94-year-old East Tennessee widow receives $5,000 phone bill


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A July phone bill of more than $5,000 was a total shock to a 94-year-old widow.

Ruth and her daughter contacted the provider last month, but said there’s been no direct response to clear up the charges.

With few opportunities to leave her home because of the coronavirus, and having a bad knee, Ruth watches a lot of TV at her home. Her bundled service is with Comcast Xfinity.

It includes TV, phone service and internet, but when the large phone bill arrived Ruth was stunned.

The charges were from international calls from May 16 through June 15. Ruth said she’s never made an international call and knows no one overseas. She’s always been satisfied with her phone service.

Ruth says she’s never missed or was ever late for a payment.

Anna Currence, Ruth’s daughter, moved in with her mom since that knee injury she suffered several months ago and watches out for her mother’s finances. She was as puzzled by the international charges as was her mom.

In mid-July, Anna said she went to Comcast’s headquarters in Knoxville. Anna said she left satisfied after talking with customer service. The issue was written up as a service adjustment/technical issue with a near full credit.

But the days went by, no credit was issued to her mother’s bill. In late July, Anna returned to the main office and at that time was told to contact the company’s fraud division about the bill.

Within a day after contacting Comcast’s corporate office, WATE was told the company will credit the account for all international charges and taxes. Comcast said it will conduct an internal assessment to determine the cause of the issue saying it was a very uncommon occurrence.

Anna also got a call from the company, and Ruth is relieved that the bill has been taken care of.

Anna said Comcast’s fraud division believed her mother’s phone line had been hacked. They don’t know how but said that’s what they’re going to investigate.

To further protect her service Ruth has also been asked to change her passwords and other personal information.

She is pleased that Comcast responded quickly.


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