DirecTv/AT&T Billing Problems

Back in 1990, when we bought our palatial estate here in S.E. Loosiana, we could only receive the four major TV stations plus PBS out of N’Orleans. Since cable TV was unavailable, I purchased and installed a satellite system from Direct TV. We received the bills in the mail and paid them every month with no problems.

A couple of years ago, AT&T took over Direct TV and we started having problems with their bills. We would receive the bill with a “pay by” date that was less than a week after the date that it was received. I received our last bill on 2/12/24 with a pay by date of 2/19/24. I wrote out the check and dropped it off at the post office the morning of the 13th, which was Mardi Gras. IF it was collected that evening (big IF that) that would be 6 days for the bill to be delivered to Carol Stream, IL processed and my account credited without, again, getting hit with a late fee. Yes, DW can call them and have the late fee canceled but that is a pain in the behind.

Yes, I can have them automatically deduct it from my checking account or pay it on line but I don’t like other people dipping into my checking account. No, I don’t want to go “paperless” with this or any one of my three stock accounts or my & DW’s IRA accounts. Its not that I don’t trust them but, since having my e-mail accounts hacked, I don’t trust them. Since I doubts I am the only one with this problem, I sold all our AT&T stock and am thinking to switch to Dish Network.


C.J.V. - any other ideas?

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I had a problem with Cox Communications this last summer. I took over my dad’s finances due to him having a stroke. We moved him into an assisted living complex and I transferred his Cox account (internet, phone and TV) to his new address. I paid his bill out of his bank account the next month just like I had been doing, but I didn’t notice that they gave dad a new account number for his new address. So instead of referencing his name they somehow came to the conclusion that dad’s payment should be applied to my account. So dad was late, and I had a credit. I paid it again with the correct account number and they again applied the payment to my account and not dad’s. After 3 times and some phone calls I gave up. I paid dad back the amount that was credited to my account and started logging onto the Cox website and paid dad’s account with his credit card each month.

My bank bill pay has two modes. One is where I enter a payee and my bank sends them check. For most places it is done electronically, but for some it actually mails a paper check. These are all “push” payments… there is no “dipping” into my account.
The other method is a “pull” payment where a known authorized merchant account is allowed to request a payment and they take the money out. There are several safeguards for this like only one payment per month and a max amount…but I never use this method.


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My bank has that too, and it is wonderful! ALL my monthly payments are handled that way. The ones that are the same every month such as the mortgage (and the cable/internet!) are scheduled and just happen. For anything that changes each month such as charge card bills, as soon as I have the bill (paper or email) I log onto my account on the bank site and set the payment up, amount and date. I have not chosen paperless billing for anything that comes to mind, but I do get both paper and email for many recurring bills.

Along with that, everything I don’t pay that way is charged to the appropriate VISA card. I get varying amounts back depending on the card and what I am buying, with the most advantageous card used. All the transactions from all the cards are downloaded into a spreadsheet, making it possible to track my spending in some detail when I choose to. Picking out the charitable payments at tax time, for example.

(Just about the only checks I write by hand are for gifts. My writing was never better than poor, and age has made legibility almost unattainable. Writing a check without having to void one and start over is a small victory.)

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I also had issues with AT&T that i finally got rid of them last year. There customer service sucks because everything gets routed to a call center in India and they do not fully understand or maybe not have the technology to check past records. I ended up filing a complaint with (I believe) the FCC and that got me a call within a few days from someone based in LA that could see and understand my billing issues. It even took that rep almost a month to rectify but she did follow up weekly with an update.

In the end, I was just done with ATT as took too much of my time to rectify what should have been a 15 minute phone call. I switched to Youtube TV and love it. It is about $20 cheaper than my ATT bill and I get more of the channels I actually wanted.