PRIMUS STINKS - 1280 dollar phone bill -
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 12:36 AM   #1
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PRIMUS STINKS - 1280 dollar phone bill

I have had enough from Primus (the telephone service provider)

Here's a brief summary of what happened...

We have a small family business. We always switch telephone service providers, because competition between service providers is strong these years, and as a small business, every dime matters.

One day, a Primus agent walk in and start to persuade my father (boss) to switch from Bell to Primus. My father is not fluent in English, but he specifically asked the agent if there were any consequences or penalties if we switch from Primus to another company in the future, just to make sure we are not locked in (it is best if you are not locked in, because companies are always competing to gain customers. Locked-in customers usually do not get the best rates).

The agent said "No, there are no penalties of any kind", and he whipped out a contract for my father to sign without mentioning that it was a contract, nor explaining the terms in the contract. My father thought it was merely a registration form and he signed it - it's the biggest mistake my dad has ever made.

Almost a year later, Sprint Canada was offering a GREAT deal, so we switched to Sprint. Sprint handled everything with Primus, no hassle. It was great. Good rates, good service, and no hassle.

A few months later (the beginning of last summer), Primus sent us an invoice of 652 dollars for cancellation fee. After spending some time on the phone with several agents and eventually their branch manager S.J. (not sure if moderator would allow actual names here). I quickly realize that even when the contract should have been void due to language barrier, and my dad wasn't aware that he signed the contract, it wouldn't matter, because we have no way to proof that. I was not there to witness, it was only between my father and the agent, and the agent probably doesn't work there anymore.

After lots of stress and hassle, we successfully negotiated with the manager S.J. and there was an alternative. It was to sign another 1 year contract.

Spent another 3 weeks or so working out the agreements and making sure with SJ that we don't have to pay 652 dollars as penalty, we thought we were ready to switch back.

Then, 5 days ago, Primus sent us another invoice for 1280 dollars in total. 652 for cancellation fees, and the rest, 630 dollars for long distance calls to Whitby, Pakistan, Norway, and Sweden. We did not make those calls. Some of those calls were made at times when the business is closed. Those calls were made on June 3rd, but we've switched to Sprint in April!!! We have NOT been using Primus' service since APRIL!!!


I called to see what's up. I complaint to several agents (Politely), and so did my father. Basically, what we got back was, our lines were hacked, those charges are applicable.


I was furious. This $H$T stressed me out so much throughout the summer, because my father depended on me to make these calls (large Canadian corporation like Primus is not going to take you seriously, unless you speak flawless English).

It does not make sense to me. Say if a credit card was stolen. The purchases made on that card would go void, if the owner of the card indeed did not make those purchases. The insurance covers it. Owner of the card pays JACK.


Manager SJ. eventually called back after I made a few more complaints today (she was supposed to call me back last friday). She told me that she doesn't know why this fee went on Primus' invoice when it should've been on Sprint's....

I asked, so the fees are still applicable?!?!?

She said she doesn't know.

Then, I asked her why is it still applicable, when their company KNOWS that we didn't make these calls. This is either a glitch in their system, or someone hacked into my account, but either way, it doesn't make sense for these charges to be applicable.

Then... she said "I'm not here to listen to your lectures..."

asked me if i had other questions, i said no, she said bye and hung up.


what's your thought on this?
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 12:46 AM   #2
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Just wondering if there are any Primus customers out there to confirm that Primus is actually this $%$tty or I'm in very bad luck.

But i mean... we've been using the phone since my dad escaped from communist china (1960s-70s)... and NEVER BEFORE there had any problems, and i mean ANY, with telephone service providers...
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 01:28 AM   #3
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This is very simple. The service was sold on a verbal contrat that there was indeed no service fee for cancellation. There was a language barrier, and obviously from this latest charges on the account Primus is not keeping their books straight.

Call back and explain this once again, state that after all this you are not willing to pay ANY of these fees, ( and that you are considering relaying this to the Toronto Star and the better business bureau.) Them telling you that you may be liable for a security breach in their service which had hundreds of dollars of long distance added to you account is unacceptable. Save the copy fo the bill with the fraugulent charges as proof of misconduct and send a copy to their Vp of customer service directly. And when you tell them that you will not pay, if they say they will send you to a collections agency (which they won't) actually take the story to the Star, and inform them that you have retained legal advice in relation to the fraudulent charges they are forcing upon you. (they will move quickly once they hear all of this) and will wipe it all out.

