byzil: (Angry Byzil)
[personal profile] byzil
I'm having a bit of an issue; and as some of you have helped me in the past, I'm hoping maybe I can garner some advice once again from your collective minds.

I'll start with the story of how my issue came to be.

December 15, 2007. I'm moving into my first apartment, yay! I want internet, of course. AT&T doesn't supply to my area, so I go to the Abilene Mall, and talk to the guy at the Clearwire kiosk (Clearwire is a wireless ISP), I sign up for the best plan they offer on a six-month contract. I rent a modem from them and happily drive it back to my apartment, where I set it up and plug it in. I get 10 kb/s maximum, and constant disconnects. That isn't what I signed up for. I called tech support, they identified that the node in my area was bad and told me they could have it fixed in two to three weeks. That didn't sound good to me, so I asked them what I could do. They told me there was a 14 day trial period where I could cancel and return the modem for no cost. I agreed to this, they canceled my service, and told me they would email me a shipping label within the next five days.

Five days later, I have recieved no shipping label, not in my inbox or junk mail box. I call them to ask, they tell me it's "processing" and will be out soon. come 14 days after I signed up, I still have recieved no label. I call again, sit on hold for two and a half hours, and never get to talk to anybody. Getting worried, because part of the condition of the 14 day trial was to return the modem, so I get in the car and drive to the Clearwire kiosk. I talk to the fellow who sold me the plan, I ask him if it's valid if I return the modem there instead, after explaining about the label. He tells me "Certainly, let me process the return and you will be clear". I let him tinker on the computer for a while, he took the modem, told me I was good to go. I left and went home, satisfied it was all well and done, and signed up for Cable internet.

Fast forward to August 2008; I haven't heard anything from Clearwire in seven months and I haven't given them any more thought. My cellphone starts getting these calls from some number I don't recognize. When I pick up, a computer clicks, and the call hangs up. If I dialed the number back the same thing happened, it'd ring, click, and hang up. This continues to happen 4-5 times a day for almost a month before I finally get the bright idea to call back from a different phone. This time it works, I get through.. after updating my contact information (address, since I moved, email, second phone), I ask them about the agency. turns out it's a collection agency for Clearwire, demanding immediate payment of $450, $250 for ETF and $200 for the modem. I call Clearwire where they tell me the modem was never received and so they are billing me. I tell them I returned it at the kiosk when they failed to get me a shipping label, and they tell me that returning it at the kiosk isn't a viable option. I explained to them that their representative had told me that it was, and had processed everything. They inform me, and I quote, "We aren't responsible for anything a representative says." I ask them to check usage records, indeed the modem hasn't been used since the day I got it. I ask them to check their returns information; they inform me that nothing is there and they already did a search. I talk and fight and argue, and -eventually- after stepping up four or five tiers to who claims to be a manager, they repeat the "we aren't responsible for anything" bit, but decides to waive my cancelation fees, but not the modem fees, he asks if I agree. I say no, because if I agree then I am agreeing to the modem fees. I call back the next day, fight my way up to a new manager, and this one offers the opposite. Still not acceptable. I continue to debate it, a few days later I FINALLY get one to agree to waive all my fees minus like $45, probably just because they are sick of me calling every single day. I pay the small fee, and it's done. Good! Finally! I literally cheer after I hang up, finally all that mess is gone!

Fast forward again to today. I haven't heard anything from Clearwire or any agencies for eight or nine months. I go to the mailbox and open it up, and I have an odd letter. I open it on my way back to the apartment, and find that it's a $200 bill from a collection agency speaking on behalf of Clearwire, claiming clearwire has turned me over to them after 'repeated attempts to contact me' as well as a statement "you have not responded to any calls from AWA Collections Agency, so we assume you have decided to refuse to pay your bill", and that I owe this money immediately.

I haven't heard anything from Clearwire in eight months. I resolved the issue last September. For an issue from 2007.

Obviously, I'm going to call Clearwire about it, but I have a high suspect I'll have to go through another week of runaround to even get a clue why they are doing this, so in the meantime I figured maybe somebody would have some advice on how I could handle this. Clearly no amount of logic will get me anywhere.

