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corporate dominance | human & civil rights

Vesta Communications (customer abuse and questionable policies)

Vesta is a company located in Portland that handles 3rd party payments for a handful of major cell phone companies. If you are currently an AT&T, T-Mobile, Boost or Verizon customer and you pay over the phone, chances are that you have talked to someone from Vesta. This company recruits veterans, the elderly and young people fresh out of highschool because they tend to be the most financially vulnerable.
It is very easy to get a job at Vesta because they have an extremely high turn over rate. Once hired, new employees are subject to a week of training which covers the technical and customer relation aspects of the position. I will admit that the technical training was pretty inclusive and prepared me well for what was coming but I had some questions about how they wanted us to handle customers. Getting people to sign up for automatic, recurring payments is a major point of focus at Vesta. But wait, if my job is to take payments over the phone and I am also supposed to convince people to pay automatically, am I not working myself towards unemployment? Initially I had no problem with the automatic payment system because it seemed beneficial to the customers. I soon found out that the system had many faults, some that could easily be remedied. The biggest flaw with the automatic payment system is that it doesnt recognize money that is already in someones cellular account. If you sign up for automatic payments, even if you dont need to make one, you will be charged on the sign up date. So lets say that its the 20th of the month and your payment is due on the 21st. Being the responsible person that you are, you decide to pay a day early. While on the phone with Vesta, you are informed about the automatic payment system and convinced it will save you lots of time and effort. So you make your payment and sign up for the automatic payments. What Vesta doesn't tell you is that not only are you making the $50 payment that day, but tomorrow on your plan date, you will be charged a second time by the automated system. My first week this happened a handful of times and every time I told the customer not to make a payment over the phone and JUST sign up for the automatic payments so they could avoid being double charged. When I had a meeting with my supervisor I brought this issue up and asked for clarification. I was told in pretty much these exact words, "Just take the payment and sign them up, its ok if they get double charged. Its possible that one of the payments wont go through and then they will be lucky they were charged twice." WHAT???? I tried to explain that a lot of people in this economy are tight budgeted and cant afford to make $100 payments when their bill is $50. I also tried to convey how unethical I thought this was. I could tell my supervisor was getting uncomfortable because even the most brainwashed robot there can see what they are doing is dispicable. Despite my very logical and reasonable pleas, I was instructed to take both payments in the future or risk losing my position at the company. Double charging unsuspecting customers on purpose is just part of the problem at Vesta. They treat their employees no better than they treat the customers. For instance, if I have a trip planned 8 months from now and I request the time off at Vesta TODAY, I dont actually find out if I get the time off for 7 months and 3 weeks. Time off requests are approved the Friday before the week of the absence. This is actually how I was fired! I requested time off 2 months in advance. I was going to be gone Fri-Mon and on the Friday I was out of town, they scheduled me for Monday. I was then fired for not coming to work which would have been very difficult seeing as I was 2500 miles away. I probably wouldnt have lasted at Vesta much longer anyway since I have a hard time lying to and cheating strangers. Its a shame how people will treat eachother for $8.40 an hour. All in the name of some faceless person they dont even know. /rant