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At&t dickery

SiskaSiska ShortyRegistered User regular
edited July 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
In March my hubby signed us up with at&t for high speed internet (we live in Raleigh, NC). Our 1 year plan with roadrunner was up and they were increasing our monthly bill, so we were looking for something cheaper. The at&t phone sales rep gave my hubby a list of their plans and he went for one that was $30/month for 12 months. A guy comes over to install it, he needs to drill a hole on our wall. I ask him if there is a charge for any of this, just to make sure, he says no. One month later we get a bill. It's $45 monthly fee plus $150 installation fee.

My hubby calls up at&t. They say they have no record of our 12 month contract and that the installation fee is correct, despite the sales rep not mentioning it and the technician saying it was free. Hubby tells them this was not what he agreed to, they say they can't help him and that a supervisor will call him back. Next day, no word from any supervisor, he calls at&t again, same story. Next day, still no supervisor. What we do get is our internet cut of. More than a little peeved at this point we decide to give it another day. Following day, a Friday, we still haven't heard back from at&t and we still have no internet. My hubby calls at&t again. This time to simply ask how to send their equipment back. With all the other dicking going on we are sure they will be charging us rent even though they cut us off.

Since it seems impossible to get a hold of anyone reasonable an at&t and my hubby runs into some medical problems that are more important, we ignore at&t and their bill for a few months. Mid June, he calls them again to try and get them to waive the fees and to pay what he considers a reasonable amount. He can't get them to waive any fees, pays them $98.31 and let them know he will contest the rest of the bill.

Today we got a new bill. Not only are there the old charges, minus what we paid. But they have also tacked on an $135 early termination fee. Which is pretty amazing considering (A) they told us there was no 12 month contract and (B) they were the ones who canceled the service. They are now asking for a total of $245.99.


Short version: Had internet with at&t for about 5 weeks. They tacked on a bunch of fees and generally had a party with their billing.

We have filed a complaint with the FCC and BBB. Is there anyone else we can report this issue to? And what else can we do to contest the bill? Calling at&t seems to be pointless since even if there is anyone there who is reasonable and able to deal with this, they must not have a phone.

Siska on
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Posts

  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    Just keep calling. It's a bitch to do but literally if you try hard enough you can get a phone company to go to zero everytime on things like this. I used to work at one as the person who was to close out dead accounts with less then zero funds on it (i.e. dead accounts where we on paper owed people money)

    I would say 90% of those people NEVER paid a bill some for years and somehow talked reps into owing them money.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    Contact your local newspaper or the Consumerist. There's a handful of other folks who will deal with these sorts of things in exchange for getting to print it too, but I can't remember any of the names at the moment sadly.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Find an address to contest in this in writing.

  • OrogogusOrogogus San DiegoRegistered User regular
    When I helped my landlord with Dish Network billing woes, sending a complaint to the California state attorney general's office got a Dish Network rep calling in right quick, eager to clear things up. This was after a week of dealing with extraordinarily unhelpful service reps at various levels trying to pass the buck to people who were supposedly out of the country. If I recall correctly, the AG (or California's, at least) can't help you with your case directly, but they will send it to the company for response and if there's a history of complaints then they may take action.

    North Carolina's AG consumer complaints website: http://www.ncdoj.gov/Consumer/2-2-12-File-a-Complaint.aspx

  • fightinfilipinofightinfilipino omfg Registered User regular
    did your husband happen to get the name/contact info of the AT&T phone sales rep?

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  • JebusUDJebusUD Registered User regular
    If I understand this right, I wouldn't have paid them any money until you agreed on an amount. For most things, sending them some money is an indication to them that you agreed to what is going on, IE the contract. Same with collections type deals. Sending some money is like admitting guilt.

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Don't hang up until a supervisor gets on the phone.

    Alternatively: Ask to speak to a level 3 tech.

    Alternatively: Tell them if you don't have a supervisor on the phone in an hour you'll be going to the local paper to advise people to stay away from their service.

    Supervisors are always there, they don't need to call you back. That's a line they use to get you to hang up and hope you forget about it. Call back every hour and claim a supervisor has yet to contact you.

  • RadicalTurnipRadicalTurnip Registered User regular
    Oh crap, my wife and I signed up for ATT for (what sounds like) this same thing! We were happy that there was no monthly contract ^#(^ that being said, I would start calling as much as possible. Threaten publicity stunts (as others have said, paper etc). My friends mom works for a large business in their accounts department...and she almost always comes away from handling these annoying companies by being paid (in gifts or services, often) for the time of hers they wasted. You could start trying that approach, I've often heard her say "I've wasted five hours on this now, what are you going to give me to make up for that?" when she's on the phone. It's impressive to watch, it really is.

