HOUSTON, TEXAS -- I moved into a new apartment and had to change from Time Warner Cable High Speed Cable Internet (RoadRunner) to the AT&T (former SBC) "High Speed" Yahoo! DSL Internet. This review is by no means an advertisement for TWC - just an attempt to compare and let you know about frustration with ATT/SBC. Had I known what kind of aggravation signing up for AT&T (SBC) DSL would bring I would have never moved into this apartment in the first place. High Speed Internet is a crucial requirement for me - I am an IT professional and work from home most of the time.
AT&T DSL (former SBC) provides highly unsatisfactory service! Everybody I spoke to at AT&T were making statements obviously not knowing what they were talking about. Like early contract termination/disconnection fee for example... it is still a mystery to me. Contract says $200. When I was signing up I was told by the representative it was "only" $99. Another representative said there was no termination fee. Whom to believe?They say whatever is their latest policy - takes precedence. So what is the point in signing the contract then - if they can change it anytime they want?
BTW, you will get charged early termination fee even if you move during your contract to an area where there is no SBC/AT&T service provided. Keep that in mind. With TWC - no early termination fees and no contracts. I usually spend hours on the phone trying to resolve simple problems, being footballed around from one representative to another. Today I spoke with 8 people from AT&T, having spend 2.5 hours on the phone trying to resolve a simple billing problem. I haven't placed a service call with TWC in years. Also about 50% of the time you would get a non-native English speaker, sometimes very difficult to understand.
I signed up on 05.03.2006 for the AT&T DSL Elite Package - $29.99 and was promised speeds from 3 to 6 Mbps. That required a phone line. (Phone activation is separate from DSL activation and takes about a week each). I haven't had a phone land line in years. I used to keep my cellphone as the only line for voice communications and TWC Roadrunner for the Internet. That was all I needed.
I was quoted $35 phone installation fee, instead I was charged $48. But that was just that, - peanuts for starters... I also had to purchase DSL modem for $50 (TWC provided cable modems for free and replaced them couple of times with newer models), that actually had to be shipped to me (another $13). DSL modem it can be rebated if you send the shipping label back to them and be with them for at least 4 (?) months out of your contract, and then it takes another couple of months to get the rebate. Taxes are very high both on the phone and DSL, on $36 of service I pay $20 additionally in taxes! With TWC it was about $1.5 on $44 service.
Instead of promised 3-6 Mbps I am getting constantly 2-2.4 Mbps. That is with the direct Ethernet cable connection from your NIC to the DSL modem. If you use home wireless network, like most of us, it will be even slower. Also they insist on disabling any ati-virus and firewall protection during the test. Well, how realistic this test is then? If you run Windows OS - running firewall and some sort of AV protection is a must! I opened a technical support ticket and conducted several DSL speed tests provided by SBC/AT&T tech support that confirmed that the speed is not approaching the promised minimum of 3 Mbps.
Technical support advised me that these speeds cannot be provided in my area (by what methods they determined this is unknown, actually that tech support person did not do anything at all, he was just talking), and that I need to downgrade the service to the "Pro" (1.5 - 3 Mbps).
So I called back to let ATT know that they charge me for the falsely advertised speeds that they cannot deliver, and was told that they will "downgrade the speed" but I still will be charged till 05.30.2006 as if I were getting the Elite speeds for the whole month of May. Moreover I was told that I need to continue to pay the full amount on my bills till I see the change, which, as I was told can take 2 to 3 billing cycles.
The last representative I spoke to today (the 8th person) told me that he is doing me a "great favor" by letting me switch to Pro (even though it is totally SBC/AT&T fault - not being able to deliver the promised speeds that I was charged for and were the only reason I signed up for the service), and also giving me the special rate of $19.99 (that is actually quoted on the web site - there is nothing special about it), because I "do not qualify" for the "special" $19.99 rate for whatever reason. With TWC Roadrunner I usually saw 300-350 KBytes/s download speeds, that is about 2.7 Mbps. But then again, they were never making any outrageous claims in the first place.
To the current AT&T(SBC) DSL customers - run the speed test. It can be found here: **. Run it and see what your real connection speed is! It is possible you have been paying for years for the falsely advertised speeds that AT&T just cannot deliver but does charge for them.
