Troubleshooter: $1,000 phone bill

April 2, 2010 3:59:03 PM PDT
Months after Richard Kotenberg switched his phone plan with AT&T, a phone line outside his home remained unburied.

He said a company representative told him workers would be back to bury it within two weeks, but it remained.

But the switch of plans left Kotenberg with a bigger problem.

"The following month - in December - I got a bill for $1053," he said.

Before he switched plans, Kotenberg paid 28 cents a minute for international calls with his AT&T calling card. When he switched to the new package, he says he was told it would be even cheaper.

"Good news you'll even save two cents a minute on your calls to Costa Rica," he recalled.

That was important since that's where his family lives.

"The first month everything was good. I got a bill, and my international calls were on there at the rate that they said," said Kotenberg.

But the next month's bill was more than one thousand dollars. Some calls were billed at more than 8 dollars a minute.

"There must be some mistake. Obviously, there must be some mistake," said Kotenberg.

He says he called AT&T and they were willing to negotiate.

"They were sympathetic, and what they said they could do was cut the bill in half," said Kotenberg.

But Kotenberg was not happy with that.

"I kept calling their billing department with no real success," he said. "Then I began getting calls from their accounts receivable people demanding payments and if I didn't pay it would go on my credit report and so forth."

Kotenberg kept calling AT&T and turned to ABC11 Eyewitness News I-Team Troubleshooter Dianne Wilson.

"Finally, after contacting you, after contacting the executive office, I got a call that they would re-rate all the calls which in my calculation should go from 1300 to less than 100 dollars," said Kotenberg.

AT&T worked the billing issue out. And the line outside Kotenberg's home which sat above ground for more than five months is now buried.

Koteberg said he is now happy. When it comes to his international calls, he's only paying 26 cents a minute. As for the line outside his home, a rep with AT&T apologized for the delay and said the complexity of the repair required them to take extra steps in order to complete the work.

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