Couple calls Colombo after phone company wrongly switches servic -

Couple calls Colombo after phone company wrongly switches service provider

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By Elizabeth Eisele By Elizabeth Eisele

( -- A retired couple, both battling serious health issues, faced a fight when they say their phone service was hacked. When they couldn’t get their service back, they called News 4’s Mike Colombo.

Denis and Joan Hackett said they keep meticulous records on when their bill payments are due. Which is why they were surprised when their phone service switched from one company to another.

Denis said they have been AT&T customers for over 50 years, but on December 3rd that all changed when a sales person asked if he would like to switch phone service.

Two days later, Denis said they were now customers of Birch Communications and they never authorized any switch. They said they were stuck with paying new bills and a new phone service which with they were comfortable. But they really need their phone.

“My wife is in remission from cancer,” Denis said, “and I’m in early stages of Parkinson’s and we didn’t want to be without a phone.”

The Hacketts said they were so flustered, they went out and bought their first cell phone.

For two months, they pleaded to go back to AT&T, but their service was never restored until now.

News 4 called the Atlanta based Birch Communications and they got right on the case.

A Birch spokesman said their records indicate Denis Hackett did approve the switch. But, in a good-will gesture, Birch waived the $200 early termination fee.

There are companies out there that engage in “slamming,” a term used for illegal or misleading switching of phone service, but that did not happen in the Hacketts’ case.

If you want to know more about the practice of slamming and how to protect yourself, click here

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