Friday, February 29, 2008

What's your advice?

So I'd like your opinions. It's not a big thing but it has been bothering me. This past December a friend and I planned to do a little shopping. So the plan was that she would call me when she was leaving home and on her way to pick me up. But she forgot to call before she left and stopped at a payphone to call me. (she, like me, does not have a cell phone). She was in a different city so rather than dig up a bunch of change she called me collect. I of course accepted the call and we talked for just a few minutes.

Fast forward to January

In January I received my phone bill. I immediately noticed that it was more than usual. I checked the itemized list of charges and noticed a $20 charge from a company other than the phone company. It took me a minute but I finally realized that the charge was for the collect call my friend made to me.

This company was charging me 20 dollars for a 4 minute phone call!

So my problem is; do I fight this charge or just chalk it up to experience and pay it? I paid the phone bill balance minus the $20 in January. The reason I'm hesitant to fight the charge is I know it's going to be a big hassle. The phone company does not have any walk in offices here. I would have to either deal with this via e-mail or by phone. Either way I know that if I am able to resolve this it's going to take a bunch of time and effort.

If I don't fight the charge I'm going to feel like I've been taken for a fool. Although I'm sure I haven't been the only one to get a $20 charge for a 4 minute call.

One more thing; I worked in a customer service call center once. I know how it works and that's how I know it would be a hassle to dispute the charge.

Anyway my phone bill is due again and I need to either pay or fight.


What should I do?

Should I dispute the charge?

Should I just go ahead and pay it?


Thanks!

23 comments:

Miriam said...

Personally, if that's the typical charge of that payphone company when a collect call is made, then I'd swallow and pay.

However, having worked for the phone co. it may not be all that hard to actually dispute it- especially if you have good standing w/your reg. phone co.

Symphony said...

I don't know anything about collect calls but at the minimum you're asking for clarification which they need to give.

My mom's telephone bill was like $500 for two months. First, they billed her for her modem twice (on the same bill) and then I saw all these charges for like .64 here and there.

I asked the guy what they were for, he said, "I don't know so I'll just take them off."

Dropped about $300 off that one bill.

A few years ago I was slammed by a long distance carrier. I called my phone company (different company), they separated that cost and allowed me to just pay what I usually do and then eventually they just dropped it off the bill and I didn't have to pay.

They depend on people NOT questioning them and just paying. Even if its solely for your comfort, call them.

#1Pound4Pound said...

I say call and find out why the call was so much. Do the research to make sure it is an accurate charge and if it is then pay it. It is your right as a consumer to ask questions and get the right answer. If you let it slide once it could happen again.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

yep dispute them, and go into your own phone buisness 20 bill for 4 minutes

Homeland Colors said...

Call them and ask for a manager. I worked at a phone company for a couple of years and you'll be surprised how far you can get by talking to someone. Just make sure your polite but firm.

Anonymous said...

Fight! Companies do make mistakes. There is no reason why a 4 min call withing the US should cost $20Maybe you and your friend should get a pre-paid phone.For cheapos like myself Boost Mobile is good. I don't even see pay phones anymore

Randi523 said...

Do you think your friend would help you pay it (i.e. $10 each or something like that)?

Otherwise, I would just go ahead and pay it. I always say peace of mind is priceless, and you'd lose your mind trying to debate with the phone company, esp. since it's a charge that you can acknowledge.

PCD (Pretty Circle Drawer) said...

FIGHT! even if you lose, you would have spoken up and tried to alter it.

wisdomteachesme said...

HA!
see it's a conspiracy! lol
my mom was in atlantic city (a few years ago) and called me collect-we talked about 3 to 4 mins. when i got my phone bill that call alone was 50.00!

just this past summer, a friend of mine who lives in rhode island-was without a land line or cell phone, & was calling me collect-i was trying to help him get back on his feet....we had about 4 or 5 collect calls...that ranged from 10 mins to an hour...guurrllll i knew the bill was going to by larger than usual, but i had no idea i would be hit with phone bill well over 250.00 JUST for those calls!! :(

my bill is always one amount-as i have a 'plan' for my phone bill.
i called and disputed the charges as i felt they were to much...they agreed as the $ was owed not to my phone co. but to some other plantation slave owners! but i was still required to pay the bill...i got ticked off-even after i set up a payment plan for those calls--in the end i changed phone companies -though i payed the bill-(on my time)--i did not like the way they handled the situation.

now with the different company--i made sure that this phone cannot rec' collect calls! and i made sure to tell all 'my people'--don't call me collect--it will not go through.

my partner and i have pre-paid cell phones-(virgin mobile-from target)-we add time via computer accounts--so easy! we only use them when we are not home. we did not want another bill coming to the home...it's the way to go.

my adivce to you mdc is to get a prepaid cell--and go ahead and pay the 20.00 and be thankful it's not for more.
you can hold out on paying that portion of the bill--i just don't know how long they will let you hold it out-(different company then we have here)

KMyles said...

Just pay it sis... fighting it means that $20 bill will cost you $40 worth of aggravation...

12kyle said...

If I were you, I'd pay it. Just chalk it up as an "L" and be done with it. It's like you said, there's no office that you can go into to argue your point. If it's done over the phone, they'll make you wait for at least 30 mins on hold. Then, you'll have to deal with some clown who will tell you that you have to pay it and it's out of his control. And then they'll put the manager on the phone who'll do the same thing.

Hopefully, your call won't be "mysteriously" disconnected while you're waiting on the manager. So, it's not worth the time...nor the hassle.

jjbrock said...

MDC I would pay but I would also want to know why I was charge that amount.

theblackactor.com said...

I am a fierce and ferocious consumer advocate and have prevailed probably 100% of the time against consumer-related injustices against me.

