AT&T Charges Your 82-Year-Old Grandma A $150 ETF

One might think that a recently-widowed 82-year-old woman moving in with her grandson in another state would be have a valid reason for AT&T to waive the early termination fee on her phone and Internet package. Not so! Reader Chris is the grandson in this situation, and he helped his grandmother get the $150 ETF waived. AT&T has finally cooperated: they think.

This last January we lost my Grandfather to natural causes. He was in the final stages of senility and had been moved to a care facility. Due to the cost of the care facility, my Grandmother used a reverse mortgage on her home.

My grandmother is 82 years old and living alone in that giant house in Texas with no family nearby was just not the best idea. With her husband gone, she no longer received his annuity and retirement income and it was not financially viable for her to resume living on the amount that the reverse mortgage was giving her. As a family, we decided that she would give the house back to the bank and move in with us in California. I just purchased a house myself and had the extra room.

While in Texas, my Grandmother had an AT&T Internet and Home Phone package. Prior to her move, she called and informed them of the situation and they started the termination order and stated she would probably have a prorated credit coming to her. We moved her here to California.

Today we got her final bill and it had a $150 Early Termination fee on it. My grandmother called and tried to take care of it herself but was disconnected on twice. When I got home, I called and tried to take care of it. After being shuttled through three call centers (Oh, Texas is a different center!…. twice) I finally spoke to [redacted] in Pennsylvania. He told me that according to the account information, a few hours ago a request was put in to reverse the Early Termination fee of $150, but was denied by the approving official. He said he could put it in again but the result would be the same.

I asked to speak to one of the “Approving Officials” and was placed on hold for apx 20 min. [redacted] came back and said all managers were busy and unavailable and he could have them call me back if I like. (How thoughtful!) Well I have been around this block before and had already spent over an hour on the phone so I insisted that I was willing to remain on hold until a manager had a moment to talk to me.

On hold 10 more minutes.

[redacted] came back and said his manager would wave the fee personally. Again, I
have been down this path before and know that the order would likely “get lost”
or something so I collected [redacted]’s eid and his managers full name.

Nearly two hours on the phone and a very upset household. In the end it “seems”
to have worked out but I guess we will know for sure in a week when another bill
arrives.

Chris