ISP Stealing My Money

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#1 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:05 PM

I should probably start by saying that I had an account with Australian ISP (and government organization) Ativ8me.

I closed my account down in early August of 2012. NINE months ago. They kept billing me, and I only just found out the other day, as I happened to check my account on the same day that they drew an amount out.

I went to my bank, explained what had happened, and lodged a stop payment application which was approved. Now, they can't take my money anymore. But the fact remains that they still owe me 9 months worth of bills.

So, I rang up my Ex(isp), and told them what had happened. We had it sorted out within minutes, and had a good laugh about it. They realised that I hadn't used any data, and the man on the other end apologised, and gave me a ticket number from the call to quote to their financial team when they call me back. Ha! That easy? No. Obviously not that easy. Needless to say, their financial team never called me back. I waited a few days, gave them a call, quoted the ticket number, and was back to square one.

The man on the other end said that he would be happy to close my account down, for a fee of $8. I humbly declined, holding back the rage tsunami that would surely get me into trouble, if I let it. He decided that it was above his pay grade, and passed me on to another department.

Now I'm waiting for ANOTHER call that will never come. But it gets better...

... After trying to bill me again (unsuccessfully), the company -- which, and I cannot stress this enough, is owned by the Australian Federal Government -- sent me another text to say that they would take action against me if I didn't pay the $8 that I owed them to shut my account down.

I'm pretty close to calling their industry ombudsman and telling him all about this corporate misconduct. That, or mailing them an industrial pallet of manure. I'm torn between my choices at the moment.

Has anybody else had any similarly bad experiences with ISP companies? (or any advice for me)

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#2 aaron1178  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:27 PM

Me and my good mate Bigpond. Transferred my account into another family members name. They had received their new bill and all. But for some weird fucking reason, they charged me for usage from when I transferred my account and to when they got their bill. Never again ill go with bigpond, I like dodo
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#3 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:42 PM

Ahh, Bigpond... Where their webpages have login AND logout buttons. They're definitely amateurs, and yet somehow they've convinced everyone that they're not.

I'm going to call my ISP tomorrow, get the call logs (or the call times), and if it isn't resolved, I'm going to contact the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman). Since I haven't actually used any data in 9 months (I actually moved house), the upkeep cost of my account is... Nothing. It doesn't cost Activ8me anything.

I'm just sick of being passed from department-to-department. I want this situation to end, even though I know that my chances for them paying me back are slim.
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#4 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 30 April 2013 - 10:50 PM

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My advice is to stay on target. You're taking the right approach by not blowing up at the reps - they don't really have control over the company entity, and most of the time want to help you.

I would tell them that they're welcome to take the $8 out of the check they're going to send you for the 9 months of payments they took after you had notified them to stop processing payments.

As for similar stories, this one is kinda similar...

I used to have Time Warner Cable as my ISP. I was pleased with them for the most part. I didn't have a cell phone because I was never away from a computer from which I could call out/receive calls via Skype. Eventually they announced that they're going to offer 4G Aircards. So I sign up for one at $30/mo and think to myself "that's cheaper than a cell phone and works for my laptop!"

So I take home the aircard. I plug it in to my laptop, set it up, it works magnificently. I go out of town, enjoy it the entire trip, no problem. I get back and they call me. "Hey, we need to exchange your aircard. We gave you the demo model, we need to give you a real one." Ok - I can accept errors like that happen. I go in to the office and exchange the aircard. I get home with the new card - it doesn't work. I call them, explain the situation, I read them the serial number from the card. They escalate a ticket. . . ok, I worked tech support at the time, so I understood that perhaps they didn't have access to handle it. So I call back the next night to check on the status and find out why I hadn't heard back. I called at about 10:30pm. I sat on hold til midnight, and at midnight on the dot it dropped me to voicemail. I was pissed. So the next morning I drive up to their office and explain what's going on. Since the aircard had been activated by someone at the counter there at the office, clearly someone there would be able to register it. Apparently they had never removed the registration of the original from my account, so the new registration simply wasn't applying. They said to call them from home so i could provide the serial number to the aircard.

