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bigredwire Complaint - Deceptive practices

Review by kheong@iname.com on 2001-10-06
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA -- Bigredwire (BRW, http://www.bigredwire.com) offers so-called free long-distance phone calls. This company has the worst history of customer service and deceptive business service I've ever experienced. The following is my story:

A) I requested my a/c to be terminated in June 01, 2001 due to atrocious customer service and overly expensive call charges. The main reason was that they wanted to charge me $10 for their own mistake of not correctly recording the details of my new credit card. Anyway, I had an email confirmation that my a/c will be terminated if I replied and confirmed in email. I did this immediately but didn't get a reply from BRW. I assume my a/c has been cancelled.

B) On Oct 03, 2001 (yes, 4 months later!) I received an email saying that I've been charged $10 because 'the credit card you submitted to the bigredwire community was declined for payment'. It turned out that BRW wanted to bill me for an outstanding $0.60 since my a/c was closed. I was furious at this for the following reasons:

1) Firstly, I clearly have requested my a/c to be cancelled and BRW staff has said it'll be done as soon as I confirmed in an email. This email was sent on 1/June/01.
2) When my a/c was cancelled, outstanding bills should have been closed out.
3) Even if item 1 was incorrect, BRW should have replied with an email saying that my a/c has not been closed. Furthermore, it's BRW's responsibility to indicate that there's outstanding bills since I've **clearly indicated I wanted my a/c closed (because of BRW's PATHETIC CUSTOMER SERVICE)**
4) Even if item 2 was incorrect (which is denied), BRW lied saying that they had been trying to bill me since June. Well, if this were true, the charge shd have gone thru since my credit card expired only in July. Secondly, why did BRW wait for 4 months before telling me that my credit card is invalid? It has my email address and could have corresponded much earlier. Third, I'm sure BRW can tell from my credit card's expiry date that it would expire in 07/01. Why not email me to send new credit card details instead of trying to charge an expired card and billing me for $10?

After a few exchanges of angry emails, BRW then asked said me to submit my new credit card details, saying that it'd credit me with $10. I thought this was reasonable and didn't want to waste any more time. It turned out that BRW charged me $10.60 and then credit my BRW a/c with $10. This was infuriating because:

1) BRW alread cancelled its services to Australia in August 2001, so the $10 credit is USELESS to me
2) Regardless of point 1, BRW was fully aware I wanted my a/c cancelled!

To sum up, BRW has an atrocious business model that tries to make money from customers forgetting to zap their calls (to make them free) or customers forgetting their credit card details (so BRW can charge $10 each time) or fumbling credit card instructions (so BRW can charge $10 each time).

To help keep me as a potential future customer, I would like the following:

I'd like my $10 charged back to my credit card and assurance that my a/c has been cancelled for good.


At the very least I would like a response from your company regarding this incident. Thank you for your time.
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