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appliedmath's profile

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5 Messages

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015 3:31 AM

ATT Cheated my family!!!

I am really disappointed in AT&T's customer service nowadays. Have been a longtime customer for a while, but a series of mishaps have me really rethinking my decision to stay... I really miss the old days and the quality of CS we used to get from this company. 

 

I received a text only TODAY at college after my mom bought me an iphone 5s as a sendoff present. My mom, the primary holder on the account, apparently would be charged more after upgrading from the mobile share planned (AT&T terms it as "losing a discount")... I suddenly became more aware of why, the past few weeks when we called in to enquire about other services, we were being pressured by the agent on the other end to upgrade. When we asked said customer service agent about the consequences nothing about of the increase in our plan was mentioned. We had  expressly asked the friendly agent on the other line about the costs. It wasn't even mentioned a few years back when we decided to switch to the MobileShare plan, nor was it mentioned at the store along with other activation fees. when we went in to buy the phone! 

 

This company is very large and has enough resources to send us a simple text about these changes after we express interest in upgrading... I am left with many questions, wondering why I (not my mom) got this text when my mom is the primary account holder, why the text came so late (after buying the phone rather than when we expressed interest in the upgrade), why the CS representatives on the other end of the line chose to keep their mouth shut when we repeatedly asked about any additional costs and expressly said we could not tolerate any increases in our bill.

 

I expect more transparency and a better level of service from a company with as many customers as AT&T. Now my family has to deal with the consequences on the other end, and I have to come back from college to deal with the logistics. All said and done, we are just barely hanging on to our contract with AT&T-- very frustrated with this and other billing mishaps that have happened in the past. I don't want to believe it, but I sometimes feel like some CS agents at AT&T are deliberately defrauding their customers by purposefully omitting information, or glossing over it upon being asked. I understand that sales and comissions are important, but if a car salesman can lay out all terms of a contract both verbally and in written form in front of me, why can't AT&T customer service representatives do the same? Really at the end of the rope here... We expect better from you AT&T!!! Woman Frustrated

 

 

ACE - Sage

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104.2K Messages

8 years ago

No one is ripping your family off.

All carriers now require you to pay for your phones, one way or another. (They always did)

With AT&T you have 3 options to purchase a phone....

1. BYOP, bring your own phone or purchase a phone at full retail.
2. The 2 year subsidized plan. ( aka "old plan ) A portion paid up front, the rest of the cost is built into the $40 a month line fee. This is why you lose your discount on the line. If you're add what your paid up front, plus the $600 lost discount, you will pay more than the current retail price for the phone.
3. The newest purchase option allows your to spread out the current retail price over as much as 30 installment payments and keep the discounted line at $15. This is not a lease or rent. Once the installments are paid in full the phone is yours to do as you please. The 30 month plan allows your to trade in a phone in excellent condition and use the value toward a new phone after only 24 months. ( there are shorter plans for those who want to pay off quicker )

Tutor

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5 Messages

8 years ago

If you had read my post thoroughly you would have seen that that is not the main point of my post. The main point is that I expected more transparency from AT&T CS about this matter. If they had clearly outlined the implications of changing the plan in the first place (as you easily have, in 3 sentences) when we asked, then we probably wouldn't have upgraded our 2 year plan in the first place, and they should have maintained clear lines of communication by texting my mom (the primary owner of the plan) rather than me today.

 

Yes, I admit that the research on our side was not as extensive as it is usually, but we are busy people with busy lives, especially at this time of the year, and needed phones on urgent notice. CS representatives are meant to be trusted and to give information to customers. Is that not why they are hired, and their profession is named the way it is? We trusted our CS representative, just as we trusted the representative who correctly set up our first account and the one who correctly managed our first bill. Perhaps misguidedly, we continued to trust through the increasingly frequent mishaps, pushy representatives and mistaken charges on our mobile and other services. 

 

I don't expect businesses to change their billing practices, but I would appreciate it if they took the time to inform their customers about these changes clearly before anything is signed on paper. The CS I have received with this and other billing decisions is so paltry and lacking that it does not deserve the name "customer service", and is certainly not the service than any large company should be providing to a longstanding customer.

 

 I might be looking at it a bit heuristically, but I see several people with the exact same complaint as I have on these forums and elsewhere. This does not seem like a coincidence to me; I would dare say that this should be a red flag that there are beyond one or two "bad eggs" among the representatives and an indicator that there is some information gap that requires broad-sweeping changes in training  and evaluation of representatives. 

 

Omitting and doctoring information just so that you can make a sale is just being dishonest. There is no other fathomable explanation I can think of to explain away this repeated phenomenon. 

 

ACE - Sage

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104.2K Messages

8 years ago

Your mother is an adult.
She made the purchase.
She signed a contract.
As the account owner, this was done by her, so why should she need FURTHER notice of the transaction?

