SPRING, TEXAS -- I travel quite a bit for work. I also only use my phone for phone calls and text. I called AT&T to get the phone unlocked as they have been charging me a huge amount of money to make phone calls in other countries. They told me they would send me the instructions and I could "do it myself". The instructions came. They said, "Back up your phone. Erase your phone. Restore your phone." That is it. No instruction. Back up your phone. Erase your phone. Restore your phone.
Okay...I admit, I do not use social media of any kind and I use my phone...as a PHONE. I have no idea how to do any of that. I called AT&T for help. Talked to someone in Pakistan who spoke little English. He sent me the same instructions. I called AT&T again. This time they offered to let me pay for the "passport" service. $1.20 a minute for phone calls out of the country. What choice do I have...? At this moment none as I am leaving soon. But as I told the young man on the phone, the moment I land I will switch my entire family (7 lines in total) to T-Mobile or someone else. Smoke signals would be better than AT&T.
So my message is...if you are shopping for a cell phone and you catch yourself looking at AT&T, RUN FAR AWAY. Check the reviews. They have a terrible record. They will charge you unbelievable prices and their customer service is officially DEAD. What's more, they could care less if they lose you as a customer. Instructions from AT&T:
MIAMI, FLORIDA -- I went to a store to upgrade my phone and not only did I get charged $199 for the iPhone 5s, but I lost my discount of $25/month because I signed a new contract. So basically I did not get my phone cheaper as I thought. I am actually paying $800 for the phone instead of the regular price of $649. I can't believe that they offer savings to customers that do not renew but then penalize the customers that are loyal. This is the last straw and I am honestly considering, after 4 years to leave AT&T. They should be ashamed of themselves.
I have been moved to the point of frustration that I'm doing something very uncharacteristic of me which is to sit down and compose a letter of this nature. My goal is to share with you the experiences of an extremely disappointed consumer that has not only spent thousands of dollars between Apple and AT&T, but also as an advocate of the iPhone that is now very disenchanted. I hope this information is shared with the proper individuals within both companies so that internal policies are reviewed and adjusted so that you can put the consumer where they should belong on your list of priorities...first.
Here's my story: 7/31/09 (approx. 4pm) - Excited about the new 3GS iPhone I head to the San Diego Apple Store at Fashion Valley Mall. I inform the Apple representative that I'm willing to pay full price for the new phone and extend my AT&T contract if needed. He works on his hand-held device and informs me that he cannot complete the transaction due to a restriction on my account from AT&T. He directs me to call AT&T for resolution because it's not an Apple issue. I contact AT&T and the initial recipient of my call suggests that I cannot pay full price for a new phone because I've had too many iPhones.
She's unable to give me a deeper understanding behind why I cannot pay for a product being sold so I request to speak to a Supervisor. Supervisor ** takes over the conversation and goes a little deeper by suggesting some folks game the system and resell phones that are somehow misused. Of course, this means very little to me because I'm not one of these persons and I represent meaningful and stable revenue to both companies. And most importantly, the iPhones I've had were due to upgrading to new versions or replacing faulty iPhones. The chronology that follows is to the best of my recollection (your records should support this to 95+% accuracy), but is meant to share with you the reason I've had 5 iPhones:
Phone #1: Reason for replacing - People could not hear me when I made calls to them. Resolution: Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone and replaced it. Apple kept faulty phone. Number of phones in my possession - 1. Phone #2: Reason for replacing - upgrade to 3G network. Resolution - I bought new phone without incident. Number of phones in my possession - 2; 1 is use and 1 non-3G that sits in a desk drawer at work.
Phone #3: Reason for replacing - faulty phone; however, I don't remember the exact issue. Resolution - Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone and replaced it. Apple kept faulty phone number of phones in my possession - 2; 1 is use and 1 non-3G that sits a desk drawer at work. Phone #4: Reason for replacing - I dropped my phone in water. Resolution - Went to Apple Store, couldn't repair the phone. I paid to replace my iPhone. Number of phones in my possession - 3; 1 in use; 1 non-3G; and 1 useless (since thrown away).
So in summary, of the 5 phones that have passed through my hands: 2 were returned due to faulty workmanship; 1 was an upgrade to 3G (isn't this a good thing for all parties involved?); 1 was damaged beyond repair and thrown away 1 I currently own. Looked at another way I've had issues due to poor workmanship on 2 or 40% of the phones. The other 3 include an upgrade, a phone I damaged and the phone I currently use (which is now not working). Am I really going through all of this for 3 phones that can be attributed to me???
Back to the outcome of my conversation with **. She essentially says she can do nothing for me and denied my request to speak to her Manager. Instead she opens a case number **, tells me she will refer my case for further review and get back to me the following week. I encourage that you listen to any recording of this conversation if it's available. By this time I've invested about 1 ½ hours at the Apple Store and with AT&T with no resolution. To make things worse, 3-months later I have never received that phone call back from **. Due to this I resolved to never place a call again to AT&T, bide my time and discontinue my service once their exclusivity with Apple ends.
10/30/09 (approx. 3pm) I reluctantly contact AT&T because the battery on my phone is not holding a charge. The third episode of this failure that corrected itself with firmware updates in the past. AT&T representative ** is unable to correct my issue through trouble shooting and I ask her my options for a phone replacement given my past nightmarish experience. She tells me it's not an AT&T policy. It is Apple's policy to limit the number of phones an account can have which runs contrary to what I was told on 7/31 by the in-store Apple representative.
I also share with her that I never received a phone call from my 3-month old case. She established another case number, ** and said I can expect a call in 10 more days. ** transfers me to ** at Apple (now 4pm) who takes me through a series of steps on my phone that does not correct the issue with the battery. Yet another case number is established, **. He's to send me further instructions on how to back up and restore my phone. However, it's now been about 2 hours since the phone call ended and I have yet to receive them.
It's now 6:00pm, I've spent another 2 ½ hours of frustration on top of my original 1 ½ hours (total of 4 hours) with zero resolution, three case numbers, one iPhone that can't hold a charge and two companies blaming the other. Is Apple really opposed to taking my money? Is AT&T really this unreasonable? Can either Apple or AT&T assist me? How many other customers are going through the same nightmarish experience? Help please!
EVANSVILLE, INDIANA -- When we first signed up with AT&T we had 5 iPhones on our family plan. We were given a specific price and we asked several times if that were correct so we could all know what we would pay. When we had signed the contract they changed it and said it was going to be $120 more every month than what they had just told us. Too late. Already signed up.
On to month 2. We get the bill and they have charged us for game loft, which we never signed up for. We took the bill in and they said they would take it off of the 2 phones they said it was on. They didn't. 9 months later they are still charging us $35 extra every month for an app we have never received. It's not on our phones. We've looked. Then I started having trouble getting my phone to cooperate. Texts weren't received, calls were dropped. The phone was shut off in middle of conversations with my 4 yr old daughter's specialist from Riley. And those guys are hard to get a hold of.
I asked the customer service people to help keep my phone from randomly hanging up on important people and they said I had to have a laptop and be connected to WiFi. Sorry but I don't have a laptop, I said. They said "then we can't help you." Then I had to drive 3 hrs to Indy to an appointment at Riley. While I'm downtown trying to get through traffic with my sick daughter, my phone starts acting up again. I'm using GPS to try to get where I'm going and it just quits on I-70. Not a good time to not know where to go. All the while my friend is trying to call and text and find out where I am so she can help and can't get through.
Trust me, they can't blame it on bad reception when you're in downtown Indy in the IU med center! I called AT&T again and they said I could reset my phone. Without a laptop I would just lose everything on my phone. So I did it, but it hasn't helped. I guess now I'm going to have to pay the $300 to leave AT&T cause their service is inferior and they aren't willing to help. We have yet to see a bill less than a hundred dollars more than what we were told it would be after the $120 more. They say it's third party subscriptions we aren't signing up for. They just put it on the bill. I'm so done with AT&T.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I wish there were "answers" to the issue of impersonalized "big biz" customer service. See the issue: * iPhone perpetually dropped calls in my area (Dallas, TX). * Complaint was lodged with Apple about the proprietary service plan with AT&T. I was told changes were coming but down the line. (That's true but it was too little too late for me.) (AT&T also had been notified of issues. And MANY friends reported the same problems.). * My iPhone bill was $105.00 per month. (This was for 900 minutes, 1500 texts, and unlimited data. Unlimited data is no longer offered.)
