MILL VALLEY, Calif. (KGO) --Do you find your phone bills going through the roof? With cellphones, landlines, data and minutes, it's easy to rack up big charges. However, one Bay Area woman realized her bill was actually a lot higher than it should be.
This is a story of how you can lose sight of what you are paying for, especially if you use automatic bill payments. With auto pay, many of us don't even bother to look at the list of charges and credits.
A Mill Valley viewer was shocked when she finally did check out her bill and found out why she was paying so much.
Tes Norlin and her husband love traveling around the world. While overseas they make a lot of calls and send messages back home to Mill Valley. So Tes wasn't too surprised when she got a big phone bill.
"I assumed that was based on my usage as I was traveling," Tes said.
However, when the couple got back home, the bills were still high.
"I said this is unusual and I called the company," Tes said.
She found out the charges were actually correct, but something else was very wrong.
"And it amounted to over $3,000 which is a substantial amount of money," Tes said.
Here's what happened: Tes retired from AT&T with a nice benefit -- a discount of $263 per month off her AT&T bill for cellphones, landlines, and call services. However, that benefit had somehow vanished 14 months earlier.
"$263.88 times the 14 months, basically. Then you can do the math," Tes said.
AT&T said it was a mistake. Her social security number had been deleted from her account, erasing her benefit.
Tes wanted that money back. She said, "And I spoke to over two dozen people in the company."
AT&T would only refund three months of overpayments, saying it does not correct bills dating back any further. Tes should have said something earlier.
Tes said she uses auto-pay and didn't notice the mistake till now. She said, "I wanted a full refund because it wasn't my error."
Tes kept demanding the full refund. AT&T kept saying, "Rules are rules."
"And it was getting a little frustrating," Tes said.
Finally, she came to 7 On Your Side. We contacted AT&T, which looked into her case and decided to give all the money back after all.
AT&T said, "We provided an adjustment for the full amount, as requested, after discovering that the customer had been removed from the database of former employees eligible to receive this discount."
"The final resolution gave me an additional $2,000 more. That's a nice sum," Tes said.
Our thanks to AT&T for stepping up with the full refund. The lesson here? Read your bills even if they get paid automatically, it always pays to check for accuracy.