Oklahoma woman stunned by $1M cable bill, mystery auto-payments

Posted at 8:27 PM, Jul 10, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY - Dianne Hampton thought someone was playing a joke on her when she opened her cable provider's app and saw a nine-digit outstanding charge.

“Am I seeing the commas correctly?” the Oklahoma woman remembered thinking after signing into her Cox Connect App to pay her bill for internet service.

No, her eyes weren’t playing tricks on her.

“You stare at it [and] it's like you're hypnotized by this,” she said. “And, then, you go, ‘No, I don't think so.’”

That's when she pulled up her banking records and the panic really set in.

First, she said someone tried yanking a million dollars out of her account, when she’s not even signed up for Cox's auto-draft bill pay. Records show the payment was supposed to go to Cox.

Of course, it never cleared because Hampton didn't have a million dollars in her account.

Someone kept trying to pull more money out of her account. Another payment attempt was for $100,000.

“Then there was a $9,999 [payment] that also tried to hit, and it's clearly ... Cox and it was insufficient as well,” she said,

The amounts kept getting smaller and smaller until there was enough cash in Hampton's account for the payments to clear, resulting in two payments totaling about $1,200.

“[With] Cox or anyone else you're paying a bill to, [when] you do not have the funds you get an insufficient charge [and] it bounces back,” Hampton said. “End of story. They're not going to come back for a smaller amount.”

There was a sixth payment to Cox that Hampton put a stop on just in time.

Cox’s spokesperson said, due to customer privacy, they can't speculate as to what may have caused the excessive payments that were initiated on the customer's behalf.

That got Hampton thinking.

Were the bizarre withdrawals caused by a glitch or had one of her accounts been hacked?

Cox launched their own investigation and concluded "there was not a security breach on their end on the customer's account and the error was a payment error, not a billing error."

They also claim they were overpaid, but Hampton said the payments didn't come from her.

KFOR checked with her credit union. Tinker Federal Credit Union’s Senior VP of Marketing Matt Stratton told the Oklahoma City news station that they "processed everything properly and the issue appears to be between Ms. Hampton and Cox."

Friday, Hampton received her refund check from Cox, plus they waived the overcharge fees.

Her account was also zeroed out, and Cox went ahead and waived her $80 outstanding bill for internet service.