Thank you in advance, you guys are awesome <3

Date: 2009-06-08 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tahoe-sushi.livejournal.com
Id say its time for some customer service agencies to step in. Make it known to both Clearwire and the collections agencies that you are going to these customer representing agencies (their names escape me ATM), maybe post on some major sites made to showcase bad customer service and tell them both that you have done this. Ive seen some amazingly bad situations handled faster than you can believe when people take these steps.

Date: 2009-06-09 12:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nemmy.livejournal.com
You don't happen to have any receipt or confirmation number from returning the modem or dealing with them, do you?

You could try following some of the things mentioned here~ http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/929297

Date: 2009-06-09 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prismaticsilver.livejournal.com
That's my fatal flaw. The kiosk guy told me one wasn't necessary when I ask, and I didn't persist, so no, I never got a receipt :(

Date: 2009-06-09 12:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nambroth.livejournal.com
I think it depends on the laws dealing with this sort of thing in your state. I was turned into a collections once for something that was probably a simple typo somewhere...
When we went to buy a house, we ran my credit and were astonished to find a ding on my record. We've run my credit before and this was a first. Investigating the matter, it was a hospital bill that was turned in to a collections agency some 4 years ago. With interest and whatever else fees, it was hundreds and hundreds of dollars. The kicker-- I had never gone to a hospital in Texas, which is where the bill was from! It would have been one thing if it was genuinely my fault-- but like you, due to someone else's error I was paying for the mistake.

I was on the phone for hours and hours each day trying to get it resolved, and in the end because it had been in collections for over x months according to TX law, the only way I could get it revoked would be to take it to court (and not 'cheap' small claims court either) and then IF they ruled in my favor I would not have to pay. In the end, just paying the bill was cheaper than taking it to court, but that was a -very- unfair $980 and over two months worth of wages that they took for something that I didn't even do.

I hope you get things cleared up. :(

Date: 2009-06-09 01:35 am (UTC)
kistaro: A subtle, airbrushed silhouette of a dragon. (airbrushed)
From: [personal profile] kistaro
It's amazing what goes away when you go to consumerist.com about it. The only mistake you made was not getting a paper trail, and there's nothing to do about it now. Send pretty much exactly this post to tips@consumerist.com and watch what happens when you offer them a little bit of public humiliation.

Date: 2009-06-09 05:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athauglas.livejournal.com
Also this ^

Date: 2009-06-09 05:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athauglas.livejournal.com
You should look into this: http://www.informationweek.com/news/telecom/business/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=217100196

Don't give them another cent; record your conversations with both companies; post on the internet. Check whether this is hurting your credit score. If so, consider talking with a lawyer about whether you have a chance in small claims court. It could well be worth the expense, otherwise their fuckup could cost you approval for a loan later on..

Be well :}

Date: 2009-06-09 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] athauglas.livejournal.com
Here, I found something else that might help you: http://consumerist.com/259713/how-to-launch-an-executive-email-carpet-bomb

I've written to the executive level at Time Warner before and had reasonable luck, but it wasn't exactly a 'carpet bomb', just a well-written letter CC'd to a few people.

I'd actually recommend you do this before anything else. Really sit down and write something quality. Be polite, be efficient, have a plan to kill everyone you meet, etc.

Date: 2009-06-09 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drathorin.livejournal.com
I dunno if you guys have a Better Business Bureau in America. But if you do I also suggest contacting them and telling them your tale.


If you do have one (I think they do) it's like a criminal record on businesses. They'll research, find out the whole story, and if it's true they leave a record of it that can be accessed by anyone on the internet, and government databases.


It's useful up here in Canada anyways.

Other than that. . . uh. . .Maybe some guys with baseball bats can solve the problem? :D

Date: 2009-06-09 07:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winterblueart.livejournal.com
Thaaaaaat is just so messed up. Unfortunately I can't be of much help since I don't know the how-abouts in the USA. Still, it must be frustrating like hell.

It's the system that failed however, since I know what it's like to be on the other end of the phone when people complain. So don't take it out on the representative, as tempting as it may be. It's just the system that fails.

In the Netherlands we have an organisation that deals with bad treatment of customers from companies. If such organisation exists there aswell, give them a call, since they usually have "more power" than "normal people".

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