The New AT&T: Fixing Our Mistake Is A Courtesy To You, And We'll Only Do It Once

Whoever writes the scripts that CSRs are required to spit out has extremely poor social skills. When your company screws up someone’s billing, then shuts off their phone and tries to charge them a fee, that’s your mistake. Fixing it is not “a courtesy.” It’s also not a “one-time courtesy.”

This is one of the most common complaints we get at Consumerist. We know you AT&T executives read this blog. You should tell your CSRs not to say this to people. That’s our advice. We’re giving you this advice as a one-time courtesy.

Meet Jonah. His cell phone was shut off due to an error in AT&T’s automatic billing system. Johan writes:

So I try to escalate and she says “Well /as a courtesy/ I CAN waive that $36 fee, but I can only do it one time /as a courtesy/.” A courtesy!?!? You screw up, you admit that your system is borked, you still tell me you’re going to charge me $36 for your screw up, and then waiving the fee is a courtesy!?!? *argh*

Read Jonah’s email inside.

Jonah writes:

My tale of wireless woes…

I was signed up for AutoPay to automatically deduct from my credit card each month. I get notification from my bank that my credit card is compromised. So I log into Cingular…The New AT&T to update my card. The system keeps reverting back to my old, now canceled card…*argh* So finally I cancel AutoPay and quickly sign up again with a new card. Now I think I have it set up…it is showing the last 4 digits of my new card. I don’t think any more about it. Until today…I go to use my phone to call my wife and get told that my account is past-due and disabled *argh*.

I call in and they say they have text messaged me, called me and emailed me about this, which in past experience with credit card expatriations, they have, but not under The New AT&T apparently, I received absolutely no communication from them that my bill was past due.. Then they try to slap a $36 disconnect fee on me for their system screwing up…ummm…you guys messed up…not me! So I try to escalate and she says “Well /as a courtesy/ I CAN waive that $36 fee, but I can only do it one time /as a courtesy/.” A courtesy!?!? You screw up, you admit that your system is borked, you still tell me you’re going to charge me $36 for your screw up, and then waiving the fee is a courtesy!?!? *argh*

Lesson1: Don’t rely upon any notification service that you are accustomed to from a behemoth service providing company.

Lesson2: If you get whacked with the $36 fee…you can apparently get it waived once…/as a courtesy/…just never expect to get that fee waived again for all of time.

Jonah

This is just one of the many reasons that we do not recommend using these Auto-Debit services. You really have no control over them, and when they screw up… you have to deal with AT&T and not your bank. A better idea? Set up bill payment with your bank! Have them send a check to AT&T. Trust us, this is better. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: detinelee)