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Symbeline's avatar

What to do about phone/internet companies that harass you, AND keep on billing you after the account has been closed?

Asked by Symbeline (29544 points ) November 20th, 2012

I’ll try to make this as simple as I can, with only the details I believe are needed; my roommate and I recently switched from Bell Canada to Videotron. (phone, cable and internet providers)

My roommate is in charge of paying for that, and it’s all her account. She hasn’t paid for the last Bell bill though, which is 105 dollars.

So A) They won’t stop phoning here all day, which we can’t really complain about, because it is money she owes. I told her to give a definite date to when she’ll pay, but she doesn’t know when she can, so until she does, I don’t think there’s anything to do about this. I don’t have a job right now, so I can’t lend the money, and she has work, so I told her it’s up to her to rectify the payment. However they phone here like five times a day on weekdays, and this particular company has a very bad reputation for this kind of thing.

However there is a B) and this is where we need help. She received ANOTHER bill, which now amounts the whole thing to 234 dollars. (this company doesn’t add interest to late fees, never heard of no phone company that did, either) She CANCELLED the account like a month and a half ago, and they’re billing her for dates that haven’t even HAPPENED yet. (even though her account is closed, and we therefore haven’t used their services) This last bill she got goes into the first week of December. What the hell is this? We’re not even with them anymore, and we’re not even in damn December yet. O_o

So I told her I’d look online to try and see if I can find some information about both the phoning harassment and the phantom bill. Isn’t there something that can be done? I remember looking this up years ago, and this Bell company came up and they had phone numbers you could phone for company frauding and phone harassment and stuff, but right now, I can’t find anything that isn’t dated almost four years ago. Is there anything at all to do? (there was a similar story to this where a women kept on getting bills from them for almost a year after she cancelled her account)
The only thing I can suggest her is to tell them a certain date for the payment, (then we can really bitch if they don’t stop the phoning, at least in between now and the date she specifies) but now she has this extra bill for services that weren’t used, there has to be some law against this. Help? And this is in Canada, so please keep that in mind if you have any suggestions. Thanks.

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9 Answers

Shippy's avatar

I am not sure of the laws in your area, however phoning you or her five times a day is harassment. Are you protected by the National Credit Association? If so contact them. You can also contact the Ombudsman which if you Google for your area should throw up a list of different consumer services and relevant Ombudsmen This body will intervene and clarify whether the matter regards the bills sent for dates not even used. I have had similar stories but I simply ignore. Plus an account I cancelled three times that never cancels.

Do you have any saved correspondence regards the cancellations? Also with the money owed, she can answer the call, make a commitment to paying so much on a certain date, and put it in writing and save to a ‘Disputes’ folder. If the bill is not in your name? there is no reason for them to be calling you at all.

Symbeline's avatar

Well we both share the same phone; they’re not calling ME technically. They always ask for her.

Do you have any saved correspondence regards the cancellations?
I’m not sure…I’ll have to ask my roomate if there is, but I see where you’re coming from with this. I hope there is, might make things easier, when putting in complaints about this. I kind of doubt it though, but maybe she got some mail that confirms the switch she made. Would that help at all, in lieu of saved correspondence?

And I’ll be doing a bit of homework on the other suggestions, thank you. :) (no idea what Ombudsman is but I’ll find out)

AshlynM's avatar

Send them a politely worded letter to stop calling you and ask them to take you off their in house do not call list. Since the account is closed, they should have no reason to keep calling and billing you. I also suggest contacting some of your local news stations. Some of them may have an investigations department. I know mine does. You tell them your problem and usually, within a few days, you see fast results.

Also, try filing a complaint with the BBB.

If that doesn’t work, then try to contact the Consumers’ Association of Canada. Be sure to write down any relevant information when they call, such as reps’ names and times.

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Tropical_Willie's avatar

This may be WAY OFF; Are you sure she cancelled the account in writing by the date required by Bell?
The forward billing is normal on my cable bill (on-demand charges are added to the next month bill).
– Have her give them a payment plan with dates and amounts.
– Follow the plan and tell them to STOP calling.
It is the cable company’s money and your room mate responsibility. They will continue to call until a plan is made and followed, is you miss by a day or dollar, expect to get calls again.

SavoirFaire's avatar

If you have proof that your new service has started with Videotron, you can use it to help your case that you canceled your Bell Canada service last month. You should focus on getting them to agree—in writing—that the amount owed is $105 before sending them a dime. If you send them $105 now and try to argue about the extra month’s bill later, they have no incentive to listen to you. They have the $105, and they have nothing to lose trying to get more money out of you. If you send them nothing until they agree that all you owe them is $105, however, they do have something to lose. If nothing else, they might have to sell the debt for less than they can get out of you.

Next time someone calls, demand to speak to a supervisor. Tell them you are recording the call (even better, actually record the call if you can). Explain the situation. If that person does not seem willing to compromise, ask to speak to their supervisor. At some point, you might be told that the supervisor you’ve requested will have to call you back. Remind them you are recording the call and that they’ve just promised on behalf of the company that you will receive a call from someone who can deal with the issue, then accept. This should get you a call from someone who has the authority to resolve the issue (if it goes this far—with any luck, the first or second supervisor will fix the error).

This is more or less how I dealt with AT&T when they tried charging me for service that they’d never even provided in the first place. It dragged on a bit, but I won through persistence.

wundayatta's avatar

Buy up all their stock and close their asses down!

Ok. You probably can’t afford to do that if you can’t afford the bills. But wouldn’t it be so satisfying.

I’m afraid it’s a faceless corporation and they don’t care. Talk to them tell them you can’t pay. Ask them to stop harrassing you. Find a consumer advocacy office, and ask them for help.

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