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AT&T Unscrupulous Business Practices on Cingular Cell Phone Clients
Posted by on
In 2004 I used Cingular as my cell phone carrier. I had a rate plan on my contract that cost me $40 a month.
The service was spotty, but I was told that once the company merged with AT&T they would have improved coverage, and my problems would be over.
I wish... My problems were just beginning.
One month I went over my minutes and called the customer service reps to increase my minutes for that month, something Cingular did cheerfully if I exceeded my minutes and let them know about it.
With Cingular, if I needed to bump my minutes up for the month, they allowed me to return to the original terms the following month without incident. I could pay the next increment of $65 for that month.
However, I was now an AT&T customer. So I was very wary, and pointedly asked if I would be able to get the original minutes back once the month was adjusted up. I was told there would be no problem.
When I called AT&T back the following month to return to my original $40 rate plan, the representative told me that my rate plan was a promotion that they no longer offered. I countered that they had made me a verbal authorization, that the rate plan was part of my contract and that they had to fulfill the terms of the agreement.
After much back and forth, I became frustrated and demanded they restore my $40 plan, and said flatly that I refused to pay more than $40.
When the bill came the next month, I learned my new rate plan offered 100 minutes for $40, and the other 2900 minutes were billed to me at 45 cents a minute. Mind you, this was for local calls, not national.
The bill rang in at $1350!! For the same amount of minutes I had been under for my original contract. I tried to work it out with customer service, to no avail. I said I would send them my usual $40. Period.
Next month, they canceled my service and I switched to T-Mobile, happily...
The bills kept coming, and they tacked a $200 early termination fee on. Now they wanted $1500.
I called again and explained that there was no value inherent in a month's local calls being billed at $1500. I also said they were really exercising poor judgment, as they had me paying $40 a month consistently, and now they would get zero.
Years have gone by... Now they've sold my paper on to a collection agency, who are suing me for $1700.
This is to be sure a nuisance suit, and AT&T can afford to harass their customers who keep them in business. Meanwhile, I subscribe to AT&T for my home line, DSL and digital cable, and am realizing just how deep AT&T's corporate greed goes!

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User Replies:
Anonymous on 07/13/2009:
Cingular acquired AT&T Wireless in 2004. The current AT&T Communications is not the same company. Agreed that the service coverage would improve but only if you had obtained a newer phone. Bet they didn't tell you that. But why are you complaining 5 years after the fact?
jktshff1 on 07/13/2009:
Cause it's just now catching up.
Not trying to bash or anything
"I became frustrated and demanded they restore my $40 plan"
It's up to you to read the fine print and understand the terms and conditions of the contract. They just did what you asked. Yes, it could have been handle differently, but it seems you were abusing the company, going over minutes and then requesting something different.
madconsumer on 07/13/2009:
I am on a 40$ plan, I have 400 any time minutes, and unlimited nights and weekends. free roaming.

if you change your plan to often, they see this as a pattern, and will not allow it any further. any time I have needed to increase my plant for a single month, I ghad to do it 'before' the next billing cycle. never post fact or mid cycle.
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Fraudulent account
Posted by on
Att&t's fraud department is a joke, and I would not recommend the company to anyone.

A little bit of background:
A few months ago I received a collection notice in the mail from an accredited company, stating an AT&T&t account in my name had been handed over for collections. The shock was indescribable, but when I looked into it, I found I had been the victim of identity theft. (yay...not)

For those of you who have had to go through it, you know the nightmare. Calling the credit companies, contacting the police and filling out a report..etc..etc..etc. I went through all that lovely nonsense only to have AT&T&'s fraud department lose my information. (to specify for those of you who are lucky enough to not have had to deal with it..information means copies of various accounts with addresses and dates, police reports, copies of birth certificates, social security cards and drivers licenses..etc..etc. All of which they do not help you attain.)

After two correspondences, no less. I receive a notice in the mail stating I am responsible for a debt of close to 1,000 dollars in a state that I don't even live..and haven't even visited.

