Dear Lifehacker, When I signed up with an ISP in the middle of the month, they charged me the pro-rated amount to cover the partial month. However, when I moved out in the middle of the month, they charged me for the entire month. Is this legal? Shouldn't I be able to pay for just the prorated amount? Thanks, Short Changed
A dispute like this will usually come down to the specifics in your contract. Unfortunately, the contract will have been carefully designed to keep the ISP's bases covered at the expense of your own. (It's no accident that lawyers are hired to draw these things up.)
That multi-paged tome you signed doubtlessly contained the aforementioned caveat somewhere in the terms and conditions -- all of which you agreed to when you added your signature.
In any event, charging you the full amount on the month of cancellation doesn't really violate any consumer laws. For that to be the case, the plan would need to contain a promise not to charge you for internet you don't use -- it's unlikely that your ISP made any such pledge. In other words, you're just going to have to put up with it.
With that said, nobody's forcing you to feel cheated here. Instead of getting annoyed about the final bill, try to think of the initial pro-rated payment as a bonus (after all, the ISP could have pulled the same trick during the month of signup). It's all about how you choose to perceive the situation.
Our advice is to stop obsessing over what you technically owe and accept that you'll always have to pay a full month if you quit. On the bright side, at least you're not locked into a lengthy contract.
On a final note, it never can hurt to ask for a refund. Contact your ISP and politely inform them about the charging anomaly you experienced during cancellation. Explain that you may want to reconnect with them in the future and that their corporation on this issue would definitely help to make you feel like a valued customer. Basically, spout any old crap that you think might sway them. The worst thing they can do is say no!
If there any readers with advice of their own in this area, please let SC know in the comments section below.
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