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Old 13.06.2019, 09:39
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Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Hello Everyone -

I'm writing to request guidance regarding my mobile provider (one of the biggest in Switzerland) which has been fraudulently charging my account for approximately the last 19 months. Guidance I am seeking is something along the lines of: 1) Just get a lawyer; 2) Contact the Media; 3) Involve Swiss Government or Regulatory Authority.

Here's a short overview of my case:

In December 2017 my mobile phone provider extended and upgraded my cell phone contract without my knowledge , permission, or agreement. Upon learning of this I contacted the company and was escalated to an executive support rep who agreed that this was a "mistake" and began working to fix it. Unfortunately this person who understood and agreed that their company screwed up went on maternity leave, passing the case to someone who has been combative, argumentative, and largely unhelpful. In the meantime, my account has (until recently) continued to accrue an extra ~50 CHF/month in fraudulent charges.

Everyone at the company that has looked at the case including the local store manager agrees that the company screwed up and should make things right. Unfortunately the combative "executive" customer service rep handling my case sees things differently and has chosen to go silent. No replies to my calls or emails for the last two months.

I feel I have been more than patient and given the company dozens of chances to fix things and can't imagine why they won't unless some alterior motive is at play.

So here I sit 19 months later with a cell phone contract I didn't want or request and thousands of CHF billed for things I didn't need/want.

In my home country the regulatory authorities would likely be the first stop but in Switzerland I have no idea.

Question: Any ideas regarding what should I do?

Thanks in advance for your guidance / help.

Rgds...
- John
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  #2  
Old 13.06.2019, 09:51
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Contact the Ombudsman
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Old 13.06.2019, 09:53
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Have you got evidence in writing that they made a mistake and they will fix it?

If so, what can they do?

Maybe you could send them a registered letter enclosing all that paperwork (if you have it) and give them a reasonable date for them to come to a conclusion, cancel your contract the put an end to it.
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  #4  
Old 13.06.2019, 09:57
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Hello Everyone -

I'm writing to request guidance regarding my mobile provider (one of the biggest in Switzerland) which has been fraudulently charging my account for approximately the last 19 months. Guidance I am seeking is something along the lines of: 1) Just get a lawyer; 2) Contact the Media; 3) Involve Swiss Government or Regulatory Authority.

Here's a short overview of my case:

In December 2017 my mobile phone provider extended and upgraded my cell phone contract without my knowledge , permission, or agreement. Upon learning of this I contacted the company and was escalated to an executive support rep who agreed that this was a "mistake" and began working to fix it. Unfortunately this person who understood and agreed that their company screwed up went on maternity leave, passing the case to someone who has been combative, argumentative, and largely unhelpful. In the meantime, my account has (until recently) continued to accrue an extra ~50 CHF/month in fraudulent charges.

Everyone at the company that has looked at the case including the local store manager agrees that the company screwed up and should make things right. Unfortunately the combative "executive" customer service rep handling my case sees things differently and has chosen to go silent. No replies to my calls or emails for the last two months.

I feel I have been more than patient and given the company dozens of chances to fix things and can't imagine why they won't unless some alterior motive is at play.

So here I sit 19 months later with a cell phone contract I didn't want or request and thousands of CHF billed for things I didn't need/want.

In my home country the regulatory authorities would likely be the first stop but in Switzerland I have no idea.

Question: Any ideas regarding what should I do?

Thanks in advance for your guidance / help.

Rgds...
- John
So in 19 months, you do not have any written evidence that they made a mistake? Did you try asking the store manager to deal with it on your behalf? Did you escalate this higher to management?

19 months is a LONG time to not get something resolved.
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Old 13.06.2019, 10:18
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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So in 19 months, you do not have any written evidence that they made a mistake?
I have tons of evidence and ~50 email exchanges with the original "Executive Customer Rep". The company even put in writing to please... "accept our sincere apologies for this unthinkable situation." and promised to fix it. The problem is that the case was in the middle of being fixed when the good rep went on maternity leave. When the case was passed to a new Rep, she ended up being combative and refuses to help and acts like I'm just trying to get a free refund.

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Did you try asking the store manager to deal with it on your behalf?
Yes. He promised to help but hasn't done anything to my knowledge.

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Did you escalate this higher to management?
Yes. I escalated to the "Executive Customer Service" department - - which is supposedly the highest level in the company. It was within this same department that I had the really good rep and the now combative one.

I have asked the combative rep repeatedly to pass me to someone else or to someone in Executive Management. Even asked the store manager to help influence but those requests have only been met with silence.

