Monday, September 01, 2008


I was almost writing a big rant right here in this space. It will be only a partial rant, and I had to pick myself up off the floor before I could write it. The end part is actual praise for customer service.

No big deal, right? Except it's praise for AT&T.

I've always avoided AT&T. They had a history of screwing over their customers, back when they were not only a huge conglomerate but basically had no competition. My cell phone company was sold to AT&T, and for a while the company I wanted to switch to kept saying they had no coverage in my area, which was wrong, but I wouldn't call them (you know me). I just kept checking the website. Anyway, this spring they changed their website and I could get their service but they weren't offering reimbursement for the early termination fee anymore, so I waited for my contract term to be up. And then Number One was going to Holland and I will admit that AT&T does have the best signal coverage and it was the easiest way for her to keep in touch from overseas.

So I finally switched last month. When I called to activate my new phones, they told me AT&T hadn't yet released the numbers so I had to call back the next day. This week I got my last AT&T phone bill, and they charged me for service from 8/14 to 9/13, even though my records showed I'd switched to Credo on 8/13. So I called them. And they said according to the terms of my account, AT&T doesn't prorate the monthly service and my bill cycle ended 8/13 and I didn't switch until 8/14.

The bastards held my service hostage so they could bill me another $60+.

Vintage AT&T.

So I told him that my new company showed my service effective 8/13 and that it was one day and if they ever wanted me back as a customer, they'd remove that charge from the bill. He said it was policy and he couldn't do that. I asked for a supervisor. He assured me he had authority to address the issue and that it was true and correct and laid out right there in my terms of service. I got pretty loud and demanded a supervisor again. During the 15 minutes I was on hold (he put me on hold mid-sentence, too--I really ticked him off), I laid out my argument for the supervisor. But when the CSR came back on the line, he said yes, if I switch in the future, they would want me back, so he removed that fee.

I was really nice after that. :)

So it appears AT&T is at least attempting to balance its bastardness with good service, and if I do switch again--which is a possibility, since Credo, a reseller of Sprint, doesn't have the signal power of AT&T--they aren't automatically off my list.

Switching is a low possibility at the moment, because Credo gives 1% of my charges to charity, and I've been a long distance customer of theirs (formerly Working Assets Long Distance) for nearly 16 years, so I'm reducing my number of bills to be paid. But still. AT&T smartly did not burn our bridge, and now I'm praising them publicly instead of vilifying them.

Maybe corporate dickheads CAN learn something.

No comments: