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Worldcom Wireless Service Not Connecting For Raleigh Man

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Attorney General's Office has 150 complaints on file against MCI WorldCom; Five On Your Side has received nine complaints.

One of those complaints came from a Raleigh man whose cell phone was supposed to help keep him connected.

Ron Genise contacted Five On Your Side when he paid $30 a month for cell service that he did not get.

"It was very frustrating, and, I guess, somewhat insulting," he said.

Genise signed up with MCI WorldCom Wireless in July 2001.After paying the first couple of bills, he received a notice that his account was overdue.

He knew his checks had cleared, so Genise called WorldCom.Genise said a representative told him not to worry, and that credits were probably delayed because of Sept. 11.

In November, WorldCom cut off his cell service for non-payment.

After faxing copies of his canceled checks, Genise found out that part of the problem was WorldCom's system for crediting accounts.

"When you get the check, they cash the check, make sure it clears the bank, and then they post it to your account. I've never seen anything that works like that," Genise said.

The process can take weeks. It can mean the next bill arrives before the last payment is credited.

After dozens of phone calls and faxes, the dispute still was not resolved.

Genise did not have cell service, so he decided to cancel his yearlong contract.

"The deal was they give us the air time and we give them the money. We kept giving the money and they took away the air time. So that's why we felt that they had breached the contract," he said.

When WorldCom told Genise he had to pay a $250 early cancellation fee, his next call was to Five on Your Side.

After Five On Your Side called WorldCom, the company immediately fixed the payment problem and waived the $250 fee.

Spokeswoman Lauren Kallens called it "nothing more than a processing error."

That is the same response Kallens gave to eight other complaints Five On Your Side received against the company.

"It's unfortunate that you have to go through this much work to solve what should have been a fairly easy thing to solve," Genise said.

Genise and his wife have another phone account with WorldCom and said they have not experienced any billing problems with that account.

However, they said as soon as the contract is up, they will not renew it.


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