Why is Susan Andzeski’s AT&T bill almost $200 a month higher? The wireless company isn’t saying, and now her immaculate credit scores are in jeopardy.
Question: Please help us understand why we just received an email for a bill of $438 from AT&T. Our usual bill amount is $243.
AT&T recently offered to “lower” our bill by combining our AT&T and DirecTV accounts. We were supposed to pay $10 a month less. Then we received our first bill, and we’ve been haggling with them ever since.
This nonsense has been going on for several weeks. Now it’s to the point that I fear the dispute may affect my primo credit score. We have exceptionally high credit scores — so high that at the time of the last loan we took, the loan officer stated that he had never seen such high scores.
Many of the representatives we’ve spoken to have no clue how to handle the payments of our combined AT&T and DirecTV accounts. Can you help? — Susan Andzeski, Northampton, Pa.
Answer: First of all, congratulations on your stellar credit scores. Everyone should be so lucky. Big companies know that with customers like you, dinging your credit scores is an effective way to pressure you into paying (well, that and also the threat of a collection agency or lawsuit).
AT&T should have reduced your bill by $10, as agreed — not raised it by almost $200. Did they think you would not check your next month’s bill?
Your first step should have been to contact the company in writing through its website. You did that and shared the paper trail with me. Your next step would have been to escalate the complaint to an executive. I list names, numbers and email addresses of AT&T’s customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site.
It appears you skipped straight to the credit card dispute, which is really the nuclear option in a billing dispute. If they win, you pay. If you win, they will cancel your account at best and send a collection agency after you, or sue you, at worst. You have better choices.
I love the resolution on this case. You found the executive contacts on my site and emailed the CEOs office on a Sunday. Within five minutes, you had a call from a manager, promising to resolve your billing dispute. AT&T fixed your bill, charging you what it had originally promised.