North Okanagan senior couple billed for internet services they say they didn’t use –

A senior couple from the North Okanagan is out almost $800 for a service they claim they never used.

Sheila Van Leeuwen and her husband, Don Arnell, say they had been using Xplornet, an internet service provider, for several years.

But when their computer failed and was rendered unusable in December 2019, the Enderby, B.C., couple decided to cancel their service.

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Van Leeuwen called Xplornet and said she was encouraged by a company representative to suspend the service instead of cancelling it.

“She says ‘Why don’t you just suspend the service for six months?’ She said lots of people do that,” Van Leeuwen told Global News.

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“She said people who go away on vacation or holidays or whatever, they can suspend the service.”

Van Leeuwen said she agreed to suspend the service based on that advice.

“She said there would be no charge during that six months, but after that six months there would be a reconnection fee, if you choose to reconnect.”

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The couple never got another computer and did not end up contacting the company to re-connect their service.

But recently, Van Leeuwen was going through bank account statements and noticed a charge from Xplornet.

She contacted her bank to see how far the charges dated back and was shocked to find out that the company re-started automatic debit billing once that six-month suspension was up.

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“We never asked for them to reconnect us,” Arnell said.  “So I know I’m getting a little older, but it makes no sense to me.”

Van Leeuwen immediately called Xplornet to explain the situation and get her money back, but claims she was refused.

“They’re saying we did receive the service, they did provide a service for us. But we didn’t have a computer, so I don’t know how they can provide that service,” she said.

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According to Van Leeuwen, the company has been drawing money for eight months, costing the couple nearly $800.

“We are out $762.28,” she said.

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has had numerous complaints levied against it over the last several years, describing it as “a pattern of complaints.”

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Some of the complaints include failure to refund/cancel cancellation fees for services not received/rendered as well as for failure to fully disclose contract terms, and cancellation fees associated.

The situation has the couple questioning the company’s business practices.

“Is that the way people do business today? I would like to see them be accountable,” she said.

“I would like to see their practices changed. I don’t think they have a right to debit people’s account after six months. I think there has to be some change in the way people do business.”

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The couple is still hoping to get their money back, but, if anything, they want to raise awareness so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I feel like it’s an unfair practice I’m sure if it’s happened to Sheila and I,  it’s probably happened to other people,” Arnell said.

Global News has tried contacting Xplornet via multiple calls and emails, but has not heard back.

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