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How to deal (civilly) with being screwed over? [SOLVED]

TasteticleTasteticle Registered User regular
edited March 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
Hey guys. I need some advice. First, the story:

I have a cell phone plan with "unlimited evenings and weekends". My evenings start at 9 pm (due to some other bonuses I get on the account if I take the later time) and end at 7 am on weekdays. Me and my girlfriend talk on the phone quite a bit. One night she called me at 8:30 pm on a weekday and the discussion we had went quite late. I assumed that the first 30 minutes (8:30-9:00 pm) of that call would be billed under "weekday" minutes - it does not say anywhere on their website or plan legal disclaimers otherwise. It just says "unlimited evenings start at 9 pm". So I get my bill to discover I had been charged for many hours worth of "weekday" minutes because of this phone call. I call up the phone company and explain my situation to the guy and he just shrugs it off and says "Your call started before 9 pm - The entire call gets treated as a weekday call." I tell him that it's fine if that is how they want to do it - but nowhere is this made known to the customer - ergo I am not paying for this call past the first 30 minutes. He retorts by saying "Well this is an extra service we offer you so we don't have to provide you with any details if we don't want to". What in the hell? I am PAYING MONEY for this plan and I am being told that they don't have to give me all the details about my plan if they don't want to. He then offered to "half" my overage minutes from this call. I told him I appreciated the gesture but it still won't do. He keeps going on about how it's not their fault - they don't have to outline the details of this plan if they don't want to, blah blah blah. So I ask if I can speak to his manager and (surprise) the dude is out and will call me back tomorrow.

So my question is this - has anyone else here run into a similar situation and were you able to resolve it? If so - how?

Thanks!

Tasteticle on

Uh-oh I accidentally deleted my signature. Uh-oh!!

Posts

  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Gaderen PSN: GaderenRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    basically you just have to kick up as much of a stink as possible until they can't be bothered any more and cave.

    Civility is the opposite of getting your money.

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  • jedikuonjijedikuonji Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Don't swear. Don't be rude to the people just doing their job. Don't yell.

    Be firm in what you want and state exactly what you want. Repeat what you want as necessary. If the person you are currently speaking with cannot offer you what you want, ask for escalation until you get someone who can give you what you want or they tell you they cannot escalate any further.

    Should you not get what you are asking for, you might try looking up your provider on the Consumerist and looking for executive customer service numbers/email and/or live help/twitter customer service contacts.

  • Stranger DangerStranger Danger Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Or just keep calling customer service until you find somebody who will help you.

    I worked in a call center for a cellphone company, and one of the many tactics that customers would use to get what they wanted (that worked) was simply calling in repeatedly until they got someone new enough or soft enough to credit them back the charges.

  • RobmanRobman Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Is it really worth your time to fight this? The person who fucked up in this case is only you, you signed your contract without reading it.

    The best way to deal with this would be to just roll with it, or else you might find yourself blackballed with your provider and absolutely SOL if a bigger issue comes up later on.

  • Bionic MonkeyBionic Monkey Registered User, ClubPA
    edited March 2010
    Robman wrote: »
    Is it really worth your time to fight this? The person who fucked up in this case is only you, you signed your contract without reading it.
    If you'd actually paid attention, you'll see he looked over his contract, and it didn't mention this particular quirk in the billing at all. He didn't fuck anything up; the company is using a technicality to screw him out of money and break the contract he signed with them.

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  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I am willing to bet the contract states it, he just didn't read it. Saying the company didnt tell him this tidbit is not the same as actually reading the contract. You think this is the first time this issue has come up and the company never thought to ensure this issue is in writing?

    And frankly, I don't give a crap what some customer service rep says, cause 99% of the time they don't know wtf they are talking about.

    I know with Sprint it says so right in the contract, and the website even provides scenarios for people to clarify it. The call is billed based on when the call is connected.

  • AvicusAvicus Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I always thought that it was assumed that the call cost is based on the price at the time of the connection. I'm sure it says so somewhere in the fine print on the contract.

