Company says Insight overcharged it by $10,000 - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Company says Insight overcharged it by $10,000

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NEW ALBANY, IN (WAVE) - Do you think your Insight bill is too high? Maybe not after you hear from a small business that claims Insight Communications overcharged it thousands of dollars over several years and wouldn't right the wrong.

Insight said it had to search back through its records to see what went wrong and is now offering thousands of dollars in refunds.

At TIMCO Marine in New Albany, internet service keeps the business afloat, from accounting to online orders. But TIMCO says its bottom line was being run aground by an Insight Communications billing error that went on for almost a decade.

TIMCO employee Tina Martin said the problem came to light in February 2012 in a conversation with an Insight representative.

"He basically said, ‘You have two internets there?' and I said, ‘No,'" Martin recalled. "And he goes, ‘It looks like you're being double billed.'"

Martin and the small business have been fighting the corporate giant to get the money back ever since. Martin dug through TIMCO's records and found Insight billed them $199.90 for business internet all the way back to 2003. Martin said that's double the actual price of $99.95, which would mean TIMCO endured 109 months of paying two $99.95 charges for just one internet line.

Martin said the overcharge adds up to more than $10,000.

"They offered one year free internet, which is $1,200 dollars," Martin said. "I said, ‘No.'"

TIMCO's president, Tim Swinney, wrote emails and letters to Insight and its parent company Time Warner Cable, telling them their $1,200 offer was unacceptable. Martin said Insight told TIMCO to take the offer or leave it.

"'How are you gonna get us to pay?' That's basically what they said, ‘How are you gonna get us to pay?'" Martin said. "And we were at our wits end."

The WAVE 3 Troubleshooter Department went back and forth with Insight/Time Warner Cable for more than a month, trying to uncover why the company was offering just a fraction of what TIMCO said it was owed. Spokesperson Dan Ballister sent a statement that said their records showed there was a billing error, but it did not go on as long as TIMCO claimed.

"There was a work order change on the account in July 2008 which is when the billing error began," Ballister wrote.

Before that, Ballister said, "(TIMCO's) rate was higher because construction costs were included to cover the costs of bringing service to the building." Those construction costs were never noted on TIMCO's bills.

Other companies in the area were charged the lower rate during that same time period. Ballister said that is irrelevant.

"Business rates, like residential rates, can vary from location to location," Ballister wrote. "We have different rates for different size businesses."
 
In response to questions about the TIMCO situation, Insight initially upped its offer from $1,200 to more than $4,300 in credit. That still didn't satisfy TIMCO.

"I don't believe you can do business like this," Martin said. "I don't believe you can stay in business when you treat people like this."

Swinney also said he was angry with Insight's reluctance to refund the full amount that TIMCO claims it is owed.

"Frustrated is the best single word to describe how TIMCO feels regarding Insight Communications lack of adequate response and unwillingness to refund the amount it overcharged our company," Swinney wrote in a statement.

Insight finally relented.

"Insight takes customer concerns seriously," Ballister wrote in a follow up statement. "We feel it's important to conclude this matter and will do so in the coming days by issuing a credit for the service amount in question." 

Ballister also asked consumers to help Insight monitor billing irregularities that may result in overcharges.

"We feel that there is a shared responsibility between our company and a customer to ensure the accuracy of billing," Ballister said.

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