So I go home, I pull out the aircard, and call them. Their response? "You already have a ticket open for this." I explain that I'd been in to the office and they said they'd identified why the registration wasn't taking and would be able to fix it. The rep said I should hear back in 2-3 weeks. That stopped me dead. 2-3 weeks? No, fuck this. I told them "Look, just cancel the aircard, I'll take it in to the office and drop it off. It's not worth all the trouble." They turn around with "well you can't drop it off in the office, we'll have to send a tech out to retrieve it." Fine, whatever. I tell them to send a tech. So I'm sitting by the phone, waiting for the tech to call some time between Woodstock and the Colonization of Titan. It rings, and I pick up after the second ring. No caller on the line. Weird, I dial the number back. As I sit through it ringing til it disconnects, I get a notification that I have a new voicemail. WHILE I was calling, the tech called back to say he was trying to reach me and wasn't going to try again. So I call support and tell them this JUST happened and the tech missed the call by seconds or something weird was going on, but that I was waiting for him. "Sorry the tech called 10 minutes ago and reported that he was unable to reach you." I explain that the tech didn't call til only about 5 minutes ago, but they say "no that's not possible, it was called in at X:XX AM" I sigh and say "just call him and tell him to come, I'm here." "Oh he's already on his way to his next appointment." I tell them that at this point I'm considering their property abandoned and would consider it mine after 30 days if they did not come retrieve it. That got their hackles up good lol. So they start threatening me, saying that that's theft, yada yada - I told them "No. That's not theft. You want theft? You're stealing my time. I make $20/hr, and I've spent at least 3 hours a day for the past 2 weeks dealing with this in one fashion or another. By my estimate, Time Warner owes me a paycheck to the tune of $700. Can you get me in touch with your payroll department?" the rep went dead silent, didn't know how to respond to that. After a few minutes I said "You know what, cancel everything I have through Time Warner. I'm done with this. Your company is bad and you should feel bad for working for them. I'll drive the equipment into the office today." He goes "I can't do that, you can't take it in to the office, it has to be picked up." I said "look, I'm taking it in to the office. Your dumbass tech isn't going to come pick it up, and I'm done wasting my time. This'll take me 15 more minutes and then I'm washing my hands of your terrible company. Good day." I went and packed up the modem, coaxial cable, and air card. Drove up to the office, walked in and sat them on the counter. Explained to the rep that I wanted to cancel everything I had through TWC. They noted my account and told me they would see that everything is shut off. I paid out my final bill for January, minus 3/4 the cost of the aircard since I was only permitted to use it for 1/4 of the month. They got uppity about that and I explained all the shit I had just went through. Now, I'm a really softspoken and patient guy, I don't froth angrily at customer support, so when I tell this tale the guy empathizes and agrees to 'prorate' the fee. I thank him, and walk out.

A month later I receive a bill for February's service fees. Nothing was deactivated. I called and explained that I had cancelled everything in January and that it was all done. I was no longer a customer and they needed to fix the bill. They responded that I never cancelled. Now fortunately, one thing my employer provides as a side benefit is legal consulting. So I met up with an attorney to make sure I was in the clear on this. Showed the receipt indicating that I had returned the equipment, and the paper I had signed stating that the account was to be terminated. For $20 (which was worth it to me just for the lulz factor) he drafted up a "settlement agreement" wherein I agreed to not press Time Warner for the $700 they owed me for time wasted dealing with them, and they would terminate all services associated with me. I mailed that to them in the return envelope that was sent with the bill, along with photocopies of the receipt and termination agreement.

Never heard back, and never saw another bill from them. Fuck Time Warner.
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#5 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:24 PM

What a story! Makes me wish I were in a position where my ISP didn't owe me money. But they do.

They record all of their calls. I'm hoping that they still have my call from 9 months ago where the guy said that he had deactivated my account. Oh, and I already paid $24.95 to have my account deactivated. The $8 is off the table. If I do that, they'll just close the query and I'll never see my money.

Starting to think that there's a very fine line between ISP's and pseudo-criminal, surveillance organisations.
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#6 aaron1178  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:58 AM

That's quite a story . I find it interesting that they are allowed to threaten you like that. I also find it fun that once you send them a legal agreement, they back down. I wish I found a lawyer to write a draft whatever :)
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#7 KYA  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:00 AM

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How do you not see the withdrawal on the first month? Do people not look at their bank statements at least monthly?
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#8 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:35 AM

I look at my transaction statements all of the time. The amounts were coming out on the 22nd (or 23rd) of every month, and I just wasn't checking on those days. Even when I did check, the description was vague and didn't give me much information, which is why I was alarmed enough to go to the bank about it. There are several automatic drawings on my account, and I guess that this one was just lost in the mess.

Also, it's not something that I was exactly looking for. I'm embarrassed that I managed to miss it for 9 months straight, but I'm more frustrated that it was apparently something that I had to look for in the first place.

