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I’m a tad ticked off at my (former) satellite provider.

Most of you know I moved from Wallaceburg in October ’07 due to economic reasons. At the time, I went through the process of cancelling all my former services. I thought that had gone rather smoothly, till I received a bill yesterday in the mail for close to 200$ from my former (or I thought former) satellite provider, stating I’d been in arrears 4 months and that if I didn’t pay soon, my service would be turned off.

This had to be a mistake, I thought, as I had called the satellite provider a month prior to my leaving, and I’d been assured that at the end of October it would be deactivated and my account closed. For good measure, I contacted them again a week or 2 before I was due to leave, asking what to do about the satellite equipment (I was told to take the receiver with me in the event I eventually re-signed for their service, but to leave the satellite dish at the former residence).

So I call there to Customer Service, explain the situation, and promptly get told that there is no record of me calling there to request cancellation. Furthermore, 2 people were needed to sign off on my cancellation. Well, the lady who took my call in late September never mentioned anything about that to me, and furthermore, it’s not my fault if their representative screwed up and forgot to take note that I was closing the account, but that doesn’t budge the rep I’m talking to – It’s my word against their computer system which shows no cancellation was requested.

I’m getting a tad ticked off at this point, and I point out that this was the first bill or correspondence I had received from them in almost 4 months since October – when I paid off what I thought was my last bill. I’ve been directing Canada Post to forward my mail to my new location since I’ve left, and this is the first time I’ve seen anything come thru from them, because I can assure you (as I said to her) that if something had come through in Nov/Dec/Jan showing I had a bill with them, I’d have been on the phone a lot sooner to them. She couldn’t explain that, but that doesn’t sway her, nor does it sway who I presume was her supervisor, who made the claim perhaps Canada Post lost it in the mail. I can accept once perhaps, but I don’t accept that in 3 different months, 3 different bills from the same company would get lost.

The end result is, they closed my account (a 2nd time I contend when it should have been done in October) and offered a 30 $ credit for this upcoming month, leaving me with a bill of 170$ to pay. I flat out refused to pay that for a service I don’t even have… and since I’ve not been with their service, I’m hardly scared of their threat to turn off my service. I AM more concerned at the hints of the siccing a collection agency on me, but my present mood is to fight them if they take that route. At the very least, I’m ticked off because even if they don’t send a collection agency and just decide to forego the hassle, I’m still going to have my credit rating affected by this.

I’m wondering if any out there have had a similar situation (in general) and what legal recourse you took. My folks (1 of whom works for a lawyer firm) says that I should just wait them out and see what they decide to do on the collection front before responding in that manner… but I’m furious at the minimum I’ll still have a black mark against me on my credit rating due to a screw-up on their end which they claim they have no evidence of.

10 comments to I’m a tad ticked off at my (former) satellite provider.

  • Had a similar, yet different, problem when I cancelled with Bell Mobility and went with Virgin Mobility instead. To this day, Bell Mobility still thinks that I use their service (I haven’t for over 3 years now) and send me emails monthly advising me that my "statement" is now ready. Supposedly I owe them some paltry figure of $32 and change. This has had zero influence upon my credit rating, as I would expect your dilemma will have no influence whatsoever upon yours either! If it were me, I’d put everything in writing and mail it to the company, keeping a copy of it for yourself as well.

  • Deb Prothero

    Scott, as a last resort how about writing to Toronto Star consumer complaints column? I don’t have a copy of the paper right here but I know that they get results. To start with though I would write to the company and mail a letter – not just email. Ask for the remedy you seek specifically. Give them a deadline for response or resolution.Good luck with this one. You need to be tenacious.

  • [quote comment="13385"]I keep noticing that these companies have so many part-timers that no one person (except management) has a handle on the situation. This only heightens my and your frustration. [/quote]

    So true. I too had a problem with Rogers dealing with a rebate on two cell phones which was never resolved. No one knew anything. Common to many corps these days is that there’s no one owning client problems except the client. This results in inconsistent service, and hours of un-fun frustration.

  • David E

    I’m having trouble with Rogers Cable and their billing and it’s a rather complicated story so I’ll spare you the details.

    I keep noticing that these companies have so many part-timers that no one person (except management) has a handle on the situation. This only heightens my and your frustration.

    It’s a case of hiring cheap and ploughing the profits back to the shareholders rather than developing a core staff and being service oriented.

    *Sigh* Pay peanuts and attract monkeys.

  • Unless they are claiming you did not pay them previously, you need not produce any previous bills. In court, when asked, they will have to admit that until you moved, you were not in arrears.

    The real clincher here is that you did not benefit from the service not being discontinued,

  • Leo: Unfortunately, I didn’t keep all those bills – they were all thrown out when I moved. I do have my bank records indicating when I paid them, though. Mark: called their 1-888 #.. so no long distance involved.

  • Leo

    Hi Scott,

    Mark has the best advice, and I would add one more thing:? if you still keep all your bills and you regularly paid them and on time, you are likely prooving that you were a loyal customer for a long time and that will be one more argument in your favor for any collection/credit rating/small claim court.

  • And, btw, if you called them long distance or over a cell phone, you will have a record of the phone call in your billing.

  • Here’s the advice

    1. Press your rights. Send a letter higher up in that co. explaining the situation, and politely demand the matter be better and properly dealt with.

    2. If they move to collections, do not avoid collections, and explain to the collection agency that you will _not_ pay up and that they should drop the matter or proceed directly to small claims

    3. If this affects your credit rating (check online with both Trans Union and Equifax) challenge it using the respective credit agency’s procedures.

    4. For court, you have

    a) The fact that you called, twice, to cancel. You will be believed regardless of the state of the company’s records, unless the co. has a strong way to challenge your credibility.
    b) You had your mail forwarded, and promptly responded to the bill they sent
    c) You left the dish behind as instructed, which is evidence that you had no intent to use the service
    d) You have pursued your rights, and have not tried to evade anyone

    Judges do not easily sit there and simply believe that the absence of a computer record means that you are in the wrong. It is also perhaps likely that the evidence can’t be easily produced in the Small Claims court nearest to you as you have the right to examine witnesses. If you can pin down the date you called them, you have a right to examine in court whomever took your call.

    Do your best to remember the dates and times that you called them. It is best to work in writing from here on.

    Finally, if the co. simply lodges against your credit rating, and the credit co. takes their word for it and denies your appeal (I have no idea what their standards are, though I with ease successfully removed a false entry on my credit history several years back), you must have a recourse in court, but I am not familiar with what tort it would be, other than arguing libel 😉

  • rww

    I do not know the details of how but I believe you can contact the credit agencies and see what is on your file and also attach a note indicating that an unpaid bill is under dispute.

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