Completely illogical.

There is more than enough infourmation, published and in store on the costs of phones and services.

Phones are not free. No carrier sells a $700 phone for only $200. They get the rest of the $500 somehow. To think otherwise is naive.

The Next plan outlined online:
The options to purchase a phone are posted online and have been advertised for over a year.
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/next.html?WT.srch=1&wtPaidSearchTerm=AT%26T+Next+-+%240+Down_SLK2014#fbid=sGri_Hjjegd

If you scroll to "STEP TWO" note the line fee for a 2 year plan is clear.
http://www.att.com/shop/wireless/data-plans.html#fbid=pcZjxCm4Abt

Contributor

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1 Message

8 years ago

appliedmath, I am with you. {keep it courteous}. My experience is the same as yours and you and I both have a right to be disappointed in the lack of communication from a company we both paced confidence and trust in. It's not the same company I started my service with years ago. I'm stuck for now, but be assured, AT&T is losing a very good customer in the not too distant future. 

Tutor

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5 Messages

8 years ago

Lizdance, you continue to misunderstand my post. I politely request you to read and understand my posts before you respond, because I put care into conveying information clearly and thoroughly with each post I write.

 

 You tell me of information posted on the website and elsewhere. I have explained to you that we did not do extensive research due to lack of time. The decision to upgrade was one that was rather urgent and last  minute, as my phone line broke down before I had to leave for college, which is a sizable distance away from home. My phone line would be the only means of communication I would have with my parents. We trusted the representative on the other line, as we are led to believe we should. 

 

Yes, my mom is an adult, she signed a contract, and made a transaction, I acknowledge that part of your post. But the basis of that transaction was not sound. We did not expect a free phone. Yes, we did expect to be paying it off somehow, so we asked if there would be any new charges, and were misinformed.

 

By the way, when we were signing the contract, the explanation/exchange of terms you are assuming occured did not happen- we were just rushed in, told to sign here and there and there, while the salesperson quickly flipped through the pages, and then told to have a nice day and be on our way. All information (except for a one-time $40 activation fee) was assumed to be already known. Like I said in my previous post, would you expect the same behavior from a car salesman?

 

There were asymmetries of information at work both before and after the transaction, with:

1. The wrong information given to us by our AT&T representative when we asked them about the consequences of upgrading

2. The text sent to me at college informing us of changes, after purchase of the phone which was not sent to my mom, the primary account holder. 

 

These are what I am upset about. I reckon you would feel the same if this company or any other blatantly lied or omitted information in order to make a sale, and if their lines of communication telling of any changes were not clear/incorrect before AND after the transaction.

 

If I had not flagged down my mom about this (because she had received no text) our family would have not have had the opportunity to change things. 

 

When I talk to a CS representative, I expect them, too, to convey information to me clearly and thoroughly as I would, but this expectation was met with sore disappointment in this and other experiences with AT&T.

 

Your solution asserts that there is no problem and that information is widely and clearly available. Why, then, do there exist complaints such as mine in these forums and elsewhere, which pull down AT&T's rankings even in such places as the BBB? Why is AT&T, nowadays, touted through several rankings as "the worst customer service" among cell phone providers? If these complaints are so numerous, then what about the complaints that go unvoiced? As customers we should not be doing the heavy lifting by researching plans when we have lives of our own. It is the customer service representative's job to do that! They are paid for that very purpose!

 

 

Unfortunately, today, I see an increasingly defensive front from the CS department in AT&T, similar to the front you have expressed to me just now. They talk to me without understanding my questions and concerns, and when I have a complaint it seems to me as if constructive criticism is given less importance than it deserves. In my interactions in recent years, the eye towards improvement that was there in the early days of the service has slowly but surely been disappearing. 

 

AT&T's poor (and declining) customer service, unfortunately is a large distractor for people deciding whether to choose the carrier, a pity when you look at how extensive the network is. 

 

I assert that there is an information/education gap that exists somewhere when the main goal of customer service is sales and not... well, service. 

 

 

 

 

GLIMMERMAN76

ACE - Expert

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23.5K Messages

8 years ago


@appliedmath wrote:

 

Yes, my mom is an adult, she signed a contract, and made a transaction, I acknowledge that part of your post. But the basis of that transaction was not sound. We did not expect a free phone. Yes, we did expect to be paying it off somehow, so we asked if there would be any new charges, and were misinformed.

 

The thing is there arnt any new charges....  They took a discount away.  You were always charged 40 dollars.  They just gave you a discount.

