My Personal Interaction
It has been many years since this has personally affected me. When I learned that such an atrocity exists, I had learned to watch for it. I hope that someone reads this and learns before they get bit. In the business world, there is this thing called the 28-day billing cycle.
It looks like they have merged with T-Mobile and I have never had T-Mobile so I can't tell you if they are the same, but Sprint had my cell phone plan on a 28-day billing cycle. I was working as a bartender and server in Tempe AZ at the time. Times were tough, I didn't make a truck load of money (still don't) and I would pay my bills when they were due. I was certain that my cell phone bill was due on the 18th of every month.
For a few months, I'd get to work and go to make a phone call and I wouldn't have any service. This was way back in the day when we all had dumb flip phones that wouldn't tell you anything other than you had been connected. It read Sprint in the corner of the very small T9 capable screen, but I wouldn't know my service was off until I tried to make a call, or a friend would tell me they've been trying to call me and my phone was shut off.
I'd call and listen to the message and find that my bill was due on the 16th! I swear it was the 18th! Okay, so I pay that, get my phone turned back on and hope for a busy day at work. Another month goes by and sure as shit, the 14th would roll around and my phone was without service again!
Seems sad, but it did take me a few months to pick up on the pattern, my due date kept moving North on the calendar. I started to look more into this and found that they used a 28-day billing period. Basically, a very legal way to charge 13 payments throughout the calendar year.
I'll post this here in hopes that I don't need to take it down. Here's one of the things I found back in the year 2000. I know, I'm old. However, the 28-day billing cycle is still used today. It's also used with some credit card so they can charge interest 13 times a year. Depending on the account, of course. So beware and read the fine print.
Extra piece of data you can use today!
I want to squeeze this in because I was thinking about it. When my phone was off at times, I would have people accuse me of changing my phone number so they couldn't get a hold of me. Not sure if this was due to my overwhelming popularity (I was not popular) or people thinking I play conniving kids games. Either way I didn't. However, I did learn later that if some one, or a group of people are texting you and you want to joke like they did, text this back to them:
We're sorry, the AT&T subscriber has opted to block your number from incoming calls and text messages. Message 613.
That works every time. Send that and people came to me, "Man, you really blocked my phone number!?" Hilarious.