To those considering AT&T - think again. All of the representatives that I spoke too never resolved my problems but never failed to try to sell me some additional services. They say they do not work for commission, but based on my experiences with them I no longer believe a single word coming out of them. I am writing to the Better Business Bureau about this as well as Public Utility Commission of Texas. BTW, I am not advertising TWC here. Their services are also far from perfect and also expensive. But everything is known in comparison. ATT/SBC DSL service and support is a nightmare!
CALIFORNIA -- My internet connection went down and I couldn't connect to internet. I called AT&T tech support. Everything seemed to go fine until they wanted me to supply them with the 'original' passcode on the account. I started my internet service with SBCglobal and AT&T took them over a few years back. So, after almost 10 years of service I couldn't remember the 'original' passcode. In this time I have upgraded by 2 computers. The tech said to 'look on an AT&T bill. Problem: I have been 'paperless' for over a year now and have no AT&T bills. They said, 'Too bad, they can't help me without that info'. After going round and round about that I finally hung up.
I found an older 2wire I had and hooked that up and got an internet connection. Problem: during the tech session with AT&T they reset my internet connection so that my connection would default to the AT&T diagnostic page and I would have to completely negotiate the diagnostics before it would re-connect. Problem: got to a page that demanded that same info 'for security reasons' that I went round and round with the tech person. Called again > explained that I had no bills, that I have been paperless for a year or more.. and that I couldn't check my online account to see what that info was because I COULDN'T get online.
Again, they told me that I was basically screwed. They couldn't help until I gave them the info. They gave me an alternative: FAX a copy of my driver's license and a current bill to them the 'verify' that I am who I say I am. **??? Stop my life?? and FAX them?? I don't have a fax machine.. drive to some store somewhere?? and FAX them.. Again, I said, "never mind, it is easier to cancel my service with AT&T then to put up with this **". I asked to be transferred to termination of service. They hung up on me. I called AT&T and got to the disconnect service.
When I explained to the person what just happened and why I was disconnecting service, she was appalled. She had all my info there, all they need to do was to contact her office and she could give them my info. She convinced me to stay. She opened a threeway between a tech person, herself and me. I got the info to them and they cleared things up on their end and saw my 'modem' as being online even though I couldn't still get to my home page. We hung up.
There was still some problem on my side of things and it was up to me to figure it out. Fortunately, I remembered the URL of the diagnostic page AT&T told me to type in, so I got as far as the diagnostic page. Safari has diagnostic button for troubleshooting connectivity issues. It still said that there was a problem with my computer talking to the modem. I had already replaced the 2wire, and even though all lights were green, I tried a new Ethernet cable. That seemed to be the solution..I accessed the connection reset page, typed in all the security info I got from that wonderful woman in the service disconnect office and am back online. Took about 6 hours.
AT&T Tech support and policies.. I give a minus 10.. total ** and stupid! Non-tech support for AT&T, I give a 10+ Smarter and more logical than the stupid tech support. Also, I ended up with 1/2 off the next 6 months of DSL service AND a free 2wire modem. HEY, AT&T.. listen up!! With all of your Technology to communicate, how about communicating between your depts??? All the info I needed was right there!! Thanks for nothing AT&T tech support. Bless you AT&T Discontinue service personnel.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- In mid August I signed up with AT&T DSL by telephone. I spoke with a Customer Service Rep (ie; salesman) who said DSL cost $35 and when I protested that I had friends paying $25, he lied and said "That's what it costs now". This is incorrect. If I could have gone online I would have seen there are four tiers starting at $19 for Basic emailing speeds then, $20, $30 and up to $35 for Pro online streaming game & video playing speeds.
He said that I would have to have a phone line as well. I have found out since that this isn't true. He also neglected to inform me the line was a measured line which means I could only make 25 calls on it a month for free and then would have to pay by the minute. He asked if I wanted long distance and I said I didn't unless it didn't have a monthly charge. He said I wouldn't be charged unless I used it. This was also a lie.
