Local News

Telephone Bill Has Fayetteville Man Calling For Help

Posted June 13, 2002

— Most bills arrive on a monthly basis, which makes them easier to pay. Imagine how big some bills would be if they arrived yearly or even less often.

Nick Lean, of Fayetteville, found out firsthand when he received a phone bill that was 69 pages and totaled $2,415 in charges.

The bill was for the AT&T calling card Lean uses for his business.

"I thought it was a mistake. I couldn't believe that I could have a phone bill like that," Lean said.

So, he called AT&T and found out the bill was so high because it covered more than three years of calls.

Lean says AT&T told him that they had not been sending him bills all along because they could not locate him.

"I thought it strange because they knew where to find me monthly for my other four [long distance] lines," Lean says.

Lean was not expecting a separate phone card bill because he thought the calls were included in the regular bills.

Regardless of the confusion, Lean says AT&T told him they are not required to send him a monthly statement and company representatives told him he needed to pay the entire bill immediately.

"I felt again like David and Goliath, and I wanted somebody else on my side, and Five On My Side seemed like the way to go," Lean says.

So Five On Your Side called AT&T.

Spokeswoman Jackie Robb could not say what happened with Lean's situation, but said the company had already decided to reduce the bill to $525.

Lean did not think that was fair. So, AT&T eventually agreed to drop all the charges because of the "extraordinary circumstances."

Lean just does not want to see another bill like this.

"I don't want to go through this again with them," says Lean.

Five On Your Side has received quite a few calls from people who got into financial trouble because they thought that since they did not receive a bill they did not have to pay it. That is not true. If you know that you are supposed to make a payment on something and you do not receive a bill, it is still your responsibility to pay what you owe.


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