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smithiank's profile

New Member

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6 Messages

Sunday, April 2nd, 2023 9:22 PM

Account canceled without warning, trying to reclaim phone number

I've been an AT&t prepaid customer for a couple of years, but I lost my phone recently for a number of weeks. I didn't think much of it, but when I found my phone again, it wouldn't make any calls, and then I got an email asking me why I had canceled my account. It turns out during my period of an activity, my account had been deactivated with no warning, no emails to me, nothing. AT&t is now telling me I probably won't be able to get my old phone number back, which I've had for the past 15 years. I understand it's my fault for losing my phone, but I am desperate at this point and willing to try anything to get my old number back. I really wish AT&t had emailed me at some point letting me know that my account was nearing deactivation. I was totally baffled and had no reason to expect that would happen. Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any success getting an old number back? I'm even willing to switch providers if necessary.

Accepted Solution

Official Solution

ACE - Expert

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64.7K Messages

1 year ago

It has nothing to do with use. What that store told you was false. A prepaid account can’t go into arrears. Your account balance has an expiration date. When you go past the expiration date, your balance expires. 60 days after that, the account is closed. ATT does not notify you to make a payment, it’s the customer’s responsibility to know their expiration date and refill when needed. 

ACE - Expert

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27.7K Messages

1 year ago

Did your account go into arrears during the time the phone was lost? 

Prepaid is not cancelled for lack of use.  Prepaid is cancelled for lack of payment.

ACE - Expert

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64.7K Messages

1 year ago

The only reason your account would be cancelled is if the account balance was $0 for more than 60 days. That is how prepaid works and always has. Once your account is closed, the number is lost. There is no way to get your number back I know of.

New Member

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6 Messages

1 year ago

I have no idea. I had a good balance before losing my phone. But since I never received any communication from them asking me to make a payment, I really have no idea if it went into arrears. I was just in an AT&t store and they told me that it usually deactivates after 3 months of no use, but I don't think my phone was lost that long.

New Member

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6 Messages

1 year ago

What confuses me is that I just can't imagine how this would have happened. It took me literally a year to deplete my balance the last time, and I had a year's worth of balance when my phone went missing for maybe two months. It wasn't longer than that. So I'm sure I'm in the wrong here, but I'm not exactly sure what I did wrong. It's water under the bridge at this point, I'll just have to figure out how to get by with a new number. I appreciate everyone's comments.

ACE - Sage

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116.9K Messages

1 year ago

Since the primary method of communication with AT&t prepaid is text and you lost your phone, exactly how was AT&t supposed to communicate with you?  

New Member

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6 Messages

1 year ago

They communicate with me by email for things related to my account. I have received probably a dozen emails from them in the past year about my account. I'm not necessarily blaming them for not reaching out to me about this. It's my fault for assuming they would. My point in this whole post is not really to complain about at&t, I'm realizing that I did not understand how prepay worked as adequately as I thought I did. I really just want to know if anybody has been able to reclaim a deactivated but unclaimed phone number with at&t.

ACE - Expert

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64.7K Messages

1 year ago

Did you not know your account balance expiration date? You obviously have a discontinued pay per use plan and ATT has done some questionable things with prepaid accounts that have those discontinued plans over the past year. Many such accounts were cancelled for having a phone that needed to be replaced due to the 3G shutdown. However, it’s possible your balance prematurely expired but unless you know what that expiration date was, no way to know. Just FYI, if you do stay with ATT and get a new number, your only choice is monthly plans. Pay per use plans are no longer available, only customers that had them were allowed to keep them.

New Member

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6 Messages

1 year ago

Honestly, I had no idea that my balance could expire without being depleted. I thought that as long as I wasn't making phone calls or receiving or sending text messages, my balance was safe. Obviously I was wrong. I had refilled it last summer (2022). So I don't know how long it takes a balance to expire. Everything's been scrubbed from my online account now, so I can't see any of that information.

(edited)

New Member

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6 Messages

1 year ago

The background on all this is that my wife and I decided to be a one-phone household, but I didn't want to get rid of my old number so I stuck it on an AT&t prepaid plan. My phone usually just sat on a shelf, turned off. I didn't use it for anything and figured that as long as I kept making my payments, my number would be safe.

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