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You don’t praise the arsonist for putting out their own fire, so I’m not going to thank AT&T for doing the minimum they possibly could have done to make Eliabeth Hawthorne stop smashing them on Twitter and Facebook.  (3rd prson intentional, I’ll explain in a moment).  Credit where credit is due, they did get it my billing fixed… ish, but the way it was done really pissed me off.  If I wasn’t an influential author with powerful friends, they would have ignored me entirely.

You are AT&T’s personal pocketbook.  They don’t care about you.  They just don’t want you to bash them on social media if you’ve built a solid following.  If you’re a no one, they don’t care at all.  They lied to me, they lied to at least one other AT&T customer at sign up, and they will lie to you.  Run away, chose any other provider, you will be better off.  I’m probably shooting myself in the foot by saying this because AT&T will realize I’m a lost cause, but as soon as the contract they roped me into and didn’t honor is over, I’m not coming back.  If you’re looking at purchasing any service from AT&T, I think you deserve to know you are going to be scammed and mistreated.  Please read on.

As you know from my first review on The Thank You Economy, and my Listen & Write post comparing my relationship with AT&T to an angry break up song, you know AT&T and I have not been on good terms.  I gave them time to make amends, they put out their own fire and didn’t even do a good job at that.  If you’ve ever played SIMS and one of your characters did something to another SIM like poke them and get in their face, you know it takes several more nice actions to counter the one negative thing your SIM did before the relationship is back at status-quo.  ATT, go play SIMS, you might gain a little common sense.

Some things you need to know before I start.  Eliabeth is a pen name; Rebecca is my real name.  I’m going to refer to myself in third person from now on because when dealing with AT&T, it mattered which profile was talking to them.

Rebecca wanted internet.  I’ve had their cell phone service since my very first phone in 9th grade and I’ve never had a problem with them.  My boyfriend and I have actually gotten in several arguments about when we hypothetically get married, which cell phone provider we would use.  I defended ATT tooth and nail.  NO MORE.  Sprint, here I come.  I had to tell Boy Friend he was right and ATT is the worst company I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with.  All I wanted was internet for $24.95 a month, less than anyone else was offing in my area.  Advertised on TV and online.

Advertised: $24.95 a month for new customers, no bundling required.

My grandpa and I called in because I don’t have internet to buy internet online, and he’s had ATT internet service for 8 years.  He praised them.  NO MORE.  It started out so wonderful, but like a horror movie, it was too good to be true.  I told the person on the phone, and I quote, “I would like the Elite DSL service listed on your website at $24.95″

She told me I could get it for $19.95 a month.  My first statement came and said $48 a month.  I wasted 2 extended lunch periods trying to work my way up the AT&T phone tree trying to get someone to fix it.  When I went to billing they told me “you pay double you’re first month and then get the next two months free, that’s how the promotion is set up.”

1. That was not indicated anywhere in the advertisement or verbally at sign-up.

2. That does not average out to $19.95 a month

“Sorry there’s nothing I can do.”  *click*  Yes, that ***** hung up on me.  I called back and used the phone tree to go to cancellations.  When I threatened to mail back their router and cancel, the guy put me on hold to talk to his supervisor aka go smoke a cigarette.  If you’ve ever tried to talk to a supervisor at AT&T, I don’t think they exist.  I think they kick their feet up, laugh at you, and shoot each other with nerf guns while you sit on hold.  Not once has a supervisor ever taken my call. I don’t care if he’s busy.  I will wait, if you can’t help me I want someone who can.

So now to count lies, the $19.95 a month was #1.  #2 was the person I talked to in cancellations who said there is no $24.95 service.  “That’s only if you have phone with us too.  I don’t know why they told you $19.95 a month, they must have thought you had phone with us too.”  He had me convinced that I told the person wrong at sign up because I do have AT&T for my cell phone, but it’s not in my name since it’s cheaper to stay on my parent’s line and just pay them.  He said the best he can do is $29.95 a month if I sign a year contract.  I’d been on my grandpa’s computer, Googling internet providers in my area and didn’t see anyone cheaper.  I was mildly annoyed, but actually thought maybe I had messed up.

An hour later, grandpa calls and tells me he saw the $24.95 price advertised on TV again.  New customers, no bundling, no previous service.  We are up to 2 lies so far, and yes ATT, I am still counting.

I spend the next day, now up to 3 lunch periods calling AT&T.  The little snot on the line this time informs me that oh yes, they do offer $24.95 a month, but that’s only if you sign up online.  I was not told that at sign up, it was not in the TV add because my grandpa recorded it for me to be sure.  At this point, I’m livid.  I had just finished reading The Thank You Economy by Gary Vaynerchuck, so I decided to go to social media and tell AT&T I was not happy being lied to.  Rebecca posted to their Facebook wall and got no response.

Fine.  I got on as Eliabeth and in no time I had a response on both Facebook and Twitter even though Rebecca posted first.  Lesson here: ATT only cares about your feelings if you’re influential on social media.  If you’re the average customer they’re out high-fiving each other at your expense.

Notice that the posts on Facebook are almost identical, reinforcing that ATT only cares about you if you have influence AND at this point, all I wanted was the $24.95 price because they had me convinced that the person at sign up was confused.  At this point, I was still giving them the benefit of the doubt.  Also notice the day, February 6th.  That’s important.

I did get a call for Miss Hawthorne.  I explained that’s my pen name and the person calling (some high-up in AT&T) promised to get back to me in 48 hours.  It is now February 22nd.  On Friday the 17th, I got a call from his secretary to tell me they hadn’t forgotten about me.  Somewhere in the middle, I got a call where I think we resolved it to where I will be paying $24.95 a month, but it will take 2-3 billing cycles because they can’t manually change my bill.  Bull shit.  Forgive me, but we’re up to lie 3.

My statement said $48 a month.  My bill said $43, something changed.  I don’t know what, but someone changed it.  Make that lie 4, because after 48 hours, I posted to Twitter again, the squeaky wheel gets the grease idea, and they told me they were still working on it.  Basically the feeling I’m at now is “maybe if we call her every now and then and give vague reassurances, she’ll go away and forget about us.  No.  I was happy at $24.95 until I saw this:

“Same thing happened to me… several hours of phone calls.”  This tells me a number of things.

1. The 19.95 was not a mistake.  It was a blatant lie that AT&T had no intention of ever honoring because research shows that if overpriced of denied once, many people won’t bother to fight back.

2. SEVERAL HOURS?  What’s several hours?  I’ve spent days on the phone and I didn’t get the $19.95 service.  Was being polite not the right way to deal with AT&T administration?  Clearly I wasn’t pushy enough about the $19.95.

AT&T, you’ve not only lost an advocate, you’ve lost a loyal customer and I hope I get to see the day you file for bankruptcy or  your top executives go to prison for the way you do business.

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

One more thing.  WordPress lets us know what search terms were used on Google, Bing, etc. for people to land on our blog.  Someone found us by searching “Unethical AT&T.”  You have to be doing something wrong if that’s getting us hits on our blog.

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