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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

ATT: Too big to care

We signed up for phone service with ATT and it turned into what has been a typical interaction with Corporate America:

* When we signed up on the phone on the ATT website it gave us a choice of 6 numbers. We selected one and naively assumed that would be our number. It was only after we started giving out that number that we found out that ATT has assigned us a different number--and never let us know.
* They gave us a date by which service would be connected, but it was not connected until the next day.
* We signed up for a $14 rate, but when we got our bill we were charged $17 a month.
* The bill also had an unexplained "Mileage-Outside Base Rate Area" charge of $1.94.
* We were to receive 20 free local phone calls, but instead we are being charged for local calls by the minute.

So, we get thrown into an endless loop with ATT customer service personal who either do not care or are not able to address these questions, and end the call reading from a script: "We hope you are completely satisfied with the service you have received today," which just leaves us screaming: NO! Have you not been listening to what I have been saying??

Last week I finally talked to Account Specialist George who said that the rate had increased in July and the 25 free calls only applied in TX, that there was absolutely nothing that ATT could do to solve this problem, and he strongly recommended that I contact the Public Utilities Commission to solve the problem.

So, I filed a complaint with PUC, BBB, and the FCC. The PUC called me back and told me that they did not have regulatory control over ATT, and suggested that I call the ATT executive president instead and perhaps file a complaint with the Attorney General. It was the Better Business Bureau complaint, however, that elicited a call back from ATT. Deidre said that the base rate had been raised in July and that now they had corrected the website, read from a script to explain the "Mileage-Outside Base Rate Area" which really makes no sense, and told me that ATT does not keep track of the local calls for which I am being billed and that I would have to subpena them to gain access to that information.

Yet this morning the ATT website still features an AT&T Measured Rate Service for $14.00 a month including 20 outgoing local calls.

So, remind me how corporations that treat us this poorly and just randomly charge us whatever they feel like without having to explain or account for it make our lives better? Why are we giving these monsters huge tax giveaways when they are not being held responsible for their actions?

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