Sunday, December 19, 2004

Adventures in Customer Service (AT&T edition)

Spoons has a story up about the nightmare of attempting to change his cellular phone service. Check it out for a view of how U.S. Cellular treats its customers. If I were him, I would start a petition or let folks know how to register with US Cellular that they disapprove of this tactic.

I offer this advice as someone who has had some experience dealing with truly bad customer service. Tonight if I get time I'll post my Sears Sucks story. In the meantime, I offer my AT&T hires jackasses to run customer service story:

My wife had an AT&T account for two years. I should point out up front that they lied to her about coverage and she didn't get service at our house (in a major metro area.) Anyhoo, her contract was set to expire in October (lets say October 2nd). She had called them to find out what she needed to do to cancel. She was told that as long as she did not cancel before October 2nd she was fine. So on the morning of October 3rd she cancelled and switched to T-Mobile (to be on my account).

AT&T charged her $39.99 for the next month arguing that her old contract ran out on October 2nd and she didn't cancel until the 3rd. But if she had cancelled on the 2nd they were going to charge an Early Termination Fee of $150. Pretty sneaky eh?

So my wife worked her way through the phone bureaucracy only to be told by managers and manager's managers that she would have to pay the $39.99. Frustrated, she asked a manager how you could end a contract with AT&T without paying more than the 24 months worth of fees that she signed up for.

Here is where it gets good.
One manager openly admitted that the only way to do so would be to cancel at EXACTLY midnight the night the contract ended. Then, he pretended that this was the a totally rational normal thing to expect.

After a couple hours of this nonsense (as an aside: at no point did anyone she spoke with acknoledge the complete asininity of the AT&T position) I told her to just pay the $39.99. But... I told her to tell the last AT&T person with whom she spoke that we would take far more than $39.99 worth of business away from them by badmouthing them far and wide.

The "customer service" rep accepted that "deal". By my count I have told 22 people this story in person and now posted it here as well.

Looks like Spoons is in a similar place right now. Fight it, spoons. Have folks send notes to U.S. Cellular. Sign me up.


Blogger J Bowen said...

There's no point in badmouthing AT&T Cellular now - they've sold off the business. I have to wonder if the cynical bastards didn't instruct their CSRs to be pricks for that reason.

7:26 AM  

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