General chatter - Wronged by a company, What would you do?
07-27-2009, 02:23 PM
I need a little help and opinions on this.
My son returned from Iraq at the end of March. Prior to his return I had rented him a duplex, furnished it and had all his utilities turned on for him including cable TV using my power as his legal Power of Attorney. After 3 months home and a very poor job market in our area he decided to re-enlist and go back to the Army. His landlord was very nice and refunded his deposit with no problem. No problem also with his other utilities except the Cable TV. They jerked a $400.00 "early cancellation fee" out of my bank account without my knowledge. ( I was initially told that the only way I could set up his account was with a debit card and since his only debit card was in Iraq with him I had to set it up from my personal bank account).
When I first called to cancel his Cable TV , I was told that since it was due to him returning to the military that there would be no cancellation fee. I was thanked for his service to our country! I am very upset that I was lied to. Also very upset that someone would treat our military servicemen this way.
After learning what had happened I again called the cable company. This time I was given the run-around. Hung up on 3 times. After many attempts I was finally allowed to speak to a rude "management " specialist. I was then told that the reason that the cancellation fee was not waived was because the account was in my name instead of my son's name.
I really don't know how far I should take this matter. What would you do?
So far, I have sent a letter to the "Billing Disputes " department and enclosed a copy of his assignment orders in Iraq, my Power of Attorney papers, and his request to return to military service orders. I am still waiting for a reply.
Needless to say, I am one ticked off mother of an American Soldier!
I cried all day Friday when I had to call my son and tell him the news. I had no choice but to remove the $400 from his bank account and put it back in my account to keep my car payment that I had mailed off from bouncing. He also was understandably upset about this whole situation. (although I think he took it better than I did).
To make matters worse I have this same Cable company providing service in 4 rooms in my personal residence. My own contract isn't up til October!
I'd keep fighting it, mama. That is absolutely ridiculous.
I hope it all works out in your favor, and blessings to you and your son.
07-27-2009, 02:36 PM
Wow I'm really sorry- I guess there isn't anything you can do because the service indeed was in your name and not his. :( You'd think though a company like that which already makes a ton of money would be considerate and say they are going to waive the fee...
07-27-2009, 02:41 PM
I would write an old fashioned letter to the manager of local office and send a copy to the president of the company (you can usually find out this information online) or someone high up like the head of customer service for the whole company. Real paper letters usually carry more weight than emails. I'd tell them exactly what happened, that you are a customer, how long you've been a customer, and what you plan to do when your contract runs out if they go back on their word. I'd be polite and try not to sound angry.
Hope this helps.
07-27-2009, 02:42 PM
Do you have Action Line in your newspaper ? Or on your TV Do you have a Community Customer Service Line? It may have a different name in your area. Sometimes these companies will have a change of heart when contacted by a community activist. They really do not want bad publicity. You might even write a letter to the editor of your local paper. I would make sure that this unjust decision gets a lot of publicity. I would even consider writhing to my congressman..
Shannon in ATL
07-27-2009, 02:50 PM
Hey Lilly -
I was going to say exactly what Bargoo said. This company won't want a lot of bad press. Unfortunately, with it being in your name you might not be able to get the money back, but I would make them regret taking it with every breath I had in my body. :hug:
07-27-2009, 02:54 PM
Thanks ladies, these are some very good ideas. The letter I sent was hand-written and I hope it will do some good. To me it's more about principle than it is about the money. If this atrocity isn't reversed, come October I'll be using a different cable company for my own home!
07-27-2009, 02:57 PM
OMG! I can not believe they could take from your checking account without notifying you first. Was it in the fine print when he signed up for the cable? If not, I would be going to court! How awful!
07-27-2009, 02:58 PM
I don't know where you are in Oklahoma, but if News9 is in your area, they have a journalist who does this sort of "on your side" expose. http://www.news9.com/Global/category.asp?C=118263&nav=menu681_2_3
This is a pretty compelling story, especially since you were using your power of attorney (so it should have been in HIS name with your signature...meaning they screwed up the paperwork by putting it in your name instead of his in the first place) and active duty is involved (which makes for better news).
07-27-2009, 02:59 PM
Do you have a local TV station that has a consumer advocate? You could try calling them to see if they could intervene (or at least put your story out there). I'd also make a formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau as well as continue to fight with the company for them having lied to you. Good luck.
07-27-2009, 03:05 PM
Lots of good ideas already, but I just want to add the weight of, yeah, worth fighting over. It's ridiculous. I think key is getting it out of general customer service / billing and into upper management. I don't think it would be unreasonable to cc straight to the president of the company.
07-27-2009, 03:25 PM
Thanks everyone for your support. It really helped to convince me to "make some noise" instead of just bending over and taking this.
Mug, this is exactly how it happened. I was told when I called to cancel it that the "final bill" would be deducted from my checking account with the early cancellation fee waived. I was told it would be $31.55 and I didn't see a problem with that. Now the company is saying that the "billing specialist" who told me the fee was waived "Did not have the authority to make that decision".
But, um yeah, if they have your account number apparently they can do as they please!