    I don' t want to say to be belligerent to the sales person (or whatever they are), but certainly don't take any of the shenanigans. Don't let them "tell you how it is" or "explain the situation to you" or anything like that. Meet those sorts of things with "That's your problem, not mine. I'm going to get this taken care of right now, now how can you help me do that?"

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    Mmmm I'm going to have to use that line from now on.

  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    @Siska Go down to one of their stores. There's one in the shopping center in front of the Target by Triangle Town Center (near the Applebee's), and another one at North Hills.

    I had similar problems, and the folks at the store, while they aren't able to solve anything in person, can call the company and get direct lines.

    You probably shouldn't have paid anything, and you should it make it clear you fully intend to dispute any and all charges/credit claims.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Telecom/Cable companies are notorious for telling you one thing, not following up, and not having any record of what they told you. At least in my experience. I had to fight with Verizon for about 6 months to get them to drop my landline, because they restarted my service contract from the date i moved. eventually, they will cave, they are just hoping that you will get fed up first and just pay them.

    I never quite get how internet/cable contracts are binding, because you never actually sign anything.

  • Penguin_OtakuPenguin_Otaku Registered User regular
    So I got robbed like two 1/2 months ago. Took a lot of shit, namely my X-Box.

    During this time I never really thought about cancelling my X-Box Live subscription because it was in the middle of finals, moving, and worrying about other shit going on in life.

    For that time I never had an X-Box to sign into live and just recently thought of it. I've called back twice, talked to a supervisor once and they've told me there's nothing they can do and expect me to pay $2x.xx for the service that I didn't use for two months.

    Should I bother calling back about it or just pay up? I understand it was my fault, but again I had a few more things going on.

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  • LanchesterLanchester Registered User regular
    That is pretty messed up.

    I will echo what others have said...that being try to get a supervisor on the phone. Don't wait for them to call you back because that won't happen.

    If you can't get a supervisor, try and get whoever is on the phone with you to explain how you have been charged for an early termination fee as well as an installation charge. It is pretty commonplace for AT&T to waive the installation fee when you sign up for a year/contract. So the one bill that shows the early termination fee and the installation fee contradicts itself.

    Good luck with this, hopefully it gets resolved and you don't have to pay them anything else...or even better, you get what you did pay back. But I don't think hell will freeze over today.

  • ceresceres Just your problem OoSuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    So I got robbed like two 1/2 months ago. Took a lot of shit, namely my X-Box.

    During this time I never really thought about cancelling my X-Box Live subscription because it was in the middle of finals, moving, and worrying about other shit going on in life.

    For that time I never had an X-Box to sign into live and just recently thought of it. I've called back twice, talked to a supervisor once and they've told me there's nothing they can do and expect me to pay $2x.xx for the service that I didn't use for two months.

    Should I bother calling back about it or just pay up? I understand it was my fault, but again I had a few more things going on.

    You should make a new thread for it and not used someone else's unrelated thread, is what you should do.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    There is an address on the bill for if we want to pay them using a check. Guess I'll send them a letter instead. It's in Illinois, though. If I can find a more local address I'll send them a letter too. At&t sure makes it hard to contact them. Only one phone number, manned by people with no power to do anything.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Siska wrote:
    There is an address on the bill for if we want to pay them using a check. Guess I'll send them a letter instead. It's in Illinois, though. If I can find a more local address I'll send them a letter too. At&t sure makes it hard to contact them. Only one phone number, manned by people with no power to do anything.

    Most places do not accept correspondence at those addresses.

  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    There is always an EECB, check on a site like Consumerist. they often have Excecutive email addresses, or at least someone besides the rank and file. More often than not, those people CAN'T do anything to help you. They're not allowed.

  • SyrdonSyrdon Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    There is always an EECB, check on a site like Consumerist. they often have Excecutive email addresses, or at least someone besides the rank and file. More often than not, those people CAN'T do anything to help you. They're not allowed.
    Not enough lime on the planet. You could also just request a supervisor and not accept anything other than them putting a supervisor on the line.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    Hmmm, they have a facebook page. I am going to scour it for at&t e-mail addresses. I think I am going to re-post my question there, too. I might get a helpful response. I will have to rewrite it a bit of course. And somehow come up with at title without dickery in it. Facebook rules. Although they might make an exception for at&t. :-?

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  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    I just want to reiterate, @Siska, you live within driving distance of more than one physical location that employs AT&T personnel and is responsible for helping maintain their customers.

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  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    Do you still have the paper work from when the service tech came out and installed it? I can tell you from previous experience working at Comcast, that we would pull that paper work and show that you had signed agreeing to the install fees and contract at the time of installation.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    DeShadowC wrote:
    Do you still have the paper work from when the service tech came out and installed it? I can tell you from previous experience working at Comcast, that we would pull that paper work and show that you had signed agreeing to the install fees and contract at the time of installation.

