these calls unfortunately we cannot credit these calls.
Should you have any other questions, you may contact us by email at email@example.com .
Customer Service Associate
Dissatisfied with the service interruptions, billing issues, and their customer services inability to accept any responsibility or act in good faith, I responded to Michaels email stating that I intended to cancel my long distance service with Primus Canada. I decided to give up attempting to get my funds credit back and to just give up on Primus Canada.
However, on March 24, 2011 I received the following email response from Primus Canada:
Thank you for taking the time to write to Primus Canada Customer Service Department.
This refers to your recent request for cancellation of your account XXXXXXXXX with us. My name is Danielle; I regret to hear you no longer want to be our customer.
Please understand that to fully ensure your Direct Dial Long Distance service, for your phone number 306-352-****, is cancelled with Primus Canada, it is imperative that you contact your choice of Direct Dial Long Distance Company or contact your present Local Telephone Company in order for them to activate your direct dial long distance services to their long distance network.
Once your direct dial long distance service is active with your new long distance company, switched back to and/or cancelled with your present Local Telephone Company, this will automatically cancel your direct dial long distance services with Primus Canada.
From your home phone number, XXX-XXX-XXXX; you may verify who the Direct Dial Long Distance Company for your line is, by calling the following toll-free number, 1-700-555-4141. Once the recorded message mentions the name of your new direct dial long distance carrier of choice, their network will carry all your direct dial long distance calls and you will no longer be billed by Primus Canada.
We invite you to refer to our terms and conditions for cancellation rules, item number 13 - http://www.primus.ca/en/residential/legal/termsofuse.html - Which states that we require 30 days' notice prior to canceling a service with us. Should this 30 days cancellation notice not be provided, you will have a Cancellation Charge applied to your account. This one is equal to one months billing of service, along with a one-time Network Fee charge.
Should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to communicate with us via email anytime.
It has been a pleasure servicing your telecommunication needs. Should you require our services again in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us anytime.
Email Response Associate
Customer Service Residential Department
Primus Telecommunications Canada
So in addition to charging us for long distance charges we couldnt actually make and charging us for a service we couldnt even use, they intend to charge a Cancellation Charge equal to one months billing of service, along with a one-time Network Fee charge.
I believe this fee will equal an additional $3.95, but have yet to receive the final bill from Primus Canada. While the amounts represented in this complaint are miniscule they still represent what we believe to be poor business practices that should be public knowledge. At present, we challenge Primus Canada to refund the $4.58 owed to us.