Since repeated phone contacts with AT&T do not appear to resolve any issues, I filed this complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Communications Commission:
I purchased a phone with a 2 year contract from Amazon.com on February 26, 2008. The SIM card did not work, so I called AT&T and they promptly issued a replacement that worked, and I also had my old phone number ported over at that time. I set up my account to receive electronic invoices, and paid my bill online as well. So far so good.
Since I was paying everything online and all payments were current, I didn't open up anything from AT&T. Nothing personal, I simply recycle all junk mail without reading it. I didn't need nor want any advertisements from AT&T. The receipt of junk mail from AT&T is not my complaint. This only is to illustrate why I hadn't noticed this situation sooner. One day I was bored and actually opened up one of the envelopes from AT&T, so see a bill for about $450 for a number that I had never had and a threat to send me to collections. I promptly called AT&T. Upon hearing of my situation, I was transfered to their Fraud department. They determined that it wasn't actually Fraud, but simply a mistake on their part for having this extra account open in my name, and since there was no activity on the account proving that I never had it, the customer service representative said they'd take care of it and I wouldn't owe anything.
If this is actually what happened, I would have nothing to report.
So I shredded the bill as I do with all my paper work. Why keep it around if everything is taken care of?
A few weeks later I started receiving calls from collections. I ignored them at first, thinking that once AT&T contacted them that I owed them nothing they'd stop calling. Well, that didn't happen. So I called AT&T back thinking they simply neglected to stop collections on the account that they were in error on. Nope. I initially had an extremely rude AT&T "customer service representative" who belittled me for getting a cell phone that I couldn't afford and not paying my bills. Huh? I could afford my bills just fine, but simply saw no reason to pay for an additional phone number that I never authorized AT&T to put in my name in the first place. So I hung up, and perhaps that was rude on my part, but I wanted someone reasonable to talk to. I got another representative that again said this was all my fault and I owed the bill. I'm not sure if I went through another one or two representatives, but I finally reached someone who looked at the notes from the initial call, understood what was happening, and took care of canceling the account that never should have existed to begin with. I wish I knew her name, because she actually took care of it. Case closed. I never received another bill for that number and after a few weeks collections stopped calling. And I wouldn't bring up this issue except it wasn't an isolated incident.
At the time, I did legitimately have two cell phone accounts (Issue #1 above dealt with a third erroneous account in my name). As of June 2008, I had no more use for the second phone, and since I was no longer under contract with that phone I called AT&T and told them that I wanted to pay my account for that phone in full as of that day and cancel the account. They did succeed in canceling the account.
I then received a paper statement (I now knew to open up everything from AT&T even tho I set up for electronic statements) for that phone for the following month. I called AT&T and told them that I had previously called to cancel the account and paid the account in full and wished for these charges to be reversed. I was told that would happen.
I received a bill the following month for two months of service. I called AT&T again and again asked for the charges to be reversed. I was again told they would be.
They half were. One month had been removed, the other month remained. Again I called AT&T, and again I was told it was taken care of.
I received a call today from a "resolution center" that said that if I didn't pay the $79 right here and now for the balance on my AT&T account that it would go to collections and be reported on my credit. So not only had I been repeatedly informed by AT&T that everything was taken care of when it wasn't, I got bullied into paying for a month of service I never received.