He said I would be eligible for a $200 rebate. This was a lie. I would be entitled to a $50 rebate for the modem which I did receive without any problems. However, I discovered from the next representative that was trying to straighten out this mess, I could only receive an additional $100 for switching to AT&T internet. When I checked with the rebate department, they had no record of it. I had to call a fourth time and speak to another representative and told him the situation and he allowed the credit. I have received this $100 credit finally.
The last thing was the most maddening. This lying representative said I had to give a credit card to secure the account. Now I had never heard of this before and felt very uncomfortable with it. I thought of hanging up (trust your instincts folks) because it "felt" so wrong. I told him I have perfect credit and have never had to even pay a deposit for telephone service. I had had a AT&T phone account in the recent past which I had cancelled. They should have known I was dependable but he insisted that "was the way they did it now". This was his biggest lie.
He had signed me up as a high risk account without even running my credit information. I told him I wanted to be billed monthly and he said the credit card was just to establish the account. This was all a lie. The credit arm of AT&T called me because he had written down the wrong account. That was when I discovered he had signed me up for an automatic monthly withdrawal from my credit card account.
To unravel this I have had to make several calls to AT&T customer support. We had to effectively shutdown the previous account and they credited me the long distance charge except for $.80 for the service and $3.00 of taxes and surcharges. I left messages on the "supervisory" line twice in order to make an official complaint against this employee who lied to me over and over again. No one has returned my call. I will write the headquarters in San Antonio and the FCC to complain about these business practices and this particular representative who should be fired.
My advice to others: Keep calling and keep complaining until you get what was promised you. If you must sign up for AT&T for any of their products, signup online. Perhaps you will receive an accurate representation of the services and charges you can expect. Print out a copy of all their promotions and keep a well defined paper trail. Overall, I would recommend avoid doing business with AT&T. Why rely on a company that lies to its customers if there are other choices?
Verizon Vios is coming to my area. I had Verizon telephone where I lived before and found it to be both a straight forward and reliable company. Friends have Vios for DSL and rave about its speed for DSL and clarity for cable. Something to keep in mind for the future.
I am writing to inform others of how bad AT&T has treated me as a customer. I will start at the beginning. I use AT&T phone service but previously got my internet service from the local cable provider. Although I was on the “Do not call” list, I received approximately 8 calls from AT&T sales people in 4 months who tried to get me to switch to their DSL service.
Some of them were very aggressive and even acted like jerks but I calmly asked them to stop calling me, yet they continued to call. Even though I didn't appreciate all of the unsolicited sales calls, I needed to save some money and decided to make the switch. Part of the reason for my decision was based on AT&T's television advertisements where they claimed I would get a certain reward based on the service I signed up for.
I called AT&T on October 28, 2007 and signed up for the DSL service and was told that I would get a $75.00 rebate check for the modem and a $125.00 reward check after I filled out the coupon and mailed it along with a copy of my recent cable internet bill. I was told it would take 4-6 weeks to receive the reward check. I checked online and as soon as I was eligible, I printed off the form, filled it out accurately, signed it and sent it along with the copy of my cable bill to the correct address provided. I did everything promptly and accurately. Then I waited almost 6 weeks and did not receive the checks.
Towards the end of December, 2007, I called AT&T's customer service department to find out the status of the checks and was told that I was disqualified. When I asked why, the girl couldn't give me a legitimate answer and acted like she couldn't care less anyway. I hung up and called back and got the same response from another representative. They didn't even know how to qualify me again. I asked to speak to a manager and was told it would be 24 to 48 hours before a manager could call me. That was a convenient way to blow me off.
I waited a couple more weeks and called back in early January, 2008. This time I spoke to a lady who acted like she knew what she was doing and cared more about me as a customer. She said that they had been having trouble with their reward program but assured me that she had re-qualified me for the $125.00 reward. Then I spoke to her manager who re-qualified me for the $75.00 rebate. I was told that it would take another 4-6 weeks. I did receive the $75.00 rebate check in the mail about a week later. If I hadn't called back when I did though, I doubt that I would have gotten it. However, the $125.00 reward check never came.
