AT&T Not Responsible For Unethical Sales Practices?
There are numerous new customers who were convinced to switch to AT&T from their respective cell phone providers. One thing most seem to have in common, they trusted the sales representative to be honest in his, or her, presentation of the "offer". In my case, the "offer" was presented by an AT&T representative named Germain. The "offer" was discussed with me on 26 February 2018 included the following:
Free Hotspot (Mobile)
HBO Free For Life
$15 off DirecTv
BOGO (1 Free I-Phone 8 Plus 64 GB)
Buyout 3 Lines
I was currently paying on two I-Phone 6S Plus with Verizon. I had been a Verizon customer for years and was completely satisfied. I was already a DirecTv customer and the HBO for life plus $15 off my DirecTv bill added to the intrigue of the "offer". Additionally, $650 credit per line for switching also caught my attention. Admittedly, I did not take the time to read the back of the DirecTv document that Germain gave me. I was definitely guilty of trusting the information being presented by Germain. Before making a final decision, I needed a couple of questions answered:
1. I planned on keeping my two cell phones that I was currently making payments on. Would that cause a problem with the $650 credit per line?
Answer: Nope, no problem
2. Is there anything I have to do regarding changing over from Verizon to AT&T?
Answer: You don't have to do anything. AT&T will make the arrangements with Verizon to payoff your two phones.
There's an old saying "if it sounds too good to be true, then it isn't". I should have heeded that old saying. And then there's old rule of thumb that sales representatives can't be trusted. Three strikes and you're out. I had one more to go. In order to seal the "offer", I had to pay $192.00 plus sign the AT&T offer document, and then sit back and enjoy your new phones. I was already aware of the AT&T poor phone coverage issue but was willing to live with that problem.
My first indication of a problem was when I received my Verizon cell phone bill. On page three was a one time charge of $337.32 identified as "device payment buyout charge" for both phones. Wait a minute, the sales representative told me AT&T was going to take care of that for me. I contacted AT&T and was told to send them the Verizon bill. I was then notified they could not approve that portion of the AT&T Switcher Program because "Your submission did not include a bill from your previous carrier showing an Early Termination Fee (ETF) or Equipment Installment Plan (EIP)". Next, I was told that the Verizon bill did not identify which cell phone numbers were involved but did reference an agreement number. So, I sent them a copy of each agreement which did identify the cell phones numbers. Again, my request was not approved for the same reason as before.
I contacted AT&T customer service using the chat feature. I explained my problem. The AT&T customer representative pulled up my information and verified I had submitted the required documentation, but they had not received the two cell phones yet. Huh? Yep, in order to qualify of the $650 credit per line, you have to send them your cell phones. When I told him that's not what their sales representative told me, I was asked if I had read the information on how the switch to AT&T works. Nope, I was relying upon the information provided by the sales representative. Then came the apology, but unless I sent in my two phones, I didn't qualify for the $650 credit. So, I sent Verizon a check for the two phones, and chalked this one up to my dumb butt trusting a sales representative.
The next indication of a problem was when I got my AT&T bill and noticed I was being charged for all three I-Phone 8 Plus's. Where was my BOGO? I haven't addressed this problem with AT&T yet because I've already read other customers complaints about not getting the BOGO that was included in their "offer". The reasons AT&T gave for not agreeing to the BOGO ranged from the "offer" not being from an authorized dealer to poor training. Final answer to the other customers seemed to be, you aren't getting your BOGO. However, I still plan on addressing this issue with AT&T.
As of this date (22 April 2018), I have also not received the $15 off my DirecTv bill. AT&T did tell me to allow several weeks for this to take effect, so I'm trying to be patient.
And finally, cell phone service is worse than I had heard. My friends keep asking me if I've received their text messages. Nope, text messages are very intermittent. Receiving a call? Not while I'm at home. The caller complains about my end "breaking up". If I'm asked if I would recommend AT&T? Absolutely not. But not because of the poor cell phone service. Primarily because of the "questionable" sales tactics used to get people to switch. Regardless of their connection to AT&T, these sales representatives are, in fact, representing AT&T. Considering the number of complaints I've read and seen, I have to suspect AT&T is aware of these practices and condone them. Why do I say "condone"? Because I've read the same complaints dating back 4 years.