Action 9 investigates promotional bundle offers from AT&T

by: Todd Ulrich, Gerry Mendiburt Updated:

ORLANDO,Fla. - Action 9 investigates looked at promotional bundle offers from AT&T that some customers claim hit them with surprise bills.

“Oh they are holding me hostage,” Virginia Kinslow said.

Kinslow said AT&T cut off her cell service over a cable bill she doesn't owe. After a one-year Uverse promotion, Virginia said she canceled and returned all the equipment, then received a bill for nearly $600.

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“They wanted payment for equipment that they already got back in March,” Kinslow said.

She disputed that charge and said AT&T told her not to worry, and promising it would be corrected. However, the next month her account was in collections and her cell service was shut off.

Forty customers contacted Action 9 with billing disputes in 18 months. Most were about AT&T Uverse cable and DirecTV contracts, after it took over that company. Many complaints involve bundle promotions that customers claim triggered surprise charges and even nightmare collections.

Chad Colwell and his wife thought they signed a DirecTV contract for $85 a month, but that’s not what their bill showed. “I was kind of amazed because it's upwards of $140. Doesn't make any sense,” said Colwell.

Nationwide, there are 22,000 Better Business Bureau complaints and nearly half cover advertising and billing.

AT&T told Todd Ulrich, that promotional offers vary in pricing and duration and the terms are honored.

Action 9 helped many customers resolve their disputes including the Colwells who said the company will charge the original fee.

“You're talking about $700-a-year difference if we paid it,” said Colwell.

The company's rated A+ at the BBB because it responds to complaints.

A spokesman for AT&T said the company is working to resolve both complaints in the Action 9 story.

Many times, consumers are dealing with an independent marketing company that's selling bundle plans. That's when its important to get the terms from AT&T in writing before installation.

AT&T response:

"We are working with Ms. Kinslow and Ms. Pearson to address their concerns as quickly as possible. We strive to deliver a great customer experience and are disappointed when we miss the mark. Like other companies, we frequently introduce promotions to provide our customers with the best services and products at the best price. These special offers vary in terms of pricing and duration. If a customer signs up for one of these offers, we fully honor the terms through the promotion's completion. Customers who enrolled in one of our promotional offers and believe they did not receive the full benefits should contact customer service."