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Do not trust AT&T (or now Cingular Wireless) - worst company ethics


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Why America should NOT trust AT&T

As I'm writing this, I'm on hold with AT&T customer service - supposedly being connected to someone's manager. This computer voice keeps singing to me "AT&T - the wireless service America trusts". And how great their web site is etc etc. I've been on the phone with AT&T for 70 minutes now; I'm probably going to hear this voice tonight in my nightmares.

Here is how everything began. After being switched over from Cellular One to AT&T (AT&T bought that provider) I experienced a few minor problems in the transition (one month a $190 bill) but eventually things worked out. I was on a $29.95, 400 minutes plan.

I had one of those tri-band cell phones. Cingular currently buys AT&T and they have recently heavily pushed their new GSM network.

On 3/17/2004 I wanted to add a second line and AT&T's attractive offers were for GSM network only. So I upgraded to a GSM phone. I bought a cheap Siemens phone for $20 and a LG for $50. I got a mail-in rebate form for the Siemens, so it was effectively free besides sales tax.
In the store, I mentioned that there is no need for m-mode (this is AT&T's name for internet access from a cell phone). The customer service rep said that I won't be charged for it unless I start using it. I chose a local plan for $39.95 with 1000 anytime minutes and unlimited minutes on nights, weekends and unlimited anytime between other AT&T GSM cell phones ("mobile-to-mobile", but it has to be an AT&T GSM mobile).

A few bad surprises came then.

  1. I got set up for m-mode and voice dial
    When I got my first bill, I noticed that m-mode and voice dial was billed on there but also waived in the first month.
    So I had to call in and said "Hi, why is that? I never signed up for these features!"
    The customer service rep says that they will take this feature off my account but I will be billed in this current cycle for it since it is my second cycle and that in the 3rd cycle they would make an account adjustment. I possibly might have to call in for this adjustment.
    We're just talking about a few dollars here, but I feel this is bad business practice.

  2. The free minutes are gone?
    Around 4/15/2004 - in the second billing cycle - I went online at and registered my account there. I was surprised to see something like "120 out of 200 minutes are used" for phone #1 and "200 out of 400 minutes are used" for phone #2.
    Where are the 1000 minutes that I paid $40 for?
    Another call to customer service was due. (This is a good one.)
    Some guy with an accent tells me that I have only 600 minutes, not 1000.
    • Me: "I don't have 1000 minutes air time? The sign in the shop clearly said 1000"
    • Guy: "No. The computer clearly shows 600 anytime minutes"
    • Me: "And what about the free anytime minutes to my other line? I do get those free minutes to other AT&T GSM phones, or?"
    • Guy: "Sir, there is no such thing as free anytime minutes."
    • Me: "But that's the one feature why I switched to GSM! I could've bought a second TDMA phone then. Are you sure I don't have unlimited minutes within your network?"
    • Guy: "You have free minutes on weekends and after 9pm only. I am sorry that you have been mislead. It is beyond our control what happens in those stores." [now I get out some paper works and read something to him]
    • Guy: "Oh, mobile-to-mobile minutes. Well, you didn't ask me about mobile-to-mobile minutes. Yes, you do have free mobile-to-mobile."
    We found then out that I had been put by accident on the 600 minute national plan while I actually wanted the 1000 minute local plan. Since I mostly stay in California and Las Vegas, which are both in the local area, this is the right choice for me.
    I thanked the customer service guy for switching me to the local plan.

    I think it is pretty funny that they decline to call it "free minutes to other AT&T GSM phones" but instead "free mobile-to-mobile". Clearly my wording describes the truth while their official lingo is misleading - there are no free minutes if you call someone with an AT&T TDMA phone or even a Verizon customer. But let's not get into AT&Ts ethics. Or maybe it is an example why having call centers offshore is not always a good idea?

  3. Unwanted spam
    As probably many others, I have received some advertising text message from AT&T - they try to lure you into signing up for mMode. When I received that message (it was not the regular text message of which I've received several), there were 2 options: "Load" and "Cancel" or maybe "Back". I thought that "Load" was a strange word but I just wanted to keep the message so I clicked on it and.. without a warning, it started an mMode connection, which I cancelled.
    Again I had to call customer service, had that feature disabled. Yes, I will be billed for it. I was promised an account adjustment in the following period but I possibly would have to call in for that again. At this time I also noticed I was billed for text messages on one of the two lines (I don't understand why, neither did the customer service rep), so we took that off from the other line as well. Receiving test messages still works and is free.

  4. A random $16.41 service fee
    Yes, I know it's just $16.41 and why would someone get angry about that? Because I can
    Yesterday I received a $16.41 bill - automatically billed to my credit card - for my TDMA phone (it does have the same number as my new phone, but I can tell because my TDMA bills are billed automatically to my credit card. I didn't feel comfortable enough yet to allow automatic billing of the 2 GSM lines as well, and the way it looks, I never will.
    So I won another call to AT&T customer service.
    • Me: "Why is there a $16.41 charge? And no phone calls listed, no explanation?"
    • Lady: "Your old phone had to complete one more billing cycle."
    • Me: "I stopped using the old phone on 3/17/. The bill is for 04/14 - 05/13. How can that be?"
    • Lady: "You switched on the 17th but your billing cycle is on the 14th. We cannot switch the billing date because you switched on a different date.
    • Me: "It has been 2 months and 5 days now! I got my final bill prorated a month ago and it was $2.41!"
    • Lady: [pause] That is a $15 sale fee for your new phone plus $1.41 tax. (I think: That would be a 9.41% sales tax?)
    • Me: "I bought two phones. Why not a $30 fee then?"
    • Lady: "Maybe you got a mail-in rebate"

    She was starting to make up stories now how I didn't have to pay shipping and handling for my new phone because I got it in the store and how I got the mail-in rebate. By the way, I still haven't received that rebate check; I guess it is really really due now. 6-8 weeks - ha ha ha. I demanded to speak to her supervisor to find out what this $15 service fee is.

    As I'm writing this, I actually talked to "Scott". He called this a $15 "equipment-processing fee". Gee, this term is strange, even Microsoft Word doesn't know it! No, the suggested corrections do not include "rip-off".
    I pointed out that there was no mention of an equipment-processing fee in the store (which is beyond AT&T's control as he was quick to say) and that I never signed a paper accepting such a fee.
    No, he could not revert this fee.
    At this point I wished him a nice Saturday and we ended our conversation.

    [6 weeks later]
    My credit card Discover thinks that AT&T deserves the money - solely based on an invoice. There is no contract between AT&T and me that would indicate that I agreed to this fee.

Written in June 2004, while on the phone with AT&T customer service.
Minor corrections performed and posted on 7/11/2004.
Responsible: Peter Tiemann ('ptiemann')


You are on page 2 of 3, other pages: 1 [2] 3
2007-08-28, 12:10:14
anonymous from United States  
2007-08-28, 12:26:26
anonymous from United States  
Never join at&t.They will rob you dry.send you bills for phone no. you never started.worst company on earth and the customer sevices are terrible.i've had better sevices for peoplepconline and some of people of that company could barely speak english.I SECOND THAT PERSON BEFORE ME-FUCK AT&T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
2007-08-28, 12:48:46
anonymous from United States  
WOW. I Will never do bussiness with at&t again and neither should you.I hope they go out of bussiness........but they will always have eager and blind sided people to feed on...pass on the word people.. at& whatever the... must go.
2007-08-28, 12:52:44
anonymous from United States  
Always Taking & Taking = AT&T
2007-09-10, 20:57:02
anonymous from United States  
You guys are about rediculous....I agree with one of the first your contracts!!

2007-09-26, 21:56:45
anonymous from Los Molinos, United States  
Fuck AT&T! I tried to use their home phone service and my service gets fucked up all the time! I have had to have three repairs and it has only been three weeks since I got the fucking line. The customer service is fucking terrible! I have spent hours and hours on hold! I don't have a cell phone that works at my house, I get a very weak signal here, AT&T has been fucking me around and fucking me around, and this evening it came to a head when they told me that they wanted to charge me all of this money to have a technician come out to see what was wrong with my line, I told them that this was unacceptable, I have been having nothing but trouble since I started trying to get a home phone and AT&T has made that process as fucking difficult as possible. I have talked to more than ten customer service reps, two supervisors, and a repair service phone rep I have spent over fifteen precious hours of my short life on hold for a product that I can't even use.

The only person who had any fucking clue as to what was going on was the technician who I pity for having to work for such a fucking stupid organization. In fact he told me that even he needs to sit on hold to reach his own service department for indefinite periods of time.

Fuck AT&T, Fuck AT&T, and fuck the stupid cunt who I had to talk to in their fucking repair department tonight.

By the way everybody! The AT&T call center in California is located in Fresno! So if you hate your monopoly telephone provider as much as I do now you know where to find them. I would suggest that you do not hesitate to drop them a note or a friendly hello if you are anywhere near Fresno and be sure to tell those fucking, cock sucking, cunt face, sodomites to shove their fucking bullshit up their fucking ass.

I will not be supporting AT&T ever again, I will not buy their products, I will not pay for their services and I will not tolerate this sort of treatment from anyone. Attention AT&T employees you don't want to meet me on the street and admit who you work for, you should be fucking ashamed of you're pitiful existence, you worthless fucks.

