AT&T Complaint - The New Era Business Model
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 their 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.