Upgrade Bad Business Practices

Contributor

Upgrade Bad Business Practices

For Christmas, I decided to upgrade my wife's phone to an Iphone 5s.  I visited the AT&T store in Torrance, CA.  I informed the salesman of what I wanted to do, saying we were eligible for the $199.99 upgrade.  He said that the new way they do upgrades now is that you don't pay anything up front, and that they add $25 per month to your bill.  I thought great...and away we went.  Needless to say I was later shocked to find out that the installment plan is for the FULL PRICE of the phone.  This was not even mentioned when the phone was being sold to me.  To top it off, he also added premium insurance and the mobile protection pack to my account without my permission.  It took me four hours of visits to different stores (since we were out of town, we had to resolve at a different location than where we bought the phone) and phone calls to AT&T billing.  Finally it's all resolved, but I am disgusted that I had to go through this.  I have been an AT&T Wireless customer for over twelve years, and this seriously makes me think hard about changing companies.  

Message 1 of 15 (1,959 Views)
Mentor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

They added insurance to my account when I outright declined it as well. Seems like this mistake is commonplace, AT&T must think its a good idea to charge people for things they don't want hoping the customer will miss it on the bill. Every penny they can squeeze out of us, customer satisfaction is clearly not the priority at AT&T.
Message 2 of 15 (1,918 Views)
Community Manager

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

Hello @11123x, thank you for posting.

 

I'm sorry the new AT&T Next plan was not fully explained to you. It's a different upgrade option, and while you're paying the full price of the phone, there are some big benefits, like an ability to upgrade to a new phone every 12 months or a lower monthly bill with AT&T Mobile Share Value plans. This plan might not be the best fit for everybody and i'm glad to see that you were able to go with an option that works better for you. Please let me know if you have any questions, I'll be happy to help.

 

Thanks,

Dmitriy


Rethink Possible


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Employee Contributor*
*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 3 of 15 (1,871 Views)
Employee

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

[ Edited ]

ATTDmitriyCM, IIRC the $25 installement is for the AT&T Next 18, an upgrade every 18, or paid off in 26m.

 

 

Hey 11123x,

 

It sounds like the representative didn't make it clear how long the $25/month would be charged. It certainly is an interesting upgrade choice, especially with the plans ATTDmitriyCM mentioned.

Check out the various new plan options here www.myattrpc.com

 

-Alex

Employee Contributor*
*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 4 of 15 (1,859 Views)
Contributor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

No...he definitely didn't make that clear.  I never would have chosen it had I known I would charged the full price of the phone.  

 

Also, he did not even give me a copy of my updated contract when he sold me the phone.  Just bad service all the way around...

 

 

Message 5 of 15 (1,844 Views)
c0n
Mentor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

The Next plan/option is great in theory.

Not so great when you realize that the 25.00$/month you're paying for your new phone doesn't get rid of the fee rolled into your bill that you pay when spending .99c for a subsidized phone.

So you're paying straight up retail over time for your new device and for the ghost subsidized phone you have.

Message 6 of 15 (1,772 Views)
Expert

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices


c0n wrote:

The Next plan/option is great in theory.

Not so great when you realize that the 25.00$/month you're paying for your new phone doesn't get rid of the fee rolled into your bill that you pay when spending .99c for a subsidized phone.

So you're paying straight up retail over time for your new device and for the ghost subsidized phone you have.


the next plan has no relation to a subsidized phone at all, with a subsidized phone you have a two year commitment that if you cancel you owe the balance of the early termination fee. Plus you can only upgrade every 2 years. With the next plan you pay the full retail cost of the phone over a period of time, but you can upgrade in a year by returning the device in full working order with no cosmetic damage.

 

 

These are two completely different methods of obtaining a phone - pay .99 sents now and lock into a 2 year contract with terimination fees and a 2 year upgrade period or pay monthly on the full retail price of the phone with no interest and you can upgrade as soon as 12 months in

 

Not sure what fee you are talking about, unless that is the monthly payment for the phone

Message 7 of 15 (1,761 Views)
ACE - Master

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices


wingrider01 wrote:

 

Not sure what fee you are talking about, unless that is the monthly payment for the phone


I suspect he's talking about the price of whatever plan he has. Many people speculate that the price of a subsidized phone is included in the plan so they feel if they are paying an additional monthly payment for the phone, they are actually paying twice. That only applies to the legacy individual and family plans because AT&T does offer a lower monthly fee for smartphones on the mobile share plans for anyone bringing their own devcie or on the Next plan.

*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 8 of 15 (1,739 Views)
Tutor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

Bad business practices indeed!! It makes me think that this way of selling is a result of the staff receiving sales commissions.

I was eligible for an upgrade and was going to get another "dumb" phone, but I walked out with a Nokia 920 Windows phone and thought I got a good deal.
I explained to the sales rep that I need to keep my monthly bill under $100.00(for 2 cell phones). He said no problem, it will only increase by $6.00 a month. And you only pay 99 cents + taxes for the phone. No mention about a contract to pay $299.99 in monthly installments, nor did he mention anything about a change in the 2 yr. upgrade plan I have always had.I found this out the following week, when I got the bill. So, I spent the day talking to 2 customer service reps. and 2 different store managers. I am budgeted and cannot afford this high of a bill. So I have no choice but to return it. The Livermore store manager is very adamant about charging me a $39.00 restocking fee! I don't think I should have to pay for something that was not my fault.I explained that I called the Brentwood store because it was closer to me but the manager said I will need to return it at the store I bought it from. He also said that the Restocking fee can be waived by the manager. The Livermore store manager said that he would not do that.So I said it might be time to change carriers. To which he said that would be fine and hung up on me.