*Converting to T-Mobile (I pay $79.99 for 1500 minutes, unlimited text and data) (So superior service option for less monthly cash.)* I held onto my iPhone for a while to ensure the "dropped call" thing improved. (I've not dropped a single call with my T-Mobile My Touch.) When I called to cancel my iPhone service with AT&T they didn't ask me when I'd like to cancel the service. They told me it would cancel on Jan. 18th. I thought about that further and called back to see if I could make a more immediate choice to which they said "yes". (But I had to ask.) I told them how 'bout today? They immediately cut off the service and ended the call on my iPhone. (with no follow up from their side).
Why do they call it "customer care"? They asked me if I had lodged complaints. I told them I had with AT&T and Apple. I feel like the complaints fall on "deaf ears". (I've had several conversations with AT&T about my DSL as well even though they go on advertising that it's "blazing fast"...NOT mine!). Anyway T-Mobile is still a pretty big company too. So far I'm MORE satisfied with the service and the value of that service. I would really appreciate a return to TRUE CUSTOMER CARE and a "listening ear" from company owners and leaders. I'm really disillusioned right now!!!
COLUMBUS, OHIO -- Totally lied to. ** talked me into the insurance I quote: "You pay $9.99 a month. If ANYTHING happens, bring it in, we replace it no questions asked". Not true. Dropped it and cracked the screen. The "After The Sale" ** said: "Oh, that is a third party claim and there is a $199 deductible" (I paid $199 for the phone). Turns out the third party is "Asurion". OMG, I had to make a claim online, go through a verbal inquisition on the phone, print a 5 page email, fill out a claim, copy the receipt from when I bought it, copy my driver's license, then scan it all to Asurion who then sent me the wrong color phone ("we can't guarantee you get the same color phone that you insured"). What a disaster.
TENNESSEE -- I have been a valued customer. According to AT&T, for a decade, actually longer. Don't know how they keep track of records. I asked for an unlock of an older device, no longer in use by me!! Well, they are keeping it locked cause it's not not financially beneficial to AT&T. They refuse to waive the 2 months that it will take to to get the device unlocked. I am still under contract. Eligible for an upgrade, (because it's beneficial to AT&T ). So much for being a valued customer in good standing. Makes you want to switch service providers!!
CINCINNATI, OHIO -- In Cincinnati, Ohio AT&T's network - 3G and 4G is terrible! There are so many problems and the network is very unreliable. The phone has a hard time connecting to the internet and when it does, it's not fast at all. Calls are never clear and there is always some kind of interference or noise in the line. The voice sounds garbled a lot as well. A lot of times, text and picture messages won't come through and my phone won't ring when people call. People who have Verizon in Cincinnati are a lot happier and don't have the problems like AT&T.
TACOMA, WA, WASHINGTON -- On May 1st I called to port out my wife's phone over to Sprint due to AT&T's horrendous data plan. While on speaker phone my wife, Sprint store representative and I listened to the AT&T representative ask why I needed the account number. I explained that we were porting out. All was fine, he gave me the account # and said we were not in contract. One month later my wife receives a bill for 140 dollars for cancelling the contract early. I spoke to two AT&T reps both told me that while they believed me, they couldn't fathom how their representative would not have told us there was a termination fee.
The following week at the advice of concerned friends, I called AT&T and asked for a manager. Again my wife and I were told (in quite a stern way) that despite what their representative told us we were still in a 2 year contract that was not up for another 4 months when we ported out and that they could do nothing for us. We feel that we signed on for a 1-yr contract but unfortunately didn't keep that paperwork and the bills don't mention the contract. We feel so ripped off. AT&T is the last company we will use for anything in the future.
Purchased iPhone from AT&T... Don't have nearly the coverage they claimed including in major cities and business centers; Birmingham, Michigan - Rochester, Michigan - Auburn Hills, Michigan (Chrysler World Headquarters - 2nd largest office complex in the world and the AT&T reception is HORRIBLE. If you get a line and then lots of dropped calls and garbled words.) 7 out of 10 calls I have to phone the person back or they have to phone me several times to try to get a decent connection so we can understand each other. After 19 calls to "AT&T (lack of) Customer Service", I am done.
Just got a Verizon iPhone and not only is the reception perfect - the pricing is much better with Verizon (and I have no love for Verizon)... And you can make and receive a good quality call from any location. AT&T is terrible and I would never use them again.