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Customer Service Failure

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Customer Service Failure

I'm writing to report a serious customer service failure on AT&T's part.  I recently traveled abroad and before leaving, called AT&T on December 18, 2018 to add an international data plan.  I chose to add one gigabyte of data, and the customer service representative I spoke with advised me that I would receive a text message notifying me when I had used 75%, 90%, and 100% of the data.  My plan was to stop using my data once I received the notification that I'd used 90%, so that I would not go over my data allowance.  While abroad, I received a text message stating that I had used 80% of the data.  To my surprise, the next message I received (on the day I was flying back to the US while I was at the airport) stated I had used 100% of the data and would be charged an additional $50 for another gigabyte of international data.  I never received the notification stating I'd used 90% of the data, as I was told I would.  

 

Yesterday, I called AT&T to request a refund of this additional $50 given that I had not been notified that I'd used 90% and given that I was at the airport (connected to wifi) when I received the 100% notification so I knew there was no way I'd used much, if any, of the additional gigabyte that had been added to the account.  First, I spoke with customer service representative Krista, who advised me that I had, in fact, received the text message advising me that I'd used 90% of the data.  I went back through my texts and confirmed I had not received the text, and asked her to provide the date and time on which the text was sent by AT&T.  She could not provide me the date and time (because no such text was sent, contrary to what she told me), and then she changed her story to state that AT&T had sent texts at 80% and 100% (as I had already told her had happened).  Then, she told me that she could offer me a $20 credit on my account to make up for the inconvenience, but she could not offer me more because I had used "almost all" of the additional 1 GB of data that had been added. I told her that it was impossible for me to have used "almost all" of the data because I was in South Africa for only a few more hours after I received the text notifying me I'd used 100% of my data and was connected to airport wifi at the time.  Conversely, it had taken me almost two weeks abroad to use the first GB of data (which I was using on a regular basis for uber, maps, email, & social media).  I then asked her exactly how much of the GB I had used (because, based on her statement I'd used "almost all" of it, it seemed she had that information in front of her) and she could not provide me with the information and told me to give her a minute to pull that information up, then just repeated I'd used "almost all" of it without providing me with a specific figure as requested.  (After I got off the phone with them, I checked my data usage and learned I had only used 24 MB of the extra GB, i.e., 2.4% of the gigabyte, so Krista's statement that I'd used "almost all" of it was completely false).  

 

Unsatisfied with the offer to give me only a $20 credit, I asked to speak with a supervisor.  Krista then informed that me if I did not accept her offer for a $20 credit, the supervisor would not be able to offer me that credit again, nor would he give me any credit at all.  So, in essence, I was threatened that if I did not take her initial offer and insisted on exercising my right to speak to a supervisor, I would not get any money back at all.  I still insisted on speaking to a supervisor, who would not give his name but whose employee ID number is DH185F.  I reiterated what had happened -- i.e., that when I called on December 18 to add the international data plan, I was advised that I'd be notified when I'd used 90% of the data but that did not occur so I was requesting a refund because I wouldn't have gone over my data but for AT&T's failure to send the notification at 90% of the usage.  The supervisor then, in a condescending tone, told me that AT&T had no record of me having contact with any customer service representative at all on December 18, apparently questioning the veracity of my statement that the customer service representative had given me this information regarding the notifications I'd be receiving.  Absolutely certain that this conversation occurred, I urged him to listen to the recording of the call I had with the representative on December 18, since AT&T notifies its customers that all calls are recorded.  He advised he does not have access to those calls.  Then, I told him that if he had any doubts that I'd actually spoken to a representative on December 18, he could look up my call records and see that I placed a call to 611 that lasted several minutes on that date (and I have since confirmed that I had a 4+ minute call with customer service on that date).  Eventually, he conceded that AT&T's standard practice is to send notification messages at 90% of usage, but sometimes there is a "delay" in sending those notifications and he refused to provide any credit at all.   I asked him about the rationale of AT&T's policy of refusing to give any credits if the initial credit is rejected, and he said that it's not a "policy" but if the first offer is rejected, supervisors are "unable" to offer that same credit again. 

 

In my view, if you've told a customer that they'd receive a notification at 90% of usage, and you failed to do that (whether due to delay or otherwise), the burden of that failure should not fall on your customer -- especially one who only used .024% of the additional gigabyte that was added for an extra $50.  Rather, AT&T should bear the burden and grant the full refund.  Quite frankly, I am disgusted by the terrible customer service I received from both Krista and the supervisor.   The repeated misrepresentations made by Krista during this call are extremely disappointing.  Indeed, Krista lied to me twice (first when she stated AT&T sent me a text notifying me that 90% of the data had been used and second when she said that I'd used "almost all" of the second GB of data).  Perhaps she has been successful in the past getting customers to back down from refund requests by confronting them with inaccurate information, but that did not work with me, as I knew to ask for data to back up the inaccurate information she provided me.  Of course, she was not able to provide the information (i.e., the date and time that AT&T sent the text notifying me of 90% usage, which I would have been able to cross-refernce with the texts shown on my bill; and the total amount of data I'd used after she said I'd used "almost all" of it) because her statements were false.   And the total lack of empathy by the supervisor -- and even worse, the false suggestion that I had not spoken to ANY service representative on December 18 -- is even more incredible.  A service representative lies to a customer twice and then a supervisor suggests the customer is lying about information she was given by another service representative? I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life.

