Mar 19, 2013

The AT&T Debacle

You would think that I would remember not to do this kind of thing, but apparently I can't remember  from year to year how badly it gets messed up, so I've decided to post it all up here in an attempt to remind myself.  Maybe this will help me avoid the trap next time.

AT&T runs these special offers now and then, where if you add a service, you get a lower cost for a certain time as well as a cash gift card.  This round was TV for $30/month and a $100 gift card, so I figured "Sure, why not - spend $30 or so, have TV for a month or two, get $100 back?  Sounds good to me!"

So I set it all up, we got the TV installed (we did get an upgraded modem/gateway out of the deal), got the gift card and off we go.  About 6 weeks later I called to have it cancelled and a few days later got an empty box from AT&T with a pre-paid shipping label to return the TV box.  Off to UPS, dropped off on 1/15/13 at 2:36pm.  No problem.

About 2 weeks later, I got an email talking about "Time Sensitive Information" and saying they hadn't gotten the box returned.  So I check the tracking number, and sure enough, shows as delivered on 1/18/13.   ???

Called AT&T, got a girl whose primary language is obviously not English but who was nonetheless pleasant and sounded willing to help.  She informed me that after reviewing the tracking number I provided, she determined that the box was, in fact, received at their Laredo TX dock and that it just hadn't been applied to my account.  She told me she would escalate the issue to make sure we did not get billed.  I thanked her and hung up, satisfied I had done my due diligence.

Lo and behold, next bill comes out on 2/25, and there's the charge - $150 plus taxes - for a non-returned receiver.  Well, now it's the weekend and their Customer Service line is closed, so I got onto the website and used their live chat.  I was connected to a man who assured me that a credit for $150 was "already being in process for removal" and that he would also apply a $10 credit as well to take care of the additional taxes, telling me "So, you can relax on that completely and you are our Elite customer and we don't want you to feel any kind of inconvenience."

Right.

Next time around, now on 3/10, I still see a past due amount (since I only paid $85 on the previous bill) and no credits of any kind.  This time I wasn't quite so nice with the chat but received the same assurances and (this was new) told that I would get an email confirmation of the credit which would be applied within 24 hours.  While I'm doing this, I also posted on the AT&T U-Verse Facebook page.

Ok.

3/11 ... sure enough - no email, no credits.  Now I'm mad and getting tired of it.  I now have a response to my Facebook post, asking me to email with account info etc.  I got a return call, however since it was during the day, of course I was working so she left a VM.  I never did connect with Miss Nancy - I'm not sure if it was a simple time conflict where our work hours overlap too much or what, but I did leave 2 more voicemails which never got any return calls. 

This afternoon, I came "home" from work and discovered a rather large box sitting on my couch ... from AT&T.  I opened it and realized it was empty - yep, they sent me another box with which to return the "non-returned" equipment which tracks as having been delivered on 1/18/13.  Now I'm really mad ... so I call their CS line (800-288-2020800-288-2020).  I get the same pleasant girl who I talked to the first time ... only this time I'm not very pleasant back.  I told her flat out that I've dealt with this for 2 months, made 5 phone calls, and I wanted the charge off my account now.

Maybe I should have checked online first to be sure - the charge actually was (supposedly on 3/13/13) removed from the account and I am now only showing that I owe my normal monthly charge.  I posted a followup on the original Facebook post and asked "them" to let their Laredo dock workers know that they narrowly missed receiving a box containing a few of the choicer contents of my backyard.

At least now it's over - and I am hoping that this post will remind me next time that it's just not worth it to mess around with trying to get a "better deal".  It's just not.