 

Promo for Mobile Share Value Plan 30GB
$130.00
 
Mobile Share Value Smartphone 4G LTE w/ VVM
$40.00
 
alertIcon
Discount for Mobile Share Value Savings
−$25.00
 
 
International Long Distance - Standard
$0.00
 
alertIcon
National Account Discount help
−$32.50
 
 
Total Monthly Plan Charges
$112.50

Tutor

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5 Messages

8 years ago

GLIMMERMAN76, I appreciate your response. 

Firstly, I would like to state I'm not a big fan of the changes in lingo nowadays to mask increases in prices of plans.

 

 

I understand that because it was termed  a "discount" , it would not be exactly termed a "charge", but we also expressed that we would not tolerate any increases in our bill. Yes, it is a "discount", but to me, anything that increases my bill counts as a charge. Our CS agent should have been more clear about this matter. 

 

We did ask, expressly if our bill would increase, and were told nothing to that effect. We have always been clear with our AT&T representatives with respect to what we will tolerate and not tolerate in terms of changes in our bill. We were unilaterally pushed towards upgrading, and not made aware of the consequences, even when we requested that information.

 

And even though it is termed as a discount, don't we have the right to know when there are changes made to our plans (especially when we ask about them)?

 

Also, keep in mind that what occured after the transaction was also clearly wrong, in my opinion. My mom (the primary holder) deserved to receive that text that I received about changes in plan. 

 

At this point, I am no longer posting because of any personal anger and frustration about this. I am posting because I want my voice to be heard, as a consumer. I desperately want AT&T to get their act together, because I know how great their product is, and feel that it is a shame that bad customer service is forcing people out of their plans.  

 

Tutor

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6 Messages

8 years ago

 

 

I have the same experience with AT&T, while I have been their royal customer for so many years.

 

2 months ago, I received so many letters and e-mails from AT&T that my famil  can have free or Just pay $ 200 for each to receive I -phone 6 and keep your existing plans. Finally, I decided to give my family X-mass gift. We went to walmart. Before going there, I called AT&T customer service because I did not want to change my plans. I was told by AT&T customer service and also whoever representing AT&T in walmart. The only fee I had to pay was $ 200 Plus tax on original price of the phone and I have to  extend my  existing contract for two years. MY existing monthly chrge was $155 and I was on month to month contract.

I have  two daughters in college and a high school.  For that reason I am on a very tight budget to meet their educational cost.  I asked and took all the precautionary   measure required to make sure not to change my plan or pay more monthly payment. AT&T and their representative assured me all I have to do pay the upfront cost which was close to $1100 for our phones.

 

First and second month I was charged for 155 dollars per  month during that time,  I spoke to customer service more than once and no body mentioned to me my plan was changed.  Suddenly, I received an e-mail that I had to pay      $ 520. I was told my plan was changed two months ago after my contract was executed with them the I have to pay  $ 160 for upgrading $ 245 monthly fee and $ 115 for pro rating my monthly charge.  I called customer service, But I did  not get any help. They did not want to hear me. All I was told, 3 days after execution of contract , we send an e-mail and you should have read your e-mail. We  informed you of the changes. I never checked my e-mails, because of  so many advertisement or junk mails I received on daily bases. I only check my e-mail when I expect to get an e-mail from a party.

Before execution of contract nobody disclose those cost to me from AT&T. while I call and asked them prior to have two years contract. 

 

I am so frustrated by business practice of AT&T and I want to take this issue to social media. Because my family is not the only one who has been cheated by AT&T.

If they would disclose the cost and charges, I would not get new phones or I would go with different career.

Not been transparent, honest, disclosing the charges prior to execution of contract or hiding facts and trying using fast talking salesman are the old tricks used by dishonest organization. They always try to use the fine prints or legal languages in the contract which can be understood by lawyers only as a excuse to charge families. Truly SHAME

on AT&T.

 

[Legal discussions are not permitted per the Guidelines]

ACE - Sage

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104.2K Messages

8 years ago

I feel like a parent that has spoiled their kid.

 

After years where there was NO DISCOUNT on your service if your phone was paid off, AT&T thought there should be one.  

(My ex Husband had the same "cheap" flip phone for 5 years and we paid $40 a month for it).

 

I don't earn a lot of money.  It means doing some things for myself and watching where my money is going out.  I installed a new battery in my truck today, to save the labor charge.  If the money is that important, do your research, know what you are buying and how much it costs.

 

It took me seconds to find and post the links to the pricing plans.

 

Unless one lives under a rock, they know a brand new iPhone 6 starting price is $649.  It is flat out ridiculous to think it can be purchased for less on a discounted service plan.

 

BTW.... You were offered "no money down" NOT FREE iPhone!  And you did keep your plan, but you lost the discount allowed on lines with phones that are paid for in full.

 

 @bzarechian 

 If you click on the links in my post above you will see both plans and the LOSS OF DISCOUNT on lines if you upgrade on a 2 year subsidized plan.

