AT&T Loses Your Phone Number While You're Serving In Iraq, Says No Upgrade For You

Reader Nicholas is in the military, and while he was serving in Iraq, AT&T decided to give his phone number to another customer. When he returned, he asked for the number back, but was refused. The rep then convinced him that he needed to sign a new 2 year contract in order to reactivate his number. Naturally, right after he did this, his phone broke, and now AT&T is telling him that he’ll have to wait until 2009 to get a decent upgrade.

Nicholas writes:

My wife and I have been Cingular/ AT&T customers for many years now. I am in the Marine Corps and therefore travel is normal. Back around 2005, my wife and I purchased Motorola Razors while I was stationed in Florida. Great phones at the time, but with time they break. In 2006, I moved to Camp Lejeune, N.C. and was told I was deploying for Iraq in March of 2007 for 7 months. I called customer service and told them of my orders to Iraq and that I wanted to suspend my account until I return to the U.S.

They required me to fax a copy of my orders to complete the process, which I did, and confirmed by a phone representative that everything was good and that when I returned from Iraq that my number will be intact and ready for use once I called and reactivated it. Around my 6 month mark in Iraq; my wife mailed my cell phone to me so I could use it to call her and my family once I arrived on U.S. soil to catch up on much lost time. In October 2007, I redeployed back to the U.S. and once I had the chance, I turned my phone on and AT&T attempted to contact my wife to let her know that I was very close to being able to finally hug her and meet my new daughter.

Unfortunately this wasn’t possible since I had no service. After much troubleshooting, I finally borrowed a friends phone and called my wife and got to finally talk to her and let her know that I was coming home really soon at someone else’s expense since I was borrowing their phone. My wife informed me that she attempted to reactivate my phone but that AT&T/Cingular dropped my line and it was no longer in use. I told her not to worry about it and that I would take care of it once I got to our home. Once I arrived home and got finished catching up with my wife and meeting my new daughter, I finally had a few moments to find out what happen to my number.

I talked to a phone rep and personally went to the AT&T/Cingular store to discuss the matter and got the same response from both: They dropped my line and the number was in recycling and that there was no way possible for me to ever get the number back. Everyone knows that this is a big pain in the butt since I had that number for many years and all my family, friends and other acquaintances’ knew that number. So I begged and begged but it got me nothing. I finally agreed to a new phone number. I had to renew to a new 2yr contact on our family plan. Note that I only got a phone number and not a phone upgrade, therefore the Motorola Razor I have is still from 2005.

Around 2 weeks ago my phone started acting up badly. Now it has acted up in the past but only for moments here and there. But this time it was not functional. Every time I attempted to place a call, send a message or answer a call, the numbers 3 and 4 automatically dialed and dialed and dialed and dialed and dialed. I couldn’t make or answer any calls. I figured I had the phone for a long time, and it was about time for an upgrade. A buddy told me about AT&T premier and that the military gets discounts on phones. So I looked into the deal and found it was true. I searched for my new upgrade and found a beautiful refurbished Samsung Blackjack II for only $49.99. Wow! What a deal, right??? I was truly excited just like everyone gets with a new purchase of anything. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the phone and start playing with the new features and upgrades. So I stared to process my order, but it was denied and said I was available for a upgrade until June 2009.

I knew this was a sure mistake since I had the phone since 2005. So I called the customer support and began one heck of a journey with no outcome. Before I go any farther, I must say that all the representatives I talked to remained very professional and never lost their patience with me even though I really did towards the end except one representative whom you will here about. Ok, so I call about two weeks ago and explain the whole above situation. The lady on the phone seems very understanding and attempts to do something while I sit on hold. After minutes the only thing she can do is put a ticket in and have the upgrade reversed so it would state I was available for an upgrade and that she would call in 48 to 72 hrs to update me on the situation. I agree. About a week later I get a call saying that nothing has happened yet and the ticket is still processing. A few more days go by and nothing. So I become very impatient and call customer service and explain everything again for a second time.

After about 1:15 minutes on the phone, the only resolution I get is a force upgrade but I had to purchase the phone right there over the phone. So for the phone I wanted it would’ve cost me roughly over $200 vice $49.99 on the AT&T premier website. I told the rep that this is unsatisfactory and that I want the deal that I deserve to get. I explained that it was AT&T that screwed everything up by removing my original phone number and that they are accountable and responsible to fix the solution so I can get the same options as any other customer. The rep told me he couldn’t do anything else. So I asked for a manager or supervisor. Finally I got on the phone with “Don.”

I explained my story for a third time and got the same result. Nothing!!! About this time, I had run out of patience and niceness. So I let this supervisor know my frustrations and that I wanted this issue resolved like yesterday. After much debate, he committed to call me today at 1:00pm central time. I gave him my work phone number since I don’t have a functional cell phone to answer. I let him know that I will be waiting at the time he gave me and that I couldn’t wait around longer than a 1/2 hour since I was working. Well 1:00 rolled around and the phone hadn’t rang. 1:30 rolled around and nothing. I left and did some things to finish up for the day. I got back to my office around 2:10 and no messages from this gentleman. So I called customer service again and gave my story for the fourth time. The lady I spoke with was very helpful and very nice as she tried to rectify my situation. But she couldn’t do nothing but submit another ticket which would take more unwanted time. She said I would get a call around May 13th with an update.

I told her that this was unsatisfactory, bad service and bad business. She went on to apologize for some other reps mistakes. At the same time I was speaking with this lady, Don called me on my other work number. I told the lady that the rep finally had called me and we ended our call. Don went on to apologize for his tardiness and that he had to take care of another customer that had called after me the night before and it was urgent. URGENT??? So what is my situation, I’m thinking now. This guy or company couldn’t give a care about me or my loyal services. For the past at least 7 years I have paid every bill on time and advertised too many friends and family on how great their service was. Anyway, he proceeded to tell me that there was nothing he could do but to let the trouble ticket run its course and that by Monday I should hear something better.

I explained once again that this treatment was unsatisfactory and very rude and that I couldn’t believe that AT&T couldn’t rectify my situation in a timely manner. I explained that I couldn’t even believe that AT&T wouldn’t just give me the upgrade over the phone with the AT&T premier price or even lower for all the unnecessary bull had to deal with. He said he was sorry and asked if there was anything else he could do for me. I laughed at him and told him that he didn’t do anything in the first place and that I wanted out of my contract from AT&T due to their negligence. But he told me I couldn’t get out of the contract. So that brings me to now and writing this thread. I ask for help from the community on my situation and how do I get this issue fixed and my contract ended so I can get with a provider that is for the customer and the needs of the customer.
The supposed ticket that AT&T customer service submitted originally was supposed to be processed by 10:00 on Saturday 10 May. Well Saturday rolled around, then Sunday and now Monday. And nothing has come from the situation. It still remains unanswered and without resolution. And I still sit here with a non-functional phone while I pay for the service and the inability to call or take calls from people. Thanks AT&T.

AT&T shouldn’t have forced to you to sign a new 2 year contract in order to correct their mistake, but you already know that. Unfortunately, you are probably stuck with the contract unless you’re willing to pay the ETF to get out of it.

We suggest that the best thing to do would be to launch an EECB (executive email carpet bomb) at AT&T in the hopes of catching the attention of someone at AT&T who has the power to get you the upgrade you deserve. Here’s come contact information for you. Go get ’em. For more information about launching an EECB, click here.