Friday, January 30, 2009

What has happened to truth in advertising and honesty is the best policy

Is it just me, or does anyone else wonder: What happened to truth in advertising and honesty IS the best policy? That may sound stupid considering what I'm going to write about but it was what came to my mind when I opened and read my cable bill today.

Has this happened to you? You sign up for a service, be it cable, cell phone, satellite, insurance, etc. They offer you a special deal as an incentive to sign up and the best part of the deal is - your bill will only be for example 79.97 a month for the next year. Then you get your first bill and maybe it actually is 79.97, (generally it isn't), but then you get your second bill and all of a sudden its gone up!!! Now its 130.97 because there is a usage charge or a minute charge or some unheard of "unexplained, unknown" charge that you didn't expect.

I'm going to use my cable bill as an example. We signed up for cable, telephone and internet services, all on one combined bill. Incentive: $100.12 for all services, (tax included) a month for the next year. Our first month bill was actually $100.12, so far so good. Today we receive bill 2, for $133.24!!
I look at the bill everything looks exactly the same as the first months bill EXCEPT now there is a traffic usage data charge of 27.00 plus additional taxes on that amount. Now the telephone with internet is 25.87, the high speed internet is 25.86, so what the heck is the usage data charge? Well tonight I can't answer that question but you can bet tomorrow I will have an answer as soon as the office opens. I may no longer have cable, internet and phone tomorrow but I will have an answer!

Same story with the cell phone service. I signed up for a family plan, 400 text messages, 700 shared minutes between my husband and I. Monthly bill $73.57 (taxes included). I get the first bill and its $173.57. On the phone, the rep. said they would waive the set up fees. The phones were free with $50.00 rebates on each phone so you "make" $100.00. So what happens when we get the bill, there are the set up fees and a couple of other fees totalling.... you guessed it $100.00!!! Tomorrow that will be fixed too, again I may not have service lol but I will get to the bottom of it.

Next story, car insurance. We picked a plan with a higher deductible because of course money is tight. The rep tells us there is only a few dollars difference between the $1000.00 deductible and the $750.00 deductible. Our downpayment was $215.00 but our bill would have been $93.00 with the original plan. With the next lower deductible our downpayment would be the same but our payments would only be $119.00 a month. Okay that "sounds" like a good deal for $250.00 dollar difference in deductible. Just like in the previous examples, we get the first bill and its not $119.00, its $229.00. Now, I don't know about you but I would say the difference between $93.00 a month and $229.00 a month is more than "just a few dollars difference".

So, come tomorrow I may not have cable, internet, telephone, cell phone or insurance but I WILL have answers. I will be asking everyone of them about truth in advertising and demanding the "incentives" they quoted me on the phone or I will be going elsewhere for service.

I believe in "honesty is the best policy" and come tomorrow, I will "honestly" be telling them what I think of their practices. I'm thinking the Attorney General of our state might be interested in hearing about them also!!