The following is a letter to the chairman of ATT, that could not be delivered to the address ATT listed in their Annual Report to Stockholders –could be the inefficiency of the USPS or the bureaucracy of ATT
The info sent to him and the additional notes following are lengthy but hopefully will serve as:
1. A WARNING to not do business with ATT
2. Some ideas of things do if you made the mistake I did and decided to do business with ATT briefly
AT&T Corporate Offices
San Antonio, TX 78299-2933
Dear Mr. Stephenson:
I have never in my 57 years felt it necessary to write an executive of a company to complain, but sir AT&T deserves some special attention. In spite of warnings from almost everyone I spoke with (neighbors & businessmen throughout Kansas City metro) in the last year I decided to go with AT&T for a package service. You will see a part of the struggle I have had during the past 90 days enclosed. I did not detail every event and I must admit that my last two calls to your company on April 8th were not the most pleasant. I am enclosing a couple samples of information but not bothering you with everything I have.
For the most part I believe you have very dedicated people working the front lines. However, what is obvious is that the bloated bureaucracy that is AT&T has incompetent, senior level executives at the helm. I know that I am a stickler for detail, however, if I had a Senior Executive VP working for me that did not have the brains to see the mess that is your customer service area, installation department, billing department, and then had the personal equipment (you know where) to dismiss the management that created it I would dismiss him/her in a heart beat with very limited compensation. Further more if I were a board member of that business and had a CEO that did not resolve the issue I would dismiss them.
You desperately need to hire one to three people that do nothing but explore why your corporate bureaucracy prevents people from accomplishing simple task. If they built a relationship with the people on the front line, listened to them, then brainstormed some solutions, they could make drastic changes. No more than two years of the right people doing that and you may someday have a company that is efficient and as friendly as SBC before greed set in.
Personally, I have never dealt with such an inept corporation in my life. The attached material was sent to the Kansas Corporation Commission and by the time you are reading this I am very certain AT&T will have resolved this issue. What I will never understand is why it had to get to this point. Often if someone would have just sent a message to the employee I previously spoke with we might have taken care of it, but all they could say was they had no way to do that. Also, please note that at one point they could email me and ask me for a valid email to know how to bill me. Now that sir means you have an extremely cumbersome organization that is costing you (no us the consumer) a fortune.
Sincerely, (signed and sent) returned as undeliverable -- address came from stockholders report.
Complaint info sent to KS Corporation Commission as initial problem began with regulated service:
(this was sent to ATT Chm also with letter above)
I have finally decided that the only way to resolve what is basically a 3 month battle with ATT is by going to you. I have spent over 5 hours on the phone with ATT during that time. Many of the calls I have documented times and dates, plus name and employee number (not that getting that does any good for follow-up with them). I will attempt to just give you the basics which all started with a need to reduce cost and a decision to install a consolidated cable, phone, & internet service. In preparation to do this we decided to eliminate one excess phone line first while determining which company to go with. Let me say now that there were only 2 reasons after all this I stayed with ATT and really regret that decision made in late February. One reason was to maintain the same email address, the other was to get combined service as ATT was (for one year) $20.00 per month less expensive than other two available providers. Points 1 through 9 below are history of past 90 days, remaining issues may be seen in points 10 to 12.
On 1-21-2009 I placed an order regarding account 913-1. This account had two phone lines on it: 913-9 and 913-4. On the line ending in 4 I also had a high speed internet service for $35.00.
1. I ordered that line 9 be shut off effective January 26, 2009.
2. To do this they needed to establish 913-4 as the account # and transfer billing of internet service to that line.
3. Line 9 was discontinued as ordered
4. On about 1-28-09, I received postcard saying I had requested billing address change (since it said if I had placed an order to discontinue service I could ignore—I ignored.
5. On 2-13-09 received 2nd postcard. Called customer service to verify that everything was going to be billed correctly since I had received these 2 cards. Told just standard procedure everything was fine.
6. On Sunday, the 23rd of February I received an email from ATT regarding my internet service and stating that I must provide a valid email address (yes they just emailed me) or mailing address in order to bill me for my internet service. They had just attempted to bill me and that account was closed (line ending in 9).
