Monday, November 1, 2010

Oh, Evil Internet Corporation. I hate you.

Here's a rather bizarre situation that might be stressing me out more than it's worth.
Back at the end of June, I noticed that the promotional rate on our internet service had run out, nearly doubling our monthly bill. I called and said this was unacceptable, and was able to get another promotional rate applied to our account for another 12 months.
Here's something to know about New York City apartment buildings: some of them contract with a cable/telecom company, so tenants have no choice about who to use for service. It's Evil Corporation or nothing. My building is one of those. I can't threaten to switch to another company, so my leverage is almost nill.
Now, I was pleased that Evil Company agreed to lower our monthly bill again (since technically they didn't have to) and wasn't too upset when they seemed to have double charged me in July, since I could see how giving me this promotional rate would wind up resetting my due date, effectively making me pay the bill twice in the same month.
Only it didn't really work out that way. When I was billed again only a few weeks later, I took a close look at the bill, and discovered that they weren't actually double-billing me -- they'd just extended the payment period, so instead of paying for the one month of service coming up, I am paying for two months of service coming up. (For example, my October bill covers December -- because I paid an extra month back in July.) So, now I'm paying them early rather than having the money in my account earning me interest. That's rather annoying.
So I've called. I've chatted online. I've spoken with supervisors. I've been told that this is a problem they're aware of and they'll fix it. I've been told that the dates would be corrected on my account, and I'll get a bill for $0.00 one month. I've been told that I'll get a refund of one payment, and the dates will stay the same. Exactly none of this has come to pass, and I have no leverage whatsoever other than cancelling my internet service (and then fighting with them to keep it on through the time I've atually paid for it.) And also, cancelling internet isn't something I actually want to explore! I asked them could I just skip a payment and they'd figure it out, and they said no -- if I skip, they'll cancel service and send me to collections - even though I've already paid in advance for service!
So my options are to keep fighting with them about it, or to just make a note to myself to watch the bills when we plan to move so that I don't pay for service when we're no longer living there. I'm organized enough to be able to remember this, but I kind of feel like they should just FIX it.
What would you do in this situation?

4 comments:

  1. Keep fighting!!!

    Ask for a manager, and go through your bank statements to tell them exactly when you sent payments and for what amount

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  2. To me, it's too small of an issue to waste my time and energy on.

    When we lived in an apartment, we had to use a certain power company. This company didn't offer a 'low user' rate, which annoyed me as we didn't use much electricity at all and I felt we were being penalised.

    I wrote to them expressing my views and got a letter back saying 'we'll look into it'. Nothing ever eventuated though. No surprise there

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  3. HULU PLUS. I think CNBC and occassional sports are the only reason we need cable at all. Between Hulu Plus and Netflix, my Evil Company better be shaking in its boots.

    We also got a Clear card (we're a 4G city), so we don't even need hard-wired internet.

    I'd think long and hard about dumping them.

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  4. I feel your pain! I'm going through almost the same situation now, and I'm on my third manager (or Evil Minion) who has promised that it would all be straightened out and that my next bill would be adjusted for both the correct rate AND compensation for all the months of continual overcharging.

    I say keep fighting!! They have no incentive to have better customer service when there is little to no competition for them, and if they continue to screw up, most customers will give up and pay the incorrect higher amounts. For some budgets the extra cost might not make a big difference, but to me it's a matter of fairness - you should only pay what you agreed to pay and not a cent more.

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Thanks for commenting!