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View Full Version : AT&T Phone for thru-hike - AT&T sucks!



SGT Rock
2007-11-15, 08:49
Friends, I gotta warn you about AT&T - I just had an issue with them and now I am out hundreds of dollars for their lousy business sense.

Here is the story...

Yesterday I was notified by AT&T Wireless that I was being removed from their service because I made too many calls from outside of their coverage area. I know that is their right apparently. The individual we talked with about this said we are costing them too much because I did this apparently for two consecutive months.

Here is my issue with this though. I have been an AT&T customer for years. I have them for my local, long distance, and until last night my wireless service. I recently returned from a deployment to Iraq (my second) where I paid for cell phone service with AT&T but never used it Ė so for 12 months I didnít cost them very much at all to provide service, just a profit for services I didnít get to use. When I came home to the US I spend a good deal of money on new cell phone equipment with AT&T to get a new phone I wanted that offered some features I used extensively while deployed - we talked about it here because I had done some hunting to get one that had a good camera, MP3 player, FM radio, was expandable, and could text message - I even modified the belt clip so it could attach to my camera tripod.

I was then deployed again to Kentucky and Wisconsin to mobilize Reserve and National Guard units for deployment to Iraq...

During these trips I apparently used more minutes away from the infrastructure and made AT&T less money for 2 whole months. So for that short 2 months of deployment I now am out all my rolled over minutes I never used, I am out the money I spent on new equipment with AT&T (my new service provider cannot use their equipment) and I ended up spending over $300 last night to get a new service and new equipment. AT&T was nice enough to wave the termination fee for me since it was their idea to can me.

Last night I tried to e-mail AT&T to tell them that I was now going to get rid of my AT&T local phone service and go VOIP through my cable company, and get rid of my AT&T long distance too. I sent that to the only AT&T section that let me explain enough in my message (complaints only get 75 characters apparently) and today they responded that I need to talk to AT&T wireless section Ė well we did that yesterday and that got us no where other than MAD. I imagine that both the person on the phone last night and the guy that got the e-mail are probably at a service center in India.

What gets me is I wasnít even given the option to apply those roll over minute payments to the costs for those couple of months. I wasnít even able to pay extra to keep the same service. Iíve spent thousands with AT&T over the years (including the over priced AT&T calling cards while in Iraq over 2 deployments) and for a few dollars over a couple of months, I am the one that is paying the price.

AT&T doesnít deal fairly with soldiers. They should be banned from serving them in places like Iraq where they can monopolize their business.


I then checked their service area today - apparently the county I am in isn't in their coverage anymore. BUT they do have about 5 stores selling a service around here. I guess they will all end up in the same boat I am in within a couple of months here. The US Cellular place was teeming with new customers, I imagine AT&T is shafting a lot of people here. If you are going to hike the AT - be advised that, according to the new service map, a good deal of the trail is not in their service area and you may find yourself dropped from AT&T for talking too much outside their infrastructure while you are out there.

CoyoteWhips
2007-11-15, 09:06
Wow, happy Veteran's day.

At least the internet makes this kind of shoddy business much more public than in years past. I hope I'm one of hundreds of people who won't consider ATT when I buy a new phone, having seen this.

Iceman
2007-11-15, 10:54
Rock, thanks for taking the time to backup your claim against ATT. Good approach.

I do have one question though....you guys get phone service while hiking back there? What the'!? We generally do not get service anywhere out here in WA state when hiking/hunting...Phone service would be nice.....

SGT Rock
2007-11-15, 11:59
It ain't everywhere.

