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Friday, December 19, 2003
Back to basics : dealing with the phone company. Does it get any more primal?

Is "Bonnie" a codename for an automatic response generator? If not, my message might have been as effectively answered by a machine. There is no indication in the response that she actually read my message.

I had contacted my bank before originally phoning SBC. As a result of the incident, I closed my account with the bank. My point in contacting you is: when I originally contacted you after speaking with my back, I was informed by your cs rep that, without the proper account no., my check would not be able to be applied. I was told that my check couldn't even be tracked, so I should put a stop payment on it. That was apparently incorrect information, because the check was applied, but weeks after it had originally been sent and after I had put the stop payment on it. That is why I requested a reversal of the fee.

Obviously, I've already wasted more than $7 of my time in contesting this. It would be satisfying nevertheless to see that something there is capable of an unmechanical act.

One other note: contacting you by email is unnecessarily difficult, perhaps deliberately so. Still, it would be a bit less insulting if one were able to reply to an email from your cs directly, rather than having to navigate back to this form and refill in all the information.



Dear Mr. Idokoro,

Thank you for your recent email. You would need to check with your
bank regarding in errors that might have been made with their
automatic payment service. We did however, receive this payment of
$18.95 and then payment was rejected, just like a returned check.
When a payment is returned or debited, a $6.65 fee does apply.

If you need any further assistance, please send us an email by using
the form located at:, or you can contact our Customer
Sales and Service Center at (800) 310-2355.

Thank you for choosing SBC California. We appreciate your business
and continued loyalty.


SBC California Customer Service

We've done our best to answer your questions based on the information
you provided, our understanding of your request, and current
information we have (which is subject to change). Also, please note
that prices, terms, and conditions are subject to change, and in the
event of a discrepancy, prices, terms and conditions in any
applicable tariffs govern. This message contains information which
may be confidential. Unless you are the addressee (or authorized to
receive for the addressee), you may not use, copy, re-transmit, or
disclose to anyone this message or any information contained therein.
If you have received the message in error, please advise the sender
by reply e-mail, and delete the message. Thank you
very much.

On Tue Dec 16 17:19:13 PST 2003, Tomohiro Idokoro wrote:
> To:
> Customer Name: Tomohiro Idokoro
> Email Address:
> Street: No Street
> City: No City
> State: --
> Zip: -----
> Message:
> Hi,
> I notice my current online bill includes a Return Payment charge of
$18.95 and a Return Check fee of $6.95, both dated 10/26. I believe
this is related to a screw-up by my former online bank (NetBank). I
had tried to pay on-line using their service, but they had listed the
wrong account number in posting the check to you. The payment had
not been posted on the date it was supposed to have been. After I
tracked down the error and talked to Netbank's customer service, I
called your customer service and was advised by a rep to stop payment
on the check as it could not be applied without the proper account
number listed with it. I followed this advice and on 16 Oct sent in
a paper check for $39.97 covering the month in error as well as the
bill for the month then current (October).
> I don't understand why the original payment was even applied, much
less applied then reversed with a $6 penalty to me. Perhaps the
misdirected check subsequently was applied and then reversed,
resulting in the charges above?
> I have paid the full amount on my current bill, but I have the
following requests:
> 1) Please reverse the $6.65 return check fee as this check should
never have been applied in the first place.
> 2) Please reverse any other penalties, such as late fees, resulting
from this Return Payment as the matter should have been resolved when
I stopped payment on the original Netbank check and sent in the paper
check from my Washington Mutual account
> 3) Please review my account to insure that all charges and payments
have been reconciled and that I have not been doubled bill for any
> I have tried to do this last item myself online, but it is
difficult to find a clear history of my account history on your
> Thank you,
> Tomohiro Idokoro