Call Colombo: AT&T account freeze prevents customers from changi -

Call Colombo: AT&T account freeze prevents customers from changing service

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

Diane Shenker has been a customer of AT&T since the company was Southwestern Bell and a freeze placed on her account has her longing for the good old days.

"Actually, you could call downtown when you had a situation and talk to Mary," Shenker said. "You could always call back and say, 'I'd like to talk to Mary."

When Shenker recently decided to switch phone providers, however, she kept getting bounced from one person to another with no solution. 

"Now, you talk to Joanne in Miami, make another call, it goes to Cape Girardeau, and another call," said Shenker.

Shenker was told by AT&T employees there was a freeze on her account preventing changes, so she called News 4's Mike Colombo to apply some heat.

A freeze, like the one on Shenker's account, is put on a phone line at the customer's request to protect from scammers putting unauthorized charges on an account. FCC rules require specific steps to remove a freeze, but in Shenker's case, the steps became hurdles. Shenker said she's gone through weeks of confusing calls and unkept promises.

"It was like, what in the world is going on here? I was a little bit, strangely, in shock," Shenker said.

Colombo contacted AT&T to ask them why the freeze hadn't been lifted and they removed the freeze from Shenker's account. AT&T told News 4 Investigates the confusion was all due to a service representative with incorrect information. The employee has since been retrained, the company said, and they have apologized to Shenker.

For consumers with long-standing phone accounts, checking to see if there is a freeze now could save a hassle down the road.

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