sailingsoul
2007-11-15, 12:09
I will do my best to makes this short, since your post set my head on fire. First I'm sorry SGT, with the BAD treatment your getting with at&t. Don't feel relief now that your out w/ at&t, you can spend more money to get a new camera phone, with someone else and to get the same treatment. Don't plan on being able to use your phone on sprint. They'll say it's not compatible with there system. Of course it worked fine with there system when at&t wasn't available and sprint could make money by selling roaming minutes. You must be compliant with there real system, there MMS "money making system" . The same MMS as at&t. That's why you'll have to buy a new phone, so you'll comply with they're system (there MMS). Oh! If you change to sprint you better not sit on hold calling customer service to much or you'll end up with another phone, a 4yr old can play with or for your junk box. Here's a link to why http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9739869-7.html I agree with CoyoteWhips about the internet's potential of getting the word out but where can we go? Cell phones are run by a shared monopoly. "Shared or Joint monopoly refers to ANTICOMPETITIVE behavior by firms, normally an oligopoly, in order to secure monopoly profits for the firms as a group". Cell phone service in the USA is a shared monopoly. There is no competition, when a small number of companies together maintain control a market. Here is a list of the members of the oligolopy, they are your only alternatives . There are only 5, counting at&a. Which is not an option leaving only 4. Anyone want to wager for better treatment else where???? http://cellphones.about.com/od/uscellularops/US_Cellular_Phone_Company_Listing.htm When you can count on one hand the total number of wireless companies, this is what we all get! SS :captain:
PS Now I must jump overboard to put my fire out

deadeye
2007-11-15, 14:16
I don't recall the exact details, but the Vermont attorney general just won a case against Verizon, and got a sizeable settlement for local Verizon ex-customers. Seems Verizon was cancelling peoples' "Unlimited" service because they were using it too much.

The customers and the AG helped correct Verizon's definition of "unlimited." Maybe we can do the same for AT&T!

FWIW, I use Tracphone pre-paid service, and have been very happy with it. I don't use it a lot, but it works for what I need it for... so far.

Proudfoot
2007-11-15, 14:33
Last night I tried to e-mail AT&T to tell them that I was now going to get rid of my AT&T local phone service and go VOIP through my cable company, and get rid of my AT&T long distance too.

Don't get VoIP from your Local Cable company. Check out Skype Its FREE if the person on the other end has it as well. You can use your phone just like normal. You can also check to see if your area is getting FTTP (fiber optic) from Verizon. Its happening all over and the service will provide dial tone, internet and television. Also consider a Satelite phone, which may be expensive, not sure, but you can use it world wide. Even Iraq.

On the wireless service, they all suck equally. I now carry Verizon wireless, but previously had T-mobile who charged me outrageous sums of money for things they refused to explain, Sprint which wasn't that bad, except the limited service outside of urban areas(no good for you), AT&T in the service at Fort Sill ended with me crushing the phone with my boot heal, but i remember calling them to cancel the service and I said I was moving outside of their coverage area, and they waived the cancellation fee (like $125).

You might consider a phone card, which you can easily memorize the pin and 800 number, which means you can't lose it, and you can use any phone since its a toll free call. Or there is a calling home card, which gives you an 800 number and maybe a pin, but it forwards you directly to a preprogrammed number (home, voicemail, hun's cell).

Lastly there is a Butt Set which allows for "butting in" on line boxes (that metal box on your street somewhere, maybe up on a pole) that all the local telephone lines go) This device it kinda heavy, not too mention illegal.

As long as a cellular device is compatible with the network of the carrier, ie CDMA, GSM, and TDMA, it can most likely be enabled to use another network.

pure_mahem
2007-11-15, 17:40
Rock I would have to say that is horrible what ATT pulled on you they suck! I got tired of paying $90 dollars a month to the monopoly here in VT running the phone service. Only one provider here tell me that aint a monopoly...about 3 years ago I switched to Lingo VOIP average of $25 a month, but if the power went out your were screwed (just an added note Lingo has very nice customer service until you tell them your leaving then they are a bunch of a holes!) A couple of months ago I switched to VOIP through my cable company because it has battery backup, also a monopoly known as Comcast but hey I need internet and tv. So if your power goes out you have a phone for the next 8 hours. I haven't had any issues with VOIP service in the time that I've had it. My Bill for Cable, Broadband and phone is now about $130 a month, not to bad. I have 2 movie channels and save more money than I did before paying all the services seperate. If they up it I'll go back to basics and go through Vonage for VOIP. I've heard that the Vonage service is pretty good too.

