Cingular Wireless Complaint - Pattern of Billing Errors Appear Deliberate
BOCA RATON, FLORIDA -- My wife and I each have a cell phone with Cingular, Florida. For the last 8 months or so, we have had a monthly problem with Cingular where they cannot get our bill correct. This has caused us to spend hours of our time on the phone to correct their errors as well as requiring us to pay unnecessary reconnect fees.
For several months, Cingular failed to get both of our phones on the same plan resulting in one phone being billed incorrectly. When we called - repeatedly - to correct the problem, Cingular simply reversed the problem. The incorrect phone plan was put on the correct plan, but the correct phone was switched to the incorrect plan!
So the next month one phone was still wrong.
This took months to resolve. Each time Cingular threatened to disconnect our service and charge reconnect fees. We complained that there should be no charge for our having to correct Cingular's errors. Cingular maintained it was not making any errors but only responding appropriately to our requests. Really, we did not request that Cingular continue messing up our bills, wasting our time and costing us money. I cannot imagine that any customer would make such a request.
One month, Cingular changed our plans without our request or permission, resulting in higher bills than if they'd left the plans alone. When we refused to pay these improper charges or phones were shut off. Cingular then demanded a reconnect fee. We successfully argued to have this removed and paid what we owed to have the service reconnected. But it took hours of our time. And we had to do it a second time.
Most recently, we found another Cingular error on our bill and asked the rep to put the bill in dispute until the matter was resolved and the rep promised to look into the matter and give a return follow-up call. We waited - no call came. But Cingular did shut off the phone and demand another reconnect fee.
On July 2, 2004 we called and asked yet another rep if the prior rep had noted the account was in dispute. We were told "no". We asked why the prior rep didn't call us back as promised and were told "there is no record of this on your account". We then asked why the rep wouldn't note these things on our account and were told that there is no reason because the rep would have "noted everything discussed". In short, the rep has complete control over what is typed into the record and if the rep doesn't type it then Cingular maintains it didn't happen. Even though it did. And yes, we have the names of the people spoken to.
We then secured a promise from the new rep that his boss would call back within 48 hours. We had the rep note this on the account and read it back. We'll see if he kept it on the record - we have our doubts. As of today, July 8, 2004 no one from Cingular has called to follow-up.
We are still awaiting the promised follow-up call because the reconnect fees we had to pay to restore service cannot be backed off our bill because Cingular has "waived the charges before". Of course they have, they were erroneous charges - that is why they were waived. And they remain erroneous charges.
It is no surprise that the supervisor never called - Cingular would have to give back its pure profit collected improperly. But Cingular has credited our payment and sent our new bill.
No matter that we've paid unnecessary reconnect fees due to Cingular's failure to bill correctly, failure to accurately note conversations with customers, and failure to keep its promises to customers regarding follow-up on billing issues.
Apparently Cingular is unconcerned with proper billing focusing only on collecting payments.
I asked for a direct contact to customer service at the corporate offices, but Cingular maintains that that is not allowed under their policies. I asked for an email address to customer service at the corporate offices, but Cingular maintains that that is not allowed under their policies.
What Cingular allows is for customers to send complaints in writing to the attention of the President at the corporate headquarters.
I asked for a record of the comments recorded to my account and Cingular maintains that they only release that information when they are sued.
It appears that Cingular's policies actually prevent customers from gathering the information necessary to put their complaints in writing, which has the net effect of preventing customers from resolving matters in a timely and accurate fashion. This can only harm the customer and benefit Cingular since Cingular has the greater bargaining power - especially if their reps fail to accurately note conversations with customers and then fail to make follow-up calls as promised.
These repeated problems give the appearance of a habit and practice of deliberate misbilling, which can only result in Cingular's unjust financial gain at the expense of and harm to its customers.