Here’s the scoop
Two days ago I logged onto the website of my prepaid cell phone service provider. I checked my account balance to find it at $11.70. My plan charges per day and I don’t like taking the risk of getting my balance too low without realizing. The interesting thing is that within five hours later of checking my account, the balance dropped to .05 cents. That’s right, five cents! Over the course of five hours I lost over ten dollars of credit on my account.
Was it really my fault?
Did I access the internet ask? Did I send some mega-sized messages? Did I go on a random calling spree that was outside my plan? The answer is “No” to all three.
I didn’t do anything. Which is why I was concerned when a couple hours after checking my balance I got a text from my service provider that my account had dropped below $5 and I should add more money soon.
How odd I thought? I had just checked it a couple hours before and seen the $11.70 balance. But rather then getting alarmed I figured I would check it again. When I logged on, the balance read $2.95. WTF?
Yeah I did a serious double take! Obviously I wanted to know the details before I called up the company and started ranting. So I reviewed the history of my phone usage to see what the charges were. I went through 26 screens of usage history (most of which was gobblegook and made little to no sense) and suddenly it informed me that my balance was .05 cents.
Their fingers went a little too deep into my pockets
It seems that over that course of time, the company had randomly assessed a charge of over ten dollars for something they termed “Data Packet”. I called the company and the friendly representative said, “Hold on, I will have another department look into that for you.” After a few minutes he came back to tell me my account had been credited back for the amount in question, with no real explanation for the reason of the charges, and that was that.
The real danger
I am glad to have gotten the money back without a battle. But the real danger was this: what if I was enrolled in an automatic replenishment plan?
If my account was set to withdraw money from my bank account and refill my balance whenever it drops below a certain point, I might never have known what happened. Further still, what if it continued to happen on a regular basis, and they just kept withdrawing from my account and replenishing until I realized. If this happened three or four times in the span of a day or two, it could have really added up. Even worse, what if I was waiting on a paycheck and ended up bouncing a check or getting overdraft fees because of these types of glitches?
Needless to say I will continue to monitor things for myself and keep a sharp eye on my charges in the future.
(*My apologies to my readers for my recent absence but I was fighting a stomach virus for over a week and have just recently been getting back on track with things.)