Legal question about my former ISP

So my ISP stayed off line for 3 straight days. I called them and said I am not staying on this ISP with 3 days offline at a time. The tech said fine. I opened up a new account with another ISP. Yesterday I clicked on the old ISP’s icon to find that two-three weeks later I am still connected to them.

So can they bill me for those two-three weeks? I didn’t pay their bill this month so it would be almost a month late by now.

The possible reasons of your extended subsription are:

  1. The ISP, feeling guilty for being off-line for an extended period of time, are giving rebates in the form of a free month of service. Check their web site for any such notices, and if that’s the case, exploit it if you can.

  2. It also could be the case that you paid for the two weeks already, and you didn’t know about it. Call your credit card company during the next pay period to see if you were auto-billed for this month without your consent.
    Check also any new billing statements from your old ISP.

  3. The techie was incompentent and your request to cancel did not go through. In that case, write a letter to the company stating that you were billed for service you previously cancelled. Next time you cancel a service, cancel by e-mail, snail-mail, or, if you call, get a unique service number and write it down, so that your request could be tracked down next time you follow-up.

(Skip to the end to miss ramble)

Well, I had horrendous service from my ISP (love to name names, but I won’t…although they’re based in Springfield VA). They billed quarterly. I hadn’t paid the bill for the prior quarter (I had told them at the time they wouldn’t get the money until they they fixed the problem). When they sent the second bill for two quarters, two weeks into the next one, I told them to cancel service.

I reluctantly paid for the prior quarter, told them I figured they could “forgive” any charges for the current month as recompense for shitty service. Shortly after, I got a bill for that month. I ignored it, but then got another. I paid $10 of the $20, told them that since I cancelled in the middle of the month that should be the end of it, and moreover, their service was horrible.

I got my letter back, with third-grade chicken-scratchings from the billing manager along the lines of “If everyone had your attitude, no one would ever pay their bill.” I still kick myself for not responding with “I guess so, if everyone expected some sort of value for what they pay for.”

I sent another $5, and was prepared to pay the rest off 50¢ at a time (costing them postage and processing), but didn’t hear from them again. My understanding of these things is that most collection agencies won’t go near small debts. No impact on my credit record, either.

More than you want to know, no doubt, but the answer in my experience is yes, they can bill you, but they could be hard pressed to get it out of you if you hold tight.

I ain’t no lawyer, but this is what happened to me when I dumped my Netcom “service” a few years ago. I was having trouble connecting due to busy signals, so after a while I signed up with another ISP & called Netcom to cancel. They claimed they needed 30 days notice. I told them when I signed up, they were able to connect me within a day, so it shouldn’t take more than that to disconnect me. Just delete my userid so I can’t get on, right? Well, I made no attempt to logon thru them, & when my next credit card bill came & it had a charge for Netcom posted a week or two AFTER I requested cancellation, I disputed it & won. (My service was paid in advance a month at a time, so I knew I had paid for all the time I used.) Never heard from them again.

I still call their toll-free number from pay phones & leave the phone off the hook. :wink: