Apparently, they no longer need customers
My husband was a loyal AT&T customer and, after we got married, we wanted a family plan together. I had Go Phone and he was on a family plan with his former roommate. We went into a corporate store and found that we both needed to pay deposits. However, we own a small business. The employee told us that we'd be totally fine by setting up the service under our business.
He ran our business Tax ID number and we were shocked when he told us that they wanted a $10,000 deposit. That number is correct. They wanted a $10K deposit on an account with one phone line. Yeah, that's just not going to happen. So, we decided to keep my phone the way it was and to transfer my husband's number to a Go Phone account. Well, they couldn't do that until the $10,000 deposit was paid, because the supervisor had already locked the number into that account and there was nothing they could do. At that point, we were fed up enough that we got all of the information that we needed to take the number elsewhere.
A few days later, we got a bill in the mail, with the deposit waived. AWESOME! We paid the bill on time, got the plan that we wanted and thought it was all good. Until we started getting the daily collection calls. Apparently, the deposit was waived and then somebody in finance decided that they didn't really want to waive the deposit. Okay. I was then told that the only way I could get this resolved was to go into the store that set up our service and have them put in another waiver, because there was nothing that the receivables department could do for us. Well, we'd moved in this period of time and the store was quite a drive for us.
I called the store and was somehow routed to corporate customer service, instead. The CSR was extremely rude and made me jump through all of these hoops to identify the account. I gave my name, my husband's name, the business name, the account number, the telephone number on the account and was then asked to give three numbers that were regularly called. Seriously? Before I was even able to do that, the CSR told me that there was nothing she could do for me anyway. I needed to talk to someone at the store. Which was EXACTLY what I was attempting to do.
I finally got connected to the actual store and the manager told me it was no problem, that he'd take care of it. The collection calls stopped. And that was nice, as these calls were coming at 8 am, and our office doesn't open until 10 am. Every time I spoke to their Receivables department, I explained this. Nobody seemed to really care and they continued the 8 am phone calls.
We received our second bill, which showed that the $10,000 deposit was waived. Two days later, we received a notice that our account was past due (our last payment was credited towards the deposit, rather than the bill itself,) that we owed $10,145 and if we didn't pay it within 14 days, they'd shut off our service. I called the Receivables department again and, after being put on hold for 20 minutes, I was told to call the store. Again.
I called the store. Again. I spoke to an assistant manager who told me that it'd be taken care of and that he'd call me back when it was done. I waited for 3 days, hearing nothing and then called again. I stressed the fact that our service was due to be suspended and that this really needed to be dealt with like... now. "No problem, no problem." I received an e-mailed collection notice, which let me know that... well, it really was a problem, so I called the store. Again.
I spoke to the same assistant manager who told me that they actually can't waive the $10,000 deposit, they can't switch our service to any other kind of account until its paid and that, if they ran our business Tax ID number with a Social Security number, it'd go through. I told him that we'd tried to run our Social Security numbers before and that there was a deposit, but he told me that running both of them would take care of it. It didn't. We ran my husband's number and it came back with a deposit, after 3 calls to get the number and my husband's name spelled correctly. So, we tried mine and, after we finally got my name and SS number correct, the assistant manager stopped calling. Since we were working on a very heavy deadline, I didn't bother calling to follow up that day, because I just didn't have the time, with running a business and all.
My husband's phone was shut off the following day. He called customer service who told him that they wanted a $1,000 deposit if he switched it to a personal account and that we couldn't port the number anywhere else until it was paid. When the CSR was informed that this was our business phone, that all of our business calls go to that number and that all of our promotional materials had that number on it, he just didn't care and that there was nothing they could do. At all. He said that he wasn't going to tell us know to run our business. That's good, because they barely understand how to run their own.
When I got home from work that day, I called the store, who told me that they needed a $500 deposit, no wait... $750... no, $500. Really. $500. He really couldn't quite decide on which amount we needed to pay. There was nothing else that he could do, which I said along with him, because I was so used to hearing it, after all of this time. At that point, I was just so freaking sick of AT&T that we decided to go to another provider. We went to the mall, got our new account set up and found out that a cell phone provider can't refuse to port a number. Nice. We had to go into the AT&T store to get our account numbers and, when we told the employee why we were no longer doing business with them, she looked at our account. Apparently, AT&T had a lot of business fraud and wanted documentation on our business. Hey, we could have done that, if someone had actually asked us, prior to shutting off our service! We have a State business license, contractors bond, insurance policy, and a ton of references. Heck, we'd have let them visit us at work, so they could see that we're two real people who really clean houses and apartments for a living. But... it was too late, at that point. When the store employee offered that we could bring in this documentation, I felt like I really wanted to lose my temper. I didn't, because this wasn't her fault, but at that point, I was so sick of the run around that AT&T gave us that I never wanted to deal with them again.
Our new service provider has been nothing but wonderful. They dealt with AT&T's resistance to let me port over my number very easily, set up our voice mail and data connections, all with a smile. We thought that this was the last we'd have to deal with AT&T.
My husband's phone was an AT&T phone that had been purchased when his contract had renewed over a year prior to this incident. He called to have it unlocked and was told that he'd have to wait a week. Then he was told that, for a fee, they'd get to it sooner. We were reluctant to pay AT&T anything, so... we'd wait. We got a call on Monday, stating that his phone wasn't eligible to be unlocked and to call receivables about our outstanding deposit. We went to our new service provider, who was more than happy to give us an extremely deep discount on a new phone. Like, we got the "2 year contract" price, because the store manager sincerely sympathized that we'd been treated so badly by AT&T.
So, apparently, AT&T doesn't need their customers anymore, as we were pretty much blown off and treated like an unnecessary hassle. Which is fine, because other cell services are more than happy to do business with us. But, yeah. I wouldn't recommend AT&T to anyone, because there's nothing that anyone can do to resolve problems and nobody seems to care anyway. Save yourself the trouble and go elsewhere.