Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

On April 18th, 2012, I reached out to ATT to request an iPhone 4 unlock, due to my somewhat unique situation as an overseas student, in a program that stretches from September 2011 to September 2012.  After a 75 minute wait, I first worked through the online chat system, where I was referred to the domestic call center.  After 10 minutes on the line, it was evident that no one would be able to address my concerns without doing one of two things: Waiting until my contract expires, 8/16/2012, or paying an early termination fee of $125 (at the time of my request), which would result in canceling my contract.

 

Seeing as I neither want to cancel my contract (losing my number), nor do I wish to have a locked phone (leaving it crippled), the options left to me are unsatisfactory.  I do not want to be penalized (by losing my number and service which I have suspended in anticipation of my return, or having a useless phone for 5 more months), but it seems that these are my only options.

 

Frankly, this note is primarily to make me feel better, but it will also stand as a record as I evaluate if I want to remain a customer.  I would appreciate a corporate response to my issue.

 

 

 


 

 

I am posting on this forum to determine whether other visitors may have had similar issues to mine, and to assess ATT's ability to respond to my critique in a more substantive way than the Call Center representatives.  As a " Valued customer since: 01/04/2005" (I actually previously held a Cingular account, so my real time as a subscriber is approximately 3 or 4 years more than their record shows), I am disappointed in the lack of answers, especially as their latest policy, introduced Easter weekend, has been posted online with numerous complaints and inconsistencies.

 

1) http://www.macrumors.com/2012/04/09/ATT-iphone-unlocking-process-detailed-successful-for-some/

2) http://www.tuaw.com/2012/04/09/atandts-iphone-unlocking-process-simple-time-consuming/


This past fall, I left the US for a one year study abroad program.  At the time, I evaluated my options.  An iPhone user, my conversations with the representative indicated that there was no way to unlock my device (my preferred option).  Instead, I suspended my service, paying a reduced fee for the privilege of maintaining my phone number.  With my number inactive, and my iPhone (bought and paid for with ATT), I resigned to having the device be used as an iPod.

 

When Easter came, and ATT policy was altered to allow for device unlocks, and therefore international use, I leapt at the opportunity to undergo the official method.  My call to ATT, however, was met with frustration.  As detailed in my introduction, ATT failed to present me with a 3rd, workable option, at least per the representatives I spoke with.

 

Of primary concern to me was the customer service representative's ability to provide me with any real "helpful" options or solutions, as well as ATTs general failure to consider exceptions, particularly for long-term customers.

 

What is concerning is that as a loyal customer (though this seems to mean less and less to corporations these days), I am finding the carrier almost wholly incapable of addressing my simple request, even as I offer to pay the ETF, while hoping to maintain my service. 

 

What are my expectations in writing this?  A major part of the reason why I'm detailing this here is that the call representatives seem increasingly unable to provide me with answers to questions or suggestions that seem to be reasonable to me - I'm looking for someone with the authority and knowledge at ATT to respond to me in a coherent manner.  It seems that this is a moment when going beyond the standard playbook is necessary.  While an explanation would be welcome, I would prefer to have my problem resolved.  At the least, providing me with some rationale to the inability of their employees to service my account in a satisfactory manner would be appreciated.

 

 

 


 

 

Some Caveats:

  • I am still evaluating if it is worth it to remain an ATT customer, now or in the future.
  • My primary reasons for remaining are: Never really had service complaints, customer service is rather good at handling administrative changes (though not much beyond the playbook), and I have a grandfathered Unlimited Data plan.

Options Under Consideration:

  • "Unsanctioned" unlocking of my phone, maintaining suspension of my service
  • Termination of ATT service, "sanctioned" Device unlock, and new provider upon my return to the US.  Time to shop around.
Message 1 of 9 (1,556 Views)
Expert

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)


Looking for Answers wrote:

On April 18th, 2012, I reached out to ATT to request an iPhone 4 unlock, due to my somewhat unique situation as an overseas student, in a program that stretches from September 2011 to September 2012.  After a 75 minute wait, I first worked through the online chat system, where I was referred to the domestic call center.  After 10 minutes on the line, it was evident that no one would be able to address my concerns without doing one of two things: Waiting until my contract expires, 8/16/2012, or paying an early termination fee of $125 (at the time of my request), which would result in canceling my contract.

