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Tutor

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2 Messages

Wed, Aug 22, 2018 4:26 PM

Is AT&T running a BOGO scam?

I was recently offered and accepted a BOGO offer from AT&T however, when I received my next bill I was in for a surprise. AT&T charged me considerably more than agreed without saying a word. I contacted AT&T and they told me that, that offer had already ended. I have been trying desperately to get AT&T to honor our agreement for over 6 months now. I have been on the phone with the company for 27 calls totaling 912 minutes and have had my service disconnected 3 times after being told that the account and bill would be put on hold and they will get back to me. Has anyone else had the same or similar issue with AT&T?

Responses

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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88.3K Messages

3 y ago


@Carolinaboy71 wrote:

As you've discovered, trying to get your issue resolved through AT&T support is pretty much a wasted effort.  Also, when you read the responses from the other customers that have been designated "Ace", you get the same information as if you were talking, or chatting, with AT&T support.  I was hoping the Forum would provide constructive advice on problem resolution.  Especially from the customers who have been with AT&T for a long time.  

Obtaining a lawyer appears to be our only recourse. 

$350 an hour when a lawyer cannot go to small claims or arbitration with you.  Tell me how that makes sense for a $100 that is written into the published offer?  

 

Also, AT&T does offer a dispute route if you wish to take it.  Here is the web address: https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/wireless/KM1041856?gsi=hxlnpu8.  Personally, I think this is just an effort to avoid the legal route.  But, it's a possible tool to use in seeking a resolution to your problem. 

Your observation that AT&T support uses a strategy to discourage customers from filing a complaint is accurate based on what I've seen so far.  I'm in the process of obtaining legal advice myself for my BOGO issue.


You can file complaint with BBB, FCC, go with arbitration or small claims.  The first 2 cost you nothing and might get the other $100.   It’s a mercy $100.   If you go the other route you have to prove your side.  Att side is set, as it’s published.    It’s an up hill battle.   

If you think ATT is bad, wait till you deal with lawyers,  

 

Mentor

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25 Messages

3 y ago

Actually, a little of both.  I was intending to payoff my phones until I discovered I had to payoff three vs two.  That's quite a bit more than $100.  Yes, I could make a copy of the document, blackout the personal information, and post it.  But why?  Just to prove I had it?  AT&T support wasn't interested in it and it would serve no purpose posting it to the customer Forum except for the purpose of showing everyone I wasn't just blowing smoke.

If AT&T support was more "supportive" and helpful, taking the legal route wouldn't be necessary.  The fact that many people are having similar issues with misleading and erroneous offers made by AT&T sales representatives causes customers such as myself and Ipissed to think AT&T is using, and condoning, unethical sales practices.

At my age, I'm not as sharp as I used to be.  The elderly are positively susceptible to these types of sales practices.  Also, most people (including the elderly) do not have the finances, nor interest, in taking the legal route.  So, they will say "the heck with it" and leave it alone.  Which is probably what AT&T is counting on.  Yes, I'm firmly convinced the cause behind so many "sales representative" errors is a business tactic used by AT&T.  If not, they sure need to invest some capital in training their sales representatives.  

Yes, customers should read "the fine print" before signing.  However, all the major companies I've dealt with until now are completely honest with their customers and make sure the customer knows and understands what they are agreeing to before signing.  Such integrity negates the need to read "the fine print".  Which is very good business practice, especially for us old folks. 

Mentor

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25 Messages

3 y ago

Thanks for the information.  That type of information is what most of us were looking for to begin with.  I did some research and came up with the same information you have provided.  

Taking the legal route can be expensive.  I've dealt with lawyers on several occasions and it's never a pleasant experience.  Let's just say it's necessary at times.

This $100 difference has popped up a couple of times now.  The line of thought here is it's not worth the battle just for a measly $100 difference.  In some cases, that may be true and is considered the path of least resistance.  Not to mention the aggravation and frustration involved.  Btw, that philosophy is also a known business tactic.  In my case, it's the difference of paying off two phones vs three which equates to several $100's.  

When an AT&T representative offer's a "free" phone as part of a package deal, then that's exactly what that customer should get.  Customers such as Ipissed who is talking to an AT&T representative over the phone, has to rely upon the information being provided over the phone by the AT&T representative.  Ipissed isn't fortunate enough to have the information available to contradict what he's being told.  And in many cases, even a customer who is face to face with an AT&T representative doesn't always have that information available.

