It this legal?

Due to a slow paycheck, I was 2 months behind in my Cellular One phone bill and they disconnected me. This I can understand. But then last month I got a bill charging me for a month of service I did not receive. I called today to cancel my service to ensure that this wouldn’t happen again. (I still have no cell service; callers get a recorded message that I chose to have the service turned off.)

Here’s the weird part. They refuse to cancel my service until I pay my bill in full, which I can’t afford to do. They told me they would continue charging me a monthly bill as if I were still connected until the bill is paid. Is this legal? What can I do about it?

I tried calling the collections department, but can’t get through.


Of course you can’t get thru. I mean if you could they would actually have to work.

Depends on the contract you signed, you better read it.

A little off topic but answering your second question-

I’ve always found the quickest way to get someone ‘live’ on the phone in the ‘hold from Hell’ situation is to choose the ‘pay’ option in the directory tree.

That is, act as if your calling to pay a bill. Lickity split you’ll get someone real on the line. I’m amazed at how many people they have hanging around to take your payment, and how few are there to actually answer a question.

Once you get the real person on the line, then you can bitch them out or do what you initially wanted to do,

Works like a charm!

I don’t understand. If they disconnected you, didn’t they terminate your service? You breached your contract by not paying in a timely manner and they cancelled the contract by disconnecting you. There is no contract and all you owe is the amount for the months that you had service.

What phone co. is that? Sounds weird to me. Am I missing something?

The simplest way to handle this is to do nothing. In theory they may sue you, in practice it never happens. Do not call them, do not respond to their mail. They may send your name to ctedit services, but it’s such a small amount…
If you want to appear better on paper, pay your last bill. They can’t show anything to prove that you terminated the contract.
If you like to play games, record the message. You can always show it to anyone: they lied about you (that you “chose to disconnect”) and this lie ruined your good name.

If she signed a contract saying that she agrees to pay for service for say 2 years, then stops paying on her service, there is likely a clause in there saying that she’ll owe for the remaining service. If you have a contract, you can’t terminate it by not paying.

This is similar to my health club membership- I signed a contract that says I will pay for 12 months a certain sum. If I stop paying, I’m still responsible for all of those payments, regardless if I’m still enjoying my membership. (Which I’m assuming they would cancel upon my non-payment)

At any rate, if you did NOT sign a contract with these people, call your state Attorney General’s office on Monday. They may be able to shed some light on it for you.


The difference between the prior posts and the OP is that in the OP the telephone co. disconnected his services.

If you sign a contract for a year at a health club, you are obligated to pay for the year. They must continue letting you use the service. If they stop you from using the services, you are no longer obligated from that point. It is true that you defaulted on the contract first, but what is their damages? Nothing.

With the telephone co., you defaulted on the contract. Hence,they rescinded the contract. Even if you signed up for a year, what are their damages? Zilch. If they did not disconnect you, then you would be liable for the entire contract. They chose to terminate the contract due to your breach. You owe for the services rendered, but after the termination of the contract, their damages are nothing. They could have opted to not disconnect you and hold the contract open. They chose not to.