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VoiceStream, customer patch rift

When I responded in December to a "Get More" offer from VoiceStream Wireless, that is what I expected. The promotion I responded to included 2,000 free nationwide weekend minutes. However, when my statements arrived in January and February, they did not reflect this. After lengthy phone calls to customer service, I thought I had the situation cleared up. Yet each subsequent invoice was not properly adjusted to reflect my true balance, which required more phone calls. Because I expect quality service to include accurate billing, I began to voice complaints. What I do and do not owe is blurry since my account summary, shown at the bottom of my bills, is not consistent with the amounts I am charged.

I stopped making payments and requested to be compensated by VoiceStream for poor service, which resulted in being hung up on by both a customer care representative and a supervisor. I now want to cancel my service, since the terms of my contract have not been met. However, even VoiceStream's "president's team" representatives are unwilling to waive the $200 cancellation penalty, telling me instead that my account will be sent to a collection agency and affect my credit rating. Jodie Gross

Response: Thanks for letting us know that you were contacted by VoiceStream with the offer of a free month of service and the waiver of all back charges except the $40-a-month fees. You said that, although what you really wanted was an end to your relationship with the company, you are content to have your concerns addressed and have accepted VoiceStream's offer.

Missing miles

After receiving an offer of 5,000 Delta SkyMiles, I signed up with MCI Wireless on July 14, 2000. When the miles had not shown up on my monthly statement from Delta by October, I called MCI customer service and was told they would be on my next statement. They were not, so I called again in November. This time I was told they would be on my January statement. They were not. I called again on March 14 and was told it would be posted by June.

I also wrote a letter on April 25 regarding some other problems with my account and included a request for the miles. I never received a reply, and the miles never showed up. On June 7, I called MCI and spoke to Ikram, who told me the miles had been sent to Delta in August. I told him that was the first time I had been told that and that Delta had no record of the transaction. He put me on hold, and while waiting, I called Delta again and was told it absolutely had not received the 5,000 miles. Ikram came back on the line and when I told him this, he said MCI was no longer offering the 5,000 mile bonus. I said that had nothing to do with the fact that it was being offered when I signed up.

After being put on hold again, he returned and said the 5,000 miles would be sent to Delta within three days. But, later that day, he called and left a message telling me I had to call another number to get this taken care of. I called the number and got the sales department, which had no idea why I had been given its number. I was told I had to call customer service.

At this point, I gave up and contacted Action. I would appreciate any help you could give in this matter. Barbara Rizzo

Response: According to a fax from Lauren Kallens in MCI's public relations department in Arlington, Va., your case has been resolved. Let us know if the miles do not show up on your next statement.

Claim processed

I have been trying, since December 1999, to get Cigna to pay me for an office visit. I have sent in the appropriate paperwork, made phone calls and faxed and refaxed information. I have even sent it to the insurance commissioner twice. The first time I sent it to the commissioner's office, it helped with the prescription bills. It also told me to contact a Ms. Young at Cigna for the remaining bill. This woman does not respond to calls or letters. Over the years, I have read where Action has helped people obtain reimbursement from their insurance companies. Maybe she will respond to you. Sheila McNauton

Response: Cheryl Whiteman, risk manager for Cigna HealthCare of Florida in Tampa, said your claim dated Aug. 31, 1999, has been processed for payment. Cigna apologizes for the time and effort it has taken to get this accomplished, she said.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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