After posting a review stating cellphone numbers would be published to telemarketers, I was informed this has been rumored on Snoops.com for some time now. I was not aware of it, and we were sent an email throughout our company informing us of this. Stating today was the deadline. I don't want to misinform anyone, I went on Snoops.com and found some info...
I also found the following on the FTC website: April 15, 2005 - The Truth about Cell Phones and the National Do Not Call Registry. If you've received an e-mail telling you that your cell phone is about to be assaulted by telemarketing calls as a result of a new cell phone number database, rest assured that this is not the case.
Telemarketing to cell phone numbers has always been illegal in most cases and will continue to be so. In response to recent e-mail campaigns urging consumers to place their cell phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry, the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission issue this advisory to give consumers the facts.
One e-mail making the rounds says: JUST A REMINDER...In a few weeks, cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you will start to receive sale calls. You will be charged for these calls... To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888/382-1222. It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. Pass this on to all your friends...
Another version claims: The Federal Trade Commission has set up a "do not call" list. It is called a cell phone registry. To be included on the "do not call" list, you must call from the number you wish to register. Here's what you need to know about the National Do Not Call Registry program: FCC regulations prohibit telemarketers from using automated dialers to call cell phone numbers. Automated dialers are standard in the industry, so most telemarketers are barred from calling consumers on their cell phones without their consent.
The federal government does not maintain a national cell phone registry. Personal cell phone users have always been able to add their numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry, the same Registry consumers used to register their land lines either online at www.donotcall.gov or by calling toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the telephone number they wish to register. Registrations become effective within 31 days of signing up and are active for five years. There is no cut-off date or deadline for registrations. Business-to-business calls are not covered under the Registry.
JACKSON, CALIFORNIA -- Your AT&T employees misrepresent and lie to its customers. I went into an actual AT&T store on the 17th of July 2013 and bought a mi-fi device which I had to pay $49 for and sign a 2-year contract. I asked the representative to sign me up for a 3 GB plan, and for some reason I noticed when I got home that I was signed up for 5 GB instead. I was also prorated to pay an extra 6 dollars or so on my next bill, because for some reason my billing cycle started on the 19th of June and not the 17th.
While at the AT&T store, I was also very clearly told that I could at any time downgrade my service to any of the other plans from 10 Gigabytes, to 3 Gigs, to 500, and finally down to 250 MB. Now 3 months later and the data being sucked up while I sleep, I decided to downgrade the Mi-Fi plan to 250 MB and get home internet service instead, while I would still pay the $14.99 a month for their lowest plan.
So I got my home internet from AT&T BTW, and I call their customer service on 21 of October 2013 (Monday) to try to save some money, while I try and do the right thing and fulfill my contract. I tried to cancel on the 19th right before my next billing cycle but they are closed on weekends. I called because I wanted to downgrade my service and use what data amount I thought was appropriate. Come to find out the information that I received at the AT&T office in Jackson, CA was wrong. The plan, which I was offered apparently is only available for tablets, not mi-fi the lady on the phone told me.
When I told her that their company's representatives are misleading and not telling the truth, she told me to drive back to that Jackson, CA (which is almost 100 miles and talk to their manager, and tell them to train their employees better). So now I have to do the job that AT&T managers should be doing and I should pay $ and time for the mistakes their reps make. And there's nothing the customer representative could do, so I ask her to cancel my service then, because I wasn't going to pay $50 for a service that I wasn't going to use. She said she couldn't do that for me and then she transferred me again to someone who had the capability to cancel my service.
SO I was put on hold for another 20 minutes and another customer relations expert answers the phone with no capability of doing anything to help me either, except he said he could change my plan and change it into a mobile device plan where I could pay $14.99 a month, but "I would not be able to use my mi-fi device", meaning I would be paying $15 dollars until July 2015 for no services offered whatsoever.
