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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 38910
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I am a snowbird, and used AT&T as phone previder, In Jan 2013,

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I am a snowbird, and used AT&T as phone previder, In Jan 2013, They cancelled my Canada Unlimited plan without my knowledge, I still used to call family in Canada, believing I was still on this plan, I did not ask to be disconnected, or did they inform me they had disconnected the plan, They sent a bill for over $800 and is now in the hands of a Collectors Agency in Atlanta. This seems like extortion to me, What are the implications please to me on this?

In general, if you did not receive notice of a change in your contract terms prior to the time when you used the service incurring additional charges, then you are not in breach of contract, because the modification was made unilaterally, without your express agreement, or your implied knowledge.

If you are sued, you can defend by simply denying that you are in breach of the agreement. Then you would testify to the fact that you never received notice, and if the court believes your testimony, and finds that no notice of cancellation was sent to you at your contract mailing address prior to the time the charges were incurred, then you would be found not liable for those charges.

If you would like to avoid the hassle, you can send letter to the debt collector denying the debt, but offering to settle the matter for $X [pick a number], in exchange for the debt collector acknowledging that your account was at all times current and paid in full, and that it will remove any negative credit report entries immediately upon successful negotiation of your settlement check.

Get the agreement in writing, because you may need it to prove to the credit reporting agencies that you were never delinquent. That proof will force the credit reporting agencies to remove the negative entries from your account, even if the debt collector fails to do so.

Hope this helps.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much, We have talked with as many as 10 AT&T agents who all agree AT&T were wrong to disconnect this plan, but they do not help, Its impossable to get to talk to someone in a responsable position to get a result. I didnt know if this Agency could put liens on homes, things of that nature. as my daughter is the inbetween contact, unfortunatley...........Please reassurance on this would be very appreciated.Once more, Thank You

Once a debt is sold to a debt collector, the original creditor has no involvement. So, while testimony by AT&T representatives could work to your benefit, AT&T is without any power to cancel the debt.

Also, in my experience, what customer service reps say on the phone, and what they testify to in court are entirely different things. So, unless you have something in writing from AT&T showing that they admit their error, then all of the customer service comments are probably of no value.

That said, in order to lien any property of yours, the debt collector must sue you in court and obtain a judgment. Prior to that, the only negative thing that the debt collector can do is to place a negative entry on your credit report (which is bad enough).

Assuming you are sued, which is far from certain, you'll have to decide whether or not to defend. If you do, then you may win, and if you win, then that would end the dispute.

Hope this helps.
socrateaser and 4 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanking you very much. I'll have to waitfor the Agency to contact me now.

Much appreciated

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
FYI, The Collection Agency sent the bill back to [email protected] under "dispute". Someone from there billing dept phoned me and said "this is our fault, I will correct it right now, and if the agency calls again, to tell them her name and contact number. And for them to call her.
That was about three weeks ago now, but she did say it could be upto two months billing cycle to me to see.

I did iterate very strongly, I did not receive notice of cancellation from [email protected] however.

Once again, I really do appreciate your answers. Helped me enormously, in the confidence angle
Nice to read of a positive result. Most customers never tell me how things turned out, so I never know for certain.

Best wishes.