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Call Kurtis: Charged More Than $2K After Suspending Phone Service

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A Vacaville man put his landline phone service on hold. But when he started making calls again, he got slapped with a bill for thousands of dollars and called Kurtis.

It’s something many of us may not realize you can do… suspend your phone service when you’re on vacation or in this case, moving.

But something clearly went wrong in this case.

“I almost fell on my back,” said Adipsing Sing, Vacaville resident.

Charged more than $2,200 for his Vonage long distance, Adipsing had a plan with free international calls.

But in April, he put the service on hold for three weeks while he moved.

“It was on the understanding that on the 15th of May, my services would be resumed as normal,” said Adipsing.

But when he resumed the same calls he always made to South Africa, he was charged for each one, totaling more than $2,200.

He says Vonage told him, he had to pay because he never called to resume service, something he says he didn’t know he had to do.

“There was some sort of miscommunication clearly,” said Jessica Dolcourt, CNET Senior Editor.

While most major carriers will let you put service on hold, Dolcourt says they should tell you if you have to call to resume service.

Ask for an email, confirming the suspension and when service will start back up.

“It would be best to have some type of record,” said Dolcourt.

In this case, attorney Crystal Caldwell Virtue thinks Vonage should resume Adipsing’s service to his old plan and wipe out the charges.

“It’s just a huge bill and it’s not right,” said Caldwell Virtue, Caldwell Legal.

Vonage wouldn’t comment but offered Adipsing a thousand dollar credit.

We worked with his credit card company Discover, which dropped it another grand, leaving him with a $200 bill.

“It’d make me feel happy, give us peace of mind,” said Adipsing.

We checked with the major carriers on their suspension policies.

For AT&T and Sprint, you have to call to resume service and if your plan no longer exists, Sprint makes you pick a new one.

T-Mobile will let you set a date.

Verizon service automatically resumes after 90 days, if you don’t call them to reactivate before.

What about suspending your TV and Internet?

AT&T does have suspension plans for AT&T U-verse TV and Internet:

Existing U-verse customers can place their service on a “Voluntary Suspend” plan, instead of disconnecting/reconnecting when they are away (or not using) for a period of time.

It is available for U-verse TV, Internet (including IP-DSL), or Voice customers; it does not require customers to have U-verse TV service.

We offer three plans, with the following time limitations:

Vacation – The customer is on vacation/business travel and is away from home.

A maximum suspension of nine months.

Military – The customer is deployed to duty (requires manager approval).

A maximum suspension of 39 months.

Disaster – The customer experienced a disaster and needs to suspend services (for example, fire, flood). This plan requires manager approval.

A maximum suspension of nine months.

A maximum suspension time can be overridden via the Manager Override in special circumstances (at the manager’s discretion only).

Restrictions:
Requires a minimum of two months of suspension.

Existing U-verse must be active for a minimum of 30 days to be eligible.

Suspend all U-verse services suspended with the request (the customer cannot elect only certain services).

It is not permitted for customers in Treatment, or on Involuntary Suspend for payment (the customer must be in good standing with no past-due balance).

Do not place the customer’s service on Voluntary Suspend more than twice a year.

If the customer claims we added Voluntary Suspend too early, or indicates other issues, be flexible and allow the order.

Never place orders to add any new services to an account on Voluntary Suspend.

This type of option was formerly known as “Vacation Hold”, for which different rules apply. See U-verse Vacation Hold Service – Grandfathered (link not available for RST) for complete details.

For Comcast Cable Customers:
In California, Comcast does not have seasonal suspensions. Customers would need to either downgrade to the lowest tier of service or cancel to avoid paying their current rate.

For military, it’s handled on a case-by-case basis and we generally waive any early termination fees for military personnel with proof of deployment.

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