So I asked, whether I would be able to exchange my mi-fi device for a mobile device and still continue using their service while paying the proposed $14.99. He said "No, your 14 day grace period has expired." I asked whether my cancellation fee could be waived and he said "unfortunately no" for 100th time. I swear their training consists of saying "unfortunately" in front of every word. So I stopped negotiating and said that I just want to cancel and am would not like to take advantage of his awesome offer of $14.99 because me paying that amount would amount to $315 by the time my contract expires vs. the $138 cancellation fee/penalty.
How does that do anything to help me out? When they should have stood by their word and at least trained their staff properly. Then, ** the customer relations expert also says that I would be charged for an extra month through Nov. 19 because I called 2 days after my billing cycle started. I asked him to prorate it and he said they can't do that, they have no such capability. Then I called him out of it and said that they charged me with a prorated amount in the beginning why, so don't tell me there's no such thing as prorating.
So he said he'll look into it and only charge my for 2 days of this billing cycles, after he attempted to lie to me and say that they work on the weekend. I called on the weekend and the machine told me to call during the work day. This is ridiculous, they just straight out lie to you to get their money from you. They lie to me to get me signed up, they lie to me to try to make me pay $15 a month for no service, they lie to me and say they can't prorate to get an extra $50 out of me and they lie to me, saying they can't stand up for their representatives lying to me and waiving my fee. Then they call me a valued customer.
Please waive my cancellation fee, because I deserve to be told what I'm buying and signing up for. I deserve to be told the truth. I will continue writing people to try to get the customer service and services I was promised or you also should have to hold up your side of the contract. It's not one sided, you should also be responsible for your employees not telling the truth. Thank you in advance.
EVERETT, WASHINGTON -- So I go into the store at 10am to return my phone and cancel my account. I lost the debit card I used for the purchase and reported it stolen. So the associate says come back at 3 so they can give me a cash refund. They had to wait till the tills had enough cash for the refund. So I leave and come back at 3 and see the same guy. He passes me over to the manager named **. He states the same story again and says they still don't have enough cash to do it.
So the manager himself says he will text me when they get the cash. He even sent me a text saying so to me. So I leave and time passes. I decide to go in at 5 to see how it is coming along. The manager starts to go through the tills to make sure they have enough. Then he stops and starts talking to the other manager **. Then after a minute conversation with her he comes over and says they won't be able to do cash. Then says they will need to send a check that may take 30 days to get. Then he states that he called all the other store managers to see if they can do it but they weren't able to find a way. He all of a sudden changed what he said from the beginning.
So then I talk to AT&T over and over. I got some calls from some execs but they never returned my call once I called back. They said I need to deal with the store and that they will refund everything but the restock fee and that they will just credit the account for that. Which doesn't help me since I'm closing the account. Then I go to the store for the 5th time now and of course receive the worst service yet.
** the manager skips over me and helps 3 people behind me. Then I flag her down and she says she thought I was with someone else. I tell her I just want to cancel the account and just get away from AT&T. She then puts me on the phone with customer service and walks away. Then she goes on lunch and I'm sitting there with no one helping me in person and on hold for over 30 min. Then the lady I do talk to says she can't help me because I don't know my number and that I should know it. I replied I had the phone for such a short time and why does it matter if I don't know you don't tell me what I need to know. She then says she can't help.
I told her, "They usually look it up by SSN can't you do that." She hesitates and says "yes" and I told her "I want a manager." She puts me on hold for 20 min. I decide I am over AT&T. I walk up to the reps in the store and tell them sarcastically thanks for the wonderful service once again. I dropped their phone on the desk and just left.
They are a joke there. I talk more and more with AT&T customer service and some say I will get a full refund but then say they can't and its just a big cluster **. I don't know if I will get my refund. I believe it when I talk to someone and then I go in person and they don't know what the hell I'm talking about. They have the worst customer service possible. Most of their reps don't know what I'm talking about until I basically explain it over like 30 times. Each phone call is at least an hour and I've wasted too much already.
CARBONDALE, PENNSYLVANIA -- This is about what happened the first day of my payment agreement: Called to make first payment on March 2, 2012. The recording, of course, had indicated that the account is blocked from check or credit card payments. Wow, really? AT&T customer care to the rescue. How is this possible when I'm on an arrangement already.
