Can you hear me now?
We found a little “surprise” in our online bank account Tuesday morning … a $970.74 debit from Cingular. Since this was clearly a mistake (our monthly bill is usually no more than $150-$180 for five phones), I called Cingular’s national customer service line to straighten them out.
The national customer service guy was very friendly and helpful, basically verifying the charges, but could only refer me to my local store, which controls our rate plan.
When I finally reached the manager of our local Cingular store, Jason Miles, he was very eager to get it straightened out. The first thing he did was calmly (he was calm… I was having an angry heart attack) sort out that the call volume was real. That took the wind out of my sails, as I had assumed up to that point that Cingular had messed up.
So, come to find out … we really did owe that much. When Rosie and her parents re-upped their contract in December, the Cingular rep advised her that we had used less than 450 minutes every month (with a few exceptions) in the 3 year history of our account, so we could save a little money by down-grading our rate plan to only purchase 450 “anytime” minutes each month. And to be fair, that advice was totally valid at the time (December 2005). However, the call logs showed very clearly that we had quadrupled our call volume recently. So, according to the rate plan we had agreed to … in a very legal and binding sense … we owed $970.74.
So what do you do with a nearly $1,000 cell phone bill?
At some point in the conversation, Jason asked me if I knew of any circumstances lately that might have caused us to use the cell phones more? Hello? Haven’t you been reading Rosie’s blog, dude? So I explained to him that 3 of the 5 people on our plan have been diagnosed with cancer or have had double bypass heart surgery in the last month and a half. He very mysteriously said that he would need to talk to his regional manager to see how they could help us out. I assumed that meant that he was going to offer us payment plans for the $970 … which would have been a good thing considering that an $800 surprise in our cell phone bill was a little troubling.
Well, he called back about 15 minutes later to let me know that he had been authorized to waive the entire amount of overage charges on our April bill. He “waived” $740. Waived it. WAIVED IT. Gone. We don’t owe it.
I was speechless (yes … me … speechless). What do you say when someone does something that nice for you? I thanked him sincerely and then called Rosie to let her know (she had been heart-attacking along with me).
So, here’s to Jason Miles and Cingular … one helluva guy. Thanks.