Dear ABC News Fixer: The Tale of Disappearing TV Equipment

PHOTO: AT&T Inc. signage is displayed outside of a store in New York, U.S., Dec. 16, 2011.Peter Foley/Bloomberg/Getty Images
AT&T Inc. signage is displayed outside of a store in New York, U.S., Dec. 16, 2011.

Dear ABC News Fixer: This problem is causing quite the confrontations in our family. My daughter, Sarah Perez, had AT&T U-verse service at her residence. She closed her account last August and we mailed the equipment back through UPS.

In November, Sarah received a bill for $675.64. AT&T said the equipment was never returned.

We didn't have a tracking number – the man at the UPS store just took the equipment and shipped it and that was it. After many, many phone calls to AT&T, Sarah thought she finally had resolved it. The AT&T rep gave her a waiver and escalation number, and told her this happens often and she would not be charged.

But in January, she got a collection agency notice for $168.91. Apparently now they found the box, but they said some of the equipment was missing.

We returned everything: the "Gateway," two TV boxes, the two remotes and wiring. We also sent back one of my remotes that I didn't need.

I am hoping you can fix this for her. She is young and has a good credit history. I don't believe she should have to pay anything.

In February, she got another collection notice, this time for $199.61.

Can you please, please help? I have seen you work wonders.

- Dee Perez, Hammond, Ind.

Dear Dee: Your unfortunate tale of disappearing and reappearing equipment reminds the ABC News Fixer to remind everyone else: Always get a shipping receipt and tracking number! (And if you can swing it, get the shipping clerk to pose for a few pix on your smart phone as you sent the stuff off.)

Something clearly went wrong – between first having no box and then having a box without all the stuff in it. We went to AT&T to see if someone could take a closer look at what happened.

We soon heard back from AT&T spokesman Jim Kimberly, who was able to straighten this out. AT&T put Sarah's account balance back to $0 and told the collection agency to stop. Kimberly said the collection agency will contact the credit reporting bureaus to make sure this comes off her record.

Just to be sure, we suggest Sarah goes to, the official site for consumers to get their free credit reports, to take a look at her reports in about 60 days. (All consumers can do this; we're all entitled to one free report every 12 months from Equifax, Experian and TransUnion through that site.)

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