7. Feb 24th I called ATT. I told them the problem and requested that I get something in writing. This request sent me through multiple departments where we actually eventually found the real problem. Somehow they could email me at the current email but had an old email address on file from when the original order for ATT internet service was ordered 6 years earlier. At least we thought that was the problem. I do have notes of all people talked to that day. Bottom line is they could not email me that it was resolved nor would policy allow them to fax me a written document that all was resolved, therefore problem continued.
8. The first lady I spoke with on the 24th offered me a “closer coupon”, a $100 Visa card, for all the trouble I had and said when I was ready to consolidate service if I go with ATT to let her know by calling her supervisors number. Since this seemed to be resolved I called that number on February 25th to order new service for another account 913-8. It took 3 calls before she called me to back to place the order. Granted I should have pulled the plug then and gone with someone else.
9. Feb 26th, I placed the order for cable TV service, internet service, and phone service to be established to replace phone account 913-8 (going to ATT U-verse). I was told to wait to cancel 913-4 until after new service established in event something went wrong with install. They did not show nor call day they were to install—said they needed an additional order—turns out they needed internet service on 913-4 canceled first. This taking more phone calls from me, but eventually resolved.
10. All this to get to this: they still can not figure out how to bill me for the internet service that was on account 913-9 from February 21st until new service established on March 6th. Multiple phone calls have been made to assist them. It is not that I care if they ever get their money at this point—but I do not want them sending something to the credit bureaus stating the bill is unpaid when it is them that can not seem to bill me.
11. Also new issue when they established the new service (U-verse) (they were to install one receiver as part of the base fee and add one receiver for an additional tv. The first bill arrived and there was a charge for 2 additional receivers at $7.00 per month and a prorated amount from March 6th to March 15th of $2.10. I sent emails they sent back said call or send email back if not resolved. I sent email back, never heard from them, so called.
12. Call placed on 4-8-9 and spoke with Ryan employee # mmm who said a credit would appear on my next bill for $9.10 plus some tax adjustment credit. The $9.10 appeared but not tax adjustment ( I don’t care) BUT they turned right around and billed me for a second receiver again ($7.00) on the bill received Saturday, April 18, 2009—which means calling them again and again but getting nothing but lies. At least in today’s mail (4-20-09) I received the refund credit on the canceled 913-9, and after a couple of phone calls I may eventually receive the $125.00 rebate and the $100.00 closer coupon I was promised (when they first emailed me that it was available nothing was available and again I had to call them on April 8th). I really think that if I was a senior citizen or someone who would lay down for them they would just run nothing but a big fraud.
I regret having to bother you with this but am really tired of having to call so frequently, being promised it is being taken care of and then nothing happening. I have copies of statements, some typed notes and some scribbled notes should you need them.
Kansas Corp Commission was on it within minutes
The following then happened:
Notes on ATT response to KCC notice APR 20 to 24
Received phone response from KCC office at 10:45 a.m., she requested approval to send my document directly to ATT, I said go for it. She told me that if I had not heard from ATT by next Monday to call her back.
Received call at 10:24 a.m. April 21, 2009, from Molly in ATT Executive offices the Executive Appeals research support team will be reviewing and she will be getting back to me.
Then at 4:24 p.m. CDT April 21, 2009, a Carolyn called from the Executive Appeals team. Her message said that they would begin the review process and noted that I had a list of details. She left a call back number of:
Ms. C called Thursday, April 23, 2009. On first call she initially informed me that the issue with the old internet service had already been taken care of as an adjustment had been made on final bill. I told her it had not but as long as she provided me with a letter that said I owed nothing for those service I would be satisfied. This was the first of many times she insisted she was correct when I could document she was wrong and often had already provided her with documentation. She then reviewed the overcharge for receivers and said she would have to communicate with the installer. At that point she went back to issue of internet service and I explained in detail that they had not billed me in advance and how many emails I had received. I pointed out the date that was on all bills I received and what was in the emails. Upon investigation she said she did find a listing of an “un-billable amount of $35.00 for the period of Feb 8th to March 8th” saying it noted that they were unable to bill for that and the company would deem that “lost revenue.” I said that was exactly my concern and that someday it would somehow show up as a bad debt. So could I please have a letter stating I do not owe those charges. She agreed and said she would call back once she spoke with the installer (she actually came through on this within a couple days). She is going to initiate a IT work order to make this a smoother transition from a closed account to an active account in the future.