 

[Legal discussions are not permitted per the Guidelines]

Tutor

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5 Messages

8 years ago

This will be my last post on this matter in this forum. When I first posted, I was of course, upset and angry, but most of those feelings have dissapated into a resolve to find a solution in some manner. I would like make some points before I leave, though:

 

My family and I are average, everyday consumers. We usually take decisions while considering a lot of factors, and doing extensive research in order to not do something we regret. However, like all everyday consumers sometimes there are situations where life gets in the way and we are not as thorough and rational as we would like to be. I would hope that companies would not take advantage of consumers in those situations by offering information that is misaligned on separate channels.

 

Thank you Lizdance for your well meaning advice, which I will be sure to follow in the future after this experience. After your first post to me, I took the opportunity to read up and understand the logistics of changes in costs between the Mobile Share Plan and the plan offered under the new 2-year contract, so I was already fully aware of all the information you made available to me in your third post.

 

Reading your final post to me, I get the impression that you may have misunderstood me yet again ( I never mentioned anything about expecting a free phone, and the iphone I mentioned in my first post is not the one that you mention in your reply).  I am not going to further attempt to correct any other existing misunderstandings as I see no point in a back-and-forth that lends no solution. But please realize that I am very hurt by the fact that you continue to post allegations and make judgements on incorrect assumptions about my understanding of the situation despite my sincerity in conveying all this information to you. 

 

 Nevertheless, I now fully realize how my family's initial trust in representatives and lack of research exposed us to vulnerabilities in the system. However, I would like you and others to consider the following point: solutions to problems are most often not one-sided.

 

Let me put it this way, through an analogy: A circuit in series which has just one broken wire is not a working circuit and will not do its intended job of lighting up all lightbulbs in its path. Yes, I and my family will grow through this experience and fix the frayed wire on our side and rectify our behavior in the future by doing more extensive research and taking CSRs' words with a grain of salt , no matter how busy we are. However, there still remain broken wires on AT&T's side. Who is to say that AT&T will not take advantage another family of average consumers like mine by giving incomplete, unclear, and wrong information to them through the customer service channel?

 

No matter what you think, one thing is clear:

The representative(s) my family dealt with were also wrong. The information he gave us upon our request for information about increases of cost on our bill, rather than being clearly and correctly communicated as your reply was, was different from the information on the official website you gave me. Regardless of what it was termed according to the representative, removal of the discount increases the amount my mom pays to AT&T and therefore counts as an increase of cost on our billThere was also no text informing my mother, the primary account holder, of changes in her plan, an extreme oversight, in my opinion. 

 

The fact that I and my family made a mistake by solely trusting our representative(s) does not in any way imply that the wrongs and failures of said representative(s) who talked to my family and dealt with the upgrade should be ignored.  

 

My main point of pointing out this whole situation on this forum was to make AT&T to reflect on its behavior as well. My philosophy is that consumers should stand up when they feel a company has committed a grievance against them. That way, when there are enough consumers with that problem,  the consumer and the company can work together to find a solution. 

 

In my posts on this forum, I have tried to be as logical as possible, outline my criticisms clearly, and have acknowledged my mistakes, and tried to be as understanding as is possible towards my peers and their arguments.

 

However, the response on the forum from some respondents has been reaction to my arguments in a very personal and emotional way. I will apologize now, if I offended anyone in any way. It was not my intent to come off as confrontational or damage anyone's feelings. I did try to be as unemotional as possible in my middle posting, where I laid out my case-- much like the style of a logical, structured debate. Though my first post and this one may be colored with tinges of anger and disappointment respectively, I don't intend and never intended to start up any internet wars over this issue. 

 

A few people did offer up explanations and solutions, which I was very thankful for, but I did see that some people also got very defensive about AT&T's practices itself, fixating on my side of the equation by attacking my own and my family's personal integrity and intelligence and the integrity of my family's decisions rather than admitting that the best solution can be found by fixes on both sides.

 

 In my belief, it is not ethical, in any case, to take advantage of customers who have been misguided by placing their trust in their customer service representatives, and consumers who have experienced this should try to be as active as possible in reaching out to companies who have done this to air their grievances and improve their own practices, as well as the practices of the companies they deal with every day. 

 

I will be pursuing this through other avenues. If anyone from AT&T is willing to discuss this issue with me, please send me a private message. I would be more than happy to talk with you in a civil manner and discuss my experience with AT&T customer service throughout the years and with this issue. As I have said before, I really do enjoy the products AT&T puts out and think that, for the most part, they offer tremendous value. However, my experiences with customer service in the past couple of years have almost always left much to be desired, and I would be glad to talk about the system itself and suggest any improvements that can be made. 

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