Action News Troubleshooters help military family fighting cell phone contract problem

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Military families are entitled to certain programs, but sometimes accessing those programs isn’t easy.

Julie Schultz’s only child signed up to fight for our country, but for the last few months, she’s been fighting for him over his cell phone situation.

Twenty-year-old Jake Schultz enlisted in the United States Marine Corps right out of high school.

“And he got stationed over in Japan in Iwakuni,” she said.

Schultz asked his mother to contact AT&T to figure out what to do with his cell phone service.

“I started calling them and asking them what I could do, and basically was told I just needed to get him an international plan,” she said.

The international plan was an additional $70 a month on top of the $50 she was already paying for his service. Then she learned about the “Military or Service Member Cancellation.”

“A military cancellation is when technically they cancel his account so that there’s no charges at all. But the difference is he’s allowed to keep his phone number,” said Schultz.

AT&T does allow service members, spouses, and family members to cancel service while out of the area on active deployment if they meet eligibility requirements. There are no early termination fees and you can ask a carrier to hold your number for up to 39 months before reactivating your service. All carriers offer a program like it, thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

Schultz said she submitted her son’s paperwork proving he was in the military and stationed in Japan. But for months AT&T failed to provide the military cancellation.

“I’ve been calling back saying it’s still not fixed, it’s still not fixed. I’m still getting charged,” she said.

She called the Action News Troubleshooters for help, and we are happy to report that after we got involved, Schultz finally got the help she needed and an offer for a nearly $1,000 credit.

AT&T issued the following statement:

“This did not meet our expectations for how we serve our customers. We have apologized to Ms. Schultz and credited her account. We are reviewing this case to determine what happened so that we can prevent it from happening again.”

The military or service member cancellation may also apply if you’re a State department employee or if you work for another non-military US government organization.

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