$215,653.58 AT&T bill

The individual says he's been fighting the charge since March with no resolution in sight.

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  1. You see these stories every year or so. Makes you wonder why they don't have a Million Dollar Phone Bill Department.

  2. Bills like this is why I never allow anyone to do an automatic deduction from my checking account. It either has to filter through a charge card or have me manually intervene in the payment process. Imagine having your entire bank account wiped out because of a billing error that takes months to resolve.

    Years ago when I had an AT&T account, they left off my apartment number so the bills didn't show up. After a few months of no bills, I called them to see what was the deal before my service got shut off. The CSR told me that the post office was returning the bills to them as address unknown. AT&T had my apartment number, they just weren't printing it on the bills. To make things worse, I asked why they didn't let me know the bills were being returned and the CSR told me "We didn't know how to get in contact with you." My brain about exploded. Gee... how about on the telephone whose service I'm buying from you?

  3. I called the water company to tell them there was a mistake b/c my bill was over $800 and it had never been over $40 for all the years I had lived there. The customer service rep was indignant and insisted that there was NOT a problem, I needed to pay the bill. She had this attitude like I was some low life trying to pull a fast one. Finally when I would not stop protesting she said: "Would you like to speak to a superviser?" {to get rid of me). So the supervisor arranged for a re-reading of my meter.

    Low and behold, it was a mis-read b/c of a crack in the meter's glass cover -- just like I told her in the first 20 seconds of my call.

    The thing that still gets me is the rep's absolute insistence that there was no possible way the bill was wrong and the attitude to match.

  4. Well, a CSR with the attitude that anyone disputing their bill is a lowlife trying to weasel out of their bill, doubtless gets a lot of calls from lowlifes trying to weasel out of their bill - probably a lot more than the average CSR at the company.

    Years ago, I worked for a while as a CSR for a phone company. I got lots of calls from people about their bills - wondering what a particular charge was for, why it was so expensive, disputing some portion of it. Funny thing, I never once got a single call from some lowlife trying to weasel out of a bill. I can't recall a single case where the customer was lying to get out of a bill. Plenty of times, a cynical rep might have concluded they were, but after a bit of investigation, their stories always checked out.

    People who just plain couldn't afford their bill, didn't try to weasel out of it. They said openly they couldn't afford it, and we figured out how they could make their bills cheaper in future, then passed them on to accounts receivable - those were the people who could forgive part of the bill, and authorize payment plans beyond the default overdue bill limits.

  5. You'd think that a smart company (full disclosure: I'm an AT&T customer) would have some kind of automatic event that triggered whenever somebody's bill exceeded some large amount after a week or two, so they could then call and say, "Hey, there might be a problem. Let's chat." That way, you could avoid the months of hassle and wasted time later after someone gets a six-figure bill.

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