5 On Your Side

Sanford woman billed for cell-phone texts never sent

Posted October 30, 2008

— Text messaging can add up, but a Lee County woman said she was billed for thousands of text messages that she said were never sent.

Rebecca Johnson, of Sanford, also found that plenty of other people were being billed for text messages to the same number.

When Johnson received the nearly 100-page bill for the cell phone her nephew uses, she said it showed 3,000 text messages, costing $747.

“We were shocked. We were just really shocked,” Johnson said.

Johnson said the bill showed pages of texts to the same Charlotte number.

“We just thought our nephew met someone in Charlotte and he was texting,” she said.

After a closer look, Johnson realized there were multiple texts in the same minute.

“According to the dates and the times on these text messages, I mean he would have to be texting at least 20 hours a day. I mean seven days a week for the past 30 days,” she said.

It was Johnson's first bill as a T-Mobile customer. She was with Suncom until the companies recently merged, so she suspected the texting problem had something to do with that.

Johnson went to a T-Mobile store and called the company repeatedly, but she got nowhere. She even went up the chain to a supervisor.

“She didn't have anyone above her, and her decision was final, and she would not correct my bill and we were responsible for it,” Johnson said.

After doing research online, Johnson found lots of other people from North and South Carolina – even Puerto Rico – with outrageous bills for texts to the same number.

“A lot more people are having this problem than me,” she said.

When 5 on Your Side called T-Mobile, a customer service executive immediately cleared the account. Johnson said an executive told her the charges did, in fact, involve a problem with the merger process.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman refused to acknowledge the text problem is a bigger issue involving more than just Johnson. She also would not say whether they are working to fix the issue for everyone.

She advised people who have a similar issue to call the company's "customer care" line, even though that obviously did not help Johnson.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • sicks Nov 5, 2008

    5 on your side never called the T-Mobile store, and the incident was fixed way before she even took the action. She came in 2 times to the store and both times she was helped and 1 week later the bill was cleared. 5 On Your Side did nothing.

  • pmw Nov 3, 2008

    SLEACH - - my husband and I had a very similar problem. Good luck getting your refund - if you ever do. I ended up getting an attorney involved and filing many, many BBB complaints on Suncom.

  • torque1 Nov 3, 2008

    Last month I was billed an addtional $175 for TMobile services my phone is not even cabable of performing. When I called customer service, they took it off without even an apology or explanation. Thank goodness my service is up next month ... I am moving on

  • OSX Oct 31, 2008

    Once they have you in a two year contract, they don't care anymore. We are finally out of our contract and are month to month and they are KILLING themselves to get us into another contract. If you want good customer service, get to the point you don't have a contract with them.

  • carolinagirl19 Oct 31, 2008

    we had the same thing happen with cingular a couple of years ago. our bill was over 800.00. they refuesed to so anything about it. one message was repeatedly sent 100 times in one minute.. i can't type or send that fast.. technology is great, but when it messes up we need to be able to correct it fairly.. we are no longer with them of course. good luck to everyone else having problems

  • Crayzee1 Oct 31, 2008

    PS I never saw my bill, ;cuz I have a company phone...

  • Crayzee1 Oct 31, 2008

    3000 txt's a month is nothing! Is it so possible to do many in one minute. This girl and I dated and we exchanged up to 200 day. I know, that seems like a lot, but heck it takes 1 second to reply to one. Just think a two minute converstation may have 30 going back and forth. And no, I am not a kid, I am 35. In fact I saw her bill for the end of a month 3000+ incoming txts, 3000+ out going txts. That is 6000! ONE MONTH. believe me, a teen could blow that away...

  • sleach Oct 31, 2008

    Good luck with t-mobile.I was a Suncom customer who's phones no longer work due to no service in my area.It took 1 1/2 months to cancel them and they still owe me money.They said now it may be Janus=ary before I get my credit.The csr's are rude and the supervisors are even worse

  • wonbyone74 Oct 30, 2008

    i would have thought this was Cingular aka ATT...as a former employee, i saw this happen ALL the time!!!!!!

  • BIGCHEESECAMATO Oct 30, 2008

    Companies sure do rush to get you signed up FAST but when they make a mistake or something, it amazes me that they dont fix it ASAP. Not all people are trying to get something for free but, even when you have proff it was not you, company people want to act like "big shots" until their name gets out all over the place.

    Companies also charge "US" the consumer high late fees and stuff, but never shut up and listen..... I dont get it.