On Your Side: EarthLink's Double Charges Resolved

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I have been an EarthLink customer for more than ten years. Recently I was reviewing my past credit card statements and realized that EarthLink had been charging me double the appropriate amount for five months. After I spoke with a couple of company reps, they agreed that it was the company's fault, and they fixed the billing amount. But the company would refund only one month's worth of overcharge, as a matter of company policy. They still owe me more than $120. Can you help?

--Stuart R. Singer, Austin, Texas

OYS responds: After we contacted EarthLink about Singer's problem, a company rep researched the issue and said that EarthLink had made a processing error. The company apologized and gave Singer a refund for all five months' worth of overcharges.

Singer's EarthLink bill is automatically charged to a credit card account, so the overcharges were easy to miss. Automatic bill payment is convenient, but it increases the likelihood that an error will slip by you. We recommend that you review all charges made to your credit card or checking account each month. Also, sign up for e-mail notification about such charges if the company or your bank offers them.

Postponed Payment

Ruth DeCamp of Carmel, Indiana, contacted us when she didn't receive a payment she was entitled to. DeCamp mailed two 16GB Apple iPhone 3Gs to CellForCash.com, which pays cash for used mobile phones. Cell for Cash said it would pay $144 for each phone within 45 days of "verification": Once the company receives a phone, it verifies that it's in working condition and in good shape.

The company verified that both of De­­Camp's phones were acceptable, but she didn't receive a check. She e-mailed customer service and filled out a complaint form online. An auto-reply message said that the company would expedite her payment, but nothing happened; the site did not list a customer service phone number.

After we reached Cell for Cash's marketing department (using a listing found on the company's Website), a member of the firm's Resolution Team informed us that an error in the company's system had caused the delay in payment. Cell for Cash then sent DeCamp the full $288.

Contacting customer service representatives can be difficult and unsatisfactory, so try other departments of the company if necessary. In our case, a marketing rep forwarded our query to the Resolution Team, and our e-mail didn't disappear in a general customer-service pool.

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