Sometimes the strangest things happen.
While trying to get a handle on my sister’s finances, I found that her credit union has been faithfully sending a monthly automatic payment for her cable bill (I’ll leave the company unnamed, although we all know who it is). The most recent payment was just made in September.
The problem is that her service with Honolulu’s cable provider was discontinued either in December 2013 or in April 2014 (according to the company, which has provided two different answers so far). For more than two years, those monthly payments have apparently just gone into the ether, as the cable company says they have no record of receiving them.
I made several telephone calls and a personal visit to their customer service, confirmed that the service had been cut off long ago, but came up blank about where the money has gone for these past couple of years. And when I asked, they failed to provide any information on how to push the case up the chain of command so that it could be resolved.
I fumed for about ten minutes, then decided to shift the burden from my end to theirs. If information on where to go to resolve billing disputes isn’t readily available on the company website, or provided by customer service, it doesn’t seem like breaking the code should be my problem. Instead of trying more frustrating telephone calls, I put all this information into a complaint which was then filed with the Cable Television Division of the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs (with copy via registered mail to the cable provider). Those went out late last week.
Last night I received a phone call from a supervisor for the provider, requesting copies of my sister’s bank statements showing the monthly payments, which will be forwarded to their accounting department.
It’s quite a lot of money (possibly more than $4,000) to have just gone walkabout.
And to boost the frustration another notch, I contacted her credit union to stop them from making the next monthly payment. The credit union says the provider is supposed to control the payment and order it stopped. If we do it from the client’s end, there’s a $25 fee, as if the payment error was our fault. If it’s not resolved by the time this month’s payment is due, I’ll order a stop and ask the cable provider to reimburse that expense as well.
Isn’t it interesting how sharing this tale of frustration has already made me feel better?