5 On Your Side

Woman Battles Cell Phone Company Over Charges

Posted August 2, 2007

A Nash County woman found that convincing cell phone companies of their complicity in billing mistakes can be as hard as deciphering their monthly bills.

For the past five months, Sandy Vierheller has battled with Alltel over what she described as "extreme" bills.

During the seven years she was an Alltel customer, her bills averaged $160 a month, Vierheller said.

However, her March bill rang up to the tune of $650, she said.

"It was a shocker. That's like almost four bills in one," Vierheller said.

Vierheller said she made repeated calls and a visit to an Alltel store, and the company admitted the over-charges were its mistake.

Even after Alltel's confession, Vierheller said she received "harassing" calls telling her to pay the bill.

Vierheller said she contacted the Better Business Bureau about her situation and enlisted its help in canceling her service with Alltel.

With the BBB's involvement, Alex Barry with Alltel agreed in writing to "remove the contract" with "no early termination fees," according to documents Vierheller has.

"I thought it was a done deal," Vierheller said.

A month later, though, she received a bill for $640.50 for termination fees and taxes.

When she faxed Alltel the letter from Barry, all she got in response was another bill and more collection calls, Vierheller said.

"It's like this thorn in my side, this black cloud hanging over me, and I can't get rid of it," Vierheller said.

Another call to Alltel got spokesman Scott Morris who called the most recent error an "oversight."

Vierheller can be "assured, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt that this is taken care of," said Morris.

Vierheller said a second Alltel representative also confirmed that her account is clear.

28 Comments

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  • William Tell Aug 3, 2007

    truthbknown, the process you described as how it should be, is how it is. If you have a collection on your credit, you had plenty of oppurtunity to pay it before it wen on your credit. They don't want to have to put it on a credit report, it costs to place a collection on a credit report. another charge to the company from someone who did not understand their agreement

  • GWALLY Aug 3, 2007

    Almost everyone has over charges on their bill IF their plan is not on a flat rate fee or unlimited usage type plan, and is billed @ one price per month.....almost everyone!!!!! Just think about it....who is watching the clock ??????

  • TruthBKnown Aug 3, 2007

    The process that companies go through to ruin someone's credit should be changed. When it begins, but before the mark is actually on the credit report, the person should be contacted and given a period (30 days?) to respond. If the response is valid, they should be allowed to go before a third party and get a ruling.

    Companies should not be allowed to trash people's credit so easily.

  • RUN1UPNYA Aug 3, 2007

    ALLTEL HAS BENN SOLD TO AN INVESTMENT FIRM. IT IS GOING TO GET WORSE. I HAVE ALLTEL AND I HAVE BEEN HIT WITH SOME KIND OF TEXTING CHARGES THAT I DID NOT AUTHORIZE. THEY WILL NOT WAVE THE EXTRA FEES. MY CONTRACT IS UP IN MOVEMBER. SAY BYE.

  • elcid89 Aug 3, 2007

    Steve, if you are interested, there are avenue of proceeding and remedies in place for your situation. Let me know if you need any advice from a legal perspective on how to proceed.

  • elcid89 Aug 3, 2007

    "
    My husband & I sought out Nextel & their 2-way connections because of our diverse travel schedules. Worked great, until Sprint took over. Now it's a mess; dealing with them is similar to some of these stores here. When Sprint calls & wants feedback, I tell them no way will I renew my contract!! Let them wonder. But, what else out there is any better?? We've all gotten so used to our cell phones; giving them up is not an option, easily. Maybe that's what drives the attitudes in this industry."

    I agree re: Sprint. We finally just bit the bullet and ate the $200 per line cancellation fee in order to get rid of them. Without a doubt the worst experience I have ever had from a vendor.

  • William Tell Aug 2, 2007

    brassy, yeah, life is easier without some of the things that are supposed to make our lives easier, strange isn't it

  • brassy Aug 2, 2007

    We had a phone with that company (can't think of the name) with the little pink alien on the commercials. Every time we tried to cancel, they'd transfer to the sales department. If you argued long enough, they'd "cancel" your service. Then, next month another bill would show up.

  • William Tell Aug 2, 2007

    I haven't had a billing problem with a cell phone company in years. Did I mention that I don't use them anymore?????Oh, you really don't "need" it, it really is a luxury(or a waste of money), believe me, I'm not lying to you.

  • William Tell Aug 2, 2007

    the article said that her monthly bill usually ran her $140 a month, nobody has even mentioned anything about $140 a month to chat on the phone and be a hazard in traffic. That just seems like a large bill for a cell phone. Mine runs me $0.00 a month, don't have 1, don't need 1, don't want 1, $140 a month just rejustifies my views about it, to me anyway. I can spend that money on something that actually matters, like my son's college education. I'll bet the cell phone companies kids don't have to worry about where the money is coming from.

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