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AT&T added a late fee to my credit card bill because they say they have no record of my payment, even though I gave them a confirmation number. Do I have any recourse?

By , CardRatings Contributor

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Question: I paid my AT&T credit card online and got a confirmation number, but AT&T charged me a $39 fee because they say they have no record of the transaction, even though I gave them the confirmation. Do I have any recourse?

Answer: First of all you want to be positive of your facts. You should verify what the specific fee was for. Is it a late fee, over the limit fee, or something else?

Next, if you paid a bill online there should also be a counter transaction record from the source that paid the bill such as a checking account. That transaction will reflect that payment along with the date and who the payment was made to. This information along with the confirmation number from AT&T should be enough to argue your case. I would re-contact AT&T with this information, and I would speak to a supervisor.

The Fair Credit Billing Act insures billing accuracy; therefore a company as big as AT&T is going to be very careful not to violate that law. So communicating over the phone with a supervisor should take care of the problem. If it does not and you are certain of your facts, write to the creditor at the address given for "billing inquiries," not the address for sending your payments. Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error. Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you.

If your bill contains an error, the creditor must explain to you--in writing--the corrections that will be made to your account. In addition to crediting your account, the creditor must remove all finance charges, late fees or other charges related to the error. If the creditor determines that you owe a portion of the disputed amount, you must get a written explanation. You may request copies of documents proving you owe the money.

Finally, you can sue any company who violates the Fair Credit Billing Act.


  1. Margaret Opine May 25, 2011 - 9:33 pm
    I FILED A CPUC COMPLAINT ON ATT. I signed up for AUTOPAYMENT SERVICE 2 years ago and everything seemed fine. The bill was paid every month though sometimes there would be a previous balance on my bill. In April, 2011 there was a Late Charge on my bill and a previous balance unpaid on the bill. You see, I'm billed on the 13th of each month; the autopayment showed up on the May, 2011 bill on the 14th--THUS, the reason for the Late Fee on the April bill. (I had it adjusted and credited true enough but I wanted to know how it happened to be with Autopayment. AS IT TURNS OUT, the payment every month is NOT for the current bill, it is for last month's bill, 30 days after it was billed. SO I FILED A CPUC COMPLAINT demanding to know why ATT AUTOPAY SERIVICE was holding my payment to 30 days and pay it on the due date and if paid one day late, as it happened in April, thus one day late; thus a late fee.

    WHEN I APPROACHED ATT FOR AN ANSWER, they told me to change my billing date. That won't solve the problem. No matter the date I'm billed, the AUTOPAY SERVICE will hold the payment for 30days and pay it on the very last day, the same day that the new bill comes out; thus, risking a Late Payment Fee like that in April. I am seeking to have ATT change that but I finally came up with a reason they may not want to do that. It is probably cheaper to pay attention to each customer's account only once a month if it is on-time payment. (If the bill is delinquent the company stands to make money.) But ATT wants to issue a new bill and issue an autopayment while the computer's billing is at my account. "Killing two birds with one stone," per se. That has to be the answer but what ATT staffers told me is that they do the 30-day payment wait because some people don't have the money.

    That won't fly. People can change the date of their billing to fix their income flow; that still does not answer the question why the company holds the payment to the due date and charge a late fee if their autopay service pays the bill a day late.

    But here's the brunt to bear: Someone told me delinquent pays show up on your credit record. (?) Also, ATT told me that they think mine was the only account that this happened to; I don't think so. But if you don't notice that they have charged you a late fee (and you have to call them to adjust it; that could day a half-hour over the phone or longer; they get to keep the cash. I think that's unlawful!!!
    --Margaret Opine
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