Here is what actually happened: The end of October 2011 I paid 235.24 to AT&T via a credit card ending in **, has been closed recently also. This credit card belonged to my Mother. I have a bank account with her and I use this card to pay my phone bill on occasion. Without me knowing my mother later disputed the charge on her credit card, forgetting this was my phone bill and I had already paid her. Apparently, this dispute had backed out the 235.24 from AT&T in February 2012. Soon after I had made my first arrangement as above for 165.93. Wouldn't it be nice if AT&T would have made me aware of this mishap.
Discussed this issue with Customer Server personnel. They had indicated that a credit card payment from October was taken off my account on February 22, 2012 which I did not know at this time. Now they say my account is 140 days past due and they cannot make an arrangement. After discussing this further with a supervisor, I was told to pay the 235.24 that was backed out in October 2011 and then I could make an arrangement the next day after I make a cash payment.
I promised to pay 235.24 the next day and would call the back to make further arrangement. Was promised by the customer service representative that they would not suspend my account unless this payment is not honored. We were all in agreement.
March 3, 2012 sometime in the afternoon my service was suspended. I called them immediately and asked why this happened when I was promised they would not shut off my service if the payment gets made. Keep in mind I work until 4 and had to make the bank to make this payment. The customer service representative had suggested that I pay the October 2011 return of 235.38 then they will un-suspend my service. Then I was told to call them back to make a new arrangement with them. All was fine at this point. We all agreed!
March 3, 2012 4:15 pm Called AT&T to confirm that I was on my way to make the payment of the 235.24 as promised. This time I was told that was not enough to get my service back on. I have to pay $545.19 now because it's 140 days old. I have told them that I was promised by the customer service representative prior that I only had to pay October's bill then I can make a new arrangement and get my service back on. This customer service representative told me they cannot do that.
Thus, I was lied to twice (2) by AT&T Customer Service. I requested a supervisor to talk to. Again I got the same line from the supervisor and no way were they going to budge. I threatened to go to another company and they really didn't even care. Very awful business practices. I requested to go over the supervisors head and again they gave me the same deal.
I told the manager that what bothers me the most is that the customer service representatives can lie and get away with it. This manager would not work with me and she claimed that they cannot override this for me. Anything can be overridden so I did not believe that for one minute. Another manager who really didn't care to help much less care that I threaten to closed my account and go to another company.
Perhaps AT&T is right to expect me to pay the 545.19 because it was not their fault this happen. However, as they can see it wasn't my fault either. Consequently, I had expected them to work with me and help me with an arrangement and not suspend my service. Moreover, there was no problem with me paying for the services, I like having the services and I certainly was not trying to rob them. Since this was a mistake by a third party, I expected them to work with me. I guess I expected too much and now I know the company's true colors.
When it comes to customer care please don't ever rely on it because it's more like "customer don't care" and you usually get a foreigner on the line that gives you the same spiel every time. "I am sorry to hear you have a billing issue...", what a scam and lack of humanity in today's business. Whatever happened to "Operator may I help you?", a real human from your own country asking to help you. Call me old fashion but, at least you were a person then, not just a number to add to some CEO's bottom line.
Needless to say once my contract is up, I'll be moving to a different company. These large companies had forgotten about Customer Care. Lose one customer is not going to affect their pockets by much, so they really do not have any care of Customer Loyalty and there is no personal customer service that really cares if you stay or leave them. The bottom line is billions of dollars aligning the pockets of CEO executives and losing a couple accounts a day is the least of their worries. If each customer took away millions of dollars of their prized shares of stocks, I bet they be better at it and enhance their customer care service. Shame on AT&T!
AT&T does not prioritize or give the slightest importance to quality customer service. They are more concerned with making money even if it means cheating their customers and taking illegal and immoral means to achieve this goal. I had several issues with my billing and I would call to inquire about these issues and I always got the run around. No one wanted to help or explain extra charges on my account.
