AT&T Long Distance USA Complaint - Still Screwing Soldiers For A Profit
I am writing about a problem that has not only effected myself, but literally dozens of soldiers in my small area. I would imagine that the problem is happening on a larger scale throughout Iraq and Afghanistan.
The issue is AT&T phone cards that are sold to soldiers under exclusive contracts to the US military. Unfortunately, some of these cards do not work. It would perhaps be reasonable to assume that there would be problems with cards would happen. However, there appears to be a broad sense of neglect and a deliberate attempt to ignore problems arising from this monopoly.
I recently purchased a phone card here in Iraq and, upon attempting to use it, discovered that the PIN number on the back was faulty. (755-413-19XX/ last two numbers missing in records). When I attempted to call customer service, I was repeatedly prompted for the PIN. As the PIN was not valid, AT&T's customer service system simply hung up on me. Repeated attempts to access the system were similarly unsuccessful.
More troubling was the small print on the back, in which AT&T charges minutes from your card in order to access customer service. In other words, it was clear that AT&T would only help soldiers for a fee.
Assuming it was a one off, I traded the card for another card from a different location (816-769-1435) and experienced the exact same problem. Attempting write or email AT&T were ignored. I wrote the Better Business Bureau and the repeated response was to simply state that what was happening could not be happening as it was against their policy. At no point did they indicate that they would take actions to address or correct this issue.
With just a little effort, I have found literally dozens of soldiers who have experienced the exact same problem with AT&T. Although many soldiers have access to FOB and the problem is annoying, it can be particularly devastating for soldiers that are deployed further forward and do not have routine access to AAFES. I am sure that there are soldiers who have to make repeated trips across combat zones to garner access to a phone card that actually works. In the mean time, the soldier is cut off from his family.
As AT&T has an exclusive contract, there are no alternatives available to soldiers. As is typical of unmonitored monopolies, AT&T has continues to collect fees for a service that is rapidly degenerating.
I would appreciate any assistance in bringing AT&T around to honor its commitment to provide phone service to US soldiers.