AT&T CSR: We'll Probably Refund Your Minimum-Use Fees If You Ask

Yesterday, we wrote about a new “minimum use” fee AT&T was charging to landline customers without long-distance service plans. Per the official company line, the only way to get around the fee is to make the equivalent amount in long-distance calls or pay another fee to remove access to long-distance from your account. But a CSR from AT&T tells Consumerist that you can probably get the fees credited back to your account if you just ask.

“Most reps would happily offer a credit back” the CSR writes. “We know how unfair this is. To be honest I’m surprised there is no lawsuit yet. Most of the time we would even proactively offer to give you credit back so you don’t have to pay for it.”

An exception to that “most of the time,” explains the AT&T employee, is when the CSRs are being monitored.

“In cases like this we need the help of the consumer,” he tells Consumerist. “Just give us a little spiel about how long you’ve been with the company and how you’ve been treated badly and how you will cancel if the credit is not given (don’t be angry though). Anything really to help justify our actions and to circumvent the ‘no proactively reversing charges’ restriction we have.”

As simple as that sounds, the CSR says not everyone plays ball: “I’ve had customers who were very uncooperative and just would not ask for a credit back despite my best efforts to ask them leading questions. The end result is they are out the money for the fee and we haven’t made them happy.”

Another tip: Don’t wait too long to ask for a credit.

“If you have been charged this fee for more than 3 months and don’t call, I cannot credit you back for the earlier months,” he explains. “We can see all the bills BUT we cannot manipulate the charges on bills more than 3 months back.”