 

MicCheck

ACE - Expert

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10.2K Messages

3 y ago


@Carolinaboy71 wrote:

Thanks for the information.  That type of information is what most of us were looking for to begin with.  I did some research and came up with the same information you have provided.  

Taking the legal route can be expensive.  I've dealt with lawyers on several occasions and it's never a pleasant experience.  Let's just say it's necessary at times.

This $100 difference has popped up a couple of times now.  The line of thought here is it's not worth the battle just for a measly $100 difference.  In some cases, that may be true and is considered the path of least resistance.  Not to mention the aggravation and frustration involved.  Btw, that philosophy is also a known business tactic.  In my case, it's the difference of paying off two phones vs three which equates to several $100's.  

When an AT&T representative offer's a "free" phone as part of a package deal, then that's exactly what that customer should get.  Customers such as Ipissed who is talking to an AT&T representative over the phone, has to rely upon the information being provided over the phone by the AT&T representative.  Ipissed isn't fortunate enough to have the information available to contradict what he's being told.  And in many cases, even a customer who is face to face with an AT&T representative doesn't always have that information available.

 


How does this 3rd phone come into play? The issue was a BOGO credit that was $23.xx vs. the $26.xx you were expecting, right? It's Buy ONE, Give ONE...why does phone 3 matter?

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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88.3K Messages

3 y ago

@Carolinaboy71

Now wait a minute.  In you first post you wrote this.  “When I received my bill, I was given a credit of $23.34 per month”. 

    Yet you keep writing like you aren’t getting anything for credits.  

The difference is the $100 between the base model and the Plus model. 

You got the deal as published.  You pay for 3 phones, ATT credits you monthly for a total of $700 on one phone.  If ATT sticks to its guns, you get nothing.  If they feel bad about the error on the paperwork you have, saying the PLUS model is ‘free’ and no where does it say “credits of $700 over 30 months, then may be the $100.  

    As for the information on the sales, they are published on the website.  ATT.com.  

 

Gary L

ACE - Expert

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15.8K Messages

3 y ago


@Carolinaboy71 wrote:

Yes, customers should read "the fine print" before signing.  However, all the major companies I've dealt with until now are completely honest with their customers and make sure the customer knows and understands what they are agreeing to before signing.  Such integrity negates the need to read "the fine print".  Which is very good business practice, especially for us old folks. 


I understand you've never had any problems with salespeople previous to this, but that's not really a rationale for not reading them.

 

When an AT&T representative offer's a "free" phone as part of a package deal, then that's exactly what that customer should get. 

Yes and I think most people would buy it anyways (if they knew there was a maximum) and be fine with it, but that's IF they knew it.

 

 

 

QuarryRye

Master

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3.2K Messages

3 y ago

This forum is mostly customer-to-customer, which means we have no incentive to lie or manipulate you, so you're going to get the honest truth which is that @lizdance40 is correct. It doesn't matter what you were told over the phone, in the store, or even written down on a piece of paper in the salesperson's blood. What matters is what the computer says.

 

No one physically goes into your account to add the BOGO credits. A computer checks the account to see if the purchase matches the requirements, and adds the credits automatically. If you don't qualify, the credits are not applied. In a perfect world, AT&T would honor whatever you were told and override the computer, but the reality is that it doesn't really have any incentive to do so. Two reasons why.

 

1) The system is already in place to charge you for the phones. It would take effort to actually put in the credits, so if AT&T doesn't do anything at all, it still gets your money. Even if you leave AT&T, the company still has the right to charge you the remaining balance for the phones.

 

2) What the salesperson said or did is not legally binding. You agreed to the basic installment plan when you bought the phones. The terms of the BOGO are publicly available, so they can bring them into any court or arbitration and say, "This is not what the customer legally qualified for."

 

It's terrible when a salesperson is misinformed or lies just to make a sale, and AT&T has lots of good people who will genuinely want to help get your BOGO credits. Unfortunately, you have no idea how much red tape they have to go through to get the credits put on after the fact. It has to go to a supervisor, and a supervisor's supervisor, and so on, and can be denied at any point.

