Six Years to Fix a Billing Problem

A local woman says AT&T double-billed her for six years and she couldn't get answers.

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    TK

    Natalie Randall is always on the go, running an antiques business and raising a family. But lately, she’s been consumed by a battle against one of the world’s best-known brands.

    Natalie said AT&T billed her for more than $3,000 over six years for services they never provided.

    “So I've made a lot of phone calls. I've written a lot of letters. It's taken a lot of time away from my business. And I just feel like, victimized. I don't feel in control,” she said.

    It happened after a company merger switched Natalie’s long-distance service to a separate billing system within AT&T. 

    Natalie said she was told everything was taken care of and that her account was up-to-date.

    “We have a lot of charges on our American Express bill from AT&T. We have three landlines, four cell phones,” Natalie said.

    It wasn’t until a self-audit last November when she noticed a strange recurring $48 charge to her account. 

    It was an AT&T payment with no attached address and a disconnected phone number. When she called AT&T customer service, she was told the bill was coming from her old phone company — the same one that was supposed to have merged with AT&T. 

    She put a stop to the automatic payments on her account, and weeks later she finally got a paper bill in the mail. It was the first one she’d ever seen. Natalie said the bill looked just like her other AT&T bills, but she was told they weren’t the same company. 

    Customer service at AT&T told her they couldn’t help. And she was getting nowhere fast with the folks answering the number listed on that brand new bill.

    "In fact, I asked them, the old AT&T, if I wanted to use your service now to make a long distance call could I do that? And the man I spoke with said ‘No.’ This was the supervisor. He said no,” Natalie recalled.

    After fighting this battle on her own for close to six months, Natalie knew she needed help.

    “I called you guys," she said

    Our NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation revealed that Natalie was in fact being double-billed by AT&T — one company all along. 

    The company tells us the mistake happened because of separate internal billing systems. It said it was a unique case and even admitted the customer service representatives Natalie spoke with did not give her the right information. 

    It took us phone call after phone call, but after NBC Connecticut got involved, AT&T finally agreed to pay Natalie back — all $3,000.

     “We have been in touch with the customer, and we are issuing her a full credit to resolve this billing issue," AT&T said In a statement.

    We also reached out to the state’s Department of Public Utility Control. After looking into the problem, they also got involved and demanded AT&T fix the error.

    "It appears the company's done the right thing by offering the customer a credit once they've been made aware of the problem,” Utility Regulation Chief Peter Pescosolido said.

    Still, Natalie is angry it took months to fix this mess. It was time she could have spent on her business and with her family. She’s got advice for other customers.

    “Check your bill,” she said.