 

Seeing as I neither want to cancel my contract (losing my number), nor do I wish to have a locked phone (leaving it crippled), the options left to me are unsatisfactory.  I do not want to be penalized (by losing my number and service which I have suspended in anticipation of my return, or having a useless phone for 5 more months), but it seems that these are my only options.

 

Frankly, this note is primarily to make me feel better, but it will also stand as a record as I evaluate if I want to remain a customer.  I would appreciate a corporate response to my issue.

 

 

 


 

 

I am posting on this forum to determine whether other visitors may have had similar issues to mine, and to assess ATT's ability to respond to my critique in a more substantive way than the Call Center representatives.  As a " Valued customer since: 01/04/2005" (I actually previously held a Cingular account, so my real time as a subscriber is approximately 3 or 4 years more than their record shows), I am disappointed in the lack of answers, especially as their latest policy, introduced Easter weekend, has been posted online with numerous complaints and inconsistencies.

 

1) http://www.macrumors.com/2012/04/09/ATT-iphone-unlocking-process-detailed-successful-for-some/

2) http://www.tuaw.com/2012/04/09/atandts-iphone-unlocking-process-simple-time-consuming/


This past fall, I left the US for a one year study abroad program.  At the time, I evaluated my options.  An iPhone user, my conversations with the representative indicated that there was no way to unlock my device (my preferred option).  Instead, I suspended my service, paying a reduced fee for the privilege of maintaining my phone number.  With my number inactive, and my iPhone (bought and paid for with ATT), I resigned to having the device be used as an iPod.

 

When Easter came, and ATT policy was altered to allow for device unlocks, and therefore international use, I leapt at the opportunity to undergo the official method.  My call to ATT, however, was met with frustration.  As detailed in my introduction, ATT failed to present me with a 3rd, workable option, at least per the representatives I spoke with.

 

Of primary concern to me was the customer service representative's ability to provide me with any real "helpful" options or solutions, as well as ATTs general failure to consider exceptions, particularly for long-term customers.

 

What is concerning is that as a loyal customer (though this seems to mean less and less to corporations these days), I am finding the carrier almost wholly incapable of addressing my simple request, even as I offer to pay the ETF, while hoping to maintain my service. 

 

What are my expectations in writing this?  A major part of the reason why I'm detailing this here is that the call representatives seem increasingly unable to provide me with answers to questions or suggestions that seem to be reasonable to me - I'm looking for someone with the authority and knowledge at ATT to respond to me in a coherent manner.  It seems that this is a moment when going beyond the standard playbook is necessary.  While an explanation would be welcome, I would prefer to have my problem resolved.  At the least, providing me with some rationale to the inability of their employees to service my account in a satisfactory manner would be appreciated.

 

 

 


 

 

Some Caveats:

  • I am still evaluating if it is worth it to remain an ATT customer, now or in the future.
  • My primary reasons for remaining are: Never really had service complaints, customer service is rather good at handling administrative changes (though not much beyond the playbook), and I have a grandfathered Unlimited Data plan.

Options Under Consideration:

  • "Unsanctioned" unlocking of my phone, maintaining suspension of my service
  • Termination of ATT service, "sanctioned" Device unlock, and new provider upon my return to the US.  Time to shop around.


Sorry you feel that way, but the requirements are stated, your phone doesn ot qualify for being unocked. It has nothing to do withbeing a loyal customer. Prio ro 04/08, a unlock was not even avaialble, so now they have one but you have to qualify, your device does not qualify it is as simple as that.

Message 2 of 9 (1,546 Views)

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

You'll notice by reading my original post closely that my issue is not with the fact that they did not capitulate to my "demands," merely that a coherent response be provided.  I'm still awaiting one of those.

 

"Sorry you feel that way" is not the customer service response I was looking for.  But thank you for attempting to apologize for the poor service I've recieved along the way.  I imagine ATT will be equally sorry to hear that I've chosen another provider as well.

