Coronado Couple Calls on NBC 7 Responds to Help With Phantom Cable Bills - NBC 7 San Diego
NBC 7 Responds

NBC 7 Responds

Consumer Investigative Unit

Coronado Couple Calls on NBC 7 Responds to Help With Phantom Cable Bills

The Benedicts continued to receive bills after cancelling their AT&T service.

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    When it comes to a monthly budget, Rose Benedict runs a tight ship.

    In June of last year, Rose’s husband Sam Benedict heard Rose gasp as she sat at her desk in the couple’s Coronado home.

    Sam, a retired climate scientist, rushed to see what the problem was. Rose sat at her desk holding a bill from AT&T, their cable, internet, and phone provider.

    “We were paying just around $140 a month and then we saw a progression, up, up, up, until that day when Rose told me, ‘you know we have a bill for almost $200,” said Sam.

    Rose’s reaction was different.

    “I almost fell over,” said Rose. “I said, ‘Whoa, what is going on? What have we done different?”

    Every little bit counts when it comes to money, said Rose. The couple are on a fixed income and they use any extra money they have to help pay for college for two of their six grandchildren.

    “If we have a different in billing then it just throws us off and we have to take it out from food money,” said Rose.

    The couple looked for ways they could cut down on their monthly cable bill. They changed plans, reducing the number of channels. They cancelled High-Definition. And, they returned the digital cable receiver in their bedroom.

    Doing so drove the bill down from nearly $200 a month to $120-a-month.

    “It was something that we could live with,” said Sam.

    But the following month Sam heard Rose grumbling from the other room.

    The $120-a-month bill had unexpectedly spiked to $137 on the following month’s bill.

    Sam called AT&T to find out why.

    “The representative from AT&T said, ‘Oh yeah, your rate is $120 a month,’ and I said, ‘No, I am holding a bill for a $137.’ He couldn’t answer it. He couldn’t explain it.”

    In May of this year Sam and Rose decided to make the leap and cancel their cable subscription. They found a new internet service provider. Sam researched and later purchased top-rated indoor antennas. He bought a DVR and can now record network shows and pause live television shows. Sam also signed up for Google Phone.

    Despite cancelling service with AT&T, the bills continued to show up at their house.

    The couple received a bill for all of May and June.

    Sam called AT&T and left messages for supervisors.

    By July the bill was more than $330.

    “Past due envelopes kept coming in the mail,” said Rose. “I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness. You know the mailman sees that too, a big past due stamp in red.”

    Sam phoned AT&T again with no results.

    “No one was mean to us. They just kept, well, they just didn’t help,” said Sam.

    That’s when Sam called NBC 7 Responds.

    We contacted AT&T and explained the situation. Representatives from AT&T contacted Rose and Sam the following day, apologizing for the mistake.

    “When I heard the message from the president’s office at AT&T, I said, ‘Whoa, okay, it worked.”

    In a statement to NBC 7 Responds, a spokesperson for AT&T wrote, "We worked with the customer to resolve this and apologize for the inconvenience experienced."