When I contacted the fraud department the person I spoke to (and of course she failed to give her name) was very rude. Treated me like I was a criminal, and would not listen to a thing I had to say..and then she hung up on me.

So after calling them back, and sitting on hold for almost another hour while my phone battery beeped at me continuously. I finally reached Mike. Thank goodness for people who value their jobs!!! He cleared the account after hearing my story, and even tracked down all my lost information which had apparently been entered into their system under the wrong name. (hooray for competency)

After going through all that, I'm relieved to have the dispute taken care of but still offended with the representation. Is that how a company treats loyal customers of almost five years? After all this, I think at my next sign on period I am going to just cancel the account.
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Fairest deal in the wireless
Posted on
My family plan was due for contract renewal this month.

On 8/1, I signed-on to my Cingular/AT&T account and chose to upgrade my phones with a credit card. I selected 2 Motorola RAZR 3.X phones. The advertised price was $49.99 per phone with $50 mail-in rebate. The cost of the upgrade is $18 per phone. I received both phone on 8/3 and send in the rebates for $100 (2 phones). So far, so good.

I signed-on to my Cingular/AT&T account two weeks later and noticed that they still did not lock down my upgrade feature on both phone lines. I also check my credit card account and noticed that they did not charge me for the phones and/or upgrade fees. However, they did processed and approved the rebates for $100. I called their support line and asked “what happen?” and I was told that they will look into the matter and will get back to me. I still do not get a callback or email from Cingular/AT&T.


I got 2 free phones, no contract and getting $100 (rebate) back.

Few times in life that corporate screw-up actually benefits the end-users (consumers).

I agreed with their slogan. This is “the Fairest deal in the wireless”.
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User Replies:
Ponie on 08/30/2007:
I hope they don't come back and slug you with a big bill. That's one of the reasons I never give my credit card number to a place like a cell phone company, a 'free trial' offer, etc.

Good luck!
Anonymous on 08/30/2007:
Not worry, since they forgot to lock me in a contract.

I can jump ship anytime.

If they try to over-charge me, I’ll dispute it with my CC company.
cingular tech rep on 09/12/2007:
OK there is a thing called the estore for online sales so call customer service and ask to be transferred to this department asap....
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Posted by on
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Customer service with Cingular is absolutely horrible. Unless you want to sit on the phone waiting for a representative for an hour, don't bother. I called to cancel my account, only to face a very rude lady on the other end of the line after waiting for over an hour. FINALLY I had to sternly say that I wanted to cancel my account for the hundredth time before she finally would listen and accept my decision. Then, I inquired what the cancellation fee was, since I did not have my contract in front of me. She informed me that it would be $130.00. Of course, I get my bill a week later to find that it was actually $175, and when I call to ask about it, they say "Oh well I'm sorry she told you that, but we can't do anything about it". Great. Total crappy company, that cares NOTHING about their customers whatsoever.

They just suck you into a contract, provide you with a terrible quality phone, hook you up to their spotty network, and then ignore your complaints. I switched over to T-Mobile and couldn't be happier with my service, their customer support, and my MUCH MUCH MUCH lower monthly bill.
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Anonymous on 10/30/2007:
> provide you with a terrible quality phone

Do not agree with this line. You choose your phone when you sign up for cell. service. I had a (free) Motorola RAZR and now a iPhone with AT&T. I am very happy with my phone/service/support (5+ years) with them.
Meganne on 10/30/2007:
Yes, you get your choice of phone, but my phone stopped working properly less than 5 months later. They sold me a defective phone, and refused to replace it. They told me to wait two years until my contract was up for renewal. Glad you are having success with them. I hope your phone lasts for you.
msnanny on 10/30/2007:
Good luck with T-Mobile. If you do a search you'll find tons of complaints about them too.