In one particular instance I noticed that AT&T was billing me twice for minutes and it wasn't a mistake because it was happening every month. For example let's say my bill cycle ended on the 10th of the month and new minutes started on the 11th. AT&T would bill me Until the 10th of the month but then in my next bill would charge me for minutes starting from the 7th of the month instead of the 11th.
So the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th days of the month I was charged twice for any minutes used during that time frame, which truly added up! AT&T gave me reason to believe they were doing this on purpose as a SCAM to make money off of people because of the next incident I am about to explain. I received a bill once with 30 dollar charges worth of celebrity updates and game apps. I called AT&T to assure them this had to be a mistake as my husband and I NEVER purchase these sort of things. They would not explain how the transaction occurred - they simply insisted that I pay them the full balance.
I spoke to 5 different customer service representatives in regards to this issue including one store manager and a supervisor. The store supervisor told me that third party companies sometimes randomly select phone numbers to charge fees transactions that the individual did not really make. I asked, "How can you allow these third party companies to target your customers like that?" I wasn't being billed by this "third party" - I was being billed by AT&T.
Which means that if this sort of scam IS indeed TRUE then AT&T is a participant of this scam. Why else would they allow another company to target their customers and willingly collect the money for them and give it to them? They must be making a profit this way!
After hours of arguing and being told it was not at all possible to remove the charges, when I showed them I knew what they were up to they quieted down and just said "look we will remove the charges OK" - it was the shadiest thing ever!
There are so many more instances where I realized A&T steals from their customers but it's just too much to write. Most people don't want to argue over a bill so they just pay whatever balance shows up on their accounts, but I would advise to take a closer look because AT&T steals from their customers!!! I strongly advise against joining this network, they are full of lies and deceit; they are truly a CORRUPT organization. Consider yourself warned.
SHERIDAN, WYOMING -- A few days ago, I dropped my cell phone in a very small puddle. I picked it up, dried it off and even took it apart and dried the inside (just to make sure no water got inside, it was a very shallow puddle). I put it back together, put the battery back in, turn it on, and nothing. So I go to my local AT&T (ALLTELL) Store to see what they can do for me, after all this is a very inexpensive cell phone. I paid $30 for it and I got a rebate card for $30 in the mail not just three weeks earlier. So I had this phone for like three weeks and here it is dead. This just happens to be during the transition from Alltell to AT&T.
Anyway I walk in and it looks like they are taking the old Alltell phones off the counter and stocking the new AT&T phones. Well a few seconds which turn into a few minutes go by and not even a hello. OK the two guys there were stocking counter tops but the very, well how do I say this Kindly, I don't want to say fat see I'm fat and she had a few on me. Let's just say very healthy very female sales lady woman just looks at me while I the customer await a friendly acknowledgment or just hi or something.
So I see it ain't happening so I smile say "I dropped my phone." She takes it, looks at it, tries the power button and tells me "There is 'nuttin' we can do for you," looks me up on her computer and tells me "Wow you have been with us for 15 years." I smile and say "That's right. Can you help a loyal customer of 15 yrs out." "Nope," she says and "You just got this a few weeks ago. Wow that really sucks," she tells me, like I don't know this.
"Well at least you get your new AT&T phone in about three weeks." "Yes but I need my phone now." "Sorry" she says and hands me back my broken phone. "Cannot you just sell me one of the old phones that you are putting into boxes." "NO. But you can buy my cheapest phone for $150 but it won't work in a few weeks when we change over to AT&T." (Thank God I have two other phones from different companies.)
Long story short (or short story long) she tells me my other options are just wait a month or so until I receive my AT&T phone - you know the old "go without" but still pay. Or close my contract (the same contract I just renewed three weeks earlier). I ask her how much that would be and she tells me about $250. I start to walk out and she says "I have your contract pulled up so you can close it out - that's just $250 please" (really she's going to be nice to me now, I wonder if she makes commission on closing out contracts).