So I waited until February 8, 2008 and called the reward center. I explained the situation again and was told that I was once again listed as disqualified. I was livid. I was then told I had to call the AT&T customer service center again because they were the ones who needed to rectify my qualification status. I then called the customer care center and was told that my $125.00 reward check was actually mailed the previous day on February 7, 2008 and it would take 7-10 business days to receive it. I called again and talked to another representative who confirmed that the check was sent and also confirmed the tracking number.
10 business days passed and still no check. I called the AT&T customer service center this morning, February 22, 2008, and once again had to explain the history of this issue. The girl set up a conference call for me with her and a manager at the Reward Center. I explained the problem to her and she told me that I was still disqualified and the customer service center would have to qualify me again. She said it would be another 4-6 weeks before I would receive the check. I said “This is ridiculous. I never should have been disqualified the first time.” I then asked the girl who was still on the call from the customer service center to let me speak to her manager.
This time she got a manager who wasn't worth much. The moron had no idea what to do. I asked him to set up a conference call with a manager at the reward center to get this straightened out once and for all. He told me he couldn't do that even though the customer service representatives could. That didn't make any sense. I told him to call a manager at the reward center and have him call me but of course that never happened. I then called the customer service center one more time, explained the situation again, and she contacted a manager at the reward center.
I was told by this manager that the disqualification was only lifted today and it would be another 4-6 weeks before I received the check. I said “You are just stringing this along. How am I to believe I will get it then after the experience I have already had with AT&T? I have already waited over 3 months. Why can't you send it now?” She curtly told me that she would not change it and that's the way it was. Nobody ever gave me a good reason why I had ever been disqualified because there was not one. I hung up.
AT&T is the worst company I have ever dealt with. They are trying their best not to send people the reward money they were promised. I am appalled by their carelessness, irresponsibility, and unethical behavior. I did everything right according to their rules and all I have gotten from them is misleading information and lies. The customer service center and the reward center keeps passing the buck back and forth and cannot seem to communicate correctly and get their act together. What is amazing is that they are a communications company! I am sorry that AT&T was allowed to buy BellSouth back and become more of a monopoly again.
Their television commercials are lies. They are experts at getting your bills to you on time and I have paid every one of them on time, but evidently they will not honor their word and pay many of their customers the reward that they promised them. I have read similar complaints from other customers on the internet and that is probably the tip of the iceberg since most of the customers have probably not said much.
I am speaking up because now it is not so much about the money as the principle of AT&T doing the right thing. Nobody likes being lied to and given the run-a-round but that is what they have given me. They are unethical and pathetic. I would recommend to anyone who reads this message that you avoid AT&T. They don't seem to have a thread of decency.
KETTERING, OHIO -- Okay. My 86-year-old father died of a stroke last April. He lived alone, had Time Warner bundle of digital cable TV, internet service and home phone service. Following the stroke Dad was in a nursing home for a month before he died and we kept the cable, as we adult kids took turns flying in from our various home states and staying at his house. But by June it didn't make sense to keep it all, so before I left to go back to California I canceled the Time Warner bundle and called AT&T so there would at least be phone service. So I ordered the basic home service, gave my alternate address and cell phone number in California, etc.
I was told I HAD TO BE THERE at Dad's house for the installation and would be contacted in a few days. I wasn't. A few WEEKS later I was called on my cell phone that they were coming out on a specific date. I said, "Well, I'm back in California, can you install it without me there?" "No." I said, "Well, I'll see if I can find a neighbor of Dad's but if you don't hear from me, I haven't been able to do that and we'll reschedule the next time I'm back in Ohio."
Couldn't find a neighbor, decided the phone service could just wait until I was back in January.
Imagine my surprise when I get to Dad's house last week and found $80+ worth of phone bills month after month, and then the final shut-off notice. I called AT&T billing and was told this was a customer service issue. Transferred to customer service (and none of this is quick, you're on hold for a good five minutes each time). Customer service said "no, this was a billing problem", and before I could take a breath I was transferred back to Billing.
Billing person said that I owed the bill, didn't matter I wasn't there (I didn't need to be there, no one would have told me that - HUH?). I said "LOOK, I had no idea the service was started, no idea you were billing me at an address where I didn't live..." Oops. Wrong thing to say, BACK to Customer Service. Never get the same people of course so have to start my saga at the beginning each time. Explained again, said that the phone service they installed hadn't even worked or there would have been phone messages on Dad's answering machine.
