HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Frontier cut off their telephone service, leaving a Hillsborough County couple with no way to get in touch with 911.
Last year, 78-year-old Barbara Blanton of Thonotosassa called the emergency number five times. Her 80-year-old husband Donald is a liver transplant recipient and has had open heart surgery.
But, a mistake at Frontier caused the Blantons to be billed for services they did not receive, which ended up cutting off their telephone service and sending their family into a panic.
In June, the Blantons decided to go with satellite TV. They dropped Frontier’s TV service, but kept the phone and internet.
In August, granddaughter Cricket Larson got a panicked call from Blanton. Frontier threatened to cut off her phone service.
Larson was on vacation, but contacted a Frontier supervisor.
“I paid $398.79 and was given a confirmation number and she informed me, ‘Oh my goodness, the TV service had never actually been disconnected and that’s why your bill is so high,'” said Larson.
In October, another notification from Frontier.
“And it’s up to $700,” recalled Larson.
She spoke with another Frontier supervisor, who assured her things would be fine.
“Don’t give it another thought, this is going to be completely taken care of,” she remembered him saying.
It was December, when Blanton realized there was a big problem.
“When I got a nine hundred and something dollar bill,” Blanton said.
“It scared me to death because if I had to call 911 for him or something like that it would have been terrible.”
On December 9th, Larson tried calling her grandparents in the morning.
Frontier had disconnected their phone service.
The next seven days were full of frustration.
“Twenty-six phone calls, nine departments and over 30 hours of my life from December 9th to 16th,” Larson said.
Larson showed Target 8 screen shots of her cell phone which show she was on the phone with Frontier for hours at a time.
“The department closed for the day during that two hour and 26 minute phone call. So they answered the phone and said, I’m sorry we’re closed for the day, basically you’re going to have to call back during normal business hours,” Larson explained.
Frontier had charged the Blantons for six months of service they didn’t receive.
So Larson reached out to Target 8 on Facebook.
When Frontier bought Verizon’s telephone and internet service there were so many complaints, Florida’s Attorney General met with company representatives. She demanded an action plan, which the company provided.
According to Attorney General spokesman Whitney Ray, the office has seen a significant decrease in complaints against Frontier. Ray suggests anyone with problems should reach out to the Attorney General’s office.
Steve Andrews contacted Frontier spokesman Bob Elek late in the afternoon on the 15th. He said he would look into the Blanton’s issues.
The next morning, problem solved.
“Human error led to TV services being maintained on the Blantons account, which led to inaccurate billing. This has been corrected and voice services for the account have been restored, with no impact on the Blantons credit report. We apologize for the anxiety this created for them and their family,” Elek wrote in an email.
“You guys were extremely helpful and we’re extremely appreciative for your assistance with that,” Larson said.
Now the Blantons are breathing a bit easier. The phone is back on.
If you have a problem you think needs to be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808.