Cingular Database Has Convenient Billing Glitch

Gee, I wonder why Cingular’s profits are up 267%. See anything wrong with this breakdown of reader D.B.’s Cingular bill for last month?

We’ll give you a hint. Actually, an answer: his pool of ‘Anytime’ and Rollover minutes overfloweth, while all of his daytime and nighttime minutes were drained.

D.B. (but his friends call him ‘Dog’) writes, “As yet another Cingular CSR said today: “I’m seeing this a lot”. I’ll bet Cingular is booking significant ill-gotten revenue against the current quarter. Too bad they will have to give it all back, but by then, the accounting sleight of hand will have done it’s work.”

D.B.’s email after the jump.

To be clear, I’m not a former AT&T customer – I switched to Cingular in 2003.

My old account, upgraded to “family plan” was made ineligible for anytime minutes from the new plan, but apparently is still associated with my “new” phone. When I use my new phone in my upgraded account, it accrues daytime minutes against the old user device – or a “ghost” user.

It’s only a theory, but look at the enclosed billing detail. Seems that it’d be a simple thing to fix in the fancy database they’ve got – what with it being capable of determining who is worth keeping and all, I figure it can be used to actually resolve customer problems, right? I guess their IT resources are concentrating on which users are worth retaining.

Note that in the accompanying spreadsheet excerpt (right off my billing detail page), no anytime or rollover minutes have been used to date, but overage has accrued to the tune of over $100.00 this month.

As yet another Cingular CSR said today: “I’m seeing this a lot”. I’ll bet Cingular is booking significant ill-gotten revenue against the current quarter. Too bad they will have to give it all back, but by then, the accounting sleight of hand will have done it’s work.

What a mess. Looks like AT&T’s attempt at re-animation has succeeded, with the accompanying loss of competence and service. Too bad – I actually liked Cingular for the first two-and-a-half years I used them. Hello, Verizon!