Bay Area woman charged for cancelled Sprint 'free trial'

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Ads for free trial offers for various products often say they are "risk free." However, an East Bay woman found herself tangled in a contract she didn't want. (KGO-TV)

Ads for free trial offers for various products often say they are "risk free." However, an East Bay woman found herself tangled in a contract she didn't want.

Carol Woodland tried a new phone service and when it didn't work, she cancelled, but bills kept coming anyway. After months of frustration, she turned to 7 On Your Side.

Woodland couldn't resist the offer -- switch her landline service over to Sprint and get unlimited minutes.

"And I had a trial period, and I could save money," she said.

All Woodland had to do was plug a device into her landline and it would connect to Sprint's wireless network. Not only that, she could try it risk-free for 14 days.

"I just couldn't refuse. I mean, it was like a win-win," she said.

So Woodland tried it out and got results - just not the kind she wanted.

"Well, it didn't work. All I got was static," she recalled. Voices on the phone sounded far away, drowned by the noise.

She kept trying and the phone kept cracking. "And I got frustrated and I said I've had enough of this," she said.

Woodland canceled the service after just four days and figured everything was settled.

It wasn't.

"The next thing I know, I'm getting bills from Sprint and it came to 230-some dollars," she said.

It turns out Sprint charged her a $200 early termination fee, plus $32 for the connection, surcharges and taxes.

But the company has said it was a free trail.

"They said, 'Yeah, you had 14 days and you shouldn't have to pay that," Woodland said.

She says Sprint promised to remove the charges but that didn't happen. Instead, she got another bill and again called Sprint.

"And this happened January, February, March," Woodland recalled.

Finally, Sprint sent her to collections. A notice told her to pay up and her credit was in danger.

"Oh, I was mad. And then I got a second one and then I got madder," she said,

Woodland turned to 7 On Your Side. We contacted Sprint and the company said it could not discuss the case because of privacy rules but stated, "We regret any confusion regarding Ms. Woodland's account. We've been in contact with her and have made all necessary adjustments to her satisfaction.

Sprint did remove the charges. "Very good, very good and very thankful," Woodland said.

If you cancel a contract during a free trial period, make sure you follow any rules and get a receipt.

In this case, Carol had to return the Sprint device within the 14 days. Luckily, she had proof of that return.

Related Topics:
business7 On Your Sidesprintconsumerconsumer concernstelephone
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