 

The supervisor's statement that he was "unable" to give any credit after the first credit was rejected also strains credulity.  I have never heard of a supervisor being "unable" to provide the customer with the service they deserve. Rather, this sounds like an ill-advised policy intended to discourage customers from asking to speak with a supervisor and then to punish them by offering no credit at all if they do insist on speaking to a supervisor.  This practice is, simply put, shameful.

 

Needless to say, I will be shopping around to find a new cell phone service provider today.  AT&T's terrible customer service has left me no choice.  However, I wanted to make others aware of the serious customer service failure on AT&T's part.  

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Message 1 of 7
ACE - Expert
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Accepted by ACE - Sage (ACE - Sage)
Accepted by lizdance40
‎01-13-2019 7:28 AM

Re: Customer Service Failure

What the reps should have explained to you was how data reporting works. Data reporting is not real-time and in the case of international roaming, data reports can be delayed several days. The reason you didn’t get the 90% usage text is because when the data use finally got reported by the foreign carrier, you had already hit or exceeded 100%. That also explains why your first text was at 80%, not 70%. Rather than relying on those texts, you should have relied on your own phone’s usage counter. You should have reset your counter to 0 before traveling and them you could have in real time monitor your own usage. 

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Message 2 of 7
ACE - Sage

Re: Customer Service Failure

I have to completely back up @sandblaster.   And your phone tracked your data in real time, had you bothered to read the phone’s data usage settings.  The delay in reporting from another carrier to At&t can be up to a month.  

Just an Added FYI, it states in the terms of service that 

    1.   You are responsible for your usage.

    2.    There is no guarantee any text will be delivered, especially when you’re using a foreign carrier.

 

 The only thing contrary, is I doubt At&t CSRs have a clue about data usage. 

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
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Message 3 of 7
Tutor

Re: Customer Service Failure

Thanks for your response, but I spoke to another customer service rep today
who advised the reason that I was not sent a text at 90% usage is because
AT&T only sends texts at 80% and 100% for international data plans (unlike
domestic data, where the messages are sent at 75%, 90% or 100%). So the
representative I spoke with on December 18 gave me inaccurate information
on that point, as did the supervisor I spoke with yesterday. And I do not
believe there was a serious delay in the delivery of the text messages
because I got the message about the 100% usage on my last day there and
only used 24 MB after that. (If there had been a long delay in delivering
that text message such that I was receiving it several days late, I would
imagine my usage beyond the first GB would have been much greater).
Regardless, even if what you're saying about there being a several day
delay is accurate, AT&T should be sure to notify their customers of that
fact when providing the information about the usage text message (or in the
usage text message itself) because customers, of course, rely on those text
messages to monitor their data usage. That appears to be the purpose of
sending those messages in the first place - to notify the customer they're
close to the limit so the customer can minimize or halt their data usage
from that point forward - so if there is a serious delay in sending it,
then what's the point of sending it at all?

What's even worse than the failure to provide the customer with accurate
information regarding the point at which the data usage texts would be sent
in the first place are the several affirmative misrepresentations made by
the customer service representative Krista (about my using "almost all" of
the second gigabyte and that AT&T had sent a text at 90% usage) and the
threat that if I did not accept the first offer to reduce my bill by $20
that it was impossible for AT&T to give me any other credit (which I also
learned was false this morning, as the person I spoke with today gave me
the full $50 refund and said there is no such policy preventing a
supervisor from giving a credit that was previously rejected). This is
simply a case of terrible customer service on so many levels.
Message 4 of 7
ACE - Sage

Re: Customer Service Failure

@amw714

I don’t think you understand that even if you shut off at 90%, your data usage abroad would continue to report to At&t for many days.  The final data tally may be more than just 24 mb overage.  The only accurate way to prevent overage is to watch the live data meter on your phone.  

 

(The following is included after all posts to save typing) I don’t work for AT&T. My replies are based on experience and reading content available on the website. Our answers are honest, but not always appreciated. If you posted personal information, please edit and remove.
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*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 5 of 7
ACE - Expert

Re: Customer Service Failure


@amw714 wrote:
Thanks for your response, but I spoke to another customer service rep today
who advised the reason that I was not sent a text at 90% usage is because
AT&T only sends texts at 80% and 100% for international data plans (unlike
domestic data, where the messages are sent at 75%, 90% or 100%).

Even with domestic data, those texts are sent when the data is tallied, NOT used.

Domestically,  data can be reported up to 72 hours later, that's days you could use even more data.


When roaming, data can be reported up to a week later. I'm not sure if international is longer.

 

Your phone can keep track of this data LIVE. This is the best place to look IMHO.

 

P.S.  I'm just stating how it works to my knowledge. I know this from looking at the data reporting online, I'm sure it's printed elsewhere. (I'm not arguing with what you were told)

 

 

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Message 6 of 7
Tutor

Re: Customer Service Failure

Again, if there was any delay, it was a very slight delay. I received the notification that I was at 100% usage when I was at the airport, a few hours before I was about to leave South Africa to head back to the US. Only 24 MB beyond the first GB I purchased was used. I've been back in the US for a week now and the final tally is still at 24 MB. If there was a significant delay in either sending the 100% usage text or in reporting the data usage, I would have been way over 24 MB because I was using my internet frequently while I was over there (including a lengthy uber ride to the airport just shortly before I received the 100% usage text). Obviously, at most, there was a delay during which I used a mere 24 MB. So, in my opinion, I do have a strong reason to believe that had I been notified at 90% as I was informed would occur, I would have been able to stop using my data in time to not incur the extra charges -- even if there were a slight delay. Regardless, absolutely terrible customer service from AT&T.
Message 7 of 7
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