Dear ABC News: Military Wife Vs. Telecom Giant

PHOTO: Visitors arrive at the headquarters of Deutsche Telekom AG in Bonn, Germany, Feb. 28, 2013.Ralph Orlowski/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Visitors arrive at the headquarters of Deutsche Telekom AG in Bonn, Germany, Feb. 28, 2013.

Dear ABC News Fixer: I am an Army wife and my family was stationed in Baumholder, Germany, from September 2010 through June 2012.

The unit my husband was in, the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, shut down and the majority of soldiers had to move to another duty station that spring and summer.

Like other families, we submitted cancellation notices to Deutsche Telekom, the reigning phone power in Germany. Almost one year later, I am still battling this company.

They say that because my husband's orders have a date of September 2012, I still owe for phone and Internet service through that month. I've told them that is merely the deadline by which he had to report, and that we left in June. Our cancellation notice states we were leaving in June.

We have little recourse and I do not want my credit score to be negatively affected by something that was not my fault and which I cancelled well in advance (and have proof).

Never have I been so harassed by a phone company in the 13 years that the military has been in my life. Please help.

- Kamryn Jaroszewski, Lacey, Wash.

Dear Kamryn: The brigade's inactivation and exodus from Baumholder last year was a big deal, with most of the 4,500 soldiers and their families having to pack up and move. We're sorry to hear that in the midst of this you had to deal with this annoying phone problem -- and with a company across the ocean, no less.

The incorrect bill was for home phone and Internet service from June through September 2012, a period when you were already back in the States. You told us you had tried repeatedly to fix this yourself, with no results.

We had a little better luck after taking it to Deutsche Telekom senior vice president Philipp Schindera and providing documentation that you'd canceled in June.

Deutsche Telekom ended up zeroing out your account balance of 99,45 Euros (about $130.42) and a representative said they "deeply regret the inconveniences." They said you won't owe anything (and you can print out this column as proof).

P.S. Your case shows one way in which military folks can face troubles as consumers: Having to deal with multiple overseas moves and foreign utility companies. Soldiers also can be targets of credit rip-offs, and some of our older veterans have been conned by shady investment schemes.

As Memorial Day approaches, the ABC News Fixer is making a special push to hear from military families and veterans about their consumer problems.

Readers, if that sounds like you or someone you love, please use this link to submit your problem for consideration. Thanks.

- The ABC News Fixer

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.

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