Kevin Hunt: He Hits Wrong Button, Sends $263 To AT&T With No Account. Where's The Money?

Hit the wrong button and you might send an embarrassing email to a boss, friend or former love. Rep. Becky Carney, a five-term Democratic from North Carolina, hit the wrong button earlier this month and cast the deciding vote in approving Republican-backed hydraulic fracturing in the state.


David Buszczak of Windsor hit the wrong button while paying bills online in February and accidently sent $263.10 to AT&T instead of Amica Insurance. It might have been fairly easy to reverse if Buszczak actually had an AT&T account.

He did, long ago, before canceling the phone-Internet-television package a year ago. When he asked AT&T about his money, he was told it had been placed in an unknown wireless (phone) account.

"I've never had a wireless account with AT&T," he said after contacting The Bottom Line in late May. "AT&T refuses to refund my money after numerous phone calls. Can you help?"

Bank of America, which Buszczak uses to pay online bills, agreed to send a letter to AT&T to confirm the $263.10 had indeed been sent its way. Somehow, the wired money remained stuck somewhere within AT&T.

Buszczak tracked down his original AT&T account number, which AT&T naturally told him was no longer valid. He had a "problem reference number" and an original claim reference number, both, he says, sometimes unrecognized by AT&T.

In mid-June, after being contacted by TBL, an AT&T spokeswoman said, "We're looking into this for you."

Buszczak, of course, had been pursuing his money since February. AT&T wasn't necessarily reluctant to return it. Maybe it had to find it first.

Finally, his efforts paid off. Buszczak's inadvertent payment was returned after four months.

It's over, finally, though AT&T still can't seem to get the payment-to-nowhere out of its system.

"Strangely" says Buszczak, "we continue to get calls and emails from AT&T telling us they are working on it."

A Talent Agency Or A Summer Vacation?

Christine of New Britain felt instant buyer's remorse after reading a recent TBL that profiled a Waterloo, N.Y., mother who spent $595 at a South Norwalk talent/modeling agency plus hundreds more in expenses in hopes of jumpstarting a plus-size modeling career for her 16-year-old daughter.

"I wish we were only out $595 like the person in your story," she says.

Interface Talent Network recruited Christine and her 10-year-old daughter "who is extremely interested in being on TV" recently at Westfarms mall, arranging an "interview" in South Norwalk.

That cost Christine $925. Then the photo shoot was scheduled. (Every aspiring model or actress needs a portfolio.)

"They somehow managed to talk us out of another $1,500," says Christine, "which includes a 'free' photo shoot in 1 1/2 years for when her look changes. When I asked why so much for just photos, we were told, 'Oh, it's not just for the photos, we are working for you while you go about your daily routine at home. We deal with over 200 agents who will have access to your daughter's pictures and headshot.'"

The Interface agency is owned by Roman Vintfeld, who also owned a similarly named agency in New Jersey charged with fraud last year after an investigation by the state's attorney general. That agency was one of two accused of signing up parents (and their children) at theme parks and malls with promises of modeling and acting careers. They were accused of misleading parents when all they actually offered were photo shoots.

Christine will likely end up with nothing more.

"After asking our 10-year-old daughter if she likes the Disney Channel and would she like to maybe be on a show like that," she says, "it was kind of hard to say no and walk away. So that is how we got roped in."

The South Norwalk agency, as part of an agreement following an investigation by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection three years ago, must offer a three-day cancellation and refund policy.

It's too late for Christine, who now realizes she might not get anything more than photographs of her daughter for the money.

"We are probably not going to have a family vacation this summer," she says, "with apparently being out $2,500 and no real 'agents' actually looking to have my daughter audition for anything."

Featured Stories

CTnow is using Facebook comments on stories. To comment on articles, sign into Facebook and enter your comment in the field below. Comments will appear in your Facebook News Feed unless you choose otherwise. To report spam or abuse, click the X next to the comment. For guidelines on commenting, click here.


Kevin Hunt - The Electronic Jungle

Kevin Hunt: How To Send Music Through Your Home's Powerline - April 2, 2014 - It's barely worth discussing how to upgrade a stodgy audio system with a wireless connection because once Apple's Airport Express enters...

Gail MarksJarvis

Tech's troubles stoke fear of market correction - April 16, 2014 - Now you see it; now you don't.

David Lazarus

Privacy price gouging, courtesy of phone companies - April 14, 2014 - By now, you're probably thinking you have no privacy left.

Korky Vann

Malaysia Flight 370 Disappearance Adds To Flying Fears - April 14, 2014 - I'm a white-knuckle flier.