For Once, AT&T Being Incompetent Is Good News

Do you remember reader Aaron? We published his story about a month ago. He was stuck between two mobile providers. He ditched AT&T when his iPhone 5 was devouring so much data that his data connection got throttled. Fine, he said–he switched to Sprint, which has unlimited data, but painfully slow data. He resolved the situation by going back to AT&T, but here’s the interesting part: he got unlimited data back because AT&T thought that he had never canceled his account. Well, um, that’s nice.

It’s been nearly 70 days since this whole mess started, but here’s where I am now. [Spoilers – It’s a happy ending]

After I submitted the article, we returned to the AT&T store and they were somehow (I have no idea how…) able to restore my old “unlimited” iPhone plan. I ordered a pair of new iPhone 5’s, paid my wife’s ETF fee (didn’t apply to me) and had to wait two weeks for them to ship it. In the mean time, we canceled our Sprint account and returned those phones. AT&T and Apple resolved the data leak from before (something to do with iCloud and the Podcasts app) about 3 days before I got our new-new iPhones.

Sprint had about $700 in credit charges against our account, and we had about $778 in refunds owed to us upon returning the phones. Long story short… They only gave us $500 of that back claiming we never canceled the account.

Compounding to this… with the week’s loss of service on our account, ETF fees from AT&T, we owed them too. To the tune of about $330 as of today.

I called AT&T today, and told them they didn’t document our ETF payment we made in October, plus our billing was messed up severely since we had reactivated our phones with phantom charges and refunds. They opted to reverse all our ETF fees, activation charges, and data charges incurred over the last two months putting us where we won’t have to pay our bill until January.

Sprint on the other hand, kept pro-rated charges for the 6 days of service we had on our AT&T break and we’ll be getting a refund of about $245 from them.

All told, I’ve found out you can stand to make money by breaking your contract and switching carriers through selling your old phone, but the process has been so laborious, stressful and time intensive, it’s not been worth it at all.

I’m going to be up about $420 from when I started, but I spent about 4 days without a phone, a week on the lousiest carrier I’ve ever used, and spent about 20+ hours sitting on hold or with customer service/tech support. A very poor profit if you ask me.

I am sticking with AT&T and I did get my data plan back, so the real happy ending here is that I’m still on my “unlimited” plan for what it’s worth.