Mobile Phone Extortion

7:25 AM Edited by Blony

In these tough economic times companies are forced to take tougher cash-grabbing measures. Unfortunately some of them thought “Hey, those mafia guys are pretty tough!”

1. Pay the phone bill or the old guy gets it!

A sixty-two year old man went missing, last seen in an unstable condition, heading for the woods and carrying several bottles of pills. If you’re an actual human being you organise a search and rescue. If you’re Verizon you think “Cha-ching!”

When local sheriff Ron Clapper tried to call the man’s phone, Verizon refused to turn it on until an overdue bill was paid. Ron explained that the man’s life was in danger. Verizon offered to turn it on for $20. That’s right: with a life on the line, Verizon’s response is to haggle.

Because at least one of the parties in the phone call didn’t value a twenty more than a human being, sheriff Clapper was actually paying the bill when the man was found. And treated by paramedics. And rushed to hospital where he was later released and, presumably, went to change his mobile phone contract.

2. Stealing from the elderly

Arthur Simmons tried to pay a $124.14 phone bill online, but being seventy-three he misplaced the decimal and accidentally transferred $12,416. Sure, that’s his fault, but he’s a septuagenarian - getting far enough to even make that mistake online that makes him the Bill Gates Of The Elderly. The thing is, that’s slightly more money than he actually had - in fact, it’s more than the pension he lives on for a year.No problem though - internet bank transfers are instantaneous, so surely Qwest could see this laughably obvious error and reverse the transfer, right? Wrong! You see electronic-payments only allow the instant transfer of money TO Qwest. The return trip is by goat carriage across Mount Doom, taking care to avoid the Troll under the bridge! Arthur was told that it would take Qwest, a telecommunications company, six weeks to undo what they allowed him to do in a second - and if he died in the meantime, presumably they got to keep the money. (The “starve our customers to death” approach proved unpopular with local media, and officials later said they would try to send it a little faster.)

3. Gosh we’re sorry your mother died give us money

Verizon again, apparently trying to commit suicide-by-public-relations. Customer John Robideau’s mother died and he called to change the name on the bill. Verizon thoughtfully responded by cutting off his phone lines and internet, keeping him on hold for two hours, twice, cut off his phones again, tried to sell him things, doubled the cost of his line rental and dispatched angry Russian bears to beat him with tire irons. Only one of those is false.

Oh, and they didn’t change the name on the bill - proving that Verizon’s whole “telecommunications” thing is just a cover for some bizarre dystopian “Cause pain and suffering for anyone we happen to notice” engine.

Via Mobile phone blog