Alltel's current ad campaign features the song and theme "Come and Get Your Love." But what they really mean is "Bend Over, Bitch!"
We became involuntary Alltel customers because someone decided Cingular shouldn’t get all of AT&T’s customers when they bought them out. But since so many AT&T customers complained, we were all given a grace period to cancel our new Alltel service without being charged a service fee. Supposedly.
I wasn’t surprised when the bill arrived in August with a $350 (plus $39.42 in taxes) early cancellation fee. Someone I work with had already gone through it, and it was easily fixed. So J called Alltel and the CS rep said yes, you’re right, that was not supposed to be charged, and I’m taking $350 off your bill right now. Right. Now. Taking it off. Not on your bill as of Now.
(But what about the $39.42, you might ask? Well, that’s the taxes. Your choices are to pay it and get a credit on your last bill, or not pay it, and have penalties - yes, penalties for not paying the taxes on the fees you were not supposed to be charged in the first place - added to your last bill. Okay, no big deal, we’ll pay it. As long as the $350 is taken off the bill, we’re cool.)
But it turns out we’re not cool. Because we had automatic payments. And in September, our good friends at Alltel took the extra $389.42 out of our account. Money that they knew we did not owe. And they have been oh-so-helpful on the phone. (Are you sensing my sarcasm? I should hope so, because I’m laying it on pretty thick.)
It will take 60 days to get a refund. Because they cannot possibly issue a refund until we have a received a zero balance bill. Two layers of supervisors told us this. I politely (I think I was polite) told each one that I realize that’s all you are authorized to do, so can I speak to a supervisor? Same thing. Okay, but it really doesn’t make sense that a company like Alltel would have absolutely no policies and procedures in place to issue a refund faster than that when it was their mistake in the first place. So can we speak to your supervisor?
Speaking to any level of management above mine requires a callback, and you should hear from us within 24 to 48 hours. Ugh. Okay, then we officially request this callback. “Okay, you should hear from someone within 24 to 48 business hours.”
Wait a minute. "Business hours?" So you mean based on an 8 hour day, not a 24 hour day, and it will be at least 3 days before we hear from anyone? “That’s right.” This is a prime example of their dishonesty. When you tell someone you will respond in 24 hours, you normally mean “one day.” That’s what honest people mean.
And, as it turns out, no one regulates this. No one in our state regulates wireless phone service at all. At. All. And the FCC handles it on a federal level, but this dispute falls under “contract law” and therefore is ineligible to file a complaint. Since they have offered a refund, we have no recourse. If 60 days goes by without a refund (since they promised it within 60 days), we can file a complaint. And if they respond at all, even if their response is “Screw you, losers,” the FCC must consider the case closed (the very helpful FCC rep said “They usually phrase it nicer than that, but we get a lot of interesting responses from wireless phone companies.”
So, calls are being made. Polite but stern letters are being composed. Banks are being contacted. What will happen? Who knows. Stay tuned.
And here’s something for Google: Alltel dishonest billing practices cancellation fees late refund Alltel Alltel poor customer service bunch of @#$%^&* liars (okay, that’s for me, not Google) Alltel cancellation Alltel business practices.