I said "I need to think about it." And I am. After 15 years of loyalty to that company never missing a payment, this just might be a very rewarding way to spend $250. I almost forgot later that day I look at my phone take apart one more time, All this time I had the battery in wrong.
I put it in the right way and BiNGO, it turns on. She didn't even check to see if my battery was in the right way much even check to see if I had a battery in the damn thing. Oh well thank god for TracFone and Verizon. Oh Sheridan Wyoming what you could be with a little competition.
DO NOT USE AT&T internet. I signed up with them on their website and very thoroughly read all of the service and price information. I decided to do the self installation and was told that I would receive the self install kit within days and that I would receive an email when it was shipped. I finally received it 5 days late after calling their customer service and asking about it. I got the email saying it had been shipped about a week after I received it. I then had to call technical support numerous times to get the static IP addresses that I had requested weeks ago finally set up.
According to the website, it would cost $110/month for their service. To my surprise, the next month, I get a bill for $237.95. Obviously, I call their customer service and they tell me that they had not applied my rebate of $100 for the modem. Problem is, that was still $25 more than what I was told when I subscribed. The representative refused to listen to what I was saying (that the amount was not what I was told when I signed up) and just repeated their list of changes over and over again to come up with their higher amount.
I told them that their charges were too expensive and if they could not charge me what we had agreed to, they could just cancel my service. Their response was just to say that I had signed a contract with them for a year and that my service could not be canceled. I guess they feel that they can charge you whatever they feel like regardless of what the contract says, so they are pretty cocky about it.
And the rebates they promise on their website - forget about it. You will never see them. The only one they have honored is the "free" modem. That $100 Visa gift card? When I called to ask about it, I was told to logon to their special rebate website after the first 30 days of service to have it sent to me - what a joke.
Probably even worse than all this is that I cannot even use the stupid phone line that I had to get and pay for just to get their lousy Internet service! They have sold my name and phone number to anyone and everyone. I can't have my phone plugged in for even 5 minutes without some telemarketer calling me and interrupting me when I am trying to work. Plus I am getting all kinds of junk mail now that I never got before.
I hope that AT&T is proud of themselves for this year of service that they are unfortunately getting from me - I will be dropping them as soon as possible and will be telling everyone I can not to do business with them. Not the smartest way to do business. Yep - signing up with AT&T was a BIG MISTAKE. I hope this review helps others to avoid them.
Dearest Asurion Insurance Company and Your Equally Aggravating Conspirator, AT&T: I've had the unique pleasure of spending the last several days on what seemed like a series of no less than two-hundred and fifty-thousand grueling phone conversations with your ace customer service team regarding my defective Blackberry 8700c. The experience was akin to the most excruciating torture imaginable.
In hindsight, I'd prefer the luxury of water-boarding, splintery bamboo shoots being shoved up under my fingernails or high-voltage electrodes attached to my reproductive organs by overzealous, mega-caffeinated CIA goons vying for promotion. Quite frankly, what I had to endure, dispensed by the script-sticking zombies at both of your fine and upstanding firms would make the most hardened member of The Third Reich cry out for his Mama.
On the bright side, I sure do know the drill, backwards, forwards and sideways now. "Thank you for calling the new AT&T about your wireless service." Then comes something in Spanish like, "Donde esta el shampoo? Estas ** en la casa? Primero numero dos." Then, of course you get a menu, to which you can respond by pressing the numbers 1 through 4 on the phone keypad, and then finally, you get a real live android on the other end of the line. They ask you, again, for your Cell number, address, last four of your social, name, rank and serial number.
But, before your grunts in the trenches could even utter the repetitive question log, after passing me around your system like a drunken crack ** dwarf at a gang-bang porn shoot, I would clearly, confidently and calmly, restate said data, much to their surprise. They thought I had ESP. That was fun. I was helpful. This, by the way was after three (count 'em, three) trips to the AT&T store.
