AT&T U-Verse Computer Glitch Opens Account For Dead Man

Back in February, a St. Louis man’s father passed away. But that didn’t stop the folks at AT&T U-Verse from somehow opening a new account five months for the deceased five months after he’d died — all because he’d once inquired about service at some point in the past.

When the late man’s son noticed the U-Verse bill in July, he saw that the balance was $0.00, so at least his father’s ghost wasn’t running up bills he couldn’t pay.

Worried that his father’s ID might have been stolen, the son attempted to get to the bottom of the story by calling U-Verse, where no one would speak to him because he could not provide the password for an account that should never have been opened in the first place.

He was also told he could go to a U-Verse outlet and present ID to show he was the person on the account.

“I said I can’t because I’m not,” the son tells KSDK-TV in St. Louis. “I’m pretty good at handling situations but I could see I was getting nowhere on this one.”

Of course, once the TV station got involved, AT&T no longer needed to know the name of the dead man’s favorite cartoon character to investigate the account.

From KSDK:

A spokesperson would not go on camera but in a statement said a computer system clean-up generated the false bill with information [the father] had provided years ago when he inquired about service.

AT&T apologized for the screw-up and says, by golly gee, it’s going to take this as a teachable moment for its employees.

Now if only AT&T could train its computers to not open accounts for people who don’t want U-Verse service.

Thanks to Ed for the tip!


Edit Your Comment

  1. yankinwaoz says:

    I call BS. This wasn’t a computer glitch or a one-off event.

    Someone somewhere within AT&T, or an affiliate, was told they have to sell X number of subscriptions to get bonus, or keep their job. So they tapped the inquiry list and signed some people up. They just happened to hit one that was dead.

    I wonder how many other “accidental” subscriptions were signed up the same way?

    • TMgr says:

      Except it didn’t generate any actual billed revenue. Someone trying to get subscriptions would need to actually bill revenue from those subscriptions to receive a bonus.

      • Sneeje says:

        Depends on how the incentive was set up. Over my 30 year career, I’ve seen hundreds of bonehead incentives set up that cause people to do stupid things.

        There is a case study we discussed in my MBA classes around incentives where someone had the brilliant idea to pay typists by the keystroke. Eventually they found that typists would spend their lunch hours pressing random keys on their typewriters.

    • NurseTimLPN says:

      I saw a story about an NYPD officer who was fired for writing up citations for dead people to make “quota”, so it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility.

  2. Costner says:

    Rumor has it Haley Joel Osment hasn’t been able to transition from child actor to adult, so he was forced to take a job with AT&T. Unfortunately the transition has been tough and his co-workers have been complaining about him sitting in his cubicle repeating the phrase “I see dead people…” over and over all day long.

    Something like this was bound to happen.

  3. blogger X says:

    Hey, Zombies like to watch tv too.

  4. Dave B. says:

    Life is full of teachable moments, the problem is that no one learns from them…

  5. brianguyy says:

    I can relate… trying to cancel Direct TV, Verizon (landline/internet) and AT&T cellular after my parent passed away was nearly as bad as this man’s experience. and explaining to his dental provider that he was no longer with us every other day, so stop calling (even after they’d “logged it in their computer” and I’d faxed them two letters as proof) was no joy. they asked for a copy of a death certificate, but 30 days later I still didn’t have an official copy, because we were still waiting for the Health Dept. to process the request.