EECB Scores Direct Hit On AT&T

Reader Meeks writes:

Love your site and visit it daily. Here is a story of a recent Executive Carpet bomb. Just thought you would like the other readers to see that these actually work….

On November 23rd, my girlfriend went to the local AT&T store located in Steubenville, OH (Store FP22) to pay her phone bill. She requested to only pay $55 of the $155 phone bill, twice. I heard her. The representative proceeded to type in the amount and she signed, off we went. We proceeded shopping around the local stores. Later in the night, we found her AT&T receipt. They charged her the whole $155. We contacted the store to complain and they stated they would stop payment. The next morning she checked her account and it was around -$95.03. Looking over the damage we found the AT&T store did not stop payment which caused her account to go below and the bank charged her around $70 in overdraft fees.

We called the store and they stated that the transaction went through and would not and could not do anything for her. She proceeded to contact the 1-800 numbers, but they would only refund the $155, and it could take up to a month to complete. I hopped on your site and found Randall Stephenson’s, CEO of AT&T, email address. She was so flustered; it was easy to coerce her into emailing a letter to him. Monday afternoon around 1PM EST she received a call from the Executive escalation support team, which was kind and very honest.

The woman took her account info, checking account statement and reviewed the details. On Tuesday, November 28th she refunded the $155 to her checking account and $80 to the AT&T bill to cover any and all overdraft fees that occurred. We essentially only have to pay $75 this month. The email below states $95 in overdraft fees, but she was off on her estimations.

Hello, My name is Rebecca

(Cell number ***-***-**** where I can also be reached if needed) I have a complaint to file against your Steubenville Store Number FP22)

My cell phone bill usually runs $100.00-150.00 and odd. I always pay it in parts (50.00 one week and 50.00 the next.) so that the whole amount does not have to be taken out of my checking all at once. I pay my bill in store. (Steubenville, OH Store FP22) Over the past bills, which there have been at least 50 or more I have never had a problem with paying my bill this way and have never thought to check a receipt or open a bill I just sign and assume that your trained cashiers know what is going on and pay attention when the customers are talking to them regarding bill payment. This is where my problem lies…

Yesterday November 23rd I went into your Steubenville Store to pay on my bill I went in with the mind set to pay $55.98 (As to which the bill was $155.98) I wanted to make the bill an even $100.00 to pay at a later time I told the cashier (Bob) twice that I wanted to pay only 55.98 I assumed (which I shouldn’t) that he punched it in the right way and that everything was fine. I used my check card to pay for the payment. I then proceeded to Wal-Mart to finish my day shopping. When I got home around 7:00 I checked my online banking only to find out that I had a -95.03 in my checking some consisting in overdraft fees and that ATT had charged me that full amount ($155.98) when I only wanted to pay $55.98 I then looked at my receipt and sure enough it was the full amount. I then was very upset because 100.00 is a lot to a recently graduated college student who works retail.

I needed that money for the rest of the week. I called out to the store and spoke to Bob who never once apologized for his mistake as it was part his as it was mine for not looking at the receipt. He told me that payment was stopped and that it would show up as a credit on the next’s day banking sheet. After I talked to Bob I called back to the store to take to a manager just to verify that the payment was canceled and that Bob had not made another mistake. The guy I talked to this time I can’t recall his name because I was upset at the time told me that the manager was not in asked if he could help me I again explained the situation to him this time more upset because I wanted to speak to a manager. This guy told me the payment had been canceled and that is would not be processed the next day. Keep in mind that was two people who I talked to who told me the payment was canceled. I got up this morning and all charges were in. ATT never canceled the payment and my bank was still sitting as a-$95.03 I then called the bank to see if the payment may have been canceled but just not posted to my account yet. The bank verified that the payment was made and taken $155.98 and that my account was sitting at a negative. I was very upset because the two people I talked to yesterday said the payment was stopped and yet when I called the bank a day later the payment was made and taken. Even if the payment was stopped the overdraft fees will still process $35.00 for each traction made after the $155.98 was taken out. I then called this morning a customer service number and spoke to a very nice lady she suggested I call an 800-Number to speak with a member of the ATT Management She told me they were open and that someone was there I could speak to I tried to call the number, it was not during office hours. I suppose this is part my fault because I did not look at what I was signing, but it is also part ATT (Bobs) fault for not listening when I told him twice the amount I wanted to pay. Now I have to pay -95.03 in overdraft fees (which I had to ask my dad for) and have no extra money for gas or food for the rest of the week. I am not expecting to receive anything for this mishap a simple apology would be accepted. I am just a very unsatisfied customer and was not happy with how (Bob) handled the situation.

