Hundreds of customers may cash in after Element Mobile settlemen - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds of customers may cash in after Element Mobile settlement

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -

A settlement involving hundreds of angry Element Mobile customers has been reached. That comes more than a year after complaints were filed with the state.

It all happened when Alltel left Wisconsin Rapids and Element Mobile took over. It's a company thats service area covers eight counties right in Central Wisconsin.

When they took over, the Consumer Protection Bureau was flooded with calls. Now, the state says those who filed complaints with them may be seeing green.

It's an update on a story we first brought you last year. Many Element Mobile customers claim they had poor coverage or no service. Now, more than a year later, some may cash in.

"We've worked with the state since then to work out a settlement and do what was right for customers," Element Mobile Marketing Director Shana Seubert said.

The settlement is for $248,000. The state says that's for customers who fall into three main categories: Customers who paid an early termination fee, those with service outages and interruptions between January and March 2011, and customers who were referred to collection agencies.

Nekoosa resident Todd Omernik says he's one of those customers who lose service entirely. And looking back at his experience, "frustration."

It was more than a year ago Omernik says service problems forced him to make the switch.

"They would tell you it worked, you walked out the door, and it didn't work," Omernik said.

Omernik says he dropped his claim after settling directly with Element Mobile. But there were still a number of complaints with the state. Officials say the cases of 512 customers will be looked into. But the amount they're given will vary.

"How long were the outages and what kind of service interruptions did this consumer experience? So depending on whether the service outage was a month or a day," Sandy Chalmers, Administrator with WI Trade and Consumer Protection said.

What about the problems that happened one year ago?

"The service issues and everything that were related to this settlement were fixed and we moved on and moved forward since then as a normal carrier," Seubert said.

And as for Omernik, "I might be back with them some day if they ever make it appealing again," he said.

State officials say those who filed don't have to do anything. They will be sent a questionnaire about their experiences.

And for those who had problems, but didn't file? Authorities say it's too late.

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