As for cell service I'd recomend a Tracphone, they have worked well for me. With Tracphone if you have a spell where you don't use it then you just don't put any minutes on it and reactivate it when you do want to use it. Only thing is when doing this you get a new number each time you reactivate it. My parents just got one and bought a year card and a double minute card.
The year card will keep your phone active for one year, they reactivation expiration now changes with the card you buy for minutes if you take a look at the tracphone sight they explain this. The new double minute cards are good for the life of the phone, however if you lose or break the phone the card can't be transfered to the new one, there maybe an exception to this it the phone is faulty but I'm not sure. In my opinion if you do a lot of cell phone talking then the year card isn't really worth it but if you want to just have it when you need it the year card may be just the ticket, this also depends on wether you want to keep the same number or don't mind changing it if the phone runs out. The double minute card is worth it if your not one of the people that constantly lose or break your phone. I know they recently made all there current phones w/o roam charges but I don't know if they work abroad or not. To bad there wasn't a VOIP cell phone or something like that. I know if you get internet abroad you can use yahoo voice messenger and talk to people just like on a phone but there are sometimes lags but hey it's free, and with a cam you can video chat. I'm walking my brother through yahoo voice messenger with video now as his spouse is in spain and the phone charges are absurd. I wonder on the Sat phones if you have to have a service plan or if you can just pay the expensive price for the phone and just use it? If the latter is the case I would opt for that I'll have to check into that. JMO

pure_mahem
2007-11-15, 18:08
Went surfing and found this site http://www.satphonestore.com/index.cfm?page=Globalstar Looking seems to cost about 900 dollars for a new globalstar phone and if you sign up for a contract to 2010 cost $20 a month for unlimited calls in your calling area looked at coverage area on side link in right margin looks pretty broad. I wonder if they charge you roaming if you go to europe or the middle east May just have to call them and find out. Here in the states looks like a damn good deal no dead spots ever! but that initial investment is a killer.

Amigi
2007-11-15, 18:20
I know this is still ATT, but I have Cingulars GOPhone. I pay 54 a month at 13c a min. I never use all I buy, the minutes rollover, and I dont have to put up with any of this crap. If I'm outta area, its 25c a min. I've had it 13 months and have like $300+ in my account. Twice I've used more in a month than I bought, but hence the rollover.
Other than that, I've had them all and they all suck. Thats why I went with a pay as you go.

GGS
2007-11-15, 18:48
I don't recall the exact details, but the Vermont attorney general just won a case against Verizon, and got a sizeable settlement for local Verizon ex-customers. Seems Verizon was cancelling peoples' "Unlimited" service because they were using it too much.

The customers and the AG helped correct Verizon's definition of "unlimited." Maybe we can do the same for AT&T!


I would also recommend contacting your state's attorney general.

SGT Rock
2007-11-15, 20:23
I signed up through my cable company for VOIP tonight. It added about $15 a month to my phone bill and they can set it up so all my old phones still work as it uses a cable modem that my house phone system will plug into. So in that respect it is not a true VOIP phone. But I get all the things I was getting from the phone company for only $15 a month. Not a bad deal.

Last night I got a new phone. This one is not like the last one - I decided to try something different than with the last phone. This one is still a camera with flash (modified the belt clip tonight so it mounts to tripods like the last one) and it can do MP3s. The difference is this one is internet enabled. So while I am on the trail I can fire it up and check weather.com site, or come here to the site to update my position on the forum. It uses explorer - so I have a real e-mail account with my pop3 server. It also can read PDF files. So I have already added files such as the PDF version of the companion and my own BMT guide to the memory so I have the digital information on hand. I can even add some map data - that would have been handy the other night when I got to the trail and realized I forgot my maps at home.

The cool things about this phone is it came with two LiIon batteries and the phone and internet can be turned off so it is just a camera, MP3 player, and PDA device. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to optimize it for my thru-hike.

dixicritter
2007-11-15, 20:42
We used TracFone when we first got here. Lots of dead areas, worse that what we had with Cingular/AT&T that's the whole reason we switched in the first place.

I have to say I was extremely happy to realize today that I could stand in my living room and actually have 3 bars of service on my phone. On my old cell I had to basically go stand in the driveway to have service and was lucky to get 2 bars.

Good riddance to AT&T as far as I'm concerned!

CoyoteWhips
2007-11-15, 23:28
For mobility, I am quite fond of gmail. I can access my email from any web browser. It has specific cell phone display modes. The spam filters rule.

SGT Rock
2007-11-16, 09:40
For mobility, I am quite fond of gmail. I can access my email from any web browser. It has specific cell phone display modes. The spam filters rule.
That would be a good option. Right now what I am running for this is an account I created on my domain for just this account. So there is an e-mail address with a @hikinghq.net extension that I can set my other accounts up to forward to if needed. This device contacts using standard pop3 protocols.

