I Call AT&T To Cancel Dead Mom's Phone; Get Sales Pitch Instead

Most people who have had to deal with closing up the loose ends of a lost loved one will tell you it’s at best an unpleasant necessity. But some companies seem downright determined to make it even more miserable by using the opportunity to sell you more crap.

Take the example of Consumerist reader Dawn, who had to contact AT&T to have her late mother’s phone disconnected:

I told the CSR very clearly, up front, that my mother had died. And while she was very polite, she STILL had to read me a sales script asking if I would be willing to “discuss products and services offered by AT&T” with her!

In other words, I have just called your company during a time of grief. And that same company thinks it’s a good idea to make you try to sell me something?!?

To be clear here, I have no problem with the CSR. She was polite and seemed to mean it when she offered me her sympathies. I could also hear in her voice that she wasn’t very thrilled about being so godawful tactless. Given that the call was probably being recorded, I went out of my way to explain that I had no problem with her service while politely laying into AT&T and being very clear that I will now never, ever, willingly do business with that company.

Here is yet another example where it would be very easy to get angry at the CSR, but where the real problem is likely systemic. When so much of the customer service experience is pre-scripted, it occasionally forces CSRs into situations like this one where common sense and good taste would dictate that making a sales pitch to a grieving family member might not be the most sound idea.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.