(WSVN) - Many of us pay our bills online. It’s easy and convenient — until you type in an extra zero or two, and then get hit with overdraft fees, again and again. Can a company keep resubmitting an obvious mistaken payment? It’s why one man called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
Everyone loves to take pictures, but then you soon forget about them.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I used to take a lot of pictures when my kids were small.”
However, Manuel Rodriguez doesn’t leave his pictures on his phone or download them on a disc.
Manuel Rodriguez: “You have to find a place to put them. We got them hanging on the wall, table. We got about five or six thick albums of photos.”
Manuel’s home is filled with framed pictures ranging from grandparents to grandchildren.
Manuel Rodriguez: “Makes you feel good. After all, it’s pictures of the family.”
Manuel has an eye for pictures, but recently his eyes let him down when he was paying a bill online.
Manuel Rodriguez: “It looks like I made a mistake. I don’t deny it.”
Manuel was paying his $100 phone and internet bill. Then…
Manuel Rodriguez: “I added one more zero than needed to be, so the check came out to $10,000.”
Of course, he didn’t have $10,000 in his account.
Manuel Rodriguez: “They went back and redeposited, and, of course, it bounced.”
Manuel’s bank charged him $36 each time AT&T tried to withdraw the money.
He paid that. But on top of that $72, AT&T charged him as well.
Manuel Rodriguez: “They charged me $250 for each bounced check.”
A total of $500 in charges from AT&T for the two bounces.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I want to see the $500 taken off the account.”
Because, Manuel says, they should have recognized you don’t try to withdraw $10,000 for a $100 bill — twice.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I admit that I made a mistake, but you made a mistake twice.”
Manuel refused to pay AT&T the $500 for the two electronic bounced checks.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I’ve been with BellSouth/AT&T since 1968.”
And so the lifelong customer lost his lifelong phone company.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I refuse to pay $500 for a not sufficient check.”
Well, Howard, if you make a mistake like Manuel did, can a company keep submitting it over and over?
Howard Finkelstein: “Yes. They can submit it once and charge the amount in the customer service agreement. But no, they cannot re-submit a payment that is obviously a mistake over and over. If they could, companies could re-submit payments all day long to generate enormous revenues.”
We contacted AT&T. A spokesperson wrote, “We apologize for any inconvenience to the customer. We have credited his account.”
Good news for Manuel to get that $500 in bouncing checks wiped out.
Howard Finkelstein: “Most payments are done electronically and never seen by a person. But this is a perfect example of why the system should kick out payments that are way over the amount owed. And of course, it’s also a reminder to check your payments before you hit ‘send.'”
Manuel Rodriguez: “I’m glad and happy.”
So happy, Manuel has reinstated his phone service with AT&T. Back with the company he has had for the past 49 years, now that this problem was cleared up.
Manuel Rodriguez: “I’ve been trying to do it myself. It didn’t work out. So I talk to Channel 7, and they did it. I’m very glad I called Help Me Howard.”
Glad we could help, and Howard mentioned, if you have insufficient funds for a payment, they can only charge what is in the customer service agreement. That’s the paperwork they give you when you sign up. It’s written in there, you just have to find it.
Bouncing around trying to solve a problem? Ready to deposit it with someone? Check with us, and bank on us having sufficient efforts to help you out.
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