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Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

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Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

After assisting my senior citizen mother with her bills we discovered she is paying $53.99 a month to ATT for premium movie channels which she does not use.  We called ATT customer service on 1/31/2019 with the request to cancel her premium services.  After 90 minutes on the phone and three elevated service reps, ATT would not assist us as my almost 80 yr old mother did not remember her pin number or her favorite restaurant from when she signed up for her account over 15 years ago. We had her ATT bill in hand, her birth day, her ss#, her address and her youngest child at-the-ready but because an elderly woman couldn't remember if she liked Olive Garden or Bob Evans better in the 90s she was completely shut out from her account.  In addition to being shut out from her account we were also told that she would need to drive 20miles to the nearest ATT store to resolve her issues.  After expressing my dismay for them demanding I take a senior citizen who had just been released from the hospital for treatment of pneumonia out into a polar vortex, I was subsequently hung up on by the third and final rep that we spoke to.

 

As a consumer, I can only deduct that this company is deliberately making access to accounts difficult for their senior customers.  I can only imagine how many senior or elderly adults give up hope after being told again and again that they can not be helped.

 

With much frustration, I took my complaint to ATTs social media outlets.  The Facebook "social media specialists" that responded to my issue all said the same thing " Thanks for reaching out to us - can you shoot back some details so we can help?"  ....  but no one helped.  They just kept responding with that same hope inspiring message.  In all, a total of three FB "social media specialists" reached out to me on the same night and no one helped.  My next attempt was Twitter - I'm assuming the same people man both accounts because the same response was given. 

 

My next step was to two days later take my mother to an ATT store. I met with a store manager at the Easton Market Place in Columbus Ohio, where we were told they could assist us and the premium movie channels would be removed.

 

Nine days later (2/9/19) we receive a bill that reflects the same $53.99 charge!!   Thanks for looking out for our fragile senior citizens ATT!  I'm sure that $53.99 is a huge chunk of their limited monthly income.  Please stop making access to senior accounts so challenging.  If I had wanted to pay my mother's bill that first night, you would have taken her money with the simple 9 digit account number that identifies her account - but because she wanted to reduce her monthly services you made it absolutely impossible for her to access her account.

 

SHAME ON ATT!

 

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Message 1 of 15
ACE - Expert
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Accepted by sharoy78
‎02-11-2019 8:02 PM

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

They are not doing this to senior citizens. Your mother just couldn't remember her account info.

 

The AT&T store can't make changes to services on a DirecTV account those are not DirecTV employees. However they may be able to assist her with changing the account PIN if she shows proper ID. I would call DirecTV 1-800-531-5000 and verify what the correct procedure is for her to reset her account PIN and reminder question.

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Message 2 of 15
Tutor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

Nope. Sorry,Jupiter,  it is most definitely happening and we did make the changes to her movie channels at the ATT store.  She lives in a very rural community so perhaps that's is why the service is tied together.

 

Regardless of those facts, ATT customer service is really bad.  I mean reaaaallllyy bad.  The customer service reps sound like robots repeating disingenuous phases again and again. It's like being lied to by a teenager.

 

This experience has only made me grateful that my area is served by the Cox cable monopoly and not ATT.

Message 3 of 15
Tutor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

@Juniper Also, I forgot to mention......  after I went to the store to cancel her premium movie channel service in person when we received her bill 9 days later it was still on that months service for the full charge of $53.99.  I called customer service again and after a lengthy appeal and some more disingenuous sympathy, they did credit her back a pro-rated portion of that fee.  Not a full win for my mother but after this sickening ordeal I was done.

 

To those reading this, please advocate for the senior citizens around you. ATT had a chance to handle this so much better than they did but they failed miserably. 

                                                             #alzheimers is an epidemic.

Message 4 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

Store employees are not employees of the DirecTV side so shouldn't be making changes to existing DirecTV accounts. Being rural has nothing to do with it as DirecTV has handled account changes over the phone and online since they have never had stores of their own as rural is one of their primary markets.

This has nothing to do with a company targeting senior citizens. If you mother truly has Alzheimer's (as you threw in your "hashtag"), then she should have someone managing her accounts as she is not fully capable of doing so herself anymore. I agree customer service needs improvements since the merger, but suggest keeping the situation in perspective that it is not specific against senior citizens.

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Message 5 of 15
Tutor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

@Jupiter, it’s great to have passionate forum members like yourself. I would definitely say that your knowledge of the account management between ATT and DirectTV most likely far exceeds mine. I’m just reporting it like it was. Perhaps she has Uverse or another ATT television service (I’m not fully versed in their whole catalog) but I’ve only ever associated that little dish on top of people’s homes as DirectTV. Hence, my defining it as such.

Regardless, I am happy that we do agree that ATT service could be better and most importantly, as you noted, thankfully, my senior mother does have advocates who work on her behalf.

