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Yet another AT&T/DirecTV bait-and-switch scam? UPDATED: Not a scam, but still be aware...

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Yet another AT&T/DirecTV bait-and-switch scam? UPDATED: Not a scam, but still be aware...

We've had AT&T internet for almost a decade, and we've had AT&T cable and/or DirecTV at some points over that period, until we would eventually get tired of the price hikes and would cut the service. Last year my husband was approached by a DirecTV rep and told that we could bundle DirecTV to our existing AT&T account for a pretty good discount. My husband asked repeatedly if we needed to do anything to "bundle" the accounts (he was assured they would do it automatically), and confirmed that we wouldn't be double-billed for internet service. I had already paid the ~$90 internet bill for that month, so we were billed $64 for the cable package the first month. The next month, we were billed ~$120, which aligned with the deal my husband had signed up for.

 

I tried to log in to my AT&T internet account multiple times over the course of the next five weeks and was never able to access my account, so we assumed that the credentials had been switched to my husband's information that he gave when he signed up for the deal and all was well. Fast-forward to last week, as I receive a Suspension of Service notice for the past-due amount on the AT&T internet account that I hadn't been able to access. Apparently, NOW our accounts are merged, but there is no record of this "deal." We can't even access DirecTV statements online. We gather up all our statements and materials and call AT&T, and proceed to spend 90 maddening minutes getting bounced around to different reps across continents. After explaining our situation roughly a dozen times (often having to re-explain it to the same person), we finally got someone who appeared to comprehend the issue, but were then told that the deal my husband signed up for was clearly not what he thought, and that 1) we did indeed owe almost $300 in past-due internet fees and 2) the not-at-all discounted DirecTV would be subject to a $380 disconnect fee. Apparently the "deal" was that I still needed to pay the $90 internet bill and my husband would be charged $120/month separately for cable? What a convenient "bundle"!

 

We've got a signed sales form that shows the deal my husband agreed to, which is apparently garbage to AT&T? It lists the discounted price for DirecTV and the discounted price for AT&T internet, plus, we have the first DirecTV bill that shows said discounted price the first month, but according to the infuriating customer service reps, we're just mistaken. I cannot wait to rage-quit these two dishonest and condescending companies.

 

If you encounter those sales reps at tech stores, or, even worse, door-to-door, just keep walking or shut the door. They don't honor the "deals" they promise you, even with signed and dated paperwork. You'll just get a terrible deal on an expensive headache.

 

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UPDATE: We went to a nearby AT&T store to try and fix this, and after nearly two hours had a satisfactory resolution. The last sentence of my initial post stands... The third-party salesperson essentially signed my husband up for a bundle that wasn't possible. Despite what the salesperson promised, the internet was in my name, and consequently, I would be the only person able to bundle it with DirecTV. (The salesperson assured my husband that the fact that the accounts were at the same address was enough to merge the accounts.) The AT&T consultants were able to discount the internet I'd been over-charged for and create the agreed-upon bundle in my account. I'm satisfied with the overall outcome, but the fact that it took over five hours of phone or in-person time, seven AT&T representatives, hours of my time searching for documentation to prove our case, and bucket-loads of stress and frustration to resolve an issue caused by one ill-informed (or dishonest) salesperson is, to say the least, not ideal.

 

Also, our experience with the phone customer service was atrocious. At no point did anyone ever really attempt to actually help us or try and retain our business. They seemed to only be able to tell us what they were reading on their screens, but were unable to draw broader conclusions from what they were seeing and what we were telling them (and the scenario didn't seem that complex or outrageous... "We signed up for a bundle and it wasn't executed as promised. Why?") This whole experience pretty much guaranteed that I'll only deal with the in-store representatives if I have any problems in the future.

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ACE - Expert

Re: Yet another AT&T/DirecTV bait-and-switch scam?


@Jodhpurs wrote:

 

....

If you encounter those sales reps at tech stores, or, even worse, door-to-door, just keep walking or shut the door. They don't honor the "deals" they promise you, even with signed and dated paperwork. You'll just get a terrible deal on an expensive headache.


Exactly!  Those store and door-to-door reps are not even DirecTV or AT&T employees.  They're third party resellers that will promise anything to make a sale.  

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Re: Yet another AT&T/DirecTV bait-and-switch scam?

Update to the Update: the in-store consultants fixed the problem, righted the overcharges, and re-applied the bundle as it was originally offered. In addition, the tech who came out to set up fine-tuned the previous installation, which should fix the iffy reception we were getting in any weather situation that was even remotely touchy (read: the signal would get pixel-y and unstable on rainy nights. Not "stormy" or "windy," just rain.) We also had a visit from a rep to make sure that everything was going well and we were getting what we signed up for. We're more than satisfied with the resolution.

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