Does AT&T care about customers? What can the customers do?
I originally signed up with AT&T in 2005, when it was still Cingular. While moving abroad, I converted to a pre-pay plan till about 2014, when I realized even that was not worth the money anymore. Now, whenever I need telephone service when visiting the U.S., I just go for another prepaid card. So far, so good.
Most recently, however, I purchased service for one month in a local shop and ended up paying almost $200 for service I did not want and did not use. What can I do about this? I informed the sales agent in the store that I would need the service for only one month, and that I did not want to be enrolled in the auto pay system. While he was on his phone authorizing my SIM with an agent somewhere (I never understood that part of the process), he passed on the information that I did not want to be enrolled in the auto pay system, and confirmed it to me after hanging up, that I would not be part of the auto pay system. The number was activated, and I was satisfied. I trusted the sales associate about my auto pay status, and apparently, that was my mistake.
Two months later, I saw charges for AT&T in my credit bill. Auto pay. I immediately called the AT&T help line. After digging up a ten-digit number I had not used for 2 months, I was finally able to talk to a person (this needs to change!). I explained my situation to the agent who took my call, and she asked if I would like to be removed from the auto pay system and have my number cancelled. Yes, of course, I did! Before receiving my credit card bill, I thought this was already the case. I asked the customer support agent to do what she offered, because I thought it was already the case. That was my second mistake.
As for the charges on my credit card bill, the customer support agent told me AT&T would review it and then contact me, but probably with unfortunate news for me. They never contacted me.
When I took it upon myself to call customer support again, I was told that the number had been cancelled and therefore any history related to it was gone. Basically, I sabotaged myself when I agreed to let the previous agent cancel my number. The current agent could not confirm that AT&T had charged me, ever. This line about the history being gone is either an outright lie or horribly bad training on AT&T's part. I had history of AT&T charging me, and I was pretty sure AT&T's accounting department had a history of it, too. Furthermore, the agent asked me for the date I started service to verify I was calling about the correct number. The history was obviously not gone. In the end he could do nothing to help me other than to give me an internal number to the accounting team.
I tried calling the accounting team. The first person could not help me because the number in question had been cancelled. Her only advice was to call customer support again, and see if the number could be reactivated. I tried to explain that the telephone number might be cancelled, but that AT&T surely knew my credit card number, but that did not seem reasonable to anyone but me. When asked if I could speak to someone else, I was told I could not. So I tried calling customer support again, to have the number reactivated. Nope, that cannot be done. The agent then, after claiming all history was gone for a cancelled number and then verifying my service start date for that very number, was only able to suggest that I call accounting again, but instead of supplying the telephone number in question, I should have them look me up by my credit card number. This is very frustrating, to say the least.
Finally, I called accounting again. This time, a supervisor was the lucky winner to take my call! She asked me for the number in question, and, lo, she had the full history of the number. She confirmed for me the charges in question and was able to confirm for me an additional charge which was never to have been made. However, there was nothing more she could do for me, except for explaining this to me: enrollment in the auto pay system must be at the customer's request. Therefore, because I was enrolled in the service, I must have asked for it. When I tried explaining that that was not the case, the supervisor told me that without any hard evidence, it was my word against AT&T's. To rephrase that, AT&T is more perfect than the customer, and the customer must be doubted.
I still want my $200 back, and am not giving up yet. That is a lot more money to me than it is to AT&T, and it was taken very improperly. Again I ask, aside from venting and stewing in this forum, what are my options at this point? It seems obvious to me that AT&T does not want to do anything to help me, except to encourage me to sabotage my own case -- the first support agent walked me into cancelling my status as a paying customer without me knowing it. As noted in another post in this forum, AT&T saw no need to help me after that, and loyal history means nothing to them. So far, AT&T has chosen to hide behind "company policy" at every turn instead of actively helping the customer and doing the right thing.