Rgds...
- John
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  #6  
Old 13.06.2019, 10:35
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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I have tons of evidence and ~50 email exchanges with the original "Executive Customer Rep". The company even put in writing to please... "accept our sincere apologies for this unthinkable situation." and promised to fix it. The problem is that the case was in the middle of being fixed when the good rep went on maternity leave. When the case was passed to a new Rep, she ended up being combative and refuses to help and acts like I'm just trying to get a free refund.



Yes. He promised to help but hasn't done anything to my knowledge.



Yes. I escalated to the "Executive Customer Service" department - - which is supposedly the highest level in the company. It was within this same department that I had the really good rep and the now combative one.

I have asked the combative rep repeatedly to pass me to someone else or to someone in Executive Management. Even asked the store manager to help influence but those requests have only been met with silence.

Rgds...
- John
Have you then not gone physically to the head office to make an appointment to speak with someone?
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Old 13.06.2019, 10:48
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Have you then not gone physically to the head office to make an appointment to speak with someone?
LOL! Can you imagine the lineup of disgruntled customers if we had to physically go to whomever's office to fix clerical errors!

On the other hand, I've always wanted to go to India or Poland to solve a phone charge problem.
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Old 13.06.2019, 10:53
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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LOL! Can you imagine the lineup of disgruntled customers if we had to physically go to whomever's office to fix clerical errors!

On the other hand, I've always wanted to go to India or Poland to solve a phone charge problem.
Are you serious? It has been going on for 19 months with no progress. So yeah, damn right I would be going physically to the head office with a wad of evidence to speak to fully explain the situation make an appointment to speak to someone and resolve this.

To me it's a shame that many people seem too timid to take ownership of situations and almost give up before exhausting all of their realistic possible options. What are you afraid of?

I just prefer to take the initiative and get things resolved as soon as possible to reduce the stress in my life that such situations cause. Being firm and being relentless (in the politest way possible) I have not (yet, at least) encountered a similar situation I couldn't resolve in a reasonable timeframe.
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Old 13.06.2019, 10:55
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Contact the Ombudsman
Thanks.

I've just Google'd "Ombudsman" for my mobile phone provider and the results seem to be oriented almost entirely around Network Neutrality topics. Hmmm. I guess it's not clear to me what the Ombudsman do, how they can help, or even how to contact them. I'm usually quite savvy with Google but I guess I just don't understand enough re: what they are.

Can help me to understand what is an Ombudsman, how they can help, and how to reach them?

Rgds...
- John
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Old 13.06.2019, 12:29
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Are you serious? It has been going on for 19 months with no progress. So yeah, damn right I would be going physically to the head office with a wad of evidence to speak to fully explain the situation make an appointment to speak to someone and resolve this.
Nothing timid here. Just a lack of time. Frankly speaking, though.... Why should I have to invest 4 hours driving (round trip) to the company HQ + countless other hours waiting / explaining just for the *possibility* of a F2F?

What I'd much prefer is a phone call to the media, government agency, etc in order to use their leverage to get it sorted out.

Anybody here see a possibility to solve it this way?

Rgds...
- John
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Old 13.06.2019, 12:31
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Nothing timid here. Just a lack of time. Frankly speaking, though.... Why should I have to invest 4 hours driving (round trip) to the company HQ + countless other hours waiting / explaining just for the *possibility* of a F2F?

What I'd much prefer is a phone call to the media, government agency, etc in order to use their leverage to get it sorted out.

Anybody here see a possibility to solve it this way?

Rgds...
- John
Scathing review on their Twitter page? Although I'd leave out tasty words such as "fraudulent".
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Old 13.06.2019, 12:37
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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Nothing timid here. Just a lack of time. Frankly speaking, though.... Why should I have to invest 4 hours driving (round trip) to the company HQ + countless other hours waiting / explaining just for the *possibility* of a F2F?

What I'd much prefer is a phone call to the media, government agency, etc in order to use their leverage to get it sorted out.

Anybody here see a possibility to solve it this way?

Rgds...
- John
A lack of time to drive at most a couple of hours... over 19 months? You prefer to prolong your stress and suffering to almost 2 years? You are surely making excuses to justify your lethargy up to now.

The media likely won't do anything for so trivial a case, a government agency likely can't do much either. There are things like omsbudsmans here https://www.ch.ch/en/ombudsman-service/ you could try without any guarantee of success.

Also try social media pressure.
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Old 13.06.2019, 16:00
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

I guess you're talking about Swisscom, based on the 2 hours driving distance you mentioned from Zug.
(Siwsscom HQ is in Bern, like 2 hours from Zug, Sunrise is in ZH - closer than that, Salt is in Renens, VD -more far away.)

