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Thread: Bill Collection Practices

  1. #1 Bill Collection Practices 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Pissed off so I'm sharing with you my rant. Woke up this morning, checked my email per normal & noticed one from from my Internet/TV Service Provider (Cable Co.). Opened it up to find a message saying my bill was seriously overdue (January was missed) and if not paid by Feb 27 then my services will be suspended, a process that had already started. Instructions there to visit my account online and pay by credit or debit card. Also, if I had already made arrangements for payment to give them a call.

    Background: My credit rating is right near the top. I've dealt with this company for over 30 years. During that time period I have on occasion, unintentionally not paid my invoice for one reason or another. I've either forgotten, been away or thought my wife had paid it. We pay manually online through our bank nowadays. We haven't set it up automatically because there have been times when we've watched a movie or program that was an extra cost. In the past when payment was missed, I never received such a warning. When I got my February invoice on Feb 12, it was the first time I had realized January was missed and to me that should have been enough of a warning. The total owed was for both months plus a late charge. OK, no problem, we missed it and set up online payment for the whole amount for today Feb 15. I didn't like the tone of their letter and decided to call and ask about it while also notifying them the bill payment was being drawn from our account today at some time since that was one of the instructions. Having never received an email like this in the past plus the fact my name was complete with no space between my first and last names and combined with the fact they were asking for credit or debit card payment, made me think someone was phishing. I checked the internet and the phone number given, everything seemed legit, so I called.

    At first I asked if the email was legit. She (Sabrina) asked me to read it to her. I did & she confirmed its legitimacy. I told her I didn't appreciate the warning and if she checked our payment history she would notice this wasn't the first time we've been late. Then I added my own threat since our loyalty to the company seemed to mean precious little and that I was considering changing ISP because of it. Those were the last words I was allowed to say. Apparently according to Sabrina, the grass is not greener on the other side (the competition's), all ISP's collect in similar manner and the email was only a courtesy warning. I couldn't get a word in and she eventually hung up, last words being 'have a nice day.' Through her whole spiel she made me feel like I was some sort of deadbeat. I thought the whole thing sounded like it was right out of a training manual complete with rudeness.

    The only thing I can think of is that their policy has changed to being more aggressive, perhaps because they have had too many overdue accounts in the past. Whatever, I think my case is mild to some other collection strategies employed in the business world. I'm too old fashioned to have to suddenly deal with threats and rude call centre people representing a company I deal with. At least they didn't send someone out to break my legs. WTF has happened? Is it the electronic age, faceless companies, a new generation being manipulated to do it their way, or the impersonal relationship that now seems to exist between customer and company?


    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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  3. #2  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Then I added my own threat since our loyalty to the company seemed to mean precious little and that I was considering changing ISP because of it. Those were the last words I was allowed to say. Apparently according to Sabrina, the grass is not greener on the other side (the competition's), all ISP's collect in similar manner and the email was only a courtesy warning. I couldn't get a word in and she eventually hung up, last words being 'have a nice day.' Through her whole spiel she made me feel like I was some sort of deadbeat. I thought the whole thing sounded like it was right out of a training manual complete with rudeness.
    If you don't like how they treat you, switch ISP's. Pretty straightforward.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Then I added my own threat since our loyalty to the company seemed to mean precious little and that I was considering changing ISP because of it. Those were the last words I was allowed to say. Apparently according to Sabrina, the grass is not greener on the other side (the competition's), all ISP's collect in similar manner and the email was only a courtesy warning. I couldn't get a word in and she eventually hung up, last words being 'have a nice day.' Through her whole spiel she made me feel like I was some sort of deadbeat. I thought the whole thing sounded like it was right out of a training manual complete with rudeness.
    If you don't like how they treat you, switch ISP's. Pretty straightforward.
    I'd love too but my problem is, because I live in a more or less rural area I have only one choice. However I have called another ISP who tell me that before this year is over, they will be available to me and the people who live along my road. Right now they're working on the road parallel to mine. I realize the only recourse one has these days is to switch companies. Despite all these ISP's being the same (a bit like banks they say) according to the person I called today it is an option I'm going to take once competition gets here, just in principle. We'll see if my current ISP gives a shit when I tell them. Realistically I'm only expecting a shoulder shrug from them and not some kind of apology.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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    Having read your story I find this appalling, not because you have done anything wrong, but the way in which you have been treated.

    You are a loyal customer who sort to make a payment the moment you were made aware one was overdue, yet received a threatening email and then had to endure rudeness and a lack of even basic respect when you attempted to rectify the problem in the correct manner. This kind of customer service wouldn't be acceptable anywhere in the world, nevermind the United States which has a global reputation for the highest standards of customer service.

    Obviously you may very well wish to change your ISP after having been so poorly treated, however may I suggest you set aside some of your time to schedule a meeting with the head of public relations to discuss your experience and also request that you may record & take notes should you wish to publish your own account of your customer experience.

    It be wise to also seek immediate assurances from this company that they have taken no steps which might adversely impact your credit rating. Should you find out they have, certainly 'demand' (in a polite manner) from PR department that is rectified forthwith.

    I would imagine that their public relations department will be wanting to take a rather different approach to this matter once they are made aware that you are serious, unhappy about the way you have been treated and aren't just prepared to simply let the matter rest.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I'd love too but my problem is, because I live in a more or less rural area I have only one choice. However I have called another ISP who tell me that before this year is over, they will be available to me and the people who live along my road.
    Have you considered a satellite service like Viasat?
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  7. #6  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope zinjanthropos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billvon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    I'd love too but my problem is, because I live in a more or less rural area I have only one choice. However I have called another ISP who tell me that before this year is over, they will be available to me and the people who live along my road.
    Have you considered a satellite service like Viasat?
    i did consider it at one time. I had a satellite TV dish for my cabin in the North but was always frustrated by its performance during storms or having to go out and trim tree branches or realign it at other times. I only spend 7 months of the year at my residence. From late Spring to early Fall I’m at the cabin. Few years ago I sold that & moved to a cabin closer to a city and was able to get the internet via fibre optic cable. I found it to be the best for internet service.

    I’m a guy who still thinks loyalty means something. However it appears as if customer loyalty is becoming a thing of the past. Everybody it seems gets treated like shit equally nowadays. I’ve changed banks a few times for this reason but I’m running out of them. Can’t wait for the day when I can tell some snarky little ISP customer service rep to stick their service up their ass. I understand my actions won’t generate any giant ripples but at least I’ll feel good about it.
    All that belongs to human understanding, in this deep ignorance and obscurity, is to be skeptical, or at least cautious; and not to admit of any hypothesis, whatsoever; much less, of any which is supported by no appearance of probability...Hume
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