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For overcharging, for not publishing a clear list of prices, for deception, for not caring about a customer -- MCI is on my list.
They just charged me 3.50/minute for a call to Italy. My bill is $180 because of one 1/2 hour call. For $180, I could have bought enough pre-paid phone cards to talk to someone in Italy for 100 hours. That is, they charged me over 2000% more then the going rate and they had no shame about it!
I called MCI and asked if they lose customers by charging like that. They said that it was my fault for not reading their fine print. I asked where they publish a clear list of their pricing. They said that they don't because their pricing is always changing (with the internet, I don't see this as a valid excuse.) They tried to sell me a monthly plan so that I could pay them a monthly fee to have the ability to call Italy again for the industry's going rate. I said that I usually don't call Italy and I asked if they would charge me cheaper retroactively. They said they couldn't reverse my charges -- which is a lie because they could -- they just don't want to.
Okay, it's not like MCI is Worldcom or Enron, but I'm not alone in my assessment of how they overcharge. MCI Worldcom lost a law suit for fraudulent charges to their own customers. Furthermore, others have written to me. Here's one story of how MCI will gouge an unsuspecting consumer. Also, this email about other MCI business practices is from someone claiming to be an employee of MCI.
"...MCI truly gouges it's customers. If you sign up for Plan ABC today, and do not change or update your plan for the next 10 years, your rates will slowly go up.This is a VERY sneeky company. Even though these rate increases are approved by the FCC, and printed on the customer's invoice -- who really reads the small print on the back of their phone bill anyway? Year after year, your rates go up in tiny increments until you are paying $0.30/min on a call you agreed a few years back to pay $0.05/min for, while new customers are enticed with legimate offers of $.04/min! That's why they don't publish their rates -- the pricing plan is WAY too complicated and everyone is getting different rates! And the best part? If you call in to MCI Center, and the MCI customer service person notices that you're paying 10 times what you need to for your calls, THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TELL YOU THIS!!! Only if you mention your rates and become proactive will you get a better plan. The most proavtive thing you could do is use your cell phone for long distance and look into getting Voice over IP service like vonage.com.
What You Can Do
- Buy prepay phone cards and keep them by your phone -- use them for long distance calls. (just make sure it's not an MCI calling card.)
- Install Vonage.com -- voice over your DSL or Cable line -- and free yourself forever from the grips of "the phone company."
- Change to another long distance carrier right now!
- Tell others to change from MCI -- tell your office manager at work to find a different carrier.
- Put your story about MCI on the web and tell me and I'll link to it.
- Write me an email with your story and I'll publish it here.
- Tell your local news paper about this web page and about your story right now.
- Let me know if there are any omisions or broken links on this page.
- Please link to this page so that others can avoid wasting their money with MCI. It's easy to link to this page, just copy the text below onto your home web page:
<a href="http://wolfram.org/scam/mci.html">MCI Story of deception and gross over pricing</a>
How MCI can get off my list
MCI can get off this list by publishing a clear and understandable list of all their prices -- plus -- they have to pay me back my $180 for a 30 minute call to Italy. I don't expect they will do that so this page will probably be here at least as long as URLs are supported on the Internet, which I expect to be for a very long time.