Had ATT treated her with any amount of customer care or assistance I wouldn’t have wasted my time here at all. We presented their customer service team with a challenge and ultimately a chance to elevate their service or to disregard their client. They chose the latter. Which in turn is my true and valid complaint.

Quite honestly, it’s the seniors out there who don’t have support that cause me concern and who I’m reaching out to warn. Next time, perhaps I should post my gripe in the more general “ATT customer service stinks” category. There are lots of people there that agree.

Thanks again for your vast ATT/DirectTV knowledge. I guess I’ll stick to streaming and defending the elderly.
Message 6 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

Yes the receiving dish is DirecTV. The TV service that AT&T has since before DirecTV is Uverse which is hardline. Finally there is Directv Now (DTVN) which is a streaming only service that is a couple years old.

 

Any agents taking advantage of senior citizens should be reported. I just say it is not the company as a whole targeting, but either specific employees taking advantage or just not realizing the issues your mother had and honestly thought she understood and accepted the service as it was.

 

I am glad to see there are advocates for the elderly as too many people out there in a rush would probably not realize the issues they are having and just continue on as if everything were normal. Hope everything works out for your mother as best as can be expected with her situation.

 

(oh, and it is Juniper, not Jupiter.)

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Message 7 of 15
Contributor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

I am 74 and purchased the bundle last year, what I regret now is I never know what my monthly bill is going to be! I received a bill in January for almost $100. I almost fainted! Utilized bill referring to high-speed DSL, I didn't know what it meant! I do not have any extras on my landline, I use to have complete choice, however, I had to let it go!  my service was interrupted a couple of months ago I have an emergency monitor, that' why it is' so important for me to know what my bill is each month, I want it to be paid the same time each month, around the 5-7th. 

Message 8 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

DSL is used for internet using phone lines.

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Message 9 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

Compare your new bill with past bills. What line items have changed?

My DirecTV is exactly the same each month, unless I happen to order a PPV movie. 

Also, DirecTV has nothing to do with your DSL Internet service.

 

____________________________________
ACEs are customers too, NOT employees. Answers are based on experience. I strive to give honest answers, even if not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
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Message 10 of 15
Tutor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

Not applicable to my question or issue.
Message 11 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?


@/02fon525 wrote:

I am 74 and purchased the bundle last year, what I regret now is I never know what my monthly bill is going to be! I received a bill in January for almost $100. I almost fainted! Utilized bill referring to high-speed DSL, I didn't know what it meant! I do not have any extras on my landline, I use to have complete choice, however, I had to let it go!  my service was interrupted a couple of months ago I have an emergency monitor, that' why it is' so important for me to know what my bill is each month, I want it to be paid the same time each month, around the 5-7th. 


High-speed DSL is internet service that is delivered over your phone line. This has nothing to do with DirecTV service.

 

If you have questions or need to make changes on your phone/internet service, then call AT&T 1-800-288-2020. This is a customer to customer forum, specifically the section for DirecTV, so we have no access to your AT&T services or billing.

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Message 12 of 15
Tutor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

I’m sorry you have had to deal with those extra w
expenses. I hope it was resolved.
Message 13 of 15
Contributor

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

I agree completely. AT&T and Direct TV are the same company with different rules...go figure. 

 

I cant tell you how much time I’ve wasted trying to reason with these people and they don’t care.  Once they have you as a customer (victim) they continue to bleed you dry.  I’m personally sick of them.

 

i was told no problem to suspend my account when going back and Firth as we are snowbirds.  Sure...

not only do they charge a suspension fee which I was not informed of, but they can o lay suspend for six months and I need 7 and 1/2 so they charge me for both places,,, to the tune of about $300 plus dollars. An that is no pay stations,  please tell me is this right..?

 

call me disgusted and fed up with this company.

 

 

Message 14 of 15
ACE - Expert

Re: Is ATT / DirectTV intentionally scamming seniors?

@What’sup 

 

DirecTV is owned by AT&T. Though AT&T has changed some polices to be more in line with theirs, satellite TV is regulated differently then other services they have. At the moment they are migrating systems over to give a more unified experience, but that process seems far from finished.

 

As for the suspension, the only thing AT&T changed was adding in the $7 monthly suspend (vacation hold) fee. Since monthly statements go out, online access is kept up as the account is open, and any maintenance on their systems in regards to an open account, their choice was it could not be completely free anymore. Though the cost is certainly way cheaper than what a full bill would be.

 

Other than the Vacation Hold fee, suspends work the same way as they always have.

 

You can suspend up to a max of 6 months within a 12 month period. 

Must have balance paid in full ($0 balance, not just last bill) or be on auto bill pay.

Any service agreement freezes upon suspension and then continues counting down once active again.

Suspend automatically comes back on at end of suspension time unless you call prior to resume early (cannot suspend indefinitely).

Discounts do not apply during suspension as there is no services active to discount

Recordings on DVR on not accessible as DVR service is suspended, but they are not deleted, just can't watch them while suspended.

Monthly statement still goes out for account status.

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