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KC mom cautions others to check cell phone bill after finding reoccurring mistake

Posted at 8:51 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 08:56:25-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Carolyn Powell sat down to check her family’s cell phone bill, she never expected to uncover a costly mistake.

Every month the Kansas City mom would pay her bill online without reviewing the bill in detail. But last Sunday was different and Powell immediately noticed something wasn't right. 

“When I got to the back of the page I noticed that we had a Gladstone City License surcharge and a Gladstone City Sales Tax surcharge,” she told 41 Action News. 

The problem — Powell and her family have not lived in Gladstone since 2015. 

The family currently lives in Kansas City. But on their cell phone bill, they were being charged both a Gladstone City and Kansas City City Sales Tax fee. 

“I thought ‘I wonder how long that’s been going on for’ and I went back online and checked all of my bills,” she said. “62 months, $271.59.” 

41 Action News spoke to several phone carriers. They all said customers pay extraneous charges based on where they live since each county, state and city imposes its own taxes on wireless services. For example, a customer in Kansas City would pay: a MO State Sales Tax, a Kansas City Sales Tax, a Kansas City Zoo District Tax and a county sales tax depending on where they live.

All carriers said it is incumbent upon customers to change their addresses with the phone carrier whenever they move, so the appropriate local charges are reflected. 

Since Powell said she reported her change of address, her phone carrier is now crediting her $271.59. 

And now the mom said she will always check every one of her bills. 

“Every month it’s not that much but it adds up and it’s our money, it’s our money,” she said.