She said, "Well, we don't COVER that, you would need to call a service representative and there is a $75 minimum charge for us to come out and do that." And yes, transferred again. At this point I'm not sure to whom, customer service or billing. I just said to WHOEVER I was talking to, "DO NOT TRANSFER ME ANYMORE!" Told my story YET and asked point blank if they were expecting me to pay. This rep said, "Well, I'll tell you what we can do for you, how about you only owe half the bill?"
I took that option rather than being tortured through eternity between AT&T billing and customer service. I've paid more for less. But, I will not do business with AT&T again, I am even going to switch my AT&T home service in California to the same as my internet provider. Hardly use that home phone anymore anyway, and don't know why my bill is so high for that phone line that is barely used since I got my cell phone. So the UP side is I am finally moved to take care of that. Will more than take care of the baseless charge AT&T stuck me within Ohio.
HOFFMAN ESTATES, ILLINOIS -- I am writing this letter as a result of, what I believe to be, the worst customer service and business ethics, from a service-driven company, I have ever seen. I will start off by stating that this letter will be lengthy, but I feel it deserves attention due to the countless hours I have spent on the phone with AT&T and never got the results I deserved. The following is a brief outline of the troubles I have had dealing with AT&T in the short thirteen month time period I was a customer of AT&T.
I first became a customer of AT&T phone and internet service in June 27th 2006. The first issue that I encountered with AT&T is that the one hundred and fifty dollar rebate that I was promised on my DSL modem was never returned to me. To start my service off, I already paid one hundred and fifty dollars out of my own pocket and never had it returned. I tried to resolve this issue with customer service but I never received a solution to my problem.
After that point the service was fine until I encountered my next issue. In April of 2007 our internet service went down, for no reason. There were never any changes made to the way that anything was set up inside my home. For the next two weeks I spent almost every night on the phone with AT&T. Every customer service representative that I spoke with had me perform numerous maintenance checks and make changes to my internet settings to try to resolve the issue. Each time I called I had to go through this even though I explained to the customer service representative that I had already performed these checks and I needed more assistance.
This was extremely frustrating to me, not only did I not have internet but I also wasted countless hours on hold, being transferred without receiving a positive solution to my problem. Finally the second to last phone call that was made regarding this issue, a customer service representative informed me that a technician would have to come out to fix the problem. I was informed at that point that if the problem was and issue on my end that I would be charged, but if the issue was on AT&Ts end there would be no charge for the technician to come out.
The next day when I arrived home from work, my internet miraculously started working. I placed yet another call to AT&T, to try to stop a technician from making an unnecessary trip. When I spoke with the customer service representative, I was informed that a technician had already been out to our service area, not my home, and the technician resolved the issue at a connection point somewhere in my area. During this time I was credited back (to the exact cent) the days that I was out of internet service. I only received this credit after calling and speaking to yet another customer service representative and demanding that I have a credit posted to my account.
I was quite disappointed with the credit we received because first of all I had to demand it, and secondly I feel that a company that truly values their customers would offer some sort of apology for the inconvenience no matter if it was verbal or monetary. I never received either, in fact I received a sixty dollar charge on my next statement for a technician to repair my service. I never understood how we were ever charged this considering that a technician never entered my home. I was at work when my service was restored.
The next point in our troubles with AT&T involves me moving. I called AT&T and transferred my service, after doing so I was still trying to get some resolution to the sixty dollar service fee I was charged. Finally I made a decision on July 17th 2007 that I would never receive the type of service that I needed from AT&T, so I called to cancel my service beginning on July 27th 2007. Quite frankly I felt more at ease paying more for similar service than having to deal with the customer service issues at AT&T.
Overall, I could go on and on about the details of every situation we have encountered with poor, if not horrible, customer service, but I will try to sum up my frustrating experience for you. My service was never cancelled in July 27th 2007, it was transferred and I continued to receive bills versus the credits that I know were owed to me. The service still was not successfully cancelled even after I called back on the July 27th 2007, the day I moved, after I saw a technician connecting service at my new residence.