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  • Blake TBlake T Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Tasteticle wrote: »
    He retorts by saying "Well this is an extra service we offer you so we don't have to provide you with any details if we don't want to". What in the hell? I am PAYING MONEY for this plan and I am being told that they don't have to give me all the details about my plan if they don't want to.

    At this stage if they say didn't tell you this then you are in the clear.

    Keep referring to your contract.

    Tell them this is not covered in contract.

    As other people say, ask to speak to someone higher.

  • KistraKistra Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Every cell phone contract that includes free nights and weekends that I have ever gotten has clearly stated that calls will be charged based on when they start.

    But yeah, they should be able to point to the sentence in your contract that says that. Call back and politely ask to speak to a manager. Explain the situation over and over and politely explain what you want. I am willing to bet you will get up a level or two and someone will tell you where to look in your contract to find that sentence, but if they can't they should refund those charges.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    jedikuonji wrote: »
    Don't swear. Don't be rude to the people just doing their job. Don't yell.

    Be firm in what you want and state exactly what you want. Repeat what you want as necessary. If the person you are currently speaking with cannot offer you what you want, ask for escalation until you get someone who can give you what you want or they tell you they cannot escalate any further.

    Should you not get what you are asking for, you might try looking up your provider on the Consumerist and looking for executive customer service numbers/email and/or live help/twitter customer service contacts.

    You'll need to be rude to people doing their job in order to get anything done. Their job consists of being dicks, and trying to get rid of you. I tried not doing that for the first month and a half with steam and it got me nowhere.

  • SipexSipex Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Companies try this shit all the time. Echoing the 'Be firm' response. You are not going to be a pussy but you're not going to be calling anyone shitcocks either. You just stay firm and push up the chain of command. Get out your contract if you must.

    If it is there and poorly worded or well written you call them on it and insinuate that they mean to steal money.

    "Oh, so you mean that sentance is supposed to mislead me. So your company is trying to mislead it's customers?"

    Mind, keep that as a more last resort thing but the most important part is to be firm. None of that 'That's okay, I understand' no, you go "This is not okay. I feel cheated, etc etc etc"

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  • RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Avicus wrote: »
    I always thought that it was assumed that the call cost is based on the price at the time of the connection. I'm sure it says so somewhere in the fine print on the contract.

    Every nights and weekends type plan I've had has worked this way. Call at 8:59pm comes out of your regular minutes, call at 9:00pm comes out of your nights and weekends minutes.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah don't take my advice as meaning calling everyone dicksucking-balllicking-buttsmashers. Swearing is the easiest way to get yourself ignored. But being an asshole and moving up the chain is the best way. Act like a thorn in their side.

  • SpacemilkSpacemilk Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Sipex wrote: »
    Companies try this shit all the time. Echoing the 'Be firm' response. You are not going to be a pussy but you're not going to be calling anyone shitcocks either. You just stay firm and push up the chain of command. Get out your contract if you must.

    If it is there and poorly worded or well written you call them on it and insinuate that they mean to steal money.

    "Oh, so you mean that sentance is supposed to mislead me. So your company is trying to mislead it's customers?"

    Mind, keep that as a more last resort thing but the most important part is to be firm. None of that 'That's okay, I understand' no, you go "This is not okay. I feel cheated, etc etc etc"
    This. You can be firm and stand your ground without resorting to swearing. You must be polite without being conciliatory. Like Sipex said, DO NOT say "That's ok" or anything like it; use words like "This is unacceptable". Don't whine, just be firm and let them know you won't be screwed like this. It might take a while, and you'll either go through a lot of times on hold or a lot of representatives, but you WILL get your way.

    Also p.s. this is almost 100% definitely in your fine print =/ I have gotten screwed on this before and they directed me to the exact paragraph. Just keep calling back until you get someone who doesn't know exactly where it's at in your contract and if you pressure them enough they'll cave.

  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    jedikuonji wrote: »
    Don't swear. Don't be rude to the people just doing their job. Don't yell.

