[Telecom] Cox Communications Premature Withdrawal for Online Payment

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     On Wednesday, July 18th, I received an invoice from Cox
Communications for my Internet service.  The bill was about forty
dollars.

     I logged into my Cox account and authorized them to take the
payment from my credit union account on Saturday, July 21st.

     As I got paid on Friday, July 20th and I had only about forty
dollars left in my credit union's checking account, I was counting on
that forty dollars to be available to pay for lunch, gas, and whatever
else I might need during my work day on Friday.

     I logged into my credit union account shortly after I submitted
authorization to take the money out on Saturday.

     There was already a pending charge for my Internet payment
applied to my credit union account.  This meant that the credit union
was withholding those funds and I would not be able to use them as I
had planned.

     It was too late to call their customer service as they had closed
they call center for the night.  But I did reach them on their chat
line.  The CSR immediately voided the transaction.  But of course it
was going to take several days for the credit union to release those
funds.

     I had to charge my lunch [the next day] on my AMEX card which I
don't like to do.

     I wrote Cox's corporate office a letter of complaint.  I got a
call from a woman in their corporate office who said their standard
practice was to attach the funds immediately and then actually
withdraw them on the scheduled date.

     I told them that this was unacceptable.  She told me that we
would have to 'agree to disagree'.  I told her I would do no such
thing.  I also informed them in my letter that this was probably a
breach of law.

     Today, I filed a complaint with NCUA on the matter.  We will wait
and see what they say.  They may refer me to another enforcement
agency.

     If anyone has any suggestions or ideas about how to pursue this,
I would appreciate it if you would email me direct.

     This is a completely unacceptable practice.

     As I told her, they shouldn't send anything to my credit union
before the scheduled date.  This practice has to stop.  People choose
those dates for a reason.

                                              Fred

***** Moderator's Note *****

This isn't our usual kind of post, but I'm allowing it for two reasons:  

1. I just finished a ~6 month argument with Chase bank, caused by
   their policy to effectively ignore the law and to demand that I pay
   "late" fees their computer tacked on to an account I had ordered
   them to close.

2. Fred's complaint illustrates the new attitude of many major
   corporations - that customers are sheep to be shorn and then
   ignored, and that "Customer Service" should be patterned on the
   service process which occurs at horse ranches, in a breeding shed.

However, I've set the "Reply-To" header, and I won't accept further
comment that does not illustrate such practices in the telecom world.

Bill Horne
Moderator

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