Thank You For Your Time,

Hey, good job Rebecca! Kudos to AT&T, as well.

To learn to launch your own EECB, click here.



Edit Your Comment

  1. ExtraCelestial says:

    wait… really? she didnt even glance at her receipt before she signed it?

    oh have fun with this one

  2. sjmoreau says:

    Is this a copy of the actual e-mail?

  3. uricmu says:

    I don’t want to be a jerk, but how do you get a 100$+ bill at AT&T on a regular basis (as her boyfriend mentions) without roaming?

    Even a standard iPhone plan with no discounts and “unlimited” data would cost you less than 80$ a month. Since AT&T offers unlimited mobile-to-mobile and they’re both on AT&T, I doubt that they are killing their minutes on that.

    Or, alternatively, if you can’t afford a 100$ phone bill, perhaps its time to eliminate some features (call instead of text-message, etc.).

  4. facework says:

    I can see why AT&T refunded this woman. With bills of $155 every month she sure is a cash cow. I do wonder if a person living so obviously week to week without anything to spare shouldn’t pare down some services a little.

  5. FLConsumer says:

    Reason #343 why to use a credit card vs. check card.

  6. FLConsumer says:

    @uricmu: Easy, Blackberry. Tack on an extra $40 to any bill if you have a Blackberry data plan. I’d imagine it’d be even more with AT&T.

  7. TPIRman says:

    Re: facework: Completely agree. The AT&T store staffer certainly had some share of the mistake, as Rebecca maintains, and it was civil of AT&T to compensate her, but to call this a “success story” is missing the forest for the trees.

    I’m usually the last to jump into the “blame the victim” pool, and I’m not saying Rebecca deserved incompetent treatment, but this is not a successful consumer — there is virtually no financial responsibility at work here. You can’t be plunging down to double digits in your bank account while running up a triple-digit phone bill.

    Responsible expense + savings management are principles that Consumerist has rightfully preached countless times. Hopefully the happy ending (provided by a company salivating at the prospect of further $150+ monthly charges) won’t keep this incident from being a wake-up call to Rebecca.

  8. KittensRCute! says:

    i agree. it is time to cut features.

  9. jwissick says:

    I third that.

  10. cde says:

    @uricmu: Multiple lines.

  11. Maurs says:

    Nice of AT&T, but it’s irresponsible to sign receipts without at least looking at the total.

  12. Jay Levitt says:

    There’s really only one reason to ever go to Steubenville: the Franciscan University of Steubenville. That’s the same Franciscan as in Franciscan Monks.

    Rebecca is probably a college student there. Now, there are two kinds of students at Steunbenville: angelic kids who want to spend their life working with the church, and less-angelic kids whose parents sent them to Steubenville in the hopes that it would shape them up.

    Now, Rebecca certainly should have looked at her receipt – especially once she started worrying – but let’s just say a lot of the kids at Steubenville aren’t quite so world-aware.

  13. meeksthegeeks says:

    Yeah, the bill is usually $100 (not sure how she got it up to $155). We have multiple lines with a family plan (her mom, dad, me and her) with a 22% discount. So its only….$25 per line. I dont watch her money/bills since we are not married.

    She can “trust” people too much, point in case…..

  14. Pope John Peeps II says:

    Her individual cell bill is 155$?!

  15. Trick says:


    I don’t want to be a jerk, but how do you get a 100$+ bill at AT&T on a regular basis (as her boyfriend mentions) without roaming?

    Three cell phones (mine, the better half’s and one for our 15 year old son) using Cingular’s (AT&T) unlimited family plan with text messaging for the 15 year old runs $135 a month…

    It has ran up to $150 a few times with tone downloads…

  16. brandymb says:

    AT&T still sux. They keep trying to sell me LD packages and can’t seem to realize I get LD for free on my AT&T cell fone. Hello left hand, right hand calling…

  17. SwampAssJ says:

    How about checking your receipt? Its her fault for signing without reading.

    “I suppose this is part my fault because I did not look at what I was signing, but it is also part ATT (Bobs) fault for not listening when I told him twice the amount I wanted to pay.”

    Its completely your fault. I love how you can blame people for your lack of care and attention and still sleep at night. Next you’ll be holding a big “Jesus hates this group” and saying you didn’t know what you where holding.

  18. SwampAssJ says:


    Is it your account or her account or shared? Seem to see her signing off on the receipt but it being your bank account. Did you just forget when making the story look in your favor or what?