    Be firm in what you want and state exactly what you want. Repeat what you want as necessary. If the person you are currently speaking with cannot offer you what you want, ask for escalation until you get someone who can give you what you want or they tell you they cannot escalate any further.

    Should you not get what you are asking for, you might try looking up your provider on the Consumerist and looking for executive customer service numbers/email and/or live help/twitter customer service contacts.

    You'll need to be rude to people doing their job in order to get anything done. Their job consists of being dicks, and trying to get rid of you. I tried not doing that for the first month and a half with steam and it got me nowhere.

    Don't EVER do this. There is no reason to be out and out rude to any customer service person that you talk to on the phone unless they are rude to you first.

    Why do I know this? Because I do customer service. I talk to people for 8 hours a day and I'll tell you right now that being rude to a rep is not going to get anything done better or faster. Period. In fact, it may just make them hate you and in return and your problem may not get solved in a timely manner (I don't personally do this, but some folks aren't as awesome as me :D).

    Honestly, I help everyone who calls in to the very best of my abilities. I'm good at my job and I will do whatever I can for people that call in. But being a dick on the phone won't change the rules and it won't make me work any harder than I normally would. So you may as well save your anger.

    Granted, maybe there are some reps out there that truly suck at their jobs and deserve to have anger spewed through their earpiece, but most of them really are "just doing their jobs". They are controlled by the people above them and only have a certain amount of power. Don't swear. Don't yell. Just be firm in what you want and any rep worth their salt will make sure the correct person knows about the problem.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    You and I are defining rude differently.

    I've been dealing with a customer service rep for the past month and a half and have been nice and forceful. Being rude this past week has gotten me much more than being nice and forceful has.

    Rude to you is screaming and yelling and swearing (I've worked in customer service too).

    Rude to me is not letting a customer service rep cut you off or tell you they can't do anything about it. Calling back constantly, calling many numbers constantly, filing with the BBB and contacting supervisors heads of departments (email and phone).

  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    You and I are defining rude differently.

    I've been dealing with a customer service rep for the past month and a half and have been nice and forceful. Being rude this past week has gotten me much more than being nice and forceful has.

    Rude to you is screaming and yelling and swearing (I've worked in customer service too).

    Rude to me is not letting a customer service rep cut you off or tell you they can't do anything about it. Calling back constantly, calling many numbers constantly, filing with the BBB and contacting supervisors heads of departments (email and phone).

    i'd say that would be more persistant/annoying than rude, tho cutting someone off mid sentence can be rude but I'd accept it in this case depending how you did it.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    And to make it worse, it's about $40 and I could've mailed them two Jacksons faster than this.

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Again, firm but polite. Look for issues in the contract.

    Also, does this mean that if I got a phone call at 6:59am and sat on the phone ALL day it wouldn't cost me anything?

  • DeebaserDeebaser Lead Frog Rammer Fake Board GamerRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Be firm, but persistent. In all honesty, you are in the wrong here. I can say with 99% certainty that the unlimited nights and weekends definition is in your contract. I mean it isn't like this idea isn't over a decade old and your cellular provider doesn't have a legal department.

    There is no harm in shooting for the moon, though.

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  • GoetterdaemmerungGoetterdaemmerung Registered User
    edited March 2010
    Wezoin wrote: »
    Also, does this mean that if I got a phone call at 6:59am and sat on the phone ALL day it wouldn't cost me anything?
    That's a clever counterpoint. Either they say "no, we just bone you with double standards" or "yeah. huh, that doesn't sound good for us...".

    Unless it's in your contract, then you get facerolled.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    It'd be a really good counter-argument with the reps. You can most likely get the charge refunded with enough bitching up the chain of command.

  • projectmayhemprojectmayhem Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Call in and asked to be transferred to service retention.

  • DodgeBlanDodgeBlan Gaderen PSN: GaderenRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    You are probably going to end up spending the same amount of time on the phone to customer service as you did to your girlfriend

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  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    bowen wrote: »
    You and I are defining rude differently.