RBrownkatz
2007-11-17, 09:35
It's un-American.
And even though I disagree with the war in Iraq, I think this is especially disgusting to be done to a serving American soldier. Thanks for telling us about this, Sgt. I'm with CoyoteWhips. ATT will get none of my business. That's the power we have.

Spice1
2007-11-19, 11:11
Man, rock if it makes you feel better, AT&T (American Telegraph and Tommyguns) and I have history. Back in the late 80s, I ran BBS (like this forum, only using phonelines and modems instead of the internet) and somebody took to calling me from Florida using stolen card numbers or something of that sense. AT&T called me every saturday and asked me if I knew somebody in Jacksonville. By the fifth call, I did some research, and explained to them not to call me. On call 7, I filed a formal complaint with the FCC for harrasment. (Which I advise you to do, or call a lawyer) AT&T responded by getting the feds to open an investigation on the BBS and myself.

Then, while in the military, I had the AT&T in room phone service. They wound up jerkin me around and I dropped them, with about $500 worth of charges. About 18 months later, after refusal to pay the bill, which I said was BS, I got a check in the mail. Apparently AT&T had been overcharging soldiers and had to refund a portion of their phone bills. I got the percentage of the $500 I never paid.

AT&T is the brain of the the old bell system monopoly, working to slowly reform itself since the divesiture, and doing a darn good job at it.

Today, I am typing to you from an AT&T account. Got a great monthly deal on a 5 year contract. Spent quite a bit of time reading the fine print to see that I wouldn't get charged an early cancelation fee if I moved beyond their service range. As the cabin is 2 miles from the nearest phone line, I figure I'll wind up saving about $200 on the 9 month of service I will have used while in the apartment.

Also, those of you using AT&T, know that they have ALL traffic redily diverted to an NSA screening room in some of their central offices. Phone calls, e-mails, web browsing, any service AT&T offers is prone to warantless evesdropping.

dixicritter
2007-11-19, 16:43
I got the opportunity this afternoon to participate in a marketing telephone survey for AT&T. They had their customer satisfaction department call me... the idiots! I told the lady exactly what I thought. Told her I was extremely unsatisfied with AT&T, Would Never go back to AT&T, and would Never recommend AT&T to my friends or relatives.

When I explained that I didn't choose to leave AT&T that they dropped us and why the lady actually said "That's just crazy." LOL. She even typed out every word that I told her into her computer and read it back to me to be sure she got it right. :D

MAN that felt good!

Streamweaver
2007-11-19, 17:17
Thats the way u do it Dixicritter! Kick butt and take no prisoners!!!:adore:

GGS
2007-11-19, 18:22
Sgt Rock, just to confirm, the two months of useage that AT&T dropped you for were _all in the continental United States_, right?

dixicritter
2007-11-19, 21:26
Thats the way u do it Dixicritter! Kick butt and take no prisoners!!!:adore:

Thank ya very much. :angel:


Sgt Rock, just to confirm, the two months of useage that AT&T dropped you for were _all in the continental United States_, right?

I'm not Rock, but I can answer that... Yes, the phones have only been used in the continental United States.

SGT Rock
2007-11-20, 07:53
Sgt Rock, just to confirm, the two months of useage that AT&T dropped you for were _all in the continental United States_, right?
What she said. As a matter of fact - my phone I had while I was stationed in Iraq was here in the US turned off because it was not compatible with the Iraqi cell phone towers. If it had been I could have changed the sims chip in it while I was there and used their system, but even then it wouldn't have charged back to AT&T because it would have been chipped with the local Iraqi phone company.

dixicritter
2007-11-20, 09:09
To clarify that just a little bit... his phone line was active and paid for every month of the deployment, he just wasn't using the phone. I did use his phone with the kids a time or two while he was gone since we had it available though... ;) Guess that's how we racked up all those roll over minutes that we lost when they dropped us (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 minutes and we were losing at least 200 every month that were expiring).

GGS
2007-11-20, 12:12
To clarify that just a little bit... his phone line was active and paid for every month of the deployment, he just wasn't using the phone. I did use his phone with the kids a time or two while he was gone since we had it available though... ;) Guess that's how we racked up all those roll over minutes that we lost when they dropped us (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 minutes and we were losing at least 200 every month that were expiring).

If you racked up a sizable credit before they dumped you then I would highly recommend you talk to an attorney!

atraildreamer
2007-11-20, 15:59
Rock...why don't you introduce AT&T to your old insurance agent...seems like they were made for each other! :argh: :albertein

Geo.
2007-11-29, 16:37
Sarge, That really sounds like crap treatment.
Phone/email complaints have a habit of disappearing into the ether or falling on the ears of those who don't give a toss - have you considered a written complaint to a specific member of the company's heirarchy? That sometimes gets results and maybe at the least, will give the satisfaction of letting 'the boss' know what the company policy is doing for his wallet.
Another case of dollars over morals. Their loss though - from the feedback here, AT&T will already lose more than what you 'cost' them.

On a slightly different tack that may be of interest. I sometimes use 'Voipcheap' to make distance calls from my pc. The beauty of them is that the person you are calling doesn't have to have the voipcheap software or even a computer. You can make calls to regular telephones with it. And it's free. I think there might be a time limit on the call, but I never rattle on for too long anyhow so haven't hit a limit yet.
http://www.voipcheap.com/en/index.html

Cheers, Geo.

dropkick
2007-11-29, 17:52
I hate phones.

If it wasn't for my family wanting me to have it and the fact I'm too cheap to move away from dial up I wouldn't have one.
Pre internet the only reason I had one in my house was because my Mom paid for it - told her I didn't want it, she said "I paid for it, you'll keep it."
(After I started using the internet I took over paying for the service)

I do have a tracphone that I take hiking as it makes my Mom a happier if I can get hold of her once and a while.
I wouldn't have that though except once again my Mom got it for me and she buys the cards for it. -I have several hundred of roll over minutes or "units" built up on it as I use it so seldom.

I've always hated phones and you're just giving me more reasons.

dixicritter
2007-11-30, 13:53
Good news y'all.... We are free from AT&T now! We are now completely switched off all of their services as of yesterday. :D

Our home phone service is now bundled with our cable and internet service, we're actually saving approximately $40 a month AND the cable company said we had to take more channels on the TV to get the lower bill. Oh the horror. :bandit:

:aetsch: Take that AT&T. :bootyshak

sailingsoul
2007-11-30, 21:34
RIGHT ON! Anyone with AT&T should call around and see if they can get a better deal. If you find one tell AT&T, SGT Rock set you straight. When will some companies learn? Most of us will be loyal until they're given a reason to not to be ( like being screwed). For the record, I love having a cell phone . Because I realize that when it rings I don't have to answer it. It goes to voice mail, some people don't get that part. When I don't want to hear it ring, I turn it OFF. Quite a concept. I carry it for me and my benefit, not for who's calling. It's just a tool, that gives great advantages when use skillfully. Just like any tool. SS:captain:

atraildreamer
2007-12-01, 12:23
We used TracFone when we first got here. Lots of dead areas, worse that what we had with Cingular/AT&T that's the whole reason we switched in the first place.

Tracfone is upgrading their service. They sent me a new phone, gratis, and gave me extra minutes, also gratis, when I switched over from the older phone which was incompatible with the newer digital upgrades. They also dropped the roaming charges. Dead areas are seldom encountered.

Their rates have also dropped a bit. They now have an automatic option where you can add 50 minutes/months for ~$10. This is ideal for me since I only use my phone when necessary. I am not one of those dingbats who can be seen driving/walking around with their phones glued to their ear constantly. My average call is about 38 seconds long. :biggrin:

I never activated the message feature on the new phone. I figure, if it's important, call me back. :call:

SGT Rock
2007-12-01, 12:58
I have heard that Tracfone is really getting to be a very good deal.

carmike
2007-12-13, 13:20
I have alltel and have no problems unlimited calling anytime little if every no signal and only a couple drops and everything else to boot, I was on Isle royale and had 7 bars and only problem with that is closest cell tower was 20+miles away on the mainland. and its a cheap phone so couldnt call out. which was great cant wait to go back.

