Why Won't AT&T Cancel My Account?

Usually, when customers try to change an Internet service provider, the ISP will do things like discount the rate or offer some benefit in an attempt to retain your business. But that’s not what’s happening to Consumerist reader Addie; AT&T loves her so much, they’ve continued to bill her for six months for a service she doesn’t even have.

Here’s the background. Addie had AT&T DSL service at her apartment, but when they upgraded her neighborhood to U-Verse service, the old phone lines in her building weren’t sufficient to carry it. Rather than paying a pricey hourly rate for a service tech to come out and tinker with her system, Addie decided to break up with AT&T for good:

I called to inform them I wished to cancel and they were very understanding about it. They told me the service would be disconnected in a couple of days but they would back-credit my account for the month of September when I wasn’t actually able to use the internet. Pleased with the resolution, I waited for the final bill.

When it came in the mail, I’d been charged for the entire month of September. I thought it would be easier to just pay the $35 bill than waste my time on hold arguing over the three weeks they were going to credit me for, so I just paid it.

Then I got a bill for October. So I called and sat on hold and got bounced from department to department. Just a clerical error, they assured me, no worries, they’d take the charge right off and place a disconnect order and it would all be taken care of.

When I got a bill for November, I was livid. Not wanting to waste my time with phone support, I tried my luck with their email support system. The credit for the incorrect bill immediately showed up in my online account, but whoever I was emailing didn’t bother trying to cancel anything and I got another bill in December.

It’s now March, and you can probably take a guess at what I got in the mail the other day. I’ve called month after month and no one has even bothered to take ownership of my problem to help resolve it. Each agent just issues another credit and another disconnect order which inevitably fails to actually cancel my service.

I’ve asked for supervisors, spoken to a half a dozen departments, and no one seems to be able to help. I’ve filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and am working on a complaint to my state’s Attorney General consumer complaints department.

My bill is now over $120 and has been past-due for quite some time. It’s to the point where I’m concerned about what affect this could have on my credit. They’ve charged me late fees on the bills they were supposed to credit. They’ve transferred me back to the voice prompt phone menu when I’ve asked for supervisors.

I spent an hour on the phone today and when I asked for a supervisor I was transferred to a ringing line which in turn connected me to the voicemail for someone who works for a natural gas company, but not an AT&T supervisor.

We’ve given Addie a list of executive e-mails to try. If she’s successful, we’ll share them with everyone. So stay tuned as this story develops.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.