They do a good job of acting "furious" and "shocked" and suchlike, don't they? They certainly should: it's their job to give you the feeling that there's someone on your side so that you won't call the public utilities commission.
This has backfired in some states in the past: for example, New York now requires Verizon to give the PSC detailed accounting of all calls to the Executive Complaints line and at one point the NY PSC considered requiring Verizon to inform all callers to that line that a call to the PSC might be in order. This all happened between the first and second jillions-of-dollars givebacks from Verizon (then NYNEX) to the New York State ratepayers in the mid 90's for persistent poor service (and, if you read between the lines of the PSC orders, for trying to hide the quality-of-service issues from the PSC).
The only thing that will get you any real traction is the decision to involve the NC UC. At one point in the early 1990s when I was spending many workdays _at Ameritech headquarters_ working on a new service offering, I had a persistent billing problem in which Ameritech charged all local calls from my home telephone (which was an ISDN "virtual" from a central office in downtown Chicago, relayed through my extreme-north-side central office which had no ISDN line cards, just extenders, in a piece of truly stupid engineering that should never have occurred in any major urban area) as if they were from the physical rather than the virtual serving office -- that is, as if they were made from downtown. Since that line was in use about10 hours a day to my employer in Evanston, this resulted in approximately $8500 in overbilling -- about half of which I *paid* to forestall threats to terminate service.
Ameritech refunded my money every couple of months (this went on for six months after I discovered it) and kept apologizing and saying the problem either had been or would be fixed. I called their equivalent of the "executive complaints" line; heck, I gave them the *name* of someone in the billing group who had told me in person that he could fix the problem if his boss would just tell him to. Blah, blah, blah.
Finally I took the quiet suggestion of one of my coworkers -- one of my coworkers _at Ameritech_, that is: I called residential repair and reported the problem *again*, and lucked out and got a rep dumb enough or poorly trained enough to try to talk me out of calling the Illinois Commerce Commission (the Illinois PUC) when I threatened to. Now I could call the ICC and honestly say the problem had existed for six months, I'd been promised resolution on this date, that date, the other date ... "and Ameritech has been trying to talk me out of calling you to get the problem solved."
I had a full refund _with interest on all the overpayments_ two days later in the mail, sent 1st Class from Hoffman Estates, not from the usual billing address; and, of course, the problem did not recur with my next bill.
Thor Lancelot Simon firstname.lastname@example.org
"We cannot usually in social life pursue a single value or a single moral aim, untroubled by the need to compromise with others." - H.L.A. Hart