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Dispute over internet bill leaves mother without life alert

Posted at 3:18 PM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 20:12:30-04

WAGONER, Okla. — A Wagoner man moved his mom from the east coast to Oklahoma to keep her safe and sound.

A dispute with an internet provider got in the way.

Helene calls an addition build on her son, Alan Rafalko, built himself when she moved here from New Jersey.

It's warm and cozy, and she's surrounded by cherished knick-knacks and treasured photos of family and friends from other cities and foreign lands.

"I love my place, yeah, I love it, it's very convenient," said Helene.

"I told her when I was a kid when I made a million dollars I would build her a house, I didn't make a million dollars, but I did build her a home," Rafalko said.

The laughs and smiles faded a few weeks ago when Alan's internet, TV, and home phone service were disconnected, cutting off Helene's life alert service with it.

It's something she depends on in case she ever falls or suffers severe health problems.

"It was awful, I couldn't get a call, it was awful, and I'm sick, and they shut everything. I had no TV, no phone, nothing, isn't that awful," she said.

Rafalko called his internet provider, Suddenlink, to tame a bill he said kept going up. He said he asked a representative to review his years of data usage and see if there was a better plan, a less expensive plan. The rep changed him to one that saved almost $30 a month.

"However, my next bill had $60 in overages, and the next bill had over $195 in overages. I certainly never would have agreed to a savings of $20 to $30 a month to get another $195 in overages," he said.

He paid the $60 of overages but didn't pay the $195 and disputed those extra charges. He said that's when his service was eventually cut off.

"Nobody could do anything for me. Nobody could look at the bill. No one would even talk to me about it," he said.

KJRH connected Rafalko with a Suddenlink supervisor who looked over his account and also the calls he made asking for a plan review.
The supervisor found the original rep never looked at Rafalko's years of data usage, just changed his plan, now he's on the plan that best fits his usage and budget.

"I am, I am grateful, yeah," he said.

Helene has her high-tech life alert back. Helene and her son can rest a little easier with her lifeline, peace of mind, and security restored.

Rafalko said he was told it's essential for a customer to review and keep up with their data usage using a provider's app or website. Users can stay on top of their accounts and periodically check to see if there's a better plan.

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