1. Establish if you have any legitimate case. There may have been wording or something on the phone that spelled out the cost of the charges. Isn't that how it works? Your friend may have ignored this.

2. If there wasn't, is there law that there should have been?

3. If it was spelled out, you have no case obviously.

I would probably ask a few questions or make a few inquiries.

(When I'm in ferocious mode, I don't really care about the time it takes -- but I have to be in really tiger ferocious mode to ignore the effort required).

If it is established that there should have been verbiage on the phone and there wasn't, then I'd pursue some recourse.

If it is determined that this is all too much or you have no case, chalk this one up to the game and recognize you cannot -- and should not -- fight every battle.

Take is as a learning experience and buy yourself a phone card or something (and if need be, buy a few) and send to your friends.

Damn, I'd be mad as a mufu*ka, too.

Youch!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don said...

Mes,

Stop piling all that money under your mattress and pay that $20.

I dont see what good it would do to go through all that trouble when they are going to make you pay it anyways. Then, like you said, you have to dispute it on their terms. So I'd simply chalk it up as a lost. Either that or make the friend pay it.

Its all her fault, anyways.

Tami said...

I agree with The Black Actor and many people above. It is okay to call the phone company to clarify the charge. Perhaps there was a mistake. If that is the common charge and the costs were made clear, then expensive or not, I think you are obligated to pay. But maybe your friend will chip in?

Afrodite said...

MDC! What it do?

Hell, I work in customer service and I'm telling you to dispute it. Don't fall for the okey doke!

Lady Di said...

MDC, one time I was sleep and I answered the phone. It was a collect call from goodness knows WHO but HE was in PRISON. And then asked me who this was on the line? MF'er you jut called me collect DON'T YOU KNOW?? You would think they would want to get that ish right.

Anyhow, I thought it was some kind of scam from prison and called and argued and darn near cried. Girl, they told me that I accepted the call and I had to pay it. I asked for the manager which was no help. Dude tried to get me to get with their company before the call was over. I said what makes you think I want to help you if you;re not going to help me?

And I ended up paying for a collect call which last seconds if a minute from a nobody. So, at least call and try to dispute it if you feel up to it. I'd rather dispute it than let it sit not so well. At any rate, follow-up on your decision... will you?

Toodles!!

e said...

i have no idea how much collect calls should be, but that sounds crazy. if you don't feel like dealing with the hassle, don't.

persoanlly, i'd have my friend pay... at least half of that bad boy.

Villager said...

MDC, I wouldn't do any follow-up by email with the company. Rather, I would call and say that you didn't realize that the collect call was going to be anywhere near $20. Ask them to remove the charge.

Worse that happens is that they say 'no'. Best is that they remove the charge. It won't take you long. Just call and ask...

peace, Villager

Mes Deux Cents said...

Miriam,

No way can that be a typical charge. People would go broke. Lol

_____________________________________

Symphony,

"They depend on people NOT questioning them and just paying"

I think you are right about that.
___________________________________

#1,

Yeah it's best to at least ask.
___________________________________

Torrance,

Lol, for real!
___________________________________

HC,

Thanks!
___________________________________

Anon,

I have been considering getting a pre-paid cell. I might look into that more seriously.
___________________________________

Randi,

If I mentioned it to her she would probably offer to pay the whole thing. But I wouldn't be comfortable doing that.
___________________________________

PCD,

True, fighting will give me a little satisfaction if nothing else.
___________________________________

WTM,

Oh MY! That is crazy 250 dollars! I would have fainted.

You’re right about the pre-paid cell. Thanks for the info about Target. I'll look into that. :)
___________________________________

KMyles,

Aggravation is something I don't need! I think I might give them a call just to see what they say.
___________________________________

12Kyle,

Lmao@ the mysterious disconnect!
___________________________________

JJ B,

Yeah I am curious. I wonder if this is a scam.
___________________________________

TBA,

I don't remember the automated operator saying anything about the charge. So does that count?
___________________________________

Don,

Lol@money under the mattress! How did you know? :)

I think I'm going to call and see what they say.
___________________________________

Tami,

Like I said to TBA I do not remember being told by the automated operator about the fee. So I'm going to call.
___________________________________

Afrodite,

Thanks for the professional advice. I will.
___________________________________

Lady Di,

Oh my that is a trip! I bet those collect calls from prison cast a fortune.

I'm going to call on Monday. I will do a short post to let everyone know what happened.
___________________________________

e,

Lol, I don't think she would ask me if it were on her so I'll take care of it.

But I am going to call and ask what's up.
___________________________________

Villager,

That's true, all they can say is
no!
___________________________________
___________________________________

Curious said...

Hey MDC,

Years ago before cell phones, I used to work for the billing dept for AT&T. Some guy called up with a $50 phone bill for a ship to shore call that he made to someone on a boat. He said if he knew it would have been that much he would not have made the call because he could actually see the other party and just waited until they came in. He wanted the charged reduced and I said no. He asked for my supervisor and within 30 seconds it was wiped clean.

These companies have, and make so much money and have so much competition, that for $20, it wouldn't be worth losing a customer to someone else. Offer them $2.50 and settle for $4 if you have to but don't pay the whole thing.

Ensayn said...

I agree with Homeland Colors, fight it. I worked in a Cell phone call center and he is absolutely correct. keep the rep on the line disputing it for as close to 5 mins as you can, then ask for a supervisor. Then keep the supe on the line they will then compromise, or you will win outright. Phone companies view each call as a chrge (about $8 per call in) to their expenses so the longer you keep them on the line the greater chance you will win.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Curious,

Thanks for the insider advice. I've decided to call them on Monday and to see what they say.


______________________________________

Ensayn,

Lol, Wow more insider info! I love it. Thanks and I will keep the "talk time" in mind when I call.

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron