Solve It 7: Phantom Phone

WILMINGTON, MASS. (WHDH) - From texting to talking, taking pictures and shopping, it seems our cell phones can do you just about anything these days. Once you pick your phone and provider.

Bob and Theresa Beck, of Wilmington, picked AT&T 15 years ago.

“The coverage is good and the pricing was good,” says Bob.

As the family’s two daughters got older, their plan expanded from two lines to four. This past August, Bob and his daughter Heather went to their local AT&T store to look at new phones. While they were there, a saleswoman told them about a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. Bob says he asked the representative a few questions and got the answers he was looking for. So the Becks decided to take advantage of the deal.

“If you’re gonna get one for free, it’s a no-brainer,” Bob says.

But a few days later, Bob got an email from AT&T showing his new estimated bill. He noticed something strange. Now the bill listed five lines instead of the usual four. Confused by this new addition to the bill, Bob went back to the store to try and figure out what was going on.

“They said, ‘Oh, that’s just a temporary thing,’” he says. “I said, ‘Ok so it’s gonna go away?’ and they said, ‘Yeah, it just takes a couple weeks.’”

A couple of weeks turned into a couple of months. Bob got his first and second cell phone bills and they both charged him for the fifth line – the line he says he never opened. He called AT&T several times and even went back to the store to try and clear up the cell phone confusion.

“[I] call the 800-number, [they say] ‘That’s a story issue,’” he says. “[I] go to the store and they say, ‘Oh, we were wrong. You have to call the 800-number.’”

His frustration was mounting.

“It was like when the Pats lose a game!” Bob says. “There was all sorts of language coming out.”

So he reached out to Solve It 7.

We contacted and AT&T service representative and explained Bob and Heather’s situation. A short time later, Bob says he received a call from AT&T’s office of the president. The representative told Bob that they had made a mistake.

“She agreed to cancel the fifth line that was my biggest problem,” Bob says. “And then she offered to credit me for each of the four months that we were paying.”

The company also agreed to waive the fee for the second phone, giving the Becks back more than $600 and ending their phantom phone fury.

“I felt powerless,” says Bob. “There was nothing I could do. I saw a lot of your stories where you fix things and clearly it worked!”

If you’ve got a problem you can’t seem to solve on your own, give us a call at 617-367-7777 or send an email to

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