Help! These phone charges don’t make any sense

Why is R.K. Mohan getting mysterious bills from Frontier? He isn’t even a customer. I investigate.

Question: I was a Verizon customer for over two years, subscribing to their internet and cable TV services. Verizon recently sold its internet division to Frontier Communications. I went through two cycles of billing with Frontier and then the problems started.

I started having interruptions in both services for extended periods of time. I made numerous calls to Frontier customer service and technical support, getting different people each time and not having any success.

Finally, my wife was able to get one kind soul to help and provide us with her email address. After several failed attempts to resolve this, she suggested that she would cancel our account and reinstate the services under another account number.

After a few more attempts, internet and cable TV services were restored. We were promised service credits for the days that we did not have service. We did not receive the credits and, to add insult to injury, we were billed installation charges for the new account number as well as late fees.

I explained all of this to Frontier in a letter sent by certified mail. I paid the amount owed and then notified them, in writing, that I was canceling my service with Frontier, effective with the end of the next billing cycle.

We were assured in writing that the cancellation would be taken care of. We received two billing statements, one showing a credit for $148 for the old account number and another for $458 for the new account number.

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I have now received a past due notice for the amount of $292, which includes a charge for “directory” service. But I have never had phone service with Verizon or Frontier and the charges do not make any sense.

We do not owe Frontier anything. We have canceled our services and would like to return the equipment that we were renting from Verizon. Can you help? — R.K. Mohan, Flower Mound, Texas

Answer: What a mess! Switching accounts shouldn’t have been necessary, but once you did, Frontier should have quickly fixed the billing error.

The switchover from Verizon to Frontier was a disaster, and not just for you. At about the same time your service problems were unfolding, a California legislator called the widespread problems “alarming” and called on the company to resolve them swiftly.

This was a series of unfortunate events that was entirely avoidable. I publish executive contacts for Frontier Communications on my site, and a brief, polite email might have eventually found its way to the right person.

Knowing what I know now, if I had the same situation — where you were essentially dealing with the same company — I might have skipped straight to the cancellation. You should have found a better service provider with more reasonable rates.

Frontier failed to meet its own goals, which are clearly outlined on its site. They include: “Do it right the first time,” “keep our commitments,” and “be accountable.”
Enough said.

I contacted Frontier on your behalf. A representative called you, apologized for the trouble, and zeroed your account balance.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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