    I can't speak for the OP, but I've never been asked to sign anything by any of the cable/satelite/fiber installers I've ever dealt with. I do find it odd every time though.

  • amateurhouramateurhour Registered User regular
    Okay, I can help you with this because I went through the same thing in March and was able to get out of the early termination fee...

    First off, here's my story. I signed up, specifically asking if the promotion was a contract, or a drop in/drop out thing like with comcast or charter, and was told by the sales rep there was no contract. So after a month of not receiving my first bill I called to verify the deal I was getting (same $30 rate, actually $25 because I was bundling it with my cell) and the same thing happened. Installation fees and the monthly bill was $45.

    So when I tried to cancel I was hit with the early termination fee. I asked what it was for and was told that I was signed up for a contract. I asked them where they could show a call recording or piece of paper I had signed for a contract, and they told me THAT PAYING THE FIRST MONTH'S BILL MEANT I WAS SILENTLY AGREEING TO A TWO YEAR CONTRACT! I asked them where this was stated on my bill or the paperwork I was sent when I signed up and they told me THAT THEY WEREN'T LEGALLY REQUIRED TO INFORM ME OF THAT.

    At that point I told them I'd be contacting my attorney and they should do the same, and I recorded the call.

    SO anyway, after getting nowhere with them on the phone, here's what worked. I googled ATT Twitter and found they had a customer service account. I think it was like @ATT_customerservice or something like that (you'll have to look it up) and I was put into contact with @ATT_Susan (I think, I can check for you later) and basically bitching about it on twitter got me in touch with a level 3 rep that I couldn't reach before. They wiped the termination fee and because the original problem for me was shitty speeds they even wiped my first months bill so I owed them nothing.

    If you have any questions or need more detail feel free to ask. It took me a solid month of calling, e-mails, and a pretty vicious twitter campaign before they took off the charges. Basically those early termination fees have no legal merit and are listed NOWHERE on their site or paperwork, they just assume we're too lazy or scared to fight them, but they'll remove them if you just politely remind them that judges aren't complete idiots in small claims court.

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  • DruhimDruhim Registered User, ClubPA regular
    Yeah, don't underestimate the power of social media like twitter. I was having problems with my isp not following through on a promo I was supposed to get when I switched to them, and I finally got results when I started tweeting how frustrated I was with their bad service. Some companies will care more than others, so with ATT you may need to tweet a lot about this before they actually step up and do anything about it.

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  • Salvation122Salvation122 Registered User regular
    Having been one of those guys that answered such calls, the best advice I can give you is:

    1): Ask for a ticket number for every single call. Keep the ticket numbers around, along with your own notes of what was discussed. Reference the ticket numbers in your discussions with the rep.

    2): Stay calm but firm. If they're trying to tell you that you have to pay whatever bullshit, tell them, unemotionally, that that is not an acceptable resolution to the problem, and request to speak with a supervisor. Explain to the supervisor that you have in front of you the number for the AG of consumer affairs in your area, and that you already have an email written and waiting to send to Consumerist and the BBB. Again, not angrily, just - this is what I am going to do.

    Explain to them that you would like the charges reversed now, while you are on the phone with them, today, not after a thirty-day review. They'll send you to escalations. Ask them for a ticket number before they transfer the call - reps almost never intentionally hang up on people, but the phone systems in these places are (perhaps surprisingly) incredibly shitty, and disconnects happen.

    When you speak to the guy in escalations, tell them that you would like a reversal of charges on the credit card, not a credit on your phone bill or a check in the mail. Tell them that you will be calling the credit card company tomorrow to see if this has happened. Tell them that you would also like a letter in the mail acknowledging that the charges were in error and that you owe them nothing. Tell them that if they do not do this, you will call the AG of consumer affairs, and that you will send the emails to the Consumerist and the BBB, and that you'll call whoever your local Channel 5 News "This Company is Dicking This Dude" guy is. You will get results. Block out a chunk of time for this - it'll probably take two hours, half of that at least on hold.

    Under no circumstances should you hang up. They can't hang up on you unless you threaten their safety or become abusive, and their job is to get you off the line. After half an hour of calm, patient, firm, "No, you are going to reverse the charges. That is what is going to happen. It is going to happen today," their manager will walk over and ask what the hell. Fifteen minutes after that you will start moving towards results.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    Thank you everyone. I did get a response from my facebook post. Someone named Chris that I am suppose to e-mail my contact information. Hopefully a Chris will me more useful than all the other customer support reps we been in contact with. If not, you have given me a list of other things to try.
    I don't have a twitter account, but I may make one just to bug them there too.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Siska wrote:
    Thank you everyone. I did get a response from my facebook post. Someone named Chris that I am suppose to e-mail my contact information. Hopefully a Chris will me more useful than all the other customer support reps we been in contact with. If not, you have given me a list of other things to try.
    I don't have a twitter account, but I may make one just to bug them there too.

