7 On Your Side helps man clear erroneous AT&T collection debt

March 25, 2013 8:11:46 PM PDT
Being contacted by a collection agency is nerve-wracking by itself. But when you didn't purchase the service you're being asked to pay for, it can be especially aggravating. A collection agency came after a South Bay man for not paying for something he didn't order.

San Jose resident Gerard Lambert enjoys restoring old cars. He has them parked in his garage and in his driveway. One thing he's never had to restore before, however, is his credit.

Lambert received a collection notice in the mail. It was for a cellphone plan he supposedly purchased from ATT&T Wireless. Lambert says the collection notice he received for $1,013 was the first time anyone ever told him he had an outstanding bill.

"I never did apply for a cellphone which they claim I did, and they never did send me a statement, never did sign a contract," he said.

Lambert called AT&T, but they said they couldn't help him. The debt was two years old and they had already sold the debt to a collection agency. He said he was subsequently bounced back and forth between the collection agency and AT&T.

"Dead ends, hang ups, bogus numbers and just couldn't get anywhere with them, he said.

The collection notice Lambert received revealed a slight discrepancy. The collection notice was sent to a Gernard Lambert, but Gerard's name has no n.

"The explanation I got from one of the operators is that someone applied for a cellphone using my social security number," he said.

7 On Your Side contacted AT&T and in an e-mail they wrote: "Our investigation revealed that an account had been established in this customer's name. We concluded the account was fraudulent. We are happy that AT&T was able to help." It wiped Lambert's erroneous debt from its records.


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