I dont't seem to understand something in your story - did you manage to fail to notice that you're overbilled by 50 CHF per month for a period of 19 months, and you kept paying it for such a long period?? How comes?
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Old 13.06.2019, 16:14
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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I have tons of evidence and ~50 email exchanges with the original "Executive Customer Rep". The company even put in writing to please... "accept our sincere apologies for this unthinkable situation." and promised to fix it. The problem is that the case was in the middle of being fixed when the good rep went on maternity leave. When the case was passed to a new Rep, she ended up being combative and refuses to help and acts like I'm just trying to get a free refund.



Yes. He promised to help but hasn't done anything to my knowledge.



Yes. I escalated to the "Executive Customer Service" department - - which is supposedly the highest level in the company. It was within this same department that I had the really good rep and the now combative one.

I have asked the combative rep repeatedly to pass me to someone else or to someone in Executive Management. Even asked the store manager to help influence but those requests have only been met with silence.

Rgds...
- John

If you have it all on paper, then why not start a Betreibung?
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Old 13.06.2019, 16:20
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Unfortunately, I think too many people don't realize that when e-mail and phone are not working, a registered letter is the next step. Address to a specific supervisor if possible. Send copies of your e-mails and in your letter reiterate what was promised. State what it is you want/expect to be done. Give a deadline by which the other party needs to respond.

I'd also consider voting with my wallet and change provider!
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Old 13.06.2019, 17:14
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

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I guess you're talking about Swisscom, based on the 2 hours driving distance you mentioned from Zug.
(Siwsscom HQ is in Bern, like 2 hours from Zug, Sunrise is in ZH - closer than that, Salt is in Renens, VD -more far away.)
I guess I should follow your lead and change my location to "Formerly Zug". In any case, I won't divulge the carrier name publicly or privately. Nice try, though. ;-)

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I dont't seem to understand something in your story - did you manage to fail to notice that you're overbilled by 50 CHF per month for a period of 19 months, and you kept paying it for such a long period?? How comes?
No. In fact I noticed the problem even before the first bill came and tried to head off the problem - - to no avail obviously. Unfortunately the company still hasn't restored the terms of my original contract although the over charges did finally stop a few months back.


Rgds...
- John
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Old 13.06.2019, 17:23
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

In my experience, the thing to do in situations like this is to pester them incessantly. Not just by email but by phone, by registered letter, to all the contacts and addresses you can find.

And if they still don't reply, go to social media. Don't write anything inflammatory or call them ugly names as this can backfire onto you. But stick to the facts. Most companies care about their image and respond sooner rather than later.
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Old 13.06.2019, 18:27
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Send them a registered letter to the main office, explain the situation, tell them you've been more patient then ever could be expected, include some papers about the deal you've made and what was promised to you. Give them a reasonable term to give you back your money including a calculation of what you are entitled to and else you start a Betreibung. Also cancel your automatic payment and manually transfer the amount you are due.

19 months Time to step up your game.
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Old 13.06.2019, 19:29
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

Call me suspicious, but I am not totally convinced that the first person has gone on maternity leave and not come back. They have your money, and continue to take it. The longer they have it, the less likely you are to see it again. I think you have been passed to someone who deals with awkward customers. You need to get away from that person by grovelling sort of.

It could easily be that refunds over XXX require management approval for example.

Your time is expensive, so is a lawyer, 1000s it will cost. The phone company know this.

Have you made any use whatsoever of the premium upgraded services during the 19 months? If you have used them, and continued to pay, not good.

Multiple polite recorded delivery letters setting out the history may be needed.

I went to a phone company, might be the same one, for a replacement sim card for my contract having lost the sim. The teller spotted a non native victim, he was about to leave his job and wanted sales commission, so he sold me another 12 month contract, running in parallel. Yes, I signed a form to say I had been given a replacement sim, or so I thought! I wanted to get to work and he knew. I used the paying in slip for the new contract accidentally once, validating it, getting into arrears with the old one. You can imagine betreibungs showing up, me having been tricked into signing another contract and having paid one monthly amount per month.

8 months of hell, until I pointed out the SIM number swap, and the old sim never used at all since, not even on the network. I had to be very nice, because they had two contracts signed by me, and I had made payments.

I grovelled and didn't call them out and got 50chf free credit eventually and Betreibungs were not followed up. I guess their salesman kept his bonus.
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Old 13.06.2019, 19:39
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Re: Mobile Phone Provider Fraudulent Charges...

As others have written:
Polite, factual, registered letter.
Keep a photocopy of the letter and attach the post office receipt to it. Make sure everything is dated. In Switerland, a registered letter works more wonders than anything else.
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