    Am I crazy or does that sound potentially like the most basic of all phishing schemes?

  • TheKoolEagleTheKoolEagle Registered User regular
    most large companies have a social team that watches facebook, twitter, forums, etc about people complaining about their company, they then attempt to resolve the issue for them to make the company look good again, I know my time at best buy we had a team that did this.

    also don't threaten to take your story to the newspaper, of all the calls I took this threat was more of a joke to me then anything else, most threats are. Reporting to BBB and AG is a goodd idea though, and asking to speak to a supervisor is a good start, most of the level 1 minions literally cannot do anything because they don't have the power to do anything.

    It also depends who you talk to when you call because for example my team at best buy was shunned for giving out any money to make people feel better about their interaction, other teams were encouraged to give money out. Just keep on calling and requesting to speak to a supervisor, they probably have a million tickets in their database already with your issues so the supervisor should be able to look all of this up and help you (hopefully)

    there is always another level above the supervisors too ;)

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    most large companies have a social team that watches facebook, twitter, forums, etc about people complaining about their company, they then attempt to resolve the issue for them to make the company look good again, I know my time at best buy we had a team that did this.

    Yeah, but isn't it poor form for them to ask for personal details in such a fashion?

  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    most large companies have a social team that watches facebook, twitter, forums, etc about people complaining about their company, they then attempt to resolve the issue for them to make the company look good again, I know my time at best buy we had a team that did this.

    Yeah, but isn't it poor form for them to ask for personal details in such a fashion?

    He asked for Siska's contact information. You know so he can contact her. Its not like he asked for her social and bank account info.

  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    DeShadowC wrote:
    most large companies have a social team that watches facebook, twitter, forums, etc about people complaining about their company, they then attempt to resolve the issue for them to make the company look good again, I know my time at best buy we had a team that did this.

    Yeah, but isn't it poor form for them to ask for personal details in such a fashion?

    He asked for Siska's contact information. You know so he can contact her. Its not like he asked for her social and bank account info.

    If he's going to help, it's eventually going to take more than an email address. I just think it would have been better if this Chris would have pointed Siska in the direction of some sort of AT&T conflict resolution phone number/address/etc. than to ask for any degree of personal info.

  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    DeShadowC wrote:
    most large companies have a social team that watches facebook, twitter, forums, etc about people complaining about their company, they then attempt to resolve the issue for them to make the company look good again, I know my time at best buy we had a team that did this.

    Yeah, but isn't it poor form for them to ask for personal details in such a fashion?

    He asked for Siska's contact information. You know so he can contact her. Its not like he asked for her social and bank account info.

    If he's going to help, it's eventually going to take more than an email address. I just think it would have been better if this Chris would have pointed Siska in the direction of some sort of AT&T conflict resolution phone number/address/etc. than to ask for any degree of personal info.

    This isn't how things like this work. I'm not sure why you're convinced that it's "poor form", either.

    When I had issues with Bank of America not clearing my paycheck for deposit when they said they would, I couldn't get any help at my branch office, or over the phone. Within 20 minutes of complaining on Twitter, though, I received a direct message from a BoA verified account, and that person most definitely asked for my phone number.

    After calling and verifying my identity, they fixed my problem right away. That is most likely how most large, corporate social networking teams will operate.

  • TurkeyTurkey Registered User regular
    Corporate social network teams tend to be pretty kickass, and will be more willing/have more influence on solving an issue.

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    edited August 2011
    Update!
    An at&t representative, finally called on july 28th. Hubby gave her a brief description of our little issue. She said she would investigate and get back to us. Later, that same day, we got a letter from a collections agency :evil:. Our latest at&t bill said it was due on august 6th, so confused and very pissed about that. Bitched some more on At&t's facebook page and then e-mailed them, as well, about that. Sent the collections agency a snail mail contesting the bill.

    Today, august 1st, the at&t rep called again and left a message. Said she would have rest of the bill waived. We will request to get that in writing, in case the collections agency misses the memo, or some other future craptastic issue where at&t again claims they have no idea what the hell we are talking about. But anyway, cautious yay!

    Siska on
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  • ToxTox I kill threads Pharezon's human garbage heapRegistered User regular
    @siska did you ever try just physically going down to an AT&T storefront?

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  • SiskaSiska Shorty Registered User regular
    No, I did not. Hopefully this will be the end of it and we wont have to.

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