AT&T Wireless - AT&T Wireless - thought I would mention one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had. It involves poor service by AT&T, lots of time working at resolutions, and ending in my being labeled a frequent complainer by AT&T.

Posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2004 at 12:00am CDT by bc254531

Company: AT&T Wireless

Category: Internet Services

AT&T Wireless Service I just came across this website, but thought I would mention one of the most frustrating experiences I have ever had. It involves poor service by AT&T, lots of time working at resolutions, and ending in my being labeled a "frequent complainer" by AT&T.

My story beginnings with purchasing my first cell phone through an AT&T subsidiary called SunCom. I needed a phone to work in NH and they had the largest coverage at the time (Jan 2000). My experience with them was great for 3 years. When AT&T bought them out, the customer service changed from a human answering to a computer labyrinth of recorded messages. Spring 2003, I discover that my phone is dropping calls because of entering "No Service" areas. I call AT&T because these areas are in a 10 mile radius of Boston, MA, an area I would believe would have some wireless coverage. I am told that AT&T has 22 towers within four miles of my residence. I can not possibly be out of a service area, it must be my phone. I am told that if I change to a GSM phone, my coverage will be better and since AT&T is investing in GSM, my coverage will only improve. My problem is that I need a phone that works in Northern, NH. This has always been an important factor in my purchase of a wireless phone. I use it as an emergency phone for an outdoor program. Because not all companies have wireless coverage in the area I was limited in my choices between verizon, US Cellular and AT&T. I am told that if I get a multi-band phone (more expensive) I will be able to use digital in NH and GSM in Boston, this will solve my problem. They only have two muli-band phones, but I suck it up I purchase the phone, I change to GSM service, the phone works as I would like it to for about 8 months. The first problem is actually a recurring one at AT&T--mis-billing. I get my next few statements telling me that I owe AT&T a huge amount of money. I see that they have not set up my plan, so free nights and weekends, ect. is not being recognized as I had signed up for. I make a phone call, and after 59 minutes I get this resolved. Next bill I get, I still have a huge amount I owe, yet this time I also get a letter from AT&T announcing that I have credit on my account. I realize that when I purchased the GSM phone that my account number changed, thus the money I have been sending from my bank electronically to AT&T has not been credited to my "new" account. I called and was on the phone over 40 minutes getting to a person who could understand what happenned. I learned that GSM and the digital wireless services are different divisions that have difficulty talking to each other. Over the next two months I have the almost comical experience of getting letters from AT&T telling me of the credit on my account and the next letter threatening to shut off my service. Eventually, after faxing copies of the letters AT&T sent to me to prove what I was saying was true, my phone was shut off and turned back on three times, but I was able to get AT&T to take away the charges for not paying my bill on time and for turning my phone back on--something I saw as fair, and I learned later they saw as generous. In May of 2004 I was in North Conway, NH and my phone was not working. I called AT&T on Memorial day weekend. I spent 5 hours on the phone with AT&T that day and learned that my phone had never been set up for digital, so it was operating as a GSM phone before. I asked why this had not been programmed when i original purchased it and I was told that it was a mistake. Secondly, I guess AT&T decided to not renew a contract with US Celluar to use towers in Northern NH, thus ending the primary use for my phone. Althought this was told to me by representatives from US Cellular, AT&T denied it and told me it was my phone, and then told me it was not programmed correctly. To get these "all star" answers I had to stay on the line for hours. Speaking to the reps at the US Cellular store (they actually let me use one of their phones for free during my week) it was reccomended that I switch to Verizon to suit my needs between NH and Boston. Although I can go on with more details, the situation goes something like this:

My account goes back into being misbilled, all my minutes wiped out and I get charged 40 cents a minute for all calls.

I still do not get a signal in NH and I am told my phone still has not been properly programmed. I am told by this gentleman that he is going to solve my problem despite his colleagues. He seems to suggest most do not know how to program the phones, but he does.

I begin asking to get out of my contract or my $175 termination fee be waived.

I speak to a number of representatives up the line until I get to "Kathy" the last stop. She tells me it goes no higher than her. She also tells me that I am a problem customer who AT&T has credited many minutes (aka the billing problems). She tells me I will have to deal with paying the fee and if I am not careful she will remove every credit I have been given and AT&T will expect full payment.

I try to explain to her that I do not like calling to complain, but I have to do it to try to get AT&T to do its JOB, you know keeping track of billing and stuff. (I should mention here that I had to call twice to remove roaming charges on my account, even though my plan was a nationwide service). In the end I did two things. I filed an FCC complaint against AT&T and I got a Verizon phone. The FCC complaint was a great thing, soon AT&T reps were calling to ask to speak to me. I had asked many times when I was on hold for times between 20- 70 minutes if I could get a call back, but reps told me that they can not call out. If they hang up, the phone rings with the next caller and they can do nothing until their shift ends. I did mention that maybe they could ge a phone company to look into that technology which at least got a laugh. In the end, AT&T charged me half of the termination fee. I am stuck with an expensive phone from them, but the cost of swithching to Verizon has been worth it. On my first call to customer service to set up the account I was told that it would take a few minutes, so the rep asked me to hang up and he would call me back--HOW WONDERFUL. I have even received a call to see how the service is working for me. That is a piece of my story with this company. They are certainly working to squeeze profits at the cost of customer service. That was my experience, Brent B


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