Talk America Complaint - Talk America is run by bumblers
ATLANTA, GEORGIA -- Talk America is, quite simply, a terrible company to deal with. Perhaps the most annoying part of dealing with them is that you are forced to listen to them brag about the high customer service rating they received from JD Power and Associates while you are on hold! After dealing with Talk America I was forced to seriously reconsider my opinion of JD Power! For starters, when I switched to Talk America my DSL service was terminated.* Talk America never bothered to warn me that this would happen or stop the change order before shutting my DSL service down. When I tried to get my DSL service turned back on by switching back to my previous phone service provider, Talk America screwed up that process somehow and I ended up with no long distance service for a while, then long distance service with Talk America and local service with my previous provider. I called Talk America to straighten this out and ended up signing up for a combined local/long distance package with Talk America. I gave them all of the information (which they already had) to sign up again and then was transferred to a person from another company who was supposed to verify that I really wanted to change providers. I jumped through that hoop and hung up thinking everything was just fine. A few days later I got a call from someone at Talk America saying that my account sign-up was never verified and that I needed to call them back and go through the whole process again. By then I was really sick of Talk America and I simply signed up for a combined packaged with someone else. But that still wasn't the end of the story. I paid my "final" bill from Talk America, and then received another "final" bill which had prorated charges of about 50 cents for the long distance package *they* had signed me up for (without my permission) and taxes and regulatory charges of over $14! In other words, they prorated the service fees, but did not prorate the taxes! I thought this was crazy, but I simply didn't feel like dealing with them anymore so I went ahead and paid the bill. But that still wasn't the end of it. The next month I received another "final" bill--this time for just $14 in taxes and regulatory fees and *no* service charges! I called them up immediately, explained the situation and asked that they stop sending me tax bills for a service I did not subscribe to and to refund the tax overcharges on the last bill which I had paid. After about an hour on the phone waiting for the service rep to untangle my account history, she agreed to stop the erroneous billing but she refused to refund or prorate the taxes from my last bill. I asked to talk to her supervisor (Steve) and he also refused to fix the overcharged taxes. I told him that if he would not refund the overcharged taxes I would write up my experiences on all of the phone service comparison sites. He still refused. This conversation happened on 6/29/2004 for anyone in Talk America's management who might be interested.
But the story doesn’t end there. I did get another bill (they refused to credit me for the overcharged taxes) and I went ahead and paid it and wrote up this critique. Then, after I paid the bill, they started sending me threatening notices saying they were going to turn me over to a collection agency. I waited a month to see if they could get their systems straightened out. Nope. They kept threatening and I had to call them again…
* I live in BellSouth territory but I already had non-BellSouth phone and DSL service. I knew that switching to some competitive providers would cause me to lose my DSL service because--gasp--they warned me when I contacted them about switching! To make matters worse, I couldn't even get my DSL service back without switching to Bellsouth for local phone service because Bellsouth stopped allowing DSL service on CLEC accounts some time after my account was originally set up.