07-27-2009, 04:19 PM
Sorry this has happened to you. This is absolutely insane! Wishing you the best on resolving the issue. Be sure to keep us posted. :)
07-27-2009, 04:44 PM
Hey Lily, I'd keep fighting it! I don't have any suggestions of how to deal with it but I think there are some good ones here already. You were lied to repeatedly, the company handled the account incorrectly (by putting it in your name in the first place), and $400.00 is nothing to sneeze at! I'd try the written letter idea, and/or threatening or actually writing to your congressperson. Maybe make some official-looking stationary on your computer, make a copy for yourself, and get them both notarized before you send it. Most banks will notarize for free for their customers. Might help everything seem more official. Years ago my mom had a dispute with her college over her student loan payments, and she wrote to her congressperson who helped her get it resolved.
07-27-2009, 07:40 PM
Hey! First do everything you can to work it out with the company. Sending verification of his living there, your P/A, his orders, etc. is a good idea. Keep in mind that they may have people lying to them every day just to get out of the contract. Find out the name of a manager to whom you can send this information.
And then, if you have done everything you can to amicably work it out with them, go to the press with the story.
07-27-2009, 08:07 PM
Follow-up: I just went out and checked my mail. Today I got the final bill showing the whole amount was deducted from my checking account. That just adds insult to injury sending the bill 3 days later after the money has already been removed from my account. I talked to my bank about disputing the charges and having the money put back into my account. Their response was that basically it would do no good. The cable company could resubmit it everyday until the dispute is settled. My only option would be to change bank accounts which would mess up mine and DH's direct deposits.
Anyway, I've driven myself crazy over this stuff, so I'll try now to wait and see what happens in response to my written letter. And Megan, yes I did have my bank notarize and make copies of all of my correspondence.
07-27-2009, 08:13 PM
In your local city newspaper, do you have anything called "The Fixer"? Here in Chicago (The Chicago Sun-Times) and they actually take on cases like this for you and pretty much harass these *sshole companies into doing the right thing. And it usually works!
07-27-2009, 09:53 PM
i would go over to The Consumerist (consumerist.com) and send them a letter. they often help people wronged by companies. and it's a great site in general.
I think writing the letter to the editor of the newspaper is a good idea.
Also, contact your congressman. How many other people do you think they're dong this to? Also, what about your state elected official? If you don't know who they are, the elections office can usually tell you if you give them your address. This is how laws get changed, when someone says, "That isn't right."
Many utilities have franchise agreements with cities, a contract where they city gets money. If this is the case with yours, contact your local city council person and complain so that they know how the company is doing business.
There's also the Better Business Bureau.
Lastly, it seems like you should be able to get some help from the family support people in your son's unit.
07-27-2009, 10:00 PM
Here in San Diego we have on the local television news a show called TURKO FILES...a tv guy that goes after things such as this...
fight on .....fight on!!!
07-27-2009, 10:34 PM
Hi Lily, First Thank you for your son's service to our country..
I find this outrageous. If you don't mind... I would like to know if this company knew they were dealing with the mom of US veteran ? They should be embarrassed.
I just want to reach out and give you a hug, this must hurt so much, I'm so sorry...:hug:
If you haven't already you may want to try contacting any or all of these people....
This is a link to the OK State House of Rep, names of Energy and Utility Regulation Committee... http://www.okhouse.gov/Committees/Comm_CommitteeMembers.aspx?CommitteeID=72&SubcommitteeID=0
This is a link to the OK State House of Reps Veterans Affairs Committee
Good luck with all of this... I would hope someone there would help you... shame on them if they don't at least try to remedy this... I know its hard, but keep pushing... someone will give you the attention you need very soon....
07-27-2009, 10:43 PM
It may not help since it was in your name. But there is a thing called the "Soldier/sailor act". If you have a power of attorney to hook it up, it may be able to work. But essentailly (i don't remember all the details since i've been out the army for a few years) but if a soldier was deployed/transferred etc...it enables them to get out of contracts/leases they may have. You may have to talk to a manager and or talk to a lawyer. The issues may be since its in your name...but see about it.
07-27-2009, 11:43 PM
I'd spend a lot of time fighting for $400.00. Even if you get *some* of it back, it would be great!
07-28-2009, 12:34 AM
I agree with the contacting your congressperson point. My friend's sister works in our congressman's constituent relations department and this is what she does all day long. I'm continually surprised at some of the stories she tells - and most of the recipients of her phone calls are quite happy to help once they realize where she's is calling from.
07-28-2009, 01:50 AM
Wow, Lily, that really sucks. I would hope you would get a response and letter of apology after your documents are received and read by upper Management of the Cable Company. IF, no response is received within 10 days, I would definitely call the local news channel, as I am sure they have an investigative team who does reporting on matters such as this. I would also call and write the BBB (Better Business Bureau) as they are awesome here in Florida and handle matters like this immediately. I know it will all work out, but unfortunately not soon enough I know.
Please tell your son thank-you for what he is doing for all of us. My father was in the military for 25 years. My husband was a Navy Seal and now both of our children serve. My daughter in the Navy and my son in the Army.
Blessings to you!
08-03-2009, 08:00 PM
How's it going Lily ?
08-03-2009, 09:17 PM
Here's the resolution thread SC.
08-13-2009, 08:37 PM
Keep fighting it lady, if you have to call the owner of the company or someone in HR.Also contact a lawyer. Thank your son for me for his service I salute him and you