Why I am posting a billing dispute with AT&T on this blog? As an organization which advocates for those who’s voice are not often heard, we believe that we have to stand up for ourselves in this matter with AT&T. After more than 13 attempts to resolve our billing issue with AT&T, we are unsatisfied with them. My time has been wasted trying to deal with customer “no” service. Large companies, such as AT&T has a greater responsibility to be better and do better. Poor customer service is unacceptable. They should go the extra mile to take care of their customers, not toss them around like an account or a thing. So, I’d rather use my time to speak to the world and call attention to AT&T’s lack of customer service rather than talking to customer “no” service. Here is our story, here’s what happened.
Our association (Government Contractors Association) was on AT&T’s DSL line for $27.49/month. We use it for internet connection. When the contract was over, they increased our monthly service fees, which is understandable. I called to cancel on March 19th. I spoke with Iliana(1) (a customer service rep with AT&T). She said that she will keep our account at the same rate if I agree to another term. Iliana said that she would love for us to continue with ATT and that if I should have any problem I can email her directly. She gave me her email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I agreed and she issued me 3 confirmation #’s, one for a credit for the high rate for the previous months and another two which I’m not sure what they relate to. Here are the confirmations: #: 136834634 #:3JXCSR75H #: NCP7
NOTE: AT&T’s DSL line is a subpar option for internet connection. However, it was our most affordable option. T-1 is too expensive and Comcast is not available in our building.
The following month, I received an AT&T bill for $385. The promised rate of $27.49 was nowhere to be found. They promised a lower price and charged a higher price. (I think this is called “bait and switch”). AT&T also charged a $50 activation fee and a $100 DSL router fee. I currently have service and have a DSL router in place. Not sure why they charged this fee again.
On May 2nd I sent Iliana an email asking her to address why the rates were not at what we agreed on (email enclosed below). I received no response from her. I sent a second email to her on July 2nd with no response. On July 19th I called to find out why my bill was so high. On this call I spoke with Nakia(2) and asked for the adjustments. She transferred me to Rick(3). Rick transferred me to Melinda(4), and while waiting for her we got disconnected. I called back on July 31st again and spoke with Shannon(5). I told Shannon that if AT&T cannot honor the rate of $27.49/month, then I was going to discontinue my service. She explained to me that they don’t offer that rate anymore. I asked her why then did Iliana offer me the rate in the first place. After realizing that Shannon will not keep our account at the $27.49 rate, I asked her to disconnect our service. She transferred me to their disconnect dept. No one answered and after holding for 10 minutes, the call dropped.
I called back again and spoke with Avery(6). She said that she will credit our account for the DSL router and will issue a disconnect order. She also said that their business office will call me to finalize the details. I never received the call from their business office.
On September 12th, I called back and spoke with Lynn Hill(7). She transferred me to the disconnect dept. I waited for 15 minutes for someone to take my call. No one answered and then the called disconnected. I called back and spoke with Jacob Sprowl(8). I explained everything to him. He said that he can only credit me for two months. I asked him to honor the rate which Iliana committed to me. He put me on hold for 5 minutes then said that he cannot honor the rate. I asked to speak with a supervisor. He transferred me to Andrew Nash(9). I explained things all over again to him. I asked him to review my previous account to see that I’m not making up a story about the $27.49 rate. I gave him the confirmation # which Iliana gave me. He said that he can only look at this new account and that the previously closed out account didn’t matter. I asked him to not just look at one account and make his decision based on that, but to look at me as a person and see the whole history of both accounts so he can have more perspective. He said unfortunately he will not refer back to my old account showing that I had the rate of $27.49. I responded by saying that I’m not an account, I’m a person. If he would just look at the human side of things and address our whole relationship and not just the account showing that I owe $650. Needless to say, I’m just an account to him. He said that he can credit me for two months which will reduce the $650 bill to about $450. Five months at $27.49 is $135, not $650. Andrew said that he cannot honor Iliana’s price commitment. He said that if I wanted a credit for more than two months or for the DSL router/installation fee, I will have to take it up with their billing dispute dept. I asked him to discontinue service and we hung up.
Wow, I cannot believe that I spoke with 9 people at AT&T and made more than 13 attempts to try to resolve a simple issue. I spent countless hours on this matter. I remembered how bad customer service was with MCI back in the days. This trumps that. I believe that when large corporation treats people like accounts instead of like humans, they have forgotten the reason why they exist.
As a small business association, we advocate for greater opportunities for small businesses in the government market. Well, this personal matter with AT&T is leading me to take up a mission to do something about the lack of customer service on the part of AT&T. If I don’t stand up for our association, who will?
So, I will begin by creating this blog and asking AT&T to address the poor customer service which they have. I will ask for others who have had issues to make comments and call for AT&T to take better care of their customers. Here’s is a list of some of the things we will do:
- Create blog to share our AT&T bad customer service experience
- Use social media to get the word out (Twitter, Facebook, etc)
- Use www.Gripevine.com
- Use www.PublikDemand.com
- Address our concerns with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson
- Create a video on youtube about our bad customer service experience (sounds like an interesting video)
- File complaint with the BBB
- File complaint with consumer advocate groups
- File complaint with FTC & FCC
- File complaint with ……. Etc.
- Find creative ways to address customer “no” service
I’m taking the time to do these tasks one by one. Today, I’ve done the first one. Get the blog out and start tweeting about it. Next on the list will be to keep tweeting and then use the different social sites out there to help us address our concerns with AT&T. One step at a time to get the attention of AT&T’s executives to seriously look at the lack of customer service.
NOTE: My email and the account numbers are in the images below. Let’s see if AT&T really cares enough about our situation to reach out to me.