A few months ago while I was reconciling my accounts on Quicken, I discovered AT&T was still billing me for my phone line that was supposed to be rolled into my Uverse account. So they made an extra $25 a month on an account they had supposedly cancelled. Not only that, but when I called customer service to alert them to this issue, I was told that AT&T would be refunding me $17. Wait a second, I said. I’m not great at math, but last time I checked, $17 does not equal $25. “Oh, that’s because it’s prorated,” she said. I told her to look again. The response? “Oh, I see. You should have been refunded the full $25.” Yes, that is correct. I want my full refund for your double billing.

I wonder how much money some of these companies make by taking a few dollars here and a few dollars there.

So they were trying to pocket $8 from me. Let’s say they did that to twenty-five people in each state. They just made $10,000 because of dishonest billing. I would even go out on a limb and call it stealing.

And if I hadn’t caught the double billing, that’s $25 a month they would have pocketed from me. That’s $300 a year. And let’s say they’re doing that to twenty-five people in each state. They’ve just made an extra $375,000 a year!

In addition, AT&T will offer you a “special rate”. However, I found out after my first bill that this rate does not kick in for two billing cycles. On the third cycle, they are supposed to credit you for the overcharges on the first two bills. Got that? I asked why the “special rate” didn’t start with my first bill. “That’s just how our computer system is set up.” If that is true, AT&T, why haven’t you fixed it? My guess is that AT&T is counting on people not examining their bills carefully. You better believe I’m going to check my third bill to make sure I get the correct credit for the overcharges on the first two bills. It’s unfortunate that we, the consumer, need to watch these companies like a hawk. However, that is just the way it is at this point. The alternative is discontinuing your service.

So even if customer service tells you “this is how it should be” – even if they are adamant about it – if you know your accounts, and your gut feeling tells you something is not right, tell them. And make sure it’s corrected.