The other day, David, a six-year customer of AT&T’s wireless service, received an e-mail alert from the Death Star to let him know that his monthly allotment of minutes had been used up and he now faced more than $50 in overage charges.
It didn’t add up to David, as he’d had 700 rollover minutes on his account just a couple weeks earlier. How could he have used up his full monthly allotment and all those rollover minutes in that short period of time?
“When digging in it appears there are a few phone calls on my wife’s phone that just did not make any sense even though the actual numbers are friends of hers,” he tells Consumerist. “One phone call claimed the person was on CALL WAITING for 137 minutes. Now my wife has some very good friends but I can’t imagine anyone sitting on call waiting for over two hours.”
Then there were several calls with “000-000-0000” listed as the phone number and the Caller ID of “BLOCKED.”
Turns out those calls were likely international calls his wife made using a calling card that AT&T had told him would not count toward the monthly minutes allowance.
“When checking over the bill it appears AT&T double dipped,” writes David. “Not only did we pre-pay via their calling cards but also charged for the minutes on the cell phone.”
Needing to get to the bottom of the quickly vanishing minutes, David used AT&T’s chat-based customer service.
“I explained to them everything that I found and asked them to please investigate this,” he writes. “Instead of investigating the problems the representative spent their time telling me different ways I can change the plan on my current account so I can lower the bill. In each case I would remind the representative that they were not solving the problem but trying to tell me how to pay for the problem.”
After several trips around this not-so-merry-go-round, David finally told the CSR that if AT&T was unwilling to investigate the issue, he would cancel his service.
“Again the representative continued with the same thing so I left the conversation,” says David.
And so he was off to RadioShack to look into new carriers. At the store, David saw the AT&T Go Phone plan, which offers unlimited text and calling and would have been a perfect fit for him and his wife. And yet, the AT&T rep had never mentioned this cheaper prepaid plan during his attempts to upsell him on the unlimited contract plans.
“Out of spite and the fact I did not want to reward a company for bad business practices I ended going with Boost Mobile with their $55 unlimited everything plan,” David tells Consumerist. “My wife is now free to use her phone as much as she pleases and we no longer need to have monthly arguments about her using up all the phone minutes too fast… or even better telling her to please use the house phone instead of her cell phone.”
So the good news is that AT&T’s unwillingness to look into a longtime customer’s issue has resulted in the customer ending up with a less-expensive plan. Meanwhile, AT&T will never see a dime from that customer again (at least until it absorbs every other player in the wireless market).