Explain to them calmly that this is a predatory business practice and not what was presented to your father as the conditions of the contract.

I hate this stuff, but myself I have the time and resources to take these things to the next level. (what can i say, when it comes to contractual agreements, i bring out my big guns)
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 01:54 AM   #4
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Thanks Draz. The problem is that wee don't have the time to deal with this... I am a student, i have to travel to Downtown 4 days a week... and the 3 remainder days i have to help out with the business. My dad is always busy, so it's out of the question. I am actually trying to seek advise from the police, to see if the police could actually help me out on this.

About the Star... do you think the star would actually be interested? can they actually help? can they actually let the public know about this misconduct that Primus is doing?

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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 05:18 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by DoNotPokeTheScreen
About the Star... do you think the star would actually be interested? can they actually help? can they actually let the public know about this misconduct that Primus is doing?
The person that you are looking for at The Toronto Star is Ellen Roseman. She's their consumer advocacy columnist. Draz sounds like he knows what's going on. Good luck with Primus! They changed the terms of my l-d contract without telling me and I never looked at them again.
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 06:35 AM   #6
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Get a lawyer.

Most less-than-scrupulous managers at companies like these, or even managers who just plain don't want to deal with you out of laziness, will blow you off every time you call them on the phone. However, when their legal department gets a letter from an LLB all nice and formal, they will bend over backwards to settle the issue promptly and politely.

Any half-decent lawyer will be happy to send that letter for you, and deal with the company on your behalf for a reasonable fee. Whatever the lawyer will charge is almost surely less than what you will have to pay this company if you don't resolve the issue quickly. But do it before this company sends your file to a collection agency and declares your account delinquent putting a red mark on your credit rating, which I'm sure they will be doing soon, just to get rid of you.

Get a lawyer. You can go to the media, but you have no guarantee that The Star will be interested, or you can call the Better Business Bureau, but they can't really do much to help you, however letting them know that you mean business by sending them a proper and professional letter from an LLB is the quickest and easiest way to solve this.
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 07:44 AM   #7
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in my experience, phone companies only hire scum bags. i was driven to VOIP by Bell's incompetence, fraud, and thievery.

if you want your money back you will have to talk to your MP and hire a lawyer. i just gave up, but they amount Bell stole from my bank account was significantly less.

don't think you can argue with reason to these people - you can't. the front line people are idiots and most don't know how to contact anyone other than their immediate supervisors, who are equally useless. they have a policy of not referring your case to management under any circumstances. they may give you five or six fax numbers if you push them really hard. if you fax these numbers to management with photocopied evidence of the theivery nothing will happen so don't waste your time.

go the legal route and don't waste any more energy trying to deal with the company directly. it will stress you out and you will get nowhere.
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 08:42 AM   #8
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Ellen Roseman, good idea. The police are not interested. The CRTC or the competition bureau may help. The CRTC may also be able to tell you if there is an industry ombudsman, and what his powers are.

Lawyer, bad idea. First of all, letters from lawyers do not impress people as much as some of you seem to think. Secondly, lawyers hourly fees are in the hundreds, it is simply not economically sound to retain a lawyer for this kind of money.

I suggets you write to the CEO of Primus. Be concise, polite and measured (i.e. don't rant). Apologise for troubling him, but you have had not other option because customer service has been unreasonable and obstructionist. Explain that your father was misled by the salesman, that you feel this was not ethical and surely contrary to Primus own policies and standards. Explain, finaly, that you are being billed for calls that were not made by you, from your premises, or while you were were a customer of primus. Ask him to confirm, within 7 days, that all of these charges are cancelled.

If this doesn't work, this letter willl be part of your ammunition to escalate your complaint elsewhere.
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #9
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Those scum bags called my wife and harassed her for well over a half hour, so she said yes to their long distance service just to get them off the phone. I didn't find out about this until I had Bell call me up and asked if I had agreed to this (the phone is in my name). I told them no, Bell told them too bad, and Primus sent my wife a big fat bill. I tried to call them and clear everything up, but couldn't because the account was in my wifes name. We decided to just pay the stupid thing to avoid a black mark on her credit, the kick in the ass was that the next month we received another bill for like 35 cents for interest. Bloody idiots, it probably cost them more to send that bill than it was worth, I just paid them a dollar just in case.
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Old Sep 28th, 2005, 08:57 AM   #10
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You can also try Silverman at Pulse 24 who runs a show called "Silverman Helps".
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