    I've been dealing with a customer service rep for the past month and a half and have been nice and forceful. Being rude this past week has gotten me much more than being nice and forceful has.

    Rude to you is screaming and yelling and swearing (I've worked in customer service too).

    Rude to me is not letting a customer service rep cut you off or tell you they can't do anything about it. Calling back constantly, calling many numbers constantly, filing with the BBB and contacting supervisors heads of departments (email and phone).

    Funny, I don't actually consider most of the things in the last paragraph to be "rude". I wouldn't let a rep cut me off while I was talking, either. And I would definitely file a complaint with the BBB if I wasn't getting satisfactory service.

    However, the "calling back constantly" part is something I take issue with. Mainly because I've had people call back in to where I work when the issue is already being handled by another rep. They were told that it would take a day or two to fix and they'll call back in an hour later or something retarted like that and expect things to be done. And then they get pissed when it's not fixed. I don't advise anyone to be that guy.

    Now if you were told that things would be taken care of in a day or two and it's a week later, yeah. Definitely call back in.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Yeah calling back in repeatedly because "it'll take a day or two" is different than calling back in after someone else hangs up on your or disconnects your transfer or something else.

    I guess I just see it as being rude. And being firm but polite tends to get less done then being an absolute dick on the phone while not screaming your face off.

  • TasteticleTasteticle Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    I don't get mad at employees for doing their jobs - but I stay firm. I brought up the 6:59 am call counterpoint to the first rep and he was quiet for a bit and went "...well....I guess you could" so we'll see how it all turns out. As far as my contract is considered, this case isn't in there - but it is entirely possible I somehow missed it and if the higher ups can point it out to me then I do agree I am SOL.


    Uh-oh I accidentally deleted my signature. Uh-oh!!
  • Gilbert0Gilbert0 North of SeattleRegistered User regular
    edited March 2010
    I did 611 for AT&T for almost 6 months before going back to school so here is my advice.

    Like you said, you realize the problem and you have what you believe is a fair solution.

    1. First thing is ask to speak to Tier 2 support right away (supervisor, next level, whatever they call it). Usually Tier 1 can only refund a small amount of $$ and are random people who need a job. If they ask why, you've called in several times before without proper resolution.
    2. Explain situation calmly and clearly, don't yell, don't get angry. Tier 2 usually have much more experience and know the rules better.
    3. Explain what you want as a resolution and have them ADD A NOTE TO YOUR ACCOUNT THAT YOU UNDERSTAND NIGHT/WEEKEND MINUTES. If it ever happens again, you are SOL but you get the rebate now.

    Hopefully they'll go for that, but if I was the support, I'd let you have the rebate.

  • travathiantravathian Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Tasteticle wrote: »
    Thanks for all the advice guys.

    I don't get mad at employees for doing their jobs - but I stay firm. I brought up the 6:59 am call counterpoint to the first rep and he was quiet for a bit and went "...well....I guess you could" so we'll see how it all turns out. As far as my contract is considered, this case isn't in there - but it is entirely possible I somehow missed it and if the higher ups can point it out to me then I do agree I am SOL.

    It probably doesn't say it in the "nights and weekends' section, it just says in the normal explanation of billing that calls are charged based on when they are connected. And yes, if you call at 6:59am and sit on the phone all day it costs nothing, other than wear and tear on your battery.

  • TasteticleTasteticle Registered User regular
    edited March 2010
    Welp - here is the resolution:

    I never got called back so I called back into the phone company and explained my whole deal to some guy - including never being called back - very politely, very professionally, and what I considered to be a fair and acceptable resolution.

    He totally agreed with me.

    So I am living proof that you really just have to get the right person on the other end of the line to get results. I got all extra charges dropped along with a note on my account that states that I now know exactly how this plan operates.

    Thanks for all the advice and I guess this topic can be locked now!


    Uh-oh I accidentally deleted my signature. Uh-oh!!
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