 

 I am going to the Livermore store tomorrow to return my phone (under protest. I really enjoyed it). But, if the $39.00 restocking fee is more important than saving a loyal customer of more than 15 years (DSL,DirecTV and Phones), then, sadly, I will be taking my money elsewhere. Smiley Sad

Message 9 of 15 (1,485 Views)
Tutor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

As an extremely happy ex AT&T employee, please understand your reps were probably good people with a ridiculous amount of pressure being put on them. AT&T has the most outrageous goals for its employees. They are constantly micromanaged and having their jobs threatened if they do not meet these outrageous goals. They are encouraged by every level of management to lie to customers. When I worked for AT&T I was told by my manager not to go over the next details with customers because it only confuses them. The MPP goals (insurance plus an extra 3 dollar charge to make it 9.99) are so high that many reps add it because if they don't they will lose their jobs. AtT management has created an unethical sales Environment.
Message 10 of 15 (1,128 Views)
Tutor

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

Update- I am pleased to say I did not have to return my phone. The support staff have worked very hard to accommodate me. They have gone above what I expected of them!! They are pretty awesome! I am not talking about the staff at the Livermore, CA store (they are not helpful and do not care about their customers), I am talking about the hard working support staff that and managers that answer our calls. Although my issues are not yet resolved, I am confident they will be soon. My account has a negative amount due for the last 2 bills and they have regained my confidence that att cares about their customers because of the outstanding service i have received from customer service as well as the specialists that went out of their way to satisfy my needs. I have never received better service. And they will have my loyalty and i will continue using all services they offer that match my needs. Outstanding support and resolution. Thank you!!!
Message 11 of 15 (1,099 Views)
Highlighted
Community Manager

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

[ Edited ]

Hi barbwyre,

 

Thank you for sharing your feedback, please feel free to come back anytime you have a question or need help with anything.

 

Dmitriy


Rethink Possible


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Message 12 of 15 (1,070 Views)

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

[ Edited ]

I have been a loyal AT&T customer since 2001. 

 

I called AT&T back in early February to discuss a feature about my phone that was not working.  During the conversation, the representative offered me a "free upgrade".   I explained to the representative that I was living on a very low, fixed income and that I could not afford any further charges on my account.

 

The representative assured me that I would not have to pay any more money for the FREE Upgrade.  We searched for phones that would replace my 10 year old LG Expressions talk and text phone and decided on an LG 5.5 inch Smartphone.  I was very excited to finally have a phone I could see the screen and use the internet features.  I would never have agreed to a new phone but for the fact it was represented to it would be a free upgrade. 

A month later, I received the bill where I was charged a $36.00 activation fee.  I called back in and they said they could not "waive" the charge as it was valid.  I explained and asked them to go back and listen to the conversation I had with the sales rep and they refused.  I asked for a supervisor to call me and they never did.  I have since called in number of more times asking for assistance with this matter and have not been helped.

Around the same time, a friend of mine's sister was dying of lung cancer and had to travel to the East Coast.  He did not have a phone. Even though I still did had not resolved the issue with the first misrepresentation by the sales rep,  I dug out an old phone I had and told him that I would add an extra line to my bill for the time he was out of state in the emergency.  I had received many letters throughout the 10+ years that to add an extra line would only be $9.99.  I called AT&T and told them the situation and they said they could add the line and it would only be an extra $25.00 per month which my friend agreed to pay.  I received the following month's bill and they charged me $36.00 for an UPGRADE FEE ON THE PHONE THAT WAS MINE!!  I called customer service and they are refusing to open up a case to investigate this matter.  I am stunned after being a customer all these years that I was taken advantage of in this manner.  I kept asking them to explain how they can charge an upgrade fee to a phone that I already owned and they could not explain this to me.  I now have to call corporate headquarters to try and resolve this matter, plus the BBB and if that fails, I will just short of take them to court for illegal business practices. 

 They don't seem to care about my loyalty and what they did was wrong.  I am in shock that they would risk losing a client of 13 years over this matter that was wrong on their part to begin with.  I tried one last time this afternoon with “Carol” , she said she could not do anything and that a supervisor would have to call me.  After 4 hours of waiting no call.

 

[edited for privacy]

Message 13 of 15 (839 Views)
ACE - Expert

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

There is an upgrade fee charge of $36 whenever a phone is upgraded. It is valid and the rep should have told you that and it should have been on the contract that you signed.

There is a $36 activation fee whenever a new line is activated, even if you bring your own phone as when you added the line for your friend. The rep should have told you and it should have been on the contract that you signed.

This is a user to user forum. I am a user, just like almost everyone else on the site.
*The views and opinions expressed on this forum are purely my own. Any product claim, statistic, quote, or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider, or party.
Message 14 of 15 (816 Views)
Employee

Re: Upgrade Bad Business Practices

Hey azflowergal,

 

I think you're getting caught up the word 'free'

Free implies the phone is without cost.

It doesn not imply it's without strings.

As part of getting the phone, you agree to the contract, fees included in the contract, continuing service, and fees included as part of continuing service.

 

The phone might've been free, but the upgrade fee, falls under the second sections, fees included in the contract.

You're right that it would've be good for them to go over that with you, but when the rep said it was valid, it means it wasn't a mistake that it applied. 

 kdfederer is right. That fee, or a similar has been applied for a very long time now, and various ads for the phones will a part in smaller print under the cost of the phone w/2 contract + activation/upgrade fee.

 

AT&T really tries to avoid customers not knowing about this, or the terms of the contract, so they send an email to the email on file.

 

When it boils down, the rep should have told you. If you really want to complain, consider speaking to the rep's manager. That's it.

-Alex

 

Employee Contributor*
*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.
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