Rob Rohde-Szudy
2007-12-26, 15:46
Hey Sarge. Sorry to hear of your treatment, but completely unsurprised. Given your profession and interests, the earlier suggestion of sattelite phone might be a pretty good one.
Best,
--Rob

SGT Rock
2007-12-28, 13:38
I got a freaking bill for nearly $600 this week. I spent a few hours on the phone trying to fix that. At the end of it I got the bill down to the correct charges. And at the end of the coversation the idot at AT&T billing actually said "Thanks for choosing AT&T"

pure_mahem
2007-12-28, 14:13
They really make you want to reach out and touch someone!

Nightwalker
2008-01-03, 02:23
They really make you want to reach out and touch someone!

For distance and accuracy.

bish777
2008-01-03, 21:49
And i thought British Telecom were a bunch of farcical morons, but this takes the biscuit.

pure_mahem
2008-01-03, 22:14
You know I had to look that up before I could agree with it!

Mountain Dog
2008-01-06, 15:04
For what it is worth, I chose another carrier last week just because of the way Sgt R was treated. I'm sure all carriers have horrow stories. But, in my small way I wanted to show my support for another hiker.

GGS2
2008-01-10, 21:44
Sgt Rock, just to confirm, the two months of useage that AT&T dropped you for were _all in the continental United States_, right?

Just a couple of days ago, I registered on White Blaze under the username GGS, which are my initials. Today I come to Hiking HQ and I find another GGS posting on this thread! I can't see his profile, so I don't know what's up. I see all the other usernames are the same as on WB, so I'm wondering if this is a hack, or just coincidence? Curious

GGS
2008-01-11, 03:58
Just a couple of days ago, I registered on White Blaze under the username GGS, which are my initials. Today I come to Hiking HQ and I find another GGS posting on this thread! I can't see his profile, so I don't know what's up. I see all the other usernames are the same as on WB, so I'm wondering if this is a hack, or just coincidence? Curious

Hey! There's room for only ONE GGS here, dude! (LOL)

I on the other hand have never posted on Whiteblaze. This will be confusing... GGS on WB is GGS2 on HikingHQ, and GGS on HikingHQ will be GGS2 on Whiteblaze. You know, if we work together, we could start all kinds of mayhem with this... :biggrin:

SGT Rock
2008-01-11, 08:27
It's like watching the Parent Trap.

Amigi
2008-02-25, 20:21
I retract all positive statements ever said about A Terrible Telepone company.

I had a Cingular Gophone, which them became an ATT Gophone. With Cingular, I could do everything online, never needed to go in the stores or call them.

My company used to just pay me $50 a mon for my cell usage, which was fine with me. Well, we grew from 29 to 49 employees almost overnight, so my boss ( the owner ) wanted everyone on the company plan.

He gave me a really nice Sprint PCS phone, so I needed to cancell my Gophone. Nope, cant do it online, so I went to a store. Nope, they cant do it either, I have to call. Nope, not on weekends, after 9pm my time, holiday including basketweaving day, etc.

My autowithdrawl happens on the 15 of every month. I tried desperately to get them to turn off the phone before Feb 15, to no avail. I provided the wrong password ( but it works to get into my voicemail? ), that "screen" isnt coming up right now ( huh? ), etc, you get the point. Suddenly, on the 25, after they have another $50 plus taxes outta me, they can turn it off.

Will I get a check for the balance? No, I have to use it up. I already have a free phone so what the hell do I need this one for "to use it up".

BOYCOTT these assholes.

GGS
2008-05-22, 15:14
In the news yesterday, www.lsj.com...



EAST LANSING - Scrutinizing a phone bill line by line is nobody's idea of fun, but sometimes it pays off.


Doug Keyes of East Lansing was recently slogging through the occasional close examination he gives his AT&T cell phone bill, when he noticed a $2.99 charge for "Emergency Roadside Service."

WHAAAAT? From a cell phone company?

Keyes was positive he hadn't ordered such a thing. Why would he? His auto insurance already covered it.

Keyes called AT&T's customer service number, and complained about being charged for a service he didn't order. The representative readily agreed to remove the fee. Luckily Keyes thought to ask an important follow-up question: Had he unknowingly paid the $2.99 previously?

As a matter of fact, he had - for 16 consecutive months. Again, the representative quickly offered to credit Keyes with the whole shebang, acknowledging that computer records confirmed he never ordered roadside assistance.

Which left one unresolved issue: What gave AT&T the right to start charging Keyes for a service he didn't order?

