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AT&T won't give me a LIFELINE phone


Been_Ponzied
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I am a divorced, disabled woman on SSI who has lived in California for the past 2 years. (I have used VOIP phones like Vonage). About 3-4 years ago, I had SBC in Nevada before they were AT&T.

The service was in my name because I was the one in our marriage who ordered it and SBC refused to add my husband on the bill, saying they only have one person on the bill (which is not like normal utilities). My husband had a disagreement with them and cut off our service, which cancelled two DSL contracts prematurely. The bill came to $400.

Now I am in a roommate situation where I need my own phone line and I need LIFELINE service because I'm disabled. (My roommate has her own LIFELINE service and cannot have two lines in her name because of it). I cannot use Vonage because the Comcast modem is in her daughters room.

Our divorce is final and we forgot about this debt and did not put it in our divorce papers. My husband admits to me that he feels responsible for the bill, but since its in my name, he won't pay it.

I have tried to get phone service, and they turn it on but then put a block and a recording on it that says I must call long distance to a collection agency in San Francisco!!! So I cancelled their service the same day.

I finally had a long talk with AT&T about the problem, and they YELL at me about the old bill in Nevada and say that I would lose my LIFELINE service if I had a line turned on and then didn't make payments on the old bill.

I cannot make any payments at all - I live on $800 a month, if you call that living. I am judgement proof, but I am not worried about them suing me. I just need a phone line and AT&T is a monopoly! They treat me terrible when I try to talk to them.

I have thought of writing to the PUC or my congressman, but I would just lose and they would say this is a civil matter. I can't sue my ex husband because we are trying to have an amicable divorce, and I need him still to help with some things because of my physiclal health problems.

Does anyone have any idea how I can get a LIFELINE phone line? The state of California verifies my SSI income, so it has to be in my name.

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Here are a few tips!

AT&T CAN NOT DENY YOU SERVICE IF YOU WILL BE LIFELINE!!

EVEN IF YOU HAVE A PAST DUE BILL! ITS ILLEGAL!

AT&T can however block your access to long distance & features until the balance is paid & you pay the deposit.

1. Stop calling collections. Call the regular customer service number!

2. Do not say one word about the past due bill!

3. ADVICE that you want lifeline!

4. If they still will not do it call the CPUC, they are in violation. They can not deny you service for Lifeline.

THERE IS ONLY 1 reason they can deny it! Outstanding bill at your address with them, you would then have to prove that the OLD tenant is gone! OR A FRAUD BLOCK at the address!

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I cannot use Vonage because the Comcast modem is in her daughters room.

Doesn't matter where the modem is. Get Vonage and a cordless phone. Base station goes next to the ATA (the phone thingy that plugs into the modem). Or you can get Comcast's phone service and they will install a line for you.

-r

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The service was in my name because I was the one in our marriage who ordered it and SBC refused to add my husband on the bill, saying they only have one person on the bill (which is not like normal utilities). My husband had a disagreement with them and cut off our service, which cancelled two DSL contracts prematurely. The bill came to $400

if they wouldn't allow his name on the bill why would they allow him to call and cancel service??

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Doesn't matter where the modem is. Get Vonage and a cordless phone. Base station goes next to the ATA (the phone thingy that plugs into the modem). Or you can get Comcast's phone service and they will install a line for you.

-r

That's the problem - the base would be in the 20 year old girl's room and her mom and her don't understand anything about VOIP. Oh and Comcast doesn't have phone service out where I live in the stix. Thanks for trying to think of something for me though! Both are too expensive for me now anyway.

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Here are a few tips!

AT&T CAN NOT DENY YOU SERVICE IF YOU WILL BE LIFELINE!!

EVEN IF YOU HAVE A PAST DUE BILL! ITS ILLEGAL!

AT&T can however block your access to long distance & features until the balance is paid & you pay the deposit.

1. Stop calling collections. Call the regular customer service number!

2. Do not say one word about the past due bill!

3. ADVICE that you want lifeline!

4. If they still will not do it call the CPUC, they are in violation. They can not deny you service for Lifeline.

THERE IS ONLY 1 reason they can deny it! Disconnected serivce for non payment at your new address with them, you would then have to prove that the OLD tenant is gone! OR A FRAUD BLOCK at the address!

Let me tell you exactly how they got away with it. They DID give me phone service and I turned it off that day because all services were blocked and when I tried to call Customer Service, my line automatically went to a recording that said to call a Collection Agency in San Francisco. When I dialed "O" then I did get AT&T, but only their collections department. There was NO WAY to get hold of the regular customer service.

Then, I found out that what they do is AFTER you have this very limited LIFELINE service with them, they tack that old, old bill onto my current bill and will turn off service for not paying on my current bill, which by then has the old bill on it.

See? They CAN turn off my LIFELINE service if I don't pay enough on the bill.

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This is all so unfair that I'm thinking about writing to the Governor. I doubt he would do anything. The congressman and senators only help you with FEDERAL agency problems.

AT&T looks me up by my SS every time I call them. So they find the old bill right away.

I doubt Verizon has any service out here where I live at all. I live waaay out in a rural area.

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So you can't/couldn't make ANY calls; local, long distance, or toll free?

The Lifeline service, in its basic form, is only intended to provide BASIC calling. It does not include long distance, caller-id, or other calling features. If you owe money, they can restrict all services except access to local calls.

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Let me tell you exactly how they got away with it. They DID give me phone service and I turned it off that day because all services were blocked and when I tried to call Customer Service, my line automatically went to a recording that said to call a Collection Agency in San Francisco. When I dialed "O" then I did get AT&T, but only their collections department. There was NO WAY to get hold of the regular customer service.

Then, I found out that what they do is AFTER you have this very limited LIFELINE service with them, they tack that old, old bill onto my current bill and will turn off service for not paying on my current bill, which by then has the old bill on it.

See? They CAN turn off my LIFELINE service if I don't pay enough on the bill.

There is DEFINITLY something wrong! Something about what this situation doesn't sound right! They can't add your old bill to your new bill & cut you off. They can only BLOCK everything else.. So for example you couldn't have features they are not apart of LIFELINE or long distance. but they have to give you the ability to make local & recieve calls. Call back & demand a manager! There is no reason you can't get the lifeline. As horrible as it sounds.. lifeline is for basic dial tone, local calling only.. the rest is considered non essential and u would be held to whatever AT&T wants from u to get the extras.. U can call the CPUC.. they administer the program and will call AT&T with you to make sure they dont violate the law.. its a HUGE fine for them if they do!

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Thanks, I will give the PUC one chance and if that doesn't work, then I'll go the AG. I found out that it's not good to file complaints all over the place at the same time.

Oh and I never said that they are denying me basic service....several people here didn't read thoroughly and thought I meant that...they turn on my basic service, then add that old $400 bill to it. And if I don't make big enough payments on the whole shabang to satisfy AT&T, they CAN shut off my basic service!

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