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  How to Talk to Your Phone Company
see also   Complaint Overview Step 1: Speak to Phone Co Step Two: Gov't Complaint
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Let's say you find charges on your bill that you didn't order or calls you didn't make.

Check to see if everyone else who uses that phone account didn't add those charges, make those calls, etc. Many times, someone in the house has made the questionable calls. This should be a first step. If you live alone, unless someone has tapped into your phoneline illegally, you should know the answer to this question.


Get your story down and what you want them to do about it. --- If there are added charges and they've been there for months, make sure you can tell the customer representative exactly what happened. If you've been disconnected, or your line is out, make sure you know how long it has been out for, etc.

In short, write down the exact problem, and how long it's been going on for. In some cases, the story can be numerous outages in a month, and each incident needs to be itemized.

Get all pieces of paper in one place, including you account number, the bills in question, the story, etc.
Take a deep breath and remain calm. It might sound foolish, but the person on the other side of the call is just doing their job. They are not the enemy. They are simply going by the rules, and may not have flexibility in even what they say to you. So, the best approach is to NOT start screaming, but say something like "I have a problem and I hope you can help me". This way if they can help you there's a better chance of success.
Call your phone company. Get a human on the phone.
Write everything down or even record it --- but tell them you are recording it. In some states it is illegal to record a conversation without warning the other person. It is not illegal if you are just using it as notes. But it can almost never be used as evidence legally.
Get the exact reason, in writing or the exact material that you can read, as to why they are not giving you whatever you believe you're entitled to.
If they do not say that they will not take care of your charges, ask them why and you would like to "speak to a supervisor".
SECRET: Ask them for whatever you feel your entitled to, including time lost, etc. If they say they can not help you, ask them what they are willing to give you to keep you as their customer. If they show no interest in settling with you, you might want to consider leaving them.
Withholding payment. This depends on the situation, but the first thing most people say is --- I'm not going to pay that. In the case of the local service charges, withholding payment can lead to being disconnected, and even if you're right, you may not have the ability to have local service. Further steps may require a professional phonebill specialist or a lawyer.
Patience. This entire thing may go on for days, being put on hold, etc.
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