ONLY ON KRON4: AT&T charges North Bay Tubbs Fire survivors for damaged equipment

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SANTA ROSA (KRON) — A number of survivors from the Tubbs Fire are now dealing with another issue–dozens of AT&T customers are being charged for the damaged equipment that went up in flames.

One former Coffey Park homeowner, who is currently battling it out with the cable company, told her story only to KRON4.

The Tubbs Fire took Patty Geisler’s home. Days later, her mom passed away while in hospice.

Now, she’s dealing with another battle after AT&T charged her nearly $500 for the cable boxes that went up in flames.

An entire neighborhood went up in flames. What’s left of Geisler’s Coffey Park home is a tree, which now has a bit of decor.

As the family tries to keep their spirits up and move on, they’re left to deal with a $472 charge to her account.

“Never should they ever deduct money from someone’s bank account without knowledge,” Geisler said.

Patty says her husband called AT&T right after the Tubbs Fire to let them know everything was lost.

To their shock, those charges were debited in December.

“I went through three different people that day telling them my story until I finally spoke to a guy in loss retention that said, ‘Yes that was a mistake. You shouldn’t have been charged. I’m going to write a ticket for it,’” Geisler said.

After nearly a month and no refund, Patty called back on Monday.

This time around, she was told she needed to file a claim with her personal property insurance in order to get reimbursed.

“She said, ‘Well I’ve been here for a long time, and I know what I’m talking about.'” Geisler said. “And basically, this is the end of the story. ‘You’ve reached the end of the line. I’m not giving you credit.’”

And it’s not just Patty that’s dealing with this.

More than two dozen neighbors are going through it as well. Some have had charges reversed.

“There’s no consistency. Everyone’s been told something different,” Geisler said. “They send you to the customer loyalty department yet those people do nothing for you. There’s no consistency with their policies, and it’s really frustrating for people who are already having to go through so much.”

KRON4 reached out to AT&T to get to the bottom of this. A rep tells KRON4 Patty’s file has been prioritized and is being looked into.

KRON4 is told the company wants to remedy these cases as soon as possible.

AT&T sent KRON4 this statement a day after our story aired:

We work with customers to waive charges for equipment that has been damaged by a natural disaster so they don’t have to pay for this out of their pocket. We ask that customers affected by the recent fires call 800-791-6661 between 6am and 4:30pm PST so we can take care of them. We have representatives who are specially trained to assist in expediting bill credits related to damage from the fires.

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