Money for nothing

My goodness, when it rains, it pours! (Or for those of you who read French, jamais deux sans trois!)

I have had another battle over a payment, this time about my mobile phone bill.

Now, just for the record, this does not happen to me a lot. Normally, I look over my bills and everything is fine and the payment is made and life goes on. Only rarely is there something that doesn’t make sense to me, and most of the time, when I think about it long enough, I figure it out and it’s okay. I almost NEVER have to contact the company and ask them why the hell they are trying to rip me off.

But I have had to do this twice in one week!

I was looking over my recent mobile phone bill, pondering the fact that I almost never even come close to using up my allotted minutes so I should change to a lower cost, fewer minutes plan. Then I realized that the bill was about thirty dollars more than what I thought it should have been. I clicked to get further details.

Now it got interesting. There was a roaming charge for data to the tune of – you guessed it, almost thirty dollars. It was in the US, so of course the cost was exorbitant even though there was only 981 kb used. Yes, I was in California with PG on that particular date. But I don’t have a data plan on my phone. I never have had. In fact, when I accidentally hit the internet button on my phone, I immediately get a message that access is forbidden. (Forbidden. When I hear that word, I always feel like a little girl who just got caught with her hand in the cookie jar, and then got slapped and sternly scolded. I find it a bit of a frightening word, to be honest.)

So, how on earth could I have a charge for data on my mobile phone when I don’t have access to the internet on it in the first place?

I called the mobile phone company and explained the situation. The woman I spoke to insisted that my phone with my SIM card had definitely been used to access the internet in the US on that date. I insisted that this was impossible, that I have NO access to the internet with my phone and never have had. She asked if someone else may have used my phone and gotten on the internet with it without my knowledge. I repeated that I had NO ACCESS to the internet with my phone, that I always get that scary “Forbidden” screen if ever I tried. She said that because I was in the US, their systems are different, so I may have gotten a screen asking which internet provider I wanted to use, then I would have been able to get on. I countered with the fact that I did not do that, I had never seen such a screen, and why would I even try, because I KNOW that I have NO access to the internet with my phone and never have had. She went back to someone else using my phone. I said that I always had my phone with me, so that could not have happened, and besides, my travelling companion had his own phone.

We went back and forth like this for a while, strangely remaining calm and polite with one another (well, strange for me, at least). I finally told her to check my records, that I have NEVER had a data plan or accessed the internet with my phone, and that while I had indeed purchased a US roaming package for my phone before leaving on my trip, it was only voice and texting, not data. If I would have wanted to get on the internet while I was away, why wouldn’t I have purchased a roaming data plan, too? That just didn’t make sense. Also, I was hoping that she could see in my records that I have been a loyal customer of this company for ten years, and I have never had any issues before nor have I caused them any problems.

She offered that I only pay half the money for that roaming data.

I replied that although I appreciated the offer, I still didn’t think that I should pay any of it, because as I had already explained, not only did I not use the internet with my phone in the US, I was not even ABLE to do so with my phone.

She waived the money, “this one time only”. I thanked her sincerely.

And then I changed my monthly mobile phone plan. That was way easier.


8 responses to “Money for nothing

  1. I can never, ever stay calm when talking to the phone company people. They always have a somewhat snarky attitude right from the beginning that makes me even more annoyed. They do a lot of shady billing stuff too I think, at least my company in the US did. I never seem to have that problem here in the UK (I shouldn’t have said that since now I’ll end up with some ridiculous bill for a £1,000 or something). Way to stay calm and zen though!

    • Kimberly – I think there is so much competition in the phone industry now that they have HAD to get over themselves and treat people nicely. Otherwise, people flip them the bird and take their business to another company that is so happy to have them that they give them exactly what they want. Sometimes it’s good to be a consumer!

  2. Cell phones in Canada are the worst for doing this. I have heard that with some companies, you can be end being charged roaming fees even if you don’t use your phone but left it on while you were in the States or Europe. I applaud your calmness and your resolution!

    • VioletSky – Because I live so close to the US border, sometimes my mobile phone calls bounce to towers in the US then back to Canada, then they try to charge me for roaming, eve though I was calling or receiving a call from Canada. I actually had to put a “stop all US calls” order on my phone a couple of years ago, it got so bad. I think technology has improved since then , but that still should never have happened.

  3. I’m very impressed with your ability to stay calm while maintaining your position. Most times, I’m able to do the same. However. I used to deal with a shipping company for work, and they were always able to get me all worked up. I would always end up losing my temper and asking to speak to a manager.

    • Nicky – I’m normally not that calm at all. In fact, I have had customer service people on the phone who have told me to calm down and lower my voice or they would hang up on me! I’m actually much better at writing letters or emails detailing my issues and my demands. I think I just got in some zen zone or something this particular time.

  4. Sheesh, bad week… What will number trios be?