Help Me Hank: Mixed Signals
Jessica Tyrrell and her cell phone -- talk about inseparable.
Jessica Tyrrell, Cell Phone User
"I usually carry it with me like this..."
And we do mean talk -- a medical job by day, bartending at night, plus an active social life all adds up to some serious minutes.
"Itís really important to me."
And after almost two years of non-stop chatting her phone was on its last beeps. So, Jess headed to the phone store, got a cool new upgraded phone and increased her minutes.
"All was great all was said and done"
A few months later, her initial two-year contract was up, Jess decided to switch to another service. But when she called the company to cancel, they said she was locked in for two more years.
"And I was like, ĎI know Iím not in contract with you for another two years.í"
The phone company said you are too, fax us your contract, that is what you signed up for! Jessica insisted no way, her contract says upgrade only.
"And they were treating me like I was stupid."
She thought the fax would put them on notice, but instead she got this notice for a $150 early termination fee.
"I know a lot of people donít think its a lot, I do, but I didnít owe it, maybe thatís the bottom line."
But the bills kept on comingÖ
"Every other week I was getting one."
When they threatened to send her to collection agency, Jess got off the phone and online.
"I was like, ĎI'm going to e-mail Help me Hank.í"
So we looked closely at Jessicaís contract, it clearly says upgrade only and what is more, she did not initial her agreement to a two year contract or an early termination penalty.
Hank on the phone
"Do check the contract, you just can't charge her that fee now, her obligation has ended."
We faxed them another copy of the contract and soon after they agreed the termination fee was terminated...
We tried to call Jess to tell her the news and once we got past the busy signal, she had one more thing to say.
"Extremely happy that I didn't have to pay it because I didn't owe it."
Cell phone contracts are full of stringent rules and fine print, so make sure you know exactly what you're signing up for. If youíre fighting a consumer battle maybe I can help.