"The Computer" At AT&T Is All Powerful And Humans Have Lost Control!

Attention citizens: A machine known only as “the computer” has taken control of AT&T. The humans are powerless to control it — or even to negotiate with it. If it decides that you should be triple billed for phone numbers you don’t need or use, there’s nothing AT&T can do. Gather your children and all the salmonella-free peanut butter you own and report to your basement. Dunk your cellphones, DVRs, Apples and XBOXes into cold water before they rise up and destroy you like they’re destroying reader Patrick.

Patrick says:
In May, I broke my iPhone. I dropped it and it cracked. I sold it on eBay, expected new iPhones to be announced June 9 at the WWDC. When I found out I’d have to wait until July 11, I bought a Motorola Q, because all the stores were sold out of iPhones. I would wait for the 3G on July 11.

As the date got closer, I went back to the store and asked about my upgrade eligibility for the 3G. They informed me that since I just purchased a Motorola Q, I couldn’t get an iPhone – not at any price. This, we know now, is incorrect, but to fix matters I returned the Motorola in under 30 days and popped my SIM card in a buddy’s old RAZR for a couple weeks awaiting the new iPhone 3G’s. The sales guy at the store said this would cancel my contract obligation from the Motorola and I’d be eligible to get the new iPhone at the subsidized price.

On July 11, I went to my local AT&T store because I knew there would be trouble; my account online was showing me as upgrade ineligible. Despite everything they could see at the store (that I was, in fact, perfectly eligible to upgrade and get the new iPhone), the computer wouldn’t let the transaction happen. Someone at the other store didn’t do the right paperwork when I returned the Motorola Q, and it was causing an issue.

iPhones we’re selling out all around me, so the salesperson and manager said in order for me to get an iPhone that day, they would create a new line on my account, and then I was to return the following week when they’d have the block on my account removed, and move the iPhone over to the correct line, and delete the newly created line. I begrudgingly accepted this solution, and dealt with the hassle of having a different number for a week.

The next week I went in and they moved the iPhone to my old (correct) number, and said they’d do the paperwork to get the billing right – delete the new line, cancel the charges, and fix my bill.

In the interest of keeping this story simple, I’ll summarize it like this:

This never happened. To this day – nearly two months later and spanning three billing cylces – my account has a huge balance because I continue to be charged for the extra line they’ve added, and a family plan which I don’t need, and an iPhone data plan on the line they created (which, consequently, has no phone even associated with it – the voice and data usage is ZERO!).

I’ve spent countless hours in the store and on the phone and nothing has been done. They say they don’t know what to do. Customer service can’t change or modify my bill. They all say the same thing – the computer won’t let them remove the line or fix the billing. No one – managers, regional managers, etc. – can tell me what I need to do. My bill is climbing at three times the rate it should. The store has told me not to pay the bill until it’s fixed. I’ve never missed a payment but now my account is past due.

I’m just a regular guy, trying to pay my bill and be current. NO ONE IS HELPING ME. I leave messages and call for help and just continue to get the runaround. I want my account fixed so I can move on. I feel like I’m going to be shut off soon, and this will never be right!

Thanks for any help you can bring to this issue.


Even though we’re sure that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is currently quite busy machine gunning terminators in his executive bathroom, you should probably send his team an EECB. Perhaps there is still one man who can regain control of the computer before it shuts down the life support systems at AT&T…

Here’s his contact information.

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