Surprise! DirecTV sends customer $184,000 bill


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/10/19/surprise-directv-sends-custom.html


#2

Someone lost a decimal point, methinks.


#3

“I had to get some water. I don’t drink. I was ready to drink." …

Now yer talking!


#4

AT&T has had a long series of Y2K related billing problems dating back to even before Y2K. Last ones I heard of were back in 2012 but they were all relating to whomever had owned the number at some point in the past and this bill could easily have been from a corporate plan many years ago.


#5

If I randomly sent someone a $184,000 invoice I’d get in trouble with the law. If only I were a corporate person…


#6

“Accounting error in company’s favour, lose $$$.”

This kind of screw up happens, fundamentally, because it isn’t in AT&Ts interest to eliminate errors that cause their customers to be overbilled. You can be sure they spend a lot of time making sure their software never ever makes a mistake in underbilling a customer. But mistakes in overbilling? 90% of the time the customer won’t catch it and will just pay up. So the bugs remain unfixed.


#7

Someone lost a decimal point, methinks.

I wouldn’t be surprised…


#8

Did she get her own satellite?


#9

While it’s fun to imagine giant conspiracies, it’s worth remembering that it costs companies way more money to fix problems than they’d “make” off the occasional customer that might not notice. Tech support calls are expensive.

While no doubt AT&T has all sorts of policies designed to part people from their money, I strongly doubt purposeful over-billing is one of them.


#10

People also didn’t believe in mass surveillance ten or fifteen years ago. I can recall IT professionals arguing vehemently with me that it was impossible.
I mean like, red faced, ‘you don’t understand because you’re not an IT person!’ Level argument.

Now everybody is being logged somewhere, in some fashion, all the time.


#11

Yip. Information Retrieval


#12

Yeah, what a crazy, paranoid fantasy, mobile carriers deliberately overcharging their customers:


#13

The woman was skeptical that she’d used $184k in satellite services since April.


#14

Not really. It’s a cost centre, one that is desperately easy to underfund, but it’s not fundamentally expensive.

Call centre workers get, what? $50k p/a? The building can be anywhere, or nowhere. The software is COTS.

Meanwhile, AT&T had revenue of $163,790,000,000 last year. And their CEO took $23,247,167 in total compensation in 2013.


#15

Your faith in the probity and uprightness of AT&T is quaint. If any telecomm company in North America gave a flying fuck about reducing the cost to them of customer service calls by making fewer of their customers unhappy, I have seen no evidence of it. And the persistence of occasional overbilling mistakes making the news over the past three decades suggests that they like having glitchy software that sometimes charges people too much. Because it makes them extra money. And because it serves the insane and evil purposes of their lord and master Cthulhu.


#16

That was my favorite part. She seemed genuinely worried that she couldn’t afford it.


#17

When we had Verizon for pots service(early 90s ) our line somehow got crossed with a neighbor. The neighbors got mad because we were getting their calls and when they complained our service was shut down. I called on a Friday at my in-laws and After 2 hours on hold and several escalations I was told it wasn’t their problem and hung up on. We didn’t even have 911 service because they disconnected our line.
I had to contact the Massachusetts public utility commission. I talked to a nice lady that sounded like granny from Muppet babies. After my tale of woe She said " that’s complete bullshit I’ll take care of this right now,if the service isn’t on by 6am tomorrow call me at xxxxxxxxx and heads will roll." Granny or not there was a bucket truck in front of my house all night and by 6am it was fixed. But… the only reason it was is because POTS service has a legal oversight body, unlike satellite or cell service.


#18

Haha, yes, exactly.


#19

Indeed, could even be in prison.

https://www.forbes.com/forbes/2010/0628/companies-televerde-hitachi-netapp-cisco-salvation-at-center.html


#20

More like Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos. He was big on bamboozling people, on corruption and mass manipulation; you know, walking people into the abbatoir.

Cthulu was the sullen teenager of the Elder gods, hiding out in his room and plotting semi-sensical plans that he never really went through with.