Earthlink / wrongful billing practices
I had a brief living situation in which I was possibly able to get dial-up internet service. It was going to be rough using dial-up, but it was better than nothing, so I called earthlink. The gentleman told me that they had a special offer that gave me 1 month free with an option to cancel, or I could continue for 5 more months at 8.99 per month, and then, thereafter, I would pay the regular monthly service charge. Knowing I was to be there for less than a month, I agreed to the free trial, then after I moved, I could perhaps switch to DSL with earthlink and keep my email... well...
The trial ended, I didn't need their continued service and so I did not renew or take them up on their 5 month reduced rate. They said they would cancel my account.
Now, I know it's not best practice, but there is no law that allows any company I have done business with previously, to have withdrawal rights on my account and get away with it if I don't catch them right away. But, this is exactly what Earthlink does. I didn't look closely at my account statements... mainly because I went green and chose to get paperless statements. Needless to say, I don't check my statements as much now except when there is a big problem. 8.99 a month was not big enough to be alarming to me.
Earthlink continued with the additional promotion for the next 5 months, and then they changed my status to full monthly payments of 29.99 per month for the next year and a half. I was livid when I finally discovered it. It took me 2 hours on the live chat link arguing with a lady rep. who kept trying to sell me a better deal... mind you, I don't live there anymore, nor do I own the account that I access the internet on, so I should not be paying for monthly access. I refused and so she told me in that case I was overdue for the last month's payment!!! When I refused to pay, I got a bill for 2 months plus a penalty adding up to 60 some dollars. I decided that my time was worth more than that so I will pay it yet again and be done with it.
I followed their procedures to pay online and when I pressed "submit" I got a message that the transaction failed. I was then redirected to the payment area to start over. I did. This time it worked. I immediately called Earthlink to inform them of this mishap and asked that they insure me that I won't be billed twice and to please cancel services. Eventually, I was assured I wouldn't be charged twice, and that the account was cancelled.
They made me feel relieved that my account was at last free from their greedy suction and I fell for it, until I remembered, they have taken more than 5oo.oo from me due to their own mistake! When I mentioned that, the reply was, "I can't help you with that part, ma'am, " then rattled off my confirmation number.
Months later, I discovered an Earthlink Charge on my other bank account! It was not my account. I looked in the archives of my bank acct. and discovered that they were doing the same thing to my other account and it had been going on for 2.5 years at 9.99 to 21.99 per month. I called to tell them that this one was fraudulent and they kept referring back to my previous case. The rep could not find any record of my checking account number and suggested I call my bank and request a 6-month stop payment. I didn't know that you can't get your bank to just stop paying on accounts even if they are not yours. they just tell you that 6 months is usually enough time to get them to cancel you.
The stop payment was to cost 3o.00 for the service. Infuriated with that, I called Earthlink again (which is not an easy task if you don't have an account with them) and spent the next 1 hour and 20 minutes arguing with a man who did not speak english well and did not help me at all. Finally, he passed me on to another person, and the whole damn routine started over, yet again. He cancelled the account after 1 hour and 20 minutes, which I recorded every minute of, and told me that he could not reimburse any of the nearly 400.00 they have pilfered from my account, but he would put a note on the account stating that I was wrongfully billed.
I am going to post the entire procedure on an audio you tube upload. They took nearly 1K from me for absolutely nothing.
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