Friday, June 4, 2010

Ok, finally: An end to my misadventures with AT&T.

I had previously written about an unfortunate turn of events which resulted from my canceling my AT&T service, namely AT&T refusing to address my lack of cell service and then charging me a termination fee when I left them.

When I had written that article in December of 2009 I thought I was over and done with AT&T.  I hadn't been contacted in quite some time, and I no longer had an account on the site.  It turns out that I was mistaken, AT&T was still pursuing my bank account with a burning rage...they just weren't bothering to let me know I had not been forgiven.

I had also made several timeline errors in that post, which I'll try to rectify here.

December, 2008:  Left Verizon and got an AT&T account and an iPhone.
- Several months of bad reception and misadventure later -

June, 2009: I move from Rochester to just outside of Boston, Massachusetts.  I now have no reception unless I walk outside.  The Palm Pre is released on June 6th, and I buy it.  I cancel AT&T because they've told me I'm not getting reception anytime soon.

July, 2009:  I speak to a rep regarding the cancellation fee on the 21st.  I am told that I should pay them, they're totally justified and deserve my money.  This person and this person's immediate supervisor are incredibly rude.  I am told that my complaint will be forwarded to arbitration or somesuch to investigate whether or not I should be allowed to leave without an early termination fee.

- Several months of no contact. -

December, 2009:  I read the article regarding AT&T's poor quality being mocked on SNL and go to check my account, only to find it's not there.  I think I'm free and write a triumphant blog post.

- Several more months of no contact. -

May, 2010:  I get a letter from a collection agency dated April 30th.  It took a few days to get to me since I moved and forwarded my mail.  Since I no longer had an AT&T account I couldn't update my address in their system when I moved.
This letter is a bill for close to $400 on behalf of AT&T.  I call them to complain, and get this bill reduced to $150.  I file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau since AT&T was nothing but rude, unjustified on the termination fee, and sent me to collections without telling me.
The next day I'm called by the collection agency who tells me I need to pay the $150 immediately or else they will charge me $30 more, so I can't even get off the phone and call AT&T again.  I pay them now or pay them more later.  While I'm on the phone with this company they let slip they're the 2nd agency to have received my account.  This is important.  In the 11 months since I last had any contact with AT&T they have hired not 1 but 2 collection agencies, the first of which didn't even try to contact me.  I didn't get a call, letter, email, carrier pigeon...nothing.  All they did was report my outstanding debt to the credit agencies.  Thanks for the black mark, guys.  I now have to watch my credit report like a hawk just to make sure that the debt eventually gets marked as paid and removed.  This absolutely sucks.

As a final little note, since AT&T is again in the news apologizing for almost sending the lawyers after a guy who emailed the CEO.  I called AT&T one last time after I settled with the collection agency and attempted to get someone to apologize for the gross mishandling, rudeness, and lack of communication over the past year.  They refused.  I could not get any formal apology beyond the scripted "I'm so sorry, sir." from the reps. Eventually I got silly.  I tried to get ANYTHING with an AT&T logo on it that said "We're sorry".  Didn't even ask for context, I wanted a stick note, or paper with some letterhead.  I even tried asking for a drawing of a sad face, not even words.  This wouldn't mean anything, it wouldn't be a public statement of anything, but it would make me feel a hell of a lot better.  They still refused.  I'm just a 24 year old kid, AT&T won't say they're sorry to me.  But this guy somehow got the public eye involved and now they're all apologetic.  I hate PR.