Since July 27th 2007 I have placed five phone calls to AT&T trying to cancel my service once and for all. Every time that I called I was assured that my service was cancelled, but it never was. At this point I know that I am still owed approximately sixty five dollars in credit from AT&T and certainly do not owe AT&T anymore money, and I am still not sure that this issue was completely resolved. In all honesty I feel that I deserve much more than the sixty five dollars, due to all the time, cell phone minutes, frustration and energy I have wasted trying to get the service I paid for to work properly and get money returned to me.
In closing this letter I want you to know, as I have never felt Ive been treated so horribly from a service company. I will no longer be a customer of AT&T services in any way. At this point I feel that I will never get the apology that I deserve from AT&T. AT&T has had many opportunities to apologize, fix errors where necessary in order to regain me as a customer, and that have failed to do so.
And after my experience with AT&T I doubt I will even get a response to this letter. I can also guarantee that if I have any influence on any family member, friend or co-workers decision to do business with AT&T, I will give them a copy of this letter and recommend that they not do business with AT&T.
ALABAMA -- On my AT&T phone bill. About a year ago I received notice that my statement from AT&T would begin arriving in a "new format". This notice was presented as though AT&T had adopted an easier to understand billing format. However: AT&T was NOT the one changing the format. AT&T had conspired with "Enhanced Services Billing Inc." to add a FRAUDULENT charge of $15.95 A MONTH for my "New Enhanced Bill" to already overrated services from AT&T.
My wife had clicked on a coupon and innocently gave out our phone number to these criminals. When I called "Enhanced Services Billing" at 1-888-293-3724 they said they will credit me for the $130.00+ they and AT&T had conspired to FRAUDULENTLY obtain from me for IMAGINARY "services".
I called AT&T at 1-888-757-6500 and informed them that I am aware of their fraudulent conspiracy with "Enhanced Services Billing Inc." to demand they stop billing me for something I never received, wanted, OR AUTHORIZED. The AT&T representative I talked to asked if I or my wife had "read the fine print" on the coupon? That: shows me that AT&T is well aware of the perpetrated fraud and is ALSO A PARTICIPATING PARTY TO FRAUDULENT BUSINESS PRACTICES.
This illegal charge was never verified with any confirmation whatsoever. They just started the billing process in the hope that they would get away with it. If I don't get my money back in a reasonable time: I will set up a computer with a modem to speed dial their toll free number at "Enhanced Services Billing Inc." with thousands of "hang-up" calls to cause damage and disruption for those thieves. "Enhanced Services Billing Inc." is committing wire fraud and AT&T IS A WILLING PARTICIPANT who also receives monetary compensation related to this fraud.
I am canceling all of my AT&T "services". Getting a cable internet connection and "Vonage" as my telephone service. And: that choice is much cheaper, and of higher quality than what AT&T provides. This raw deal has actually helped me find a much better deal elsewhere. Ditch AT&T! You never know when they will screw you too! Sooner or later: THEY WILL!
CUMMING, GEORGIA -- I noticed on July's bill a charge of $14.95 from an entity called Enhanced Billing Services. I called AT&T and the customer service rep. told me that AT&T will place any and all charges from any company because they are not "in the billing dispute department." When I asked since when AT&T is in the billing services for unknown companies, she got belligerent and coped the repeating words' attitude. She kept repeating like a machine: "AT&T will not help you. Call the company who charged you."
I insisted that I never authorized this charge and AT&T should not have placed any charges on its monthly phone bill to begin with, let alone an unauthorized charge from an unknown entity. I added that I did not hire AT&T's services for billing but for phone services alone. Needless to say she did not listen or try to help in any way. Her arrogance and uncooperative attitude were really frustrating.
Since then I learned that EBS or ESB as they are also known, is located in San Antonio, Texas and there are numerous complaints against them about "cramming." I wrote to the FCC but they replied that it is not their domain and gave me the (Federal Trade Commission) FTC's number. I called the FTC and filed a complaint against both the EBS AND AT&T for unauthorized billing. I wrote a letter to AT&T as well demanding a resolution and review of their conduct both in customer [non] service and in billing anything at all on my phone bill beside phone services provided.