2007-11-13, 15:29:21
anonymous from United States  
Get rid of ATT as soon as you can. I have called them every day to let them know I have x days left till I leave them. Now to figure out who to go to. May be no one
2007-11-16, 16:43:14
anonymous from United States  
I have to agree. Almost all wireless service providers have numerous unexplained fees, horrible servic, and even worst customer service. However, AT&T/Cingular has been by far one of the worst and Sprint PCS is right behind them. Verizon is more expensive with decent service and customer service. And T-mobile is less expensive with decent service and excellent customer service. I had service through T-mobile for almost ten years and plan on returning ASAP. My biggest regret was switching to Cingular, especially after the AT&T merge. I wish there was a way to be released from my contract due to the fact that I didn't sign up to be abused by AT&T, I signed up to enjoy Cingular service.
2007-12-20, 19:18:40
I have found most all wireless phone companies a real pain, and most will make a dime anywhere they can. About a year ago i switched from sprint to a prepaid phone company, Virgin mobile. That was the best move i have ever made in my whole life whe n it comes to phone service. I love the idea that i have total control over just how much i pay, and nothing extra can be added without me adding it. And if i don't like something, i just don't have to buy a phone card, and thats it.

I'm not typing this to promote prepaid phones, i'm just saying for me it is great, no more head aches from big snobby money hungry companies. Also a big plus, nothing to sign... I also like the online account i have with VM. I think contract phone will soon be a thing of the past, prepaid will be the future. Just for the record i travel all ove the US, and i have never lost a single with VM. No matter where i was i could use my phone.

Anyhow, if you have problems with contract phones thats your fault for allowing them to control you, and your money. Happy Holidays to everyone...
2008-02-28, 10:24:49
anonymous from United States  
I Fight With AT&T all the time. Some times I win but most times I lose.I did not Get my rebate for two phones. They want me to resubmitt. They are always screwing around with my bill.When I change something on my plan,they always add things i didn't order. I am fed up with AT&T. As soon as Imy contract ends I Will drop AT&T service. Their motto is (screw the customer)
2008-05-20, 01:41:29
anonymous from United States  
AT&T/Cingular is the worst cell service in the United States. I spent 3 years driving across this country C2C & B2B, up the Yucon to Anchorage & Fairbank, as well as several Canadian provinces. Most of my driving was on Interstate highways. The only time I had service was when I was standing next to a phone booth. When I broke down on the road I'd have to walk some distance until I finally got a signal, and if the call was connected it would drop out and I'd have to call back. I've talked with truckers all over this country. . .they all say Cingular Sucks. I waouldn't mind all the charges half as much if the damn thing worked. Do yourself a favor and buy anybody else. Anbody.
2008-05-23, 06:45:58
I work for AT&T. When it was Bellsouth what a difference. Now we are all taking pay cuts, they are closing down all centers and using India, Costa Rica or Mexico. Pay is at minimum wages. they want to take away our healthcare and hire people for only 2 years and then fire them. I wish the FCC looked into their practices. Something is not right here. Be careful in dealing with this company if you are a consumer. Do not accept job offers from them. They won't back up what they promise.
2008-11-05, 10:01:11
anonymous from United States  
I also hate this company. I cancelled my home phone and dsl line with them, but still got billed for it. When I tried to talk to them all they can say is 'sorry'. Still need to pay cuz my stupid cell phone was combined with the bill and cant turn it on unless its all paid. Even though I dont owe them anything!!! Im so sick of it all!
2008-12-15, 09:09:23 from United States  
I have been att free for the past 3 years. on sunday they placed a mark on my credit report. The info states that i am past due for 383.00. I did not know that i owed anything b/c i made a last payment and never had any mail or phone calls after. To top it all off i was getting a home loan to by a house today (monday). i cant get approved now b/c it killed my credit.

Thank you att you just took may chance to have a home for 383.00 that you cant even give me an itemized bill for.

Every person that reads this post should call att and get a rep on the phone setup a plan and ask 45 min of questions after witch you say never mind have a good day and hang up.
2008-12-15, 09:13:42 from United States  
I have been att free for the past 3 years. on sunday they placed a mark on my credit report. The info states that i am past due for 383.00. I did not know that i owed anything b/c i made a last payment and never had any mail or phone calls after. To top it all off i was getting a home loan to by a house today (monday). i cant get approved now b/c it killed my credit.

Thank you att you just took may chance to have a home for 383.00 that you cant even give me an itemized bill for.

Every person that reads this post should call att and get a rep on the phone setup a plan and ask 45 min of questions after witch you say never mind have a good day and hang up.
You are on page 2 of 3, other pages: 1 [2] 3



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