A B C. The man who, without knowing it, spent five years without paying his telephone bill, was told that he owes Telus more than $ 5,000.
Steve Wright, a music teacher from Sechelt, a community about 65 miles northwest of Vancouver, says he was surprised when the telephone company notified him of the problem last August.
“I had no reason to think something was wrong,” Wright said. “Someone had been paying my bills without us knowing.”
Now he is in a dispute about how this happened and who is responsible.
Telus says the problem came to light when a former client contacted them in August, about withdrawals from his bank account that had continued for two years.
The company says it investigated and, according to a statement, “learned that this other individual’s bill had been paying Mr. Wright’s bills for five years, for a total of $ 11,384.60.”
Telus says they reimbursed the former client and told Wright that he would have to pay the bills for the past two years, totaling $ 5,466.36.
Telus has given him 30 months to pay.
But Wright says he believes Telus made the mistake and, even if he made a mistake, the company should have understood.
“I think they need to correct their system,” he said. “When someone enters your bank information and spits out another person’s information, if it is a human error, find out.”
He wants an apology for what he says were excessive emails and Telus calls for the confusion. He claims that he was treated as if he had done something wrong and that he had to take some time off to solve the problem.
“The reason I nailed my heels was because of the way they treated me, right from the door,” he said.
Telus says that all correspondence with Wright was “professional and friendly.”
Telus rejected Wright’s offer to pay off his debt for five years to keep his bill payments manageable.
“I would like five years to pay for this,” said Wright.
Cases like this are extremely rare, according to John Lawford, executive director of the Canadian Public Interest Defense Center, a consumer protection group.
“The reason for the confusion is usually a transcription error at the end, which is the service provider,” he said.
“Someone writes the wrong number or links two accounts in their system incorrectly. They should really have a system to verify the information.”
As for how he spent five years without realizing his unpaid bills, Wright says he never had problems with his account, so he assumed everything was fine.
“I will ask you the same question,” he said. “The person who was paying my bills for five years, how did he not realize?”
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