Deal Promising to Lower Virginia Company's Phone Bill Wound Up Being Costly - NBC4 Washington
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Deal Promising to Lower Virginia Company's Phone Bill Wound Up Being Costly

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Virginia Man Promised Deal Left With Hefty Phone Bill

    A Virginia business owner accepted a cell phone offer that was too good to be true: free international texts and calls and free new iPhones for his employees. But when he got his phone bill, it turned out he owed thousands of dollars. News4 Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan made some calls to get some of those charges taken care of. (Published Friday, Aug. 10, 2018)

    A Virginia businessman said a salesman told him he could lower the company’s phone bill by more than a third, but the deal actually was going to cost him thousands of dollars.

    The cellphone salesman paid an unscheduled visit to Richards Construction in Lorton.

    “He said he was with T-Mobile and they had fabulous plans,” Larry Richards said.

    Richards needed 15 new phones, so he was intrigued by the offer, including free international texts and calls, covering all termination costs from the other vendor and free new iPhones.

    “So I thought, 'How could you go wrong?’" Richards said.

    But he said his first cellphone bill from T-Mobile was about $6,000. He said about $5,000 was for the cellphones that were offered for free and the international calls weren’t free, either.

    “Tried to reach the gentleman that sold everything to us,” Richards said. “We couldn't reach him at all.”

    Richards said he never returned phone calls.

    He did reach someone at T-Mobile and learned his contract was much different than what he thought he had agreed to.

    “And that's what got us,” Richards said. “Because even though a lot of the things that the sales rep told us were partially true, they weren't all true.”

    He also learned the salesperson was not a T-Mobile employee, which really bothered him.

    “We were dealing with a subsidiary of T-Mobile who sells packages for T-Mobile," Richards said.

    NBC4 Responds contacted T-Mobile, who immediately took care of a number of charges, offered Richards a reduced package plan for international calls, and although T-Mobile couldn't give him 15 free phones, they were able to work out a compromise.

    As to how the mix-up happened, T-Mobile said, "I believe this has been resolved to the customer's satisfaction. Feel free to follow up directly with him."

    While Richards did willfully sign the contract, he said the salesman scrolled through it quickly on a tablet.

    Reported by Susan Hogan, produced by Meredith Royster and edited by Perkins Broussard.

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