HappyJoyBear, I have an iPhone with AT&T too!!! LOVE IT!!!
Anonymous on 10/30/2007:
I love Cingular/ AT & T. I signed up with them in 2001 and now 7 years later, I'm still with them. Wow, seven years with the same phone company and the same phone number. I should get a prize. ;)
Anonymous on 10/30/2007:
If you pay $5 extra per month for their phone replacement insurance, you would receive a replacement phone.
Anonymous on 10/30/2007:

Wireless Phone Insurance protects your wireless phone against theft, loss, accidental physical or liquid damage. It also adds coverage for mechanical and electrical failure after the manufacturer's warranty period has expired.

Wireless Phone Insurance protects against:
Loss or theft

Accidental physical or liquid damage*

Mechanical and electrical failure after the manufacturer's warranty period has expired

*Includes power surge, physical or liquid damage.
Meganne on 10/30/2007:
Yes, they offered to replace my phone, but of a much lesser quality. The phone I originally received was a Samsung model that they carried for ONE MONTH, then decided not to carry any longer. They did not even provide a car charger for this model, after searching multiple Cingular locations. Within three months of owning this model, it stopped working. It was a fairly attractive phone, but the replacement offered would have been a definite step down. And the "warranty" is more of a hassle to cash in on than simply switching to another carrier. I would rather pay $30.00 more for a great phone and significantly better customer service than to sit on the phone for over an hour, be have to call from a separate phone while they diagnose the issue, etc. The point is, if the phone stops working or if you receive poor service, they should take care of it. So far I have had no problems with T-mobile. If you love Cingular, great. I'm just trying to warn those who may end up the same situation. They are not a pleasant company to do business with.
CrazyRedHead on 10/31/2007:
If you do a search on all the cellular providers, you will find loads of complaints about the same issues.
Meganne on 10/31/2007:
And..? Does that make it OK or right? I thought the point of this site was to complain about experiences you have had to warn others? That's really all I'm trying to do. Pick whatever company you would like. I'm just tired of Cingular, and would never go back or recommend them to anyone. I have had great success with T-Mobile, and I feel I should voice my compliments to this company as well.
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Unfair practices and Charges
Posted by on
LOUISIANA -- My son recently purchased a "blackberry" cell phone. Within 15 days, my cell phone bill exploded to over 300.00. Why?

Apparently, the blackberry uses the internet. It uses the internet whether you uses it or not.

He swears he has not accessed the net. I am very upset with these particular business practices. I plan to file an official complaint with ALL possible government agencies.

Additionally, I plan to contact their main office. Though since the merger, I don't believe it will help.
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User Replies:
Anonymous on 05/03/2007:
Data devices don't access the 'net by themselves, you have to physically turn the wireless feature on. This information can be found in the users manual that came with the phone. Your son most likely did access the 'net and either doesn't want to fess up or he forgot to turn the wireless back off and that's why your bill is so high.
Hugh_Jorgen on 05/03/2007:
A Blackberry is designed as a web browser and email terminal - as you found, every time you browse the web or send and receive emails, you incur a charge. So I wonder why you would buy what is basically an internet access device and then be surprised when it accesses the internet? If your son needs the access, Cingular has some unlimited data plans that are a lot cheaper than $300/mo.
rhondam718732 on 05/03/2007:
You need to talk to your son again. Blacberry's are widelyn for internet/email use. What's the point of one if you don't use it for that?? And I went to the Cingular site and it says "Internet browsing is an included feature"... Last but not others posted. Your son had to have pressed the browser button, and continued psuhing buttons to remain online and using the service. It doesna't just surf on its own and as soon as he notcuied something weird, why didn't he ask??? Your son is fibbing.....
dfields on 05/03/2007:
I agree with ALL of the above. also, in the future, consider getting to the truth before accusing a company of deceptive business practices. sure, they all do it one way or another, but your complaint is INVALID.
cingular tech rep on 05/21/2007:
I won't place blame on your son, or you sir but I will say that if you do own a Data device than you might consider your options to get a data plan with unlimited usage...thanks
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