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U.S. soldier in Iraq has telephone minutes stolen, AT&T refuses to help

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Lynn Hamilton photo

Tom and Edith Pugh with a picture of their son, Naval Corpsman Dan Majors.


Lifestyle Editor

Naval Corpsman Dan Majors is in Iraq serving his country. Like many of his fellow soldiers, he has been using calling cards to contact home.

Not long ago, he decided to call his parents, Tom and Edith Pugh, of Brazil. At that time, he had 331 minutes remaining on his AT&T card. There was no answer, so he hung up.

The next time he attempted to call, he found out he had only 185 minutes left. Being in the Middle East, he was unable to call the customer service number to dispute the discrepancy, so he turned the matter over to his parents.

When the Pughs contacted an AT&T representative, they say they were told that someone in Colorado had used the card to make a long-distance call that lasted over two hours. They naturally questioned how that was possible when Majors had the card with him overseas. An AT&T supervisor told them that someone must have a copy of the card.

After several calls to the company, the Pughs had still accomplished nothing. AT&T refused to budge on the bill. According to Tom, they were told that "the minutes were used and they're going to stay used." The couple even attempted to enlist the help of local Rep. Andy Thomas, but they have not yet gotten any response to the message they left at his office.

"They're over there fighting for their country," says Edith, who adds that their efforts to correct the situation are not totally selfish. She and her husband ask that "if there are any other families in the area having problems," they contact the Pughs at 448-1970. They are bound and determined to find justice for the servicemen and women like Majors who have been, in their opinion, cheated out of valuable time they could have spent speaking with loved ones at home.

An AT&T customer service representative said he was unable to comment generally on situations such as theirs as each case must be handled individually.

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