National

Spectrum customers alarmed by 'phantom charges'

OLEAN, N.Y. (WIVB) - Michelle La Voie pays her cable bill online every month, manually, passing up the convenience of autopay. So the Olean mother was stunned when an unauthorized debit showed up in her credit union account, a double-bill from Spectrum.

Initially, La Voie paid her $161 bill, and the payment showed up in her account as paid, but then she found a second debit for $161 pending, which she did not authorize.

Michelle contacted her credit union and was told they could not do anything about the second charge--she would have to get Spectrum to remove the debit.

When La Voie called Spectrum they seemed to be familiar with the issue, chalking it up to a computer glitch.

"They informed me that it was a known issue, that payments that had been made on the 19th and the 20th [of August] there was a computer glitch, and there were people being double-charged."

Fortunately, Michelle had a balance in her account that rendered the double-charge a non-issue but when she asked about the extra charges possibly causing customers to incur overdraft charges, the customer service reps told her, they had no intention of contacting affected customers.

"I asked are you planning to tell customers this so that they can make sure that they are not overdrawn, or having payments declined?  They said no, we don't have any plans to notify customers."

In fact, La Voie said a co-worker did incur overdraft charges due to a Spectrum double-bill,  but a spokesman for Spectrum says they were not aware of any computer glitches in their billing network.

Fortunately, Michelle's pending debit expired after 6 days and is gone from her account. The co-worker convinced her credit union her double-charge was bogus, and they removed her overdraft charge.

News media in other cities, including Rochester, are also reporting they have received complaints about Spectrum double-billing.


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