Message 3 of 9 (1,544 Views)
Professor

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

This is a user-to-user forum primarily, and that was another customer that responded to you.

 

You said that you were looking for a coherent response.  AT&T gave you one when you called.  It seems that you want the response of "yes, your iPhone can be unlocked today".  As your situation is now, your iPhone can't be unlocked.

 

There are a couple of work-arounds that I can think of for you, but I'm not sure that you would like them.  One is that if your only concern is keeping your current cell phone number, you can port it to Google Voice (I think that this costs $20).  This will terminate your AT&T account and you would have to pay the ETF.   Your iPhone would then be eligible to be unlocked.  You could resume service with AT&T when you come back.

 

The other workaround is possible if you are on a family plan and you are upgrade eligible.  Your family member (assumed to still be in the US) could take the upgrade on your line (and hopefully give you his/her upgrade when you get back).  That should end the contract on your iPhone and make it eligible for unlock.

Message 4 of 9 (1,537 Views)

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

I appreciate your suggestions - thanks for your considerate response.

Message 5 of 9 (1,535 Views)
Expert

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)


Looking for Answers wrote:

You'll notice by reading my original post closely that my issue is not with the fact that they did not capitulate to my "demands," merely that a coherent response be provided.  I'm still awaiting one of those.

 

"Sorry you feel that way" is not the customer service response I was looking for.  But thank you for attempting to apologize for the poor service I've recieved along the way.  I imagine ATT will be equally sorry to hear that I've chosen another provider as well.



not apologizing for anything or anyone - I donot have the standard att employee disclamer attached to my signature, don;t work for them at all, the basic reason is your phone does not qualify according to the requirements set forth by the higher powers that be in the corporation - you situation is not unique at all there are are huge amount of att locked iphones in other countries, they have to follow the same rules as everyone else - if their phones qualify they get unlocked, if not they don't, yours fall into the latter catagory for what ever reason.

 

you where given the reason and your options, you can pm  who is a official of att and ask her 

Message 6 of 9 (1,526 Views)
Highlighted

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

Message 7 of 9 (1,520 Views)

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

To be clear, an AT&T representative is NEVER going to come in here and debate the finer philosophical points of their business strategy or business decisions. The few employees on here (Jamileh & Alex) can help with certain customer service tasks, but they are not authorized mouthpieces for AT&T. They have absolutely NO incentive to get in a flame war with people who say they only want an "explanation" but really want to know why they were told "no". Guess what? You're not going to get an explanation beyond the one you already did. Phones that are still under contract are not eligible to be unlocked by AT&T.

 

You could port your number to Google Voice to avoid losing the number, which would trigger the termination of your account and the early termination fee. Then your phone would be eligible to be unlocked.

 


Looking for Answers wrote:
Cheers, Namaste.

http://adage.com/article/special-report-digital-conference/strategy-win-consumer-love-human/234204/



Message 8 of 9 (1,489 Views)
Former Community Manager

Re: Penalized for Remaining a Loyal ATT Customer - (iPhone User)

I'm sorry that your phone doesn't meet the unlocking requirements. 

 

As wingrider mentioned, I'm happy to connect you with a member of my team to review your account and ensure that we've exhausted all the avenues. 

 

If you'd like me to do that, please send me a private message with your name, account number, IMEI, your contact phone number and the best time to call. 




To send a private message, you can either click on the link in this message or click on the little blue envelope in the upper right hand corner, click "compose new message" and type my username in the "Send To" field.

--------------

As of May 1st, I am no longer serving as the Community Manager for AT&T. This account will no longer be able to accept private messages.

Did a post have a solution that worked for you? Help other people find solutions faster by marking posts that helped you as an "Accepted Solution". Learn about accepted solutions here.

I am an AT&T employee and the postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T’s position, strategies or opinions.
Message 9 of 9 (1,480 Views)
Share this topic
Announcements

Welcome to the AT&T Community Forums!!! Stop by the Community How-To section for tips on how to get started.