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AT&T Turns City of Campbell, Ohio Over to Collection Agency In Bill Dispute

Phillip Dampier June 7, 2012 AT&T, Public Policy & Gov't 1 Comment

AT&T has turned the city of Campbell, Ohio (population: 8,235) over to a collection agency in a dispute over a $15,000 unpaid phone bill.

Campbell city administrators report they began receiving collection calls at city hall from AT&T’s collections agency this spring. Law Director Brian Macala told The Vindicator he finally got the collection agency to stop calling and AT&T contacted the city after local media began covering the dispute.

At issue is AT&T’s bill — for $15,000, covering a trunk line connecting extensions at the city’s primary office building. A former city finance director claims the city did not extend its contract with AT&T to provide the service, mostly because the company ignored calls to negotiate one. The contract expired in November 2010, but city officials continued to use their phones until July 2011, when Campbell administrators approved a contract with rival Delta Telecom to pick up the service.

The dispute covers AT&T’s off-contract rates charged from November 2010 until July 2011. City officials are disputing the amount of the charges, which are reportedly significantly higher than AT&T’s on-contract prices.

Macala told the newspaper Campbell was not trying to skip out on the bill.

“We had service provided,” Macala said. “The question is, what was the exact value [of the service.]”

AT&T apparently isn’t sure, because the company reportedly told Macala there “may be some defects in the billing.”

But that did not stop the company from selling the account to an outside collection agency.

City officials told the newspaper negotiations with AT&T were ongoing.

Currently there is 1 comment on this Article:

  1. txpatriot says:

    Hard to know what’s going on w/o access to the language of the contract, but most term contracts provide either that: (1) service will continue on a monthly basis at contracted rates after the term expires; or (2) service will continue at the higher month-to-month rates after the term expires.

    It sounds like the second option applies here. And having signed the contract, the city (and AT&T) should know exactly what rates were to be billed for service beyond the term of the contract.

    OTOH, if there is a problem with the bill, the provider ALWAYS has the duty to ensure they are billing correctly, but it is also true that the city has to pay for service it used (which the city apparently is not disputing).

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