Keyes asked that very question. The reply, he said, was astonishing: "Because it's something we thought you would like to have."

Check your bills
Interestingly enough, in his "The Working Guy" blog on www.tech.yahoo.com, Christopher Null addresses "Nine Ways to Save Money on Your Cell Phone Bill."

Number Two: "Check for services you don't use. Cingular (which became AT&T) signed me up for a $3-a-month emergency roadside assistance plan, which I never asked for."

Responding to my inquiry, AT&T spokeswoman Amy Grundman said Keyes got the roadside assistance free for 30 days when he first signed up with AT&T.

It was his responsibility, she said, to cancel the service if he didn't want to pay for it after the 30-day promotion.

An explanation of the charge was included, Grundman said, in an e-mail AT&T sent Keyes.

As you might expect, the experience has not exactly endeared Keyes to AT&T.

Once his two-year contract is up, he'll be shopping around for another company.

Meanwhile, you can bet Keyes will be keeping a close eye on his bill.

"For all I know," he said, "they'll be adding furnace cleaning charges next."

GGS
2008-05-22, 15:29
...And a follow-up today

EAST LANSING - For the record, Doug Keyes took issue with AT&T spokeswoman Amy Grundman's explanation of why AT&T was charging Keyes $2.99 per month for roadside emergency service when he never ordered it.

"Were this a court case, my lawyer would have jumped up with an objection to the testimony of the AT&T's Amy Grundman," Keyes wrote in a follow-up e-mail to me.

As I wrote Wednesday, Keyes, while scrutinizing his cell phone bill, stumbled upon the $2.99 charge, and learned that he been paying it for 16 months. The AT&T folks, acknowledging Keyes never ordered the service, issued him a credit.

Grundman told me that Keyes got roadside assistance free for 30 days when he first signed up with AT&T, then never canceled it.

Nonsense, Keyes said. It was added to his bill four months AFTER he signed his cell phone contract (apparently when AT&T took over Cingular).

atraildreamer
2008-08-13, 15:15
The other day I stopped in at Wally World's electronics dept. to get some vcr tapes (Yes...some people still use them!). I couldn't locate them, so I went up to a sales associate to ask where they were hiding them. :adore:

The associate was assisting a lady in selecting a cell phone. She seemed confused, and he was trying to get her to buy the most expensive phone they had. I politely interuppted and suggested that Tracfone was the way to go as "they had a zero B.S. policy" and excellent customer service. :biggrin:

She liked what she heard and picked up the $20 phone. I then suggested that the $10 phone was just as good. She put the pricier phone back and took the cheaper one. The sales associate got ticked off at this point and walked away. :creep:I then suggested that the 120 minute card was the best buy to activate the phone. She took my advice and commented that the phone was for her teenager, and hoped that it would be satisfactory. I told her that it wouldn't take pictures, play music or videos, etc. It was just a PHONE! You use it to say "Hello", have a conversation, then say "Goodbye."

If the kid didn't like it, :bawling:let him make some money and go buy one that he likes!

I feel totally fulfilled. I ticked off a sales associate and an unseen teenager and saved a mother some money. :biggrin:

SGT Rock
2008-08-13, 16:01
Good stuff

dixicritter
2008-08-13, 17:19
The other day I stopped in at Wally World's electronics dept. to get some vcr tapes (Yes...some people still use them!). I couldn't locate them, so I went up to a sales associate to ask where they were hiding them. :adore:

The associate was assisting a lady in selecting a cell phone. She seemed confused, and he was trying to get her to buy the most expensive phone they had. I politely interuppted and suggested that Tracfone was the way to go as "they had a zero B.S. policy" and excellent customer service. :biggrin:

She liked what she heard and picked up the $20 phone. I then suggested that the $10 phone was just as good. She put the pricier phone back and took the cheaper one. The sales associate got ticked off at this point and walked away. :creep:I then suggested that the 120 minute card was the best buy to activate the phone. She took my advice and commented that the phone was for her teenager, and hoped that it would be satisfactory. I told her that it wouldn't take pictures, play music or videos, etc. It was just a PHONE! You use it to say "Hello", have a conversation, then say "Goodbye."

If the kid didn't like it, :bawling:let him make some money and go buy one that he likes!

