Action News Troubleshooters help military family fighting cell phone contract problem

ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (WPVI) — Military families are entitled to certain programs, but sometimes accessing these programs is not easy.

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

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

“And he was 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 I was told I just had to get him an international plan,” she said.

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

“Military termination is when they technically cancel his account so there are no charges at all. But the difference is that he gets to keep his phone number,” Schultz said.

AT&T allows service members, spouses and family members to opt out of service while on active deployment outside of the area if they meet the eligibility requirements. There are no early termination fees, and you can ask a carrier to store your number for up to 39 months before reactivating your service. All airlines offer a similar program 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 called back and said it’s still not fixed, it’s still not fixed. I’m still being charged,” she said.

She called the Action News Troubleshooters for help, and we’re pleased to report that after our involvement, Schultz finally got the help she needed and an offer of nearly $1,000 in credit.

AT&T issued the following statement:

“This was not in line with our expectations for the way we serve our customers. We have apologized to Mrs. Schultz and credited her account. We are reviewing this case to determine what happened so we can prevent it from happening again.”

Termination for military or service members may also apply if you are a State Department employee or work for another non-military U.S. government organization.

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