When I rang up 9 months ago, they told me that the account had been closed -- Not that they were going to close it -- the guy apparently closed the account whilst I was still on the phone to him, and apparently because they skimped out on his training, I lost hundreds of dollars.
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#9 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 02 May 2013 - 04:09 AM

So, after my sixth call, they paid me back the full amount!

Rage subsiding. Tuition payments, making.
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#10 depricated  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:08 AM

View PostGungnir, on 02 May 2013 - 05:09 AM, said:

So, after my sixth call, they paid me back the full amount!

Rage subsiding. Tuition payments, making.

That's awesome! Glad to hear it!

View Postaaron1178, on 01 May 2013 - 02:58 AM, said:

That's quite a story . I find it interesting that they are allowed to threaten you like that. I also find it fun that once you send them a legal agreement, they back down. I wish I found a lawyer to write a draft whatever :)/>

One of the joys of having "legal aid" as an elective benefit at work. $15 a month out of my paycheck, but I get free consultation on legal issues and hugely reduced cost on services.
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#11 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 02 May 2013 - 07:47 AM

In the US, a letter on a lawyers letter head is often enough to get a company to pull their head out of their ass & take you seriously.
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#12 Gungnir  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 02 May 2013 - 08:14 AM

Honestly, it's probably the same over here. Legal reaction would cost them more than the value of 9 months worth of bills.

They sorted it out on their end, and they don't even want my $8. Go figure.
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 02 May 2013 - 10:16 AM

View PostGungnir, on 02 May 2013 - 11:14 AM, said:

Legal reaction would cost them more than the value of 9 months worth of bills.

Funny thing is, I'm not talking legal action. Just a simple letter head usually solves customer service indiscretions.
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#14 Robin19  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 03 May 2013 - 06:10 AM

I had a fight with Time Warner Cable two years ago. I was selling my house and moving into an apartment on the other side of the city. The old tenant had TWC, so everything was already wired. I had my cable and internet box from the company. On moving day I unplugged at my house and plugged in at the apartment. The next day I called them to let them know of the move and ask them to "turn on" the service.

They asked if I had called to make an appointment. I asked why I needed an one. I was told only one of their service techs could "install" the boxes in my new place. I explained that having just received an IT degree and already having the physical equipment, they didn't have to worry about the physical installation. They kept insisting that one of their guys had to come out. They also said it would be two to three weeks before someone was available.

They also wanted verbal confirmation that I would pay the $20 "moving fee". I said absolutely no. I can cancel at the house for free. New subscribers can be installed for free. Why pay to have them do the same work? They informed me that installation costs $50 and were giving me a deal. I literally said, "I call bullshit. Cancel everything." The very shocked phone rep said she canceled my service but I would need to return the physical equipment.

I had my girlfriend (now wife) who was not on the account immediately call TWC back. In three days (not 2-3 weeks) we had a tech at our apartment installing TWC internet as a "new subscriber". At the exact time (the techs actually met each other and talked) I had a Dish Network tech installing TV service for us. Total cost for both installations: $0.

I took the old equipment in to a store the next weekend and there was no record that my account was canceled. So I had to pay for an extra week. The clerk at the mall again tried to get me to keep the service and "just pay the small $20 moving fee" to save myself the cost of installation. I informed her that no one (cable or satellite) charges an install fee. She and her boss tried to argue with me that everyone charges an install fee and I would regret the decision.

A month later I received a call from a TWC customer service rep. They were "sad and didn't want to loose me as a customer" and wanted to offer me a deal. They said they would hook up with my service again at my new place without charging me the moving fee. Geez, what a deal!</sarcasm>

They lost my TV business just to gouge an extra $20 out of an existing customer. Yet I always see ads where they try to brag about how customer friendly they are.
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#15 torind_2000  Icon User is offline

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Re: ISP Stealing My Money

Posted 03 May 2013 - 09:32 AM

View PostGungnir, on 01 May 2013 - 10:35 AM, said:

I look at my transaction statements all of the time.

No you don't or you wouldn't have missed it for nine months.

View PostGungnir, on 01 May 2013 - 10:35 AM, said:

The amounts were coming out on the 22nd (or 23rd) of every month, and I just wasn't checking on those days.

lol wut?!

Do you not reconcile your checkbook vs a bank statement?

I mean a month or two I can see, sometimes it takes the vendor a while to fix shit but after nine months of billing and you're just noticing?
That's bad.
Honestly I'd be ashamed to admit to the whole world how lazy I am taking care of my finances.
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