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This Contract Is More Painful Than Contractions

, , , , | Working | March 16, 2020

Ever since I was able to provide myself with cell phone service, I have opted for rental plans to be able to get some perks and phones. I have had some smaller issues over the years that were always solved — minor charges and the like — that got cleared with a simple call to customer support. That is, until the reason I left the service happened.

My contract was due to be renewed two months from the date they called me to offer a better plan with a better cost and a heavily discounted phone I was looking forward to, so I took the offer right away. They told me that they only needed the all-clear from the finance department and would contact me soon.

The next day, they called again to offer the same thing. I asked for the status of the last renewal — yesterday, right? — and they said someone had made a mistake and they’d have to do the process all over. I told them to go ahead, and once more they told me everything was fine and they needed the all-clear from the finance guys.

Next day? Same thing, yes, a third time, and a fourth. A fifth? Why the h*** not? Finally, I told them to stop calling and that I would let the offer pass.

Fast forward two months of sporadically getting offers to do an early renewal — already sick of it, by the way — I went to do my last payment and tried to renew at an office of my carrier. Easy, right? Well, apparently not.

Remember the small charges I said got cleared by calling customer service? Well, they all came back at once and amounted to almost another month worth of service. I told them that those charges were clear, with all the authorization numbers I had — I’ve learned through the years to get everything documented — and they told me, “We have to get the all-clear from the finance department.” I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I went to the competitor next door and signed a contract with “betrayal benefits” — get your number from a competitor with us on a yearly contract and get three free months each year.

I got my service running with a new cellphone in a couple of hours, paying the same I had been paying with even more services included and some free months down the path.

End of story? Nope.

Not even a week later, I got a call from a number I didn’t know and, lo and behold, it was from the renewal department of the former carrier. “You know? Yeah, go ahead and try to renew my number, please,” I said, bemused, but this time I didn’t get the usual “waiting for the finance department to clear my account.” This time they said that I owed them some amount. How much? The charges I fought and documented as having them cleared from me. Nope, you aren’t getting my money, former carrier! I hung up, and just because I have one of their offices near me, I went there and asked, “How do I pay what I owe?” Surprise, surprise, I was no longer in their system, and they had no idea how to charge me for anything.

All right, then. What next? Collections called. Yup, not even one week after the last failed renewal, I started receiving calls from the former carrier saying, “Pay us what you owe us.” I laughed at them and hung up. It happened for a couple of weeks, and I got all manner of answers.

“It’s from the last rent.” Nope, it isn’t.

“It’s a residual charge from an old invoice.” Nope, not having that.

“You know what? I can’t even come up with the information. Sorry to bother you.” This one made my day.

Fast forward to today. I receive one last invoice from the former carrier in my mail. I wonder how much they say I owe, and see in the summary, “Charges [Amount],” and then, “Customer Clarifications -[Amount],” and lastly, “Round up from last month payment -$0.35.” The grand total is, “Carrier owes user 35 cents.” We are talking pesos here, so it’s like 1.75 US cents.

I wonder what’s coming up next week.

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