I canceled my AT&T service, so why am I still being billed?

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By | April 13th, 2017

Although Stacey Dodge has canceled her AT&T account and ported her wireless service to a new carrier, the bills keep coming. How can she get rid of them?

Question: I need your help resolving a billing dispute with AT&T. I switched cellular providers from AT&T to another carrier. My main cell line was ported to the new provider on Sept. 24. I called on this date to cancel the old services.

AT&T continued to bill me for services for this phone as well as other lines on this account after they were ported to my new carrier. After multiple calls and false promises, my bill was never credited for the months of service never received.

My service was finally canceled on my third attempt, on Nov. 3. On Dec. 9, an AT&T representative told me not to pay the amount that appeared on my bill in error, that my billing issues would be resolved and my final bill would arrive as a credit amount, which I was assuming would be a check.

Two billing cycles later, this has yet to occur. After hours on the phone to several different departments, nothing has been resolved. I called again yesterday, spent one and a half hours on the phone, spoke with 10 different representatives in various departments, and ended with a conversation with a supervisor in the collections department telling me no one at AT&T handles my situation and to write a letter to their Bill Dispute Department. Can you help me? — Stacey Dodge, Midlothian, Va.

Answer: AT&T should have canceled your account the first time you contacted it to cancel your account. If there was a misunderstanding — which can happen from time to time — then it should have done so the second time and stopped charging you. But this … I’m not sure how this happened.

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I recently canceled my AT&T wireless service after almost a decade of being a loyal customer. My experience may prove useful. Instead of calling to cancel, I initiated a chat through the AT&T website. Why? Because talk is cheap. You can ask a representative to cancel your account, but unless you have something in writing, what does it matter? A phone company, or any company, could continue billing you for as long as it pleases, unless you have proof that you wanted to stop your service.

When I canceled my AT&T account, I received a prompt verification by mail. If you don’t receive a written confirmation that you’re canceled, you should assume you aren’t. Had you looked for a cancellation verification and quickly contacted AT&T when you didn’t receive one, you might have fixed this earlier, and on your own.

The final issue is AT&T’s billing cycle. This is really important. AT&T, like most wireless carriers, will continue billing you until the end of your billing cycle and they’ll keep your money, even if you aren’t using their service. So it’s really important to cancel your service on the last day of your cycle. I called AT&T to find out when my cycle ended. Then I asked it to cancel my service at midnight. In writing. It did.

In other words, get everything in writing, don’t wait for trouble and time it right. There’s no legitimate way AT&T can keep your money. If that doesn’t work, you can contact a customer service manager at AT&T. I list the names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site.

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Although my advocacy team reached out on your behalf, we’re pretty convinced that your can-do attitude saved the day. In addition to getting me involved, you also sent letters to your state attorney general and the Federal Communications Commission. AT&T offered you a full refund.



  • sirwired

    They REALLY messed up here; if you port out your number, you aren’t even supposed to have to call to cancel, because the porting process itself is an implied cancellation. (Without a number, there’s no possibility of service, after all.) The only thing left is to clear up device payments, if any.

  • Pegtoo

    Exactly what happened when I just switched carriers. I kept the “sorry to see you go” emails just in case.

  • I changed my service to remove long distance & all custom calling features from my landline, and they kept billing me for months. I had to call every single month. One rep even made up a confirmation # that I was told the next month didn’t exist … & wasn’t even in the normal format. I’m waiting for the next bill to see if this one is right. It now sounds like a scam to me…

  • LeeAnneClark

    I too learned the hard way that attempting to cancel a cellphone line is like trying to part the red sea with a plastic spoon.

    A few years ago I had four lines on my Verizon account…one for each family member. When my daughter grew up and started her career, she of course wanted her own account. So I called to cancel her line. BIG mistake! I ended up with some “retention specialist” who would NOT cancel the line without a “reasonable explanation!” As if he’s entitled to one! I explained over and over why I wanted to drop that one line, but he just kept coming up with reasons why it would be “better for you as a customer” to keep her on our plan rather than her own.

    After 45 minutes of this, I hung up and called back…and got the same treatment from someone else!

    Eventually I called back and told them that my daughter DIED. Only then was I able to get them to cancel that line. I was actually surprised they didn’t ask me for a death certificate!

    I’ve since learned that doing it over the phone is a huge mistake. And this article reinforces that.

  • PsyGuy

    I know exactly what happened, you were using AT&T. Honestly, I would have canceled once and then moved on, eventually after not receiving any money they will cancel your account.

  • PsyGuy

    Canceling is pretty easy, start a chat save the transcript, send them an email or a letter, then stop paying them.

  • PsyGuy

    That or the second rep made up that the first confirmation number was fake.

  • PsyGuy

    Are they really sorry to see customers go?

  • Pegtoo

    They must miss me. They offered $400 to come back!!!! Ha!

  • PsyGuy

    So they do miss your money.

  • Mel65

    And turn over when they say you owe them to a collections company that will Hound you for the next two years until you get Elliot involved!

  • RightNow9435

    Prepaid plans ONLY—problem solved

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