 

Short version: No one has to honor what you were told. I do hope you're the exception and it works out for you, though.

lizdance40

ACE - Sage

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88.3K Messages

3 y ago

@QuarryRye

Truth bomb!  

Mentor

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25 Messages

3 y ago

Based on the answers from the resident, long time AT&T customers, yes, AT&T is running a scam.  Folks, just read the posts from the Forum experts.  It's stated clearly, AT&T is not legally responsible for any offer made by their sales representatives.  So, if you agree to their offer, don't complain when you don't get what you signed up for.  AT&T will not honor it.  You're screwed.  And apparently, you have no recourse.  And when you read the responses from these "Ace" designated customers, ask yourself why all of them are so adamantly defending AT&T regardless of the infraction you are upset with.

Gary L

ACE - Expert

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15.8K Messages

3 y ago


@Carolinaboy71 wrote:

Folks, just read the posts from the Forum experts.  It's stated clearly, AT&T is not legally responsible for any offer made by their sales representatives.  So, if you agree to their offer, don't complain when you don't get what you signed up for.  AT&T will not honor it.  You're screwed.  And apparently, you have no recourse. 

A more useful takeaway is READ THE OFFER and keep a copy.

 

And when you read the responses from these "Ace" designated customers, ask yourself why all of them are so adamantly defending AT&T regardless of the infraction you are upset with.


Please link and quote this "defending" that you speak of.

 

 

QuarryRye

Master

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3.2K Messages

3 y ago

That is absolutely not what I said, @Carolinaboy71. "Scam" implies that this is an intentional effort to deceive customers. That's not what's happening. What is happening is that AT&T cannot stand by everything anyone says to a customer. If a salesman says that he's giving away all the phones in the store for free, that doesn't mean AT&T has to honor it. As I said, it takes more than just a push of a button to get a BOGO credit onto a customer's account for two years so there better be a good reason for it besides "that's what the salesman told me." 

 

It also means that customers need to pay attention to what they're signing instead of just assuming everything is fine. I understand there's a lot of fine print and legalese on the paperwork, but when you're dealing with potentially hundreds of dollars, it's a good idea to make sure everything is in order. The BOGO advertising all has the basics of the deal in a couple of sentences in the footnote so you should at least read that. Things like "requires 1 new line of service" isn't that hard to understand and would have avoided hundreds of these "BOGO scam" complaints on this forum.

 

I should also add that, every now and then, a customer does end up getting their BOGO credit, even though they didn't qualify for it. As I said, there are people at AT&T who want to make things right. But people shouldn't assume that's going to happen in every case, because if it did, AT&T would just stop offering BOGO deals altogether because it loses too much money.

Tutor

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4 Messages

3 y ago

They did this to me also, I was in a AT&T store, and a rep set us up and did not do it right.  When we left, rep said we would get the discount in a couple months.  Its been a year and AT&T will not honor the promotion.  I am filing a complaint with the FCC and Florida State Attorney General, as well as with the BBB.  I suggest we all do this so that AT&T will stop these practices.

QuarryRye

Master

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3.2K Messages

3 y ago

I suggest we all do this so that AT&T will stop these practices.

No, what will happen is that AT&T will stop offering BOGO deals. Too much of a headache from people who don't pay attention to the requirements.

Gary L

ACE - Expert

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15.8K Messages

3 y ago

I do believe AT&T could make this much easier for customers, especially at stores.

 

A printed copy of the BOGO offer with a list (in a large font) of the requirements. With the EXPIRATION DATE listed clearly (not "limited time").


I think a lot of people would be happy to NOT take the offer if they understood the offer.

Contributor

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2 Messages

3 y ago

AT&T BOGO is a scam. It's obvious...just Google AT&T BOGO scam and you will find literally hundreds of complaints. Trying to talk to customer service will just be a waste of your life.  They will continue to lie or give you the run around in hopes that you will eventually run out of energy to fight for what you were promised and just bend over and take it. If you want suggestions on a resolution you can 1) file a legal action against the company in court and hope to win or 2) payoff your phones cancel the service and switch to Verizon (which is a better network and more honest service).  This is what I did after wasting time trying to get the BOGO credit that I was promised but never received.  You can pay off your phones with a credit card and then once they are unlocked dispute the charges.  Make AT&T chase you and your credit card company for payment...lets see how they like it.  [Per Guidelines:  Keep it Relevant and Appropriate].

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