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View Full Version : Help! Being harrassed by AT&T for a bill I don't owe!


ClarabelleCowFan
10-30-2006, 10:19 PM
Little background info. I have had my home telephone number in my name only for 11 years. We have moved within the same area 3 times but always kept the same phone number. We have had MCI long distance for at least 7 or 8 of those years and any long distance calls we make from home are automatically included in our BellSouth bill on the MCI page. I have my long distance service "locked" so it can't be changed to another company by anyone else but me.

A few months ago I started getting phone calls at my home phone number from AT&T telling me that I had a bill from 2001 for over $200 for long distance service that was unpaid. We never HAD AT&T and even checked with BellSouth to make sure of that. We told AT&T that it couldn't be our bill but to make sure to please provide us with the numbers called so we could see if they were numbers that we may have called.

AT&T told us that because the bill was so old that they could not pull the numbers up. We asked if this could be a calling card or a cell phone bill and they assured us it was "connected with our home phone number".

It is to the point of being RIDICULOUS. They call every single day multiple times a day - even from a local number - and are getting very rude. I told them if they could prove the bill was mine then I would pay it but that bill IS NOT MINE!

Well today we get a statement in the mail from AT&T for $139.29 (not the $200+ of the other bills) that reflected a "payment received" on 9/26 and then a "payment reversal due to NSF" on 10/6. WHAT??? We didn't pay the bill so how could there be a payment made for an amount that is not even the amount they told us?

Sorry this is so long but I am at my wit's end. This is on my credit report and I want it OFF. What do I need to do to make these people leave us alone and get this off my credit report?

What ARE my rights here? If this were my bill I would pay it but it isn't. Are they just lowering the amount hoping I will pay it to shut them up?

SueEllen
10-30-2006, 11:11 PM
Dispute the charge with the credit bureaus. AT&T will have to prove you owe the debt or it will have to be removed from your credit report.

Regarding them calling to harass you. Advise that you do not owe the debt and if they cannot provide you with proof you will sue them for harassment under the Fair credit/debt collection act (sorry--it has been a while since I have dealt with this, I have forgotten the exact name of the act--I used to work for an attorney and dealt with collections, etc.)

Best of luck to you.

michvin
10-30-2006, 11:15 PM
Or whatever your local government calls it. The phone companies are a utility and regulated by the government. The are not allowed to harrass people...can MCI provide info that you have been with them for x number of years? Good luck

ilovejack02
10-30-2006, 11:15 PM
http://www.consumer-action.org/helpdesk/articles/what_can_i_do_if_im_being_harassed_by_a_collection _agency/

This looks like it would be helpful!

seashoreCM
10-30-2006, 11:23 PM
Whether it is the original company or a collection agency, it has to regurgitate to you on request the details of the charges as step one in the collection process. For a phone bill the information required includes the itemized long distance calls, the taxes, the monthly fee, the cost of things like call forwarding, etc.

Did you use a computer with a modem on your phone line? It is possible that a computer autodial virus hung up the normal internet dial up number and dialed a long distance number to continue the web surfing session with (in your case using 1010288 or whatever the code is to forcibly choose A.T.&T. for that specific call).

By the way there does exist a charge called "slander of credit" that can be applied to a credit bureau in a court case.

Disney hints:
http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/disney.htm

ClarabelleCowFan
10-30-2006, 11:44 PM
Thanks for the info - I will check into that link and the utility commission. The whole thing is NUTS!

SeashoreCM - we have had cable internet thru Comcast since it first came available in our area and before that had AOL dial-up and only accessed local numbers (there are plenty). I guess it is possible since there was a dial-up modem at one time but surely they would still be able to tell us WHO was called.

The odd thing to me is that the "bill" comes with the AT&T logo on it and looks like a phone bill but the phone calls come from an unlisted local number or thru our privacy director that blocks calls that don't show their caller ID info.

Also we have BEEN at this number for 11 years so why does AT&T wait 5 years to send us a bill? And why does the amount change and how on earth are they showing a payment made when there was none? It just makes no sense!

I'm about to the point of hooking my fax machine up to the phone and letting that pick up whenever they call - that loud whining in their ear a few times a day may quell the frequency of the calls... :rolleyes:

Bren's Mom
10-31-2006, 06:11 AM
If you tell them they may only contact you via US Mail it is a violation for them to continue calling. If they continue to call, record the calls, and on each subsequent call you should tell them that you do not want them to call. So I'd start there. Then send a letter, certified mail, return receipt requested, asking for validation of the debt. Do NOT sign the letter! Just print your name. Collection agencies have been known to transfer signatures onto bogus paperwork to 'validate'. They MUST respond to you by law. If they don't, you can sue them under FDCPA Section 809 (b) for $1000. Run your credit report to see if it's on there and if it is, dispute with the credit reporting agency also. They also have to respond within 30 days. All you need to do is dispute as 'not mine'. You don't have to provide proof of anything, it's the original creditor or the collection agencies job to prove that it's yours.

HTH!

TONNIE
10-31-2006, 06:43 AM
I work for a large telephone company and handle many customer issues like this. ATT often charges for calls that are not long distance and are used for informational purposes. ex; collect calls, 900 numbers, lottery lines ect. The best thing to do is to choose 1 carrier for everything and request blocks on all third party billing. You can report any issues to the public service commisson or the atorney generals office in your area. Most companies try to avoid getting calls from the psc because they normally issue costly investigations and fines. Good luck