Trying to put out a billing fire

DEAR HARRY: We are a small fire company just outside Philly. We had a phone account with AT&T for a lot of years. Because of the size of our bills, I (financial secretary) decided to switch carriers in December 2012. As a result of that action, we received a bill listing a South Carolina construction company on our account. At no previous time did that name appear on any of our bills. (I am enclosing copies for you.) We have no knowledge of this company. After checking further, I found that we were being billed for their toll-free line for years. After being ignored for months, we finally were able to get them to refund two years of overpayments. They insisted that their records only go back two years. They sent us a check for $160, which I have not deposited. We are only partly financed by our township, and we could use the money. Suggestions?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: I, too, am baffled by that two-years statement. This type of record would be required to be kept by our income-tax code for at least three years after filing. Send them one more letter demanding payment, with the statement that your next move will be to Small Claims Court. I don't think you'll have to. Some toad at the company is very likely exceeding his authority and will be overruled.

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write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.


Harry urges all his readers to give blood. Contact the American Red Cross at 800-Red Cross.