Woman Warns Others Of New AT&T Charge


CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga.,None - Channel 2 got results for a Cherokee County woman who is ringing a warning bell about what you may have missed on your AT&T home phone bill.

Cindy Holtzman, of Woodstock, found a new charge for an old-fashioned service she and thousands of other Georgians no longer use.

Consumer investigator Jim Strickland confirmed what Holtzmann suspected. There are two new charges and a government fee on the second page of the phone bill: long distance charges for customers that don't use long distance.

“I hate paying for services I don't receive,” said Holtzman. “I canceled long distance over a year ago, or more.”

Her June bill reflects no long distance charge. The July bill includes a minimum usage charge, a cost recovery fee and a federal surcharge. She fears other customers may miss it, since it's on the second page.

“Unless they noticed that the amount changed, like I did, by $4. “They don't flip (the bill) over, and usually I don't as well, but now I will.”

AT&T refused to speak on camera and wouldn't say how many customers are getting the new charges.

You pay them if you're still able to call long distance, even if you don't. The company said just keeping the line open costs money.

You have options. One plan keeps the line open for $1 per month, and charges 18 cents a minute. You can also cancel the service outright, as Holtzman thought she had done.

After Strickland gave Holtzman the number to an AT&T spokesperson, Holtzman got the charge removed and got an apology.

The customer care number to remove long distance services and the charges is 1-800-288-2020.

More Information

Key points from an AT&T spokeswoman:

• Beginning June 14, 2011, AT&T added a minimum usage fee of $2.00 a month for customers who have AT&T Long Distance, but haven’t chosen a long distance calling plan. If a customer uses $2.00 or more in domestic direct dialed long distance calling minutes during the month, the fee is waived.

• If a customer’s domestic long distance usage is less than $2.00 for the month, the minimum usage fee will be reduced for the difference. For example, if a customer’s usage is $1.56, the fee will be $0.44.

• Customers with six or more minutes a month of long distance calls will not see this charge on their bill. Also, customers on calling plans other than basic long distance will not be impacted.

• AT&T implemented this charge because there is a cost to provide customers with basic long distance service, including account maintenance, even if no calls are made. This charge allows AT&T to continue providing affordable service to our low usage long distance customers.

• Long distance customers may also see a Carrier Cost Recovery Fee on their bill for the first time. This $1.99 fee applies to customers with a monthly recurring minimum usage charge, a rated price plan, or customers who make interstate or international calls. Many AT&T long distance customers already see this charge on their bill.

• If customers don’t want to pay this fee, they have several options. They may call 1-800-288-2020 to remove long distance service from their bill all together and will not have to pay this fee or they can choose a long distance calling plan that better fits their needs. For example, we recommend low usage long distance customers consider AT&T’s One Rate Nationwide Calling Plan at $0.18 per minute for only $1.00 per month.

Customer Care to remove LD service, and the charges: 1-800-288-2020

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