Local News

Double-Billing Dilemma Resolved For Raleigh Woman

Posted April 23, 2003

— Many people rely on automated drafts to pay their bills each month. When a Raleigh woman realized a service she canceled was still drafting monthy payments, she called Five On Your Side for help.

Beverly Nichols made the switch from dial-up Internet service to broadband and chose America Online to draft almost $24 a month from her bank account for the service. She paid Time Warner Cable separately for her cable service.

In September, Nichols switched to Time Warner for the entire service. Five months later, she realized AOL was still drafting her bank account.

"I thought, 'Why are they billing me?'" Nichols said.

She called AOL.

"They said it was a valid charge. And I said 'No. I pay my AOL broadband through my Time Warner bill,'" she said.

Nichols faxed AOL copies of her bills and bank statements that showed AOL incorrectly drafted almost $119.50 from her bank account. After a couple of weeks she called AOL again. She was told the company investigated and decided the charges were valid.

"It's cut and dry that I was double-billed. The paperwork's in black and white in front of you, but yet you say you don't owe me?" Nichols said. "I wanted to scream. I didn't know what to do."

Nichols called Five On Your Side.

Five On Your Side called AOL. The company would not talk about the complaint, but agreed to refund Nichols' drafted payments of $119.50

Nichols said she does not understand why her account troubles were so much trouble to resolve.

"Once they saw the paperwork showing that I was being double-billed, it should have been pretty simple," she said.

Having bill payments drafted directly from a bank account can certainly make life easier, but it means users need to pay special attention to their bank statements, looking for mistakes.

Because of the situation with AOL, Nichols decided to stop paying bills through an automatic draft and canceled her AOL subscription.

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