Some time ago, I signed up for Sprint DSL, and the monthly bill was twice what I had been led to expect. I called to cancel and got only a bunch of guff. So I wrote to the president of Sprint, with copies to the FCC and the Florida Public Service Commission. Amazing! Sprint reversed course, canceled the line, and refunded all moneys that I had paid. Here's the letter I wrote:
Mr. Gary Forsee, President
1321A Center Drive
Medford, OR 97501
Certified, no. 7003 3110 0005 6800 3966
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer & Governmental Affairs
Consumer Inquiries & Complaints Division
445 12th St NW
Washington, DC 20554
Certified, no. 7003 3110 0005 6800 3973
Florida Public Service Commission
2540 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0850
Certified, no. 7003 3110 0005 6800 3980
Dear Mr. Forsee
This letter is written for several purposes:
1) It is a complaint;
2) It is a notice of contested billing;
3) It is a request for corrective action; and
4) It is a proposal for what that corrective action ought to be.
My telephone number: xxx-xxx-xxxx
My service address: xxxx xxxxxx xxxxx
Tallahassee, FL 32303
My customer number: xxx xxx xxxx xxx
Until several weeks ago, I had two residence lines at the above service address: xxx-xxx-xxxx and yyy-yyy-yyyy. At that time I called Sprint to inquire about DSL service. After an extended conversation with the person who answered the telephone, I ordered DSL service, including Internet access, with the following understandings:
(1) The total monthly cost, exclusive of minute-by-minute charges for long distance service, would be $39.99 plus taxes. This would cover the voice line, DSL, and Internet connection.
(2) The connection charge (that is, the charge for making the change to DSL), would be $49.00.
(3) The connection charge would be entirely offset by a $50.00 credit, offered as an incentive to me.
Because the total of $39.99 plus taxes was a bit less than I was paying for two voice lines (from Sprint) and dial-up Internet access (from another vendor), I ordered DSL.
My first Sprint bill after the change arrived some time ago. It was for a part of a month. It included the charge I mention in (2) above, but not the credit in (3) above. I paid it promptly, assuming the credit would show up on a later (full-month) bill.
Recently I received the first bill that was for a whole month. In addition to the $39.99 agreed-upon charge, it contained some unpleasant surprises:
(1) A charge of $31.75 for “Sprint Solutions”. This charge was not mentioned during the call during which I ordered DSL service. Had it been disclosed, I would not have made the change to DSL.
(2) A charge of $4.00 for “Data LineGuard”. This charge was not mentioned during the call during which I ordered DSL service. Had it been disclosed, I would have refused it, because I have always maintained my own inside telephone wiring and intend to continue doing so.
(3) A charge of $4.00 for “LineGuard”. ”. This charge was not mentioned during the call during which I ordered DSL service. Had it been disclosed, I would have refused it, because I have always maintained my own inside telephone wiring and intend to continue doing so.
This bill also included a credit, apparently a one-time credit, $47.99 “DSL MOVING PROMO”, and a $10.00 “FASTCONNECT DSL PROMO. CREDIT”. Perhaps these represent the $50.00 credit I was promised.
Taken all together, it appears that my monthly charge, before taxes and long distance, will be $31.75 “Sprint Solutions” plus $39.99 “Data Services” plus two $4.00 LineGuard charges – a total of $79.74, which is about two bits shy of being twice the $39.99 I agreed to when I ordered DSL service. Had I known that the charge would be more than the $39.99 I agreed to, I would not have ordered the change to DSL.
I protest. During my telephone conversation in which I ordered the change, I asked several times, using varying wording, for assurance that the $39.99 monthly charge was to be the total charge, including data services, voice services, and Internet access. I was assured repeatedly that that was the case. These assurances appear to me to have been fraudulent, and I protest that portion of my monthly bills, both this month and last month, resulting from charges not agreed to.
On receiving this bill, I dialed 811 and (after an unpleasant sojourn through your automated answering system, infuriating in itself), I spoke with a young man who offered no relief, but threatened me with exorbitant charges if I terminated my DSL service early. These threats appeared to me to constitute an attempt at extortion.
As you may guess, I am quite annoyed at Sprint. I believe myself a victim of wire fraud, mail fraud, and attempted extortion. I have been lied to, and I have been threatened. I don’t like it.
WHAT DO I WANT YOU TO DO?
I propose two alternate ways you can correct the situation:
(1)You can supply me the services I ordered (voice line xxx-xxx-xxxx; DSL data services; and Internet access) for the $39.99 monthly charge that Sprint and I agreed to over the phone. You would not add any other charges not related to long distance service, but would of course add the appropriate taxes; or
(2)You can terminate all services, charging me nothing, and I will either obtain services from other vendors, or do without. In this case you may send someone to pick up the DSL modem you supplied. You must also guarantee that you will publish no derogatory information to any third party anywhere at any time, and we must agree that this paragraph and the following paragraphs constitute the whole agreement between us.
In no case will I agree to, or pay, any “early termination” charges, for these were not mentioned or agreed to during the telephone call during which I ordered DSL services. I heard of them for the first time during my unpleasant conversation with what I believe you call “Customer Service”. Had their prospect been disclosed, I would not have ordered DSL service, because I knew then, as I know now, that I plan to retire in June and will probably be moving out of the service area. This option will be an inconvenience to me, but at least I will no longer feel myself the victim of fraud and attempted extortion.
Should you elect option (2) above, you may continue, or not continue, the Sprint cell phone services that I have contracted for. Should you discontinue my cell phone, you must buy back the transceiver I purchased, and you may not charge me the $150.00 early termination charge that I agreed to when I obtained the cell phone and services from Sprint. I agreed to that early termination charge only because I probably can take my Sprint cell phone service with me, wherever I move, and I do not intend to terminate these services early myself.
I hope to hear from you soon.
Moral: make your complaints to someone with the power to act, and be very clear what you want.
Cable is better than DSL anyway.