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Problems with PRIMUS ISTERRA long distance phone service

This is a report by a -now- unhappy customer with Primus Isterra. Formerly I used to be a happy customer of Primus Isterra Long Distance Phone Service.

In 2002 or 2003, I chose Primus Isterra as my residential long distance phone service provider because of their good rates, I liked both their international calling plans(I frequently call from the United States to Germany), and their domestic rates to other states (I live in California and frequently make calls to Nevada).

I gave them my credit card information, and they billed me every month - usually around $15 each time.

Everything was fine. In 2005 I discovered that I could buy calling cards in Chinese stores that would offer calls to Germany for 2 or 2.4 cents per minute while Primus Isterra charged 6.5 cents per minute.
I started using the calling card for some calls, but kept Primus Isterra.

In October 2005 they sent out an email (!) that if your bill would be less than $10 in any month, they would add a $5 basic service fee in that month.

A friend of mine closed her account with Primus Isterra on the day she received this email. She did not make many phone calls and her bill was usually around $7 a month.

3 days later she got her scheduled monthly bill, and sure enough, it had already the $5 penalty because she was under $10. She tried to fight Primus Isterra for a long time until they gave up her $5. (Unlike me, she had not set up for automatic billing to her credit card.)

Good job, Primus Isterra!

In December I also closed my account because I had found a 10-10 prefix that would offer me 2.9 cents per minute for calls to Germany. By the way, so far I am quite satisfied with this 10-10-565 service; they announce the rate per minute at the beginning of every call.

I received my last bill from Primus Isterra some time at the end of December or early January, they billed my credit card and everything was fine.

I no longer have long distace service any more. I can easily verify that by calling a non-local number from my home phone.

On April 3rd 2006, Primus Isterra suddenly sent me an email that I should log in to their web site and view my bill.
The email looked like this:

Ref:Account Number--8167xxxx

Your current Primus statement is now available online at

If you require assistance, please contact us at the Customer Service number listed on the first page of your invoice or email us at

Thank you for using Primus' Online Account Services.

I wrote them that my account had been closed and they actually answered my email the same day:

[200643-960756] RE: Re: Primus Invoice Notification

I closed my account several months ago and am surprised to get such an email. Please confirm that my account is closed.
Dear Peter,

Thank you for taking time out and writing to Primus. We appreciate you informing us about your concern.

Peter, As per your message, I have checked the account number 81675441 and your account is cancelled as of December 12 2005 but I check that calls are still going through our network so I have forwarded the issue to the concerned department so that you will not receive invoice from Primus in future also I have given you credit for $49.20.

For any further assistance, please feel free to write back to us.

Peter, please assist us by giving your valuable feedback in filling out the customer satisfaction survey form. This enhances our capabilities in knowing the areas of opportunities that can be worked upon.

It was a great pleasure assisting you.


Karan Oberoi,
Customer Service Representative,
Primus Customer Service Team.

Internal Reference [960756]

AFTER THEY SENT ME THIS EMAIL, they charged my Discover Credit Card $49.20

The question is, why do they keep my credit card info on file after I close my account?

I waited a few days and emailed again, when will they refund me the $49.20?

Answer: we will credit you the $49.20 to your credit card in the next pay cycle, that will be in 4 to 8 weeks depending on [blah blah]

I thought that was not ok, called Discover and disputed this issue. Discover issued a temporary credit, and on 4/14/2006 Primus Isterra credited me the $49.20

Today is 5/5/2006, and guess what is in my email?

Right, another invitation to visit and view my bill online.
The best feature: I do not need to send money because they conveniently bill my credit card automatically!

I can understand that a company makes a mistake in billing once here or there, but this is too much.

If you still want to have long distance service from Primus Isterra, I recommend not to permit them to bill your credit card automatically. It might turn into a hassle should you ever decide to leave them.

Generated 16:01:06 on Sep 29, 2020