By Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Fred Lebow’s Brighton engineering firm handles environmental and structural emergencies, so communication on his cell phone is critical. “I probably get 20 calls a day at a minimum on this phone,” he said.

When that phone suddenly died, he assumed there was some sort of technical issue and called his carrier, AT&T. “They said no, your phone has been terminated,” Fred recalled explaining that the customer service agent told him the company never got his payment.

Fred checked with his accounting department and they printed out a copy of a canceled check that was cashed by AT&T. He emailed a copy to a supervisor.

“She said, ‘Ok we agree, we do have your check, we just don’t know where it is. It takes seven to ten days before we can turn on your phone,’” he said describing the conversation with the supervisor.

According to that supervisor, the only way to get his phone turned back on immediately was for Fred to send another check.  Desperate to get his phone back he agreed. “This seems like fraud,” he said.

Frustrated, his next call was to the I-Team’s Call For Action. When we contacted AT&T a spokesperson told us:

“We’ve been in touch with the customer and were able to resolve this issue. The processing of this payment was handled in a manner inconsistent with our company procedure and we apologize for the confusion.”

AT&T straightened out his account and gave him $50 for his trouble. Fred just hopes the company doesn’t do the same thing to someone who can’t afford to pay twice. “It’s just wrong. It’s just dead wrong,” he said.

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