The only heroes in this nightmare by the way were two Indian expats ** at the AT&T bodega at Varick and Houston in NYC. They were the only people that went way out of their way to try to get to the bottom of my problem and actually help me. For the record, I wasn't even a customer of theirs. They were just being nice guys. And, I walked away with a fabulous chicken vindaloo recipe. All was not lost.
Back to the issue at hand: I have a defective Blackberry 8700c. Not defective as in I dropped it in the toilet while tripping my face off at the Phish concert in Central Park. Not defective from me flinging it out of my window on Exit 11 of the New Jersey Turnpike, doing 80 in a 55, and having it run over by a Smart Car with 18" rims. Not defective in that my chubby pal ** tried to salt, pepper and eat the damn thing, just defective, all by itself. Oh yes, and only one month after the warranty expired. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Thus far, all a relative cakewalk as I'm sure you'll agree. It is at this particular juncture of my story that the real tyranny begins. AT&T refers me to the insurance department. I naively believe this is actually a division of AT&T. That's just ignorance though. I slap myself on the back of the head, Italian-style for being such a stunod. Turns out, things are far worse, it's Asurion, a division of CNA Insurance. (Cue the silent movie villain piano music now.)
AT&T tells me that all I have to do is call, make a quick claim and voila, they'll send me a new replacement phone right away. Simple right? I mean, what could possibly go wrong? I was so relieved. Did I mention that my livelihood is high-pressure sales in the financial sector? Without my Blackberry, my sole connection to the universe, I'm little more than roadkill on the superhighway of life. A shell of a man. A mere shadow in the midst. Um, in other words, totally screwed.
So, I called Asurion. It was a real treat to speak to the folks that I've been paying $4.99 a month to. Made it seem a little less like my hard-earned cash was being sucked into some useless black hole in another dimension. The kind gent on the other end of the line said the same thing. His speech, pretty much verbatim is like this, "Sure. We'll be happy to send a replacement phone to you, Sir. You may want to grab a pen and jot these items down."
"All I'll need is a notarized sworn affidavit and proof loss, a copy of your most recent AT&T wireless bill, a copy of your current driver's license, a valid proof of purchase, a photocopy of your sales receipt (the documents start flying by the sides of my head in various colors like at the end of '2001 A Space Odyssey' when Dave Bowman is zooming through time and space in the Astro-Pod)."
"Te electronic register receipt, the purchase receipt listing the ESN or IMEI and make model, the packing slip, Are you getting all this, Sir? And or a photocopy of the numeric barcode from the side of the box which the phone came in." "Is that it?" I ask. "Oh, and a skin graft from the underside of your left testicle. That will do it, Sir."
At this point it's Tuesday which means I have to beg my wife to dig through her files to find the myriad holy grail of documents that Asurion demands, then find a Notary. (And a licensed Physician as the last time I tried the skin graft procedure on myself for the NJDMV, I made a real mess of things. Here's a tip from your friend **, a sharp, clean blade helps tremendously. Not my finest hour. Let's just leave it at that.)
It will take 2-4 days for Asurion to get my dossier of documents, process them and ship me a replacement phone. That's a week I'm stuck with my defective Blackberry. Or worse still, if it checks out completely, which it keeps threatening, no phone at all!
To make a long story short (Entirely too late for that, I realize) you turkeys are holding me captive and I don't like it! This is going to the Better Business Bureau, The NY State Attorney General, to RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry and to everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter. Heck, I'm all for sticking it to The Man, as long as The Man is not frigging me!
Kindly resolve this now and reexamine your procedures and methods. Ugh. You have wasted my most precious resource - time. Hours that I'll never be able to retrieve. They flew out the window of my 12th floor office and at this pace quite frankly, I'm ready to join them. I'm sure you behemoth conglomerates couldn't care less about my plight. You might want to keep in mind though that there is safety in numbers and with the technology at hand, mountains can be moved. Harsh letter to follow. An Extremely Unsatisfied Customer.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- You would think that a company would want to make it easy for one of its customers to easily upgrade, but AT&T Wireless seems to believe otherwise. Two years ago, once my phone contract ended, I switched to pay-as-you-go (PAYG) from monthly. For me, it was great b/c my bill went to $100 per/year (it had been $580; I'm not a heavy cell phone user).
