5 On Your Side

Woman Battles Cell Phone Company Over Charges

Posted August 2, 2007 2:05 a.m. EDT

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.