I hope AT&T will get the message. I will be surprised since my wife and I dropped AT&T years ago because of their arrogance and lack of consideration or service to customers. That's the result of the near monopoly AT&T enjoys on local phone services at present. Unfortunately, BellSouth was "swallowed" by AT&T and we are stuck with them again.
ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN -- I tried to get the month of January 2008's itemized local phone calls from my land line/internet carrier, AT&T. I called and was told that "Michigan State Law" prohibited them from releasing that information WITHOUT a court ordered subpoena. I thought "This is odd", as I am able to readily access my "Sprint" cell phone calls records for up to several months worth... I asked to speak to a manager and was told the same thing.
Today, March 30th, I called the Michigan Attorney General's office and they, in turn, passed me on to the State of Michigan Consumer's Commission. I spoke with an agent there, and explained my dilemma. She called AT&T's rep and we had a three way phone conversation. What a surprise that was. She, the agent, agreed that there was no State Law regarding that practice, THAT IT WAS AT&T's practice.
They do this because they have so many customers and local calls are not kept track of like long distance calls are (we have unlimited long distance and those calls DO appear on each monthly bill). I asked "Why not charge a fee instead of making people have to go through the court system in order to get their own phone records?" Her reply, "we just don't do it and have no department to handle this".
So, I called the AT&T subpoena number 1-800-291-4952 and spoke with a really rude woman there. I explained to her what had transpired and asked "How does one get a subpoena to get one's itemized phone calls?" She blew up at me and stated the ONLY reason AT&T does asks for a subpoena is because of State Law. I corrected her and I was basically "Hung up" on.
I again, Called the Michigan Consumer agent, told her what transpired. She said, she'd pursue this issue, but if I was brave enough, to re-call that number and SPECIFICALLY ASK for the Michigan Law. I did and was passed on to a supervisor who not only agreed with me, but stated it all came down to dollars and sense and that according to AT&T my phone calls are "Not mine", but AT&T's property.
She explained the reason "Sprint" has ready available history of phone records is that they charge by the minute. So, consumers BEWARE.. Be VERY aware. If you think your phone records are accessible, I'd double check your carrier's policy CAREFULLY before decide to stay with them... You may need them, as I did...
I am writing about a problem that has not only affected myself, but literally dozens of soldiers in my small area. I would imagine that the problem is happening on a larger scale throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. The issue is AT&T phone cards that are sold to soldiers under exclusive contracts to the US military. Unfortunately, some of these cards do not work. It would perhaps be reasonable to assume that there would be problems with cards would happen. However, there appears to be a broad sense of neglect and a deliberate attempt to ignore problems arising from this monopoly.
I recently purchased a phone card here in Iraq and, upon attempting to use it, discovered that the PIN number on the back was faulty. (755-413-19XX / last two numbers missing in records). When I attempted to call customer service, I was repeatedly prompted for the PIN. As the PIN was not valid, AT&T's customer service system simply hung up on me. Repeated attempts to access the system were similarly unsuccessful. More troubling was the small print on the back, in which AT&T charges minutes from your card in order to access customer service. In other words, it was clear that AT&T would only help soldiers for a fee.
Assuming it was a one off, I traded the card for another card from a different location (**) and experienced the exact same problem. Attempting write or email AT&T were ignored. I wrote the Better Business Bureau and the repeated response was to simply state that what was happening could not be happening as it was against their policy. At no point did they indicate that they would take actions to address or correct this issue.
With just a little effort, I have found literally dozens of soldiers who have experienced the exact same problem with AT&T. Although many soldiers have access to FOB and the problem is annoying, it can be particularly devastating for soldiers that are deployed further forward and do not have routine access to AAFES. I am sure that there are soldiers who have to make repeated trips across combat zones to garner access to a phone card that actually works. In the mean time, the soldier is cut off from his family.
As AT&T has an exclusive contract, there are no alternatives available to soldiers. As is typical of unmonitored monopolies, AT&T has continues to collect fees for a service that is rapidly degenerating. I would appreciate any assistance in bringing AT&T around to honor its commitment to provide phone service to US soldiers.