I feel totally fulfilled. I ticked off a sales associate and an unseen teenager and saved a mother some money. :biggrin:

I love it!!! Way to go!

jhick
2008-08-15, 08:40
good work... hopefully the mom doesn't give up her better phone to the kid and she winds up with the cheaper model.

EMAN
2008-08-15, 09:26
AT&T treats everyone that way. I had my own "experience" with them about 3 months ago involving them blatantly lying to me about DSL service (I haven't had a landline in a year and I don't miss it). I had cell service via Bellsouth mobility, Cingular, "the new AT&T", whatever, over a 10 year period and though I wasn't unhappy with that, I cancelled it anyway and went with another provider. I'm sure At&T doesn't really give a shit but it makes me feel better. Cool thing was that, shortly before I cancelled, I walked into a local store to ax them about the POS LG phone I had. I know this will come as a shock but they wouldn't do anything about it. As I was leaving, one of their customer service reps was standing there asking people to take the survey. When I refused, I told her I was soon cancelling all ties with AT&T, she told me to do whatever I had to do. So I axed her to go fuck herself in my usual tactfully quiet voice. I'm not sure what she said as I went out but at least one other rep had the look of reaction I was seeking when I left.
Anyway, I saw a thing on TV the other day about a device yu can get for $39.95 that you plug into your computer and it will provide phone service in the US and Canada for $19.95 a year. Now although I work in a high tech industry, I don't know dick about technology. It's why I have a 20 year old daugter who grew up with this shit.
Thought I'd pass that along though, someone may know what that is all about.

SGT Rock
2008-08-18, 14:57
I heard a piece about a year ago (maybe further back) on NPR by an economist who did a price comparison of phone services - his conclusion was pay-as-you-go actually was cheaper than most people's plans when you calculated actual useage. Of course there are some services like internet (my **********) that you cannot get with pay-as-you-go plans, but for the most part they seem to actualy be better than a regular phone company for most people's wireless needs.

oldsoldier
2008-08-18, 21:37
I work in the cellular industry, and, as I handle corporate accounts, I regularly have customer that change to other carriers for a better deal. Bottom line though is that companies will tell you what they want, to lure you in. They offer specials, etc, and claim better service...blah blah blah. I dont make commission of sales of anything, and I am pretty blunt with my customers when it comes to that. I REFUSE to sell them something they dont need. Dont need a camera with the phone? No problem. Want all the bells & whistles? Again, no problem. My customers appreciate my honesty and no bullshit way I deal with their accounts. If something isnt right, I try to fix it.
Now, I have had several customers go to AT&T, even after I told them that we could do better. And, most have come back. Not so much because of price, but rather because of the customer service I provided them. They knew that, should ANYTHING go wrong with their account, be it billing issues, questions, failed devices (a typical customer of mine will have between 25 & 500 devices on their account), or questions in general, they know they can pick up the phone, or email me, and I, PERSONALLY, will respond to them, every single time. This is something they DONT get from other companies. Sometimes, having the same person to go to with issues wins out over price differences. No getting random people, perhaps not even in this country, or getting passed around & around to different departments. They get me, for better or worse. USUALLY for better though ;)

atraildreamer
2008-09-13, 12:15
I work in the cellular industry, and, as I handle corporate accounts, I regularly have customer that change to other carriers for a better deal. Bottom line though is that companies will tell you what they want, to lure you in. They offer specials, etc, and claim better service...blah blah blah. I dont make commission of sales of anything, and I am pretty blunt with my customers when it comes to that. I REFUSE to sell them something they dont need. Dont need a camera with the phone? No problem. Want all the bells & whistles? Again, no problem. My customers appreciate my honesty and no bullshit way I deal with their accounts. If something isnt right, I try to fix it.
Now, I have had several customers go to AT&T, even after I told them that we could do better. And, most have come back. Not so much because of price, but rather because of the customer service I provided them. They knew that, should ANYTHING go wrong with their account, be it billing issues, questions, failed devices (a typical customer of mine will have between 25 & 500 devices on their account), or questions in general, they know they can pick up the phone, or email me, and I, PERSONALLY, will respond to them, every single time. This is something they DONT get from other companies. Sometimes, having the same person to go to with issues wins out over price differences. No getting random people, perhaps not even in this country, or getting passed around & around to different departments. They get me, for better or worse. USUALLY for better though ;)


I nominate this guy for sainthood...