Call Collett: Automatic draft leads to $1,000 problem

A Lowcountry nurse was billed for a phone line for three years even though she cancelled it.   When the company wouldn’t give her a refund for the months of charges, she called Count On 2 investigator Rebecca Collett.

Mary Nichols is nearing retirement, and she is looking to pinch pennies.  She started tightening her budget with her phone, cable, and internet bill, and she realized she was paying for a line she wasn’t using.

“I printed off an itemized bill,” Nichols explained. “I noticed a phone number on there I had cancelled in 2015.”

The extra $30 was bundled in with her phone, cable, and internet bill that was being automatically drafted from her account.

“I was just looking at the bottom line,” she explained.

Realizing the mistake, she went to the AT&T store.  The company’s solution was a credit for one month of the charges.

“The guy I was working with said he spoke with the managers, and I was basically out of luck,” Nichols told News 2.

When News 2 contacted AT&T on her behalf, we received the following statement via an email within two days.

“We reached out directly to the customer to rectify the billing error,” a corporate spokeswoman wrote. “We apologize for the inconvenience, and we appreciate you bringing it to our attention.”

“I was shocked that it was so quick,” Nichols said during a follow-up interview in her home.

She told News 2 she got a call from corporate stating she would be getting a full refund.  The

credit would be applied toward her bills for the next four months.  The total refund was nearly $1,000.

“I was very pleased the right thing was being done,” she said.


The company didn’t provide any explanation of what caused the billing error to News 2 or Nichols.

The Department of Consumer Affairs encourages people trying to resolve an issue with a big corporation to try calling and speaking with multiple people.  If that doesn’t work, try escalating the call to their managers. You can also use social media to contact the company and share your story.

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