October 18, 2006
12 On Your Side's been getting quite a few calls from folks who signed up for phone service, but say their carrier has cut them off.
Now even the state's looking into the company called ConnectNow that's got folks hung up without service.
Teresa Mathis is having more than a little trouble getting a phone call out of her home.
Last year she changed from BellSouth to ConnectNow.
"I went to them because it was cheaper and it had other features," Teresa told 12 On Your Side. "Good service until this point when the phone turned off."
Teresa says she was current on her payments to ConnectNow, and that she couldn't get any answers when she tried to reach them.
"I kept calling, and they kept giving me the runaround, so I finally found out they were in dispute with BellSouth buying lines."
We asked BellSouth about it. They told 12 On Your Side that ConnectNow leased more than 10,000 phone lines from BellSouth.
Hank Fisher, the executive director of Bellsouth in South Carolina, said there was a dispute between the two companies, but could only comment that "Bellsouth has been in discussions with ConnectNow for an extended period of time."
When News 12 tried to hook up with ConnectNow, we had a hard time too.
And News 12 has learned we're not the only ones looking into ConnectNow.
The South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff told us ConnectNow was required to notify customers of the service interruption, but that they did not.
12 On Your Side spoke with the staff attorney for the state about these kinds of problems with public service. She told us South Carolina residents can call the Consumer Services Division with the Office of Regulatory Staff if they have complaints with ConnectNow. That number is 1-800-922-1531.