Today, I tried to upgrade to a newer PAYG phone but here's the problem: I just wanted to buy a new phone and switch my current number and account info over to the new phone. But the AT&T store tells me that I have to purchase my new phone on-line; the on-line AT&T folks tell me that I have to purchase that particular phone in the store. Not only that, but if you purchase the phone on line you can only get a new telephone number (can't keep your old one) and new SIM card and new account information. I'm scratching my head because it seems that they don't want to make it easy for you to upgrade.
Now, maybe this is due to some kind of second-class treatment for PAYG users. I have read studies that say that MOST consumers would save money by going to PAYG. There are still lots of people like me who want a mobile phone but we don't use it every day; heck, when I was on contract, I probably used my phone an average of 5-10 minutes per month. So, for all those years I was a great customer b/c I paid and didn't consume AT&T's resources. Now that I'm PAYG, it seems that basic services and conveniences aren't available.
One other point: cell phone plans and rules are, I guess, too complicated for a company's employees to accurately understand and convey. Sometimes, it seems that you can get a different answer for each person you ask a question... but I digress.
SAN LEANDRO, CALIFORNIA -- After 45 minutes on the phone with four different service reps from three different locations, I finally gave up. And that's exactly what they're hoping you will do too. Unfortunately it's not just AT&T, but also Comcast and many other mega large “service only” businesses. But today's frustration is all AT&T. You see, last month I called AT&T to try to lower the cost of my home phone service. A service that is basically obsolete when compared to my cell phone. Why pay $50-70 per month for a home phone with long distance when my cell phone does all that and more.
So after ten minutes of on-hold navigation, I finally was able to talk to a pleasant woman that informed I could lower my monthly cost if I switched my long distance carrier from AT&T Corp to AT&T. A little confused I asked her to repeat that. “Yes, you see, we are AT&T a division of AT&T Corp. We are the same company but we are a different company. And we can lower your bill by switching you to AT&T. Would you like to do that now?” “Oh, I see, it's perfectly clear now” I said, just wanting to move in the direction of a lower bill. So I went through the 3rd party verification and I switched from AT&T to AT&T.
You can imagine my surprise when my new bill came and it was $36.00 more than my previous bill. Once again, I navigated the phone system and talked with a customer rep. He informed me that the charges where from AT&T Corp and not AT&T and that I would have to call the other number on my bill to straighten it out. So I did. And wouldn't you know, I got the same exact service rep. Well I think this caught him a little by surprise, so he quickly switched me over to his supervisor. After explaining the situation again, the supervisor explained that the switch from last month did not happen.
That I didn't switch from AT&T to AT&T. And he gladly offered to do that again, but if I wanted to dispute the $36.00 charge, I would have to call another number to talk to the other AT&T. Once again I did the 3rd party verification and was promptly disconnected. I called the other number, full of patience I might add, and got right through to AT&T Legacy. The woman informed me that AT&T had made an error and not charged me for ALL the services I used and that this charge was to correct their error. These charges were from February and March, 2-3 months ago.
But when I looked on the bill it clearly stated that the charges were for March to April and April to May. So I disputed her statement. She quickly informed that, even though the statement said March to April, it was really for February to March. I said “Oh, I get it now. When your bill says March, it really means February and when you say AT&T, you don't mean AT&T, you mean AT&T.” She said “Yes, that's correct.” With nothing left to say, I hung up and paid the bill. Which brings me to the new era business plan that so many dying/obsolete service companies are adopting.
Sign your customer up for a monthly service, something that's intangible and easy to use. Construct the bill with as many line items as possible in order to confuse your victim…err I mean customer. Use the same company name for all your companies, but use a different customer service department and phone number for every line item on the bill. Always, and this is really important, always answer your billing questions with double talk. You must confuse the victim…dang it…I mean customer. That way, they can never cancel and they'll eventually get fed up and just pay whatever you bill them.