At 10:03 a.m. she called back and said that she was drafting a letter that would state that he $35.00 was un-billable and not owed by me since it was a company error. She said she had spoke with the customer service agent that waited on me on the 8th of April regarding the charge for 1 additional receiver. He had been able to make the credit adjustment of $9.10 but was not (due to not all of my services being listed) able to adjust the account. She is also not able to at this time but has made a “case” for herself for follow-up once another department has corrected the services. For now she is crediting my account for the $7.00 extra charge and a credit for $3.00 since she can not view tax adjustments necessary for this $7.00 and the $9.10. She said that my next bill in 4 weeks may still show an additional receiver but before I get the bill she should have been notified and able to make the necessary correction to the number of receivers I have and provide the credit. She gave me her toll free number and extension number again.
Some notes skiped as I am only including a small portion as a sample of the inefficiency of ATT
Notes May 11th through 17th
On Monday morning the 11th I phoned Ms C in ATT executive appeals team at approximately 9:48 a.m. I reminded her that the tech department sounded as if they needed to call me back once they had resolution to the problem last Thursday. She agreed that she also understood that. I told her I was calling to inform her of that since it appears the problem was compounding—she agreed. Since I would be out of town for 3 days I reminded her to use my cell phone to contact me.
On Friday the 15th KCC forwarded my 2nd email to the executive appeals team, saying they had no jurisdiction over cable and internet service
On Monday the 18th, Ms C left a message at 12:22p.m. regarding the complaint sent to them. She thought it meant I wanted to speak with the tech person. She called again at 2:21 and just left short message saying she wanted to speak with me regarding the complaint.
When I called her back she did say that what the tech person said was that they were going to take care of the problem and there was no issue to be concerned about as far as having the 4th connection as she was going to stay on top of it and would credit back before I actually even received the bill (showing up on next billing). She then said it may take at least until July. She then addressed the $100 visa card saying that was part of an option on the install. That I either would receive the $100 visa card or the $125 check, which she pointed out I had received and cashed. I told her that was not the case. That the $100 Visa card was offered by a Tami who responded on my third day of calls regarding the old telephone line in February and ran back through the transfer of calls on April 8th with her. She proceeded to argue. I again told her the name of the person I spoke with and that they had indicated they were in Springfield MO, that I had not requested an employee ID number and pointed out this does no good anyway as previous people have indicated they have no way of contacting someone by that number. She put me on hold for awhile saying she would check with Springfield records of staff and then came back on and said no one existed in Springfield MO by that name. She insisted there was no record of it, yet there had been when I was transferred to a different department on April 8th. I told her I should have listened to my children and other young people and never done business with ATT. I requested a valid address for the CEO and was told she could not provide that information. I then just hung up. Three days later the visa card showed up. I called and left a message that it had. I also told her that if she could continue to credit back the overcharges and eventually straighten out the billing then we should have everything corrected and completed as agreed. WRONG!
Communication with Executive Appeals continued for nearly 2 more months:
Notes from last few weeks follow:
Notes JUN 29th JUL 11
Account # Uverse
866-291-7221 Miss C
I turned on the living room tv to find it had been disconnected. We seldom use this tv so it may have been disconnected for some time. Did not have time to deal with ATT at that point. Thursday night the 25th we get the bill and find out they disconnected 2 extra receivers (as remember they now had 4 connected in cyber space but only 3 connected on billing) but still billed me for 3. The date all of this was done was May 21st, the same day the Visa card was received. Miss Williams had called in early June to say they would make the credit, said it would be at least one more month before it was straightened out, but made no mention that they had actually disconnected anything. They also changed fee from the 30.00 a month (one year special) to 49.95 a month. Decided to cool off before calling ATT.
Called ATT office of Miss C and left message on Monday, June 29, 2009 at 7:14 a.m. CDT. By Wednesday, July 01, 2009, @ 2:45 p.m., I had not had any return call.
Thursday, July 02, 2009, I left a message on Miss C’s voice mail at approximately 10:30 a.m. CDT for her to call me back and stayed by the phone until 2p.m. Miss C returned my call at 2:51 p.m. CDT but I was not available.
I called her back @3:28 p.m. CDT, left message that I would be by the phone now. No return call that day, next day is holiday.
Finally spoke with Miss C on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 at about 9:15 CDT. She pulled up account and noticed that they had disconnected 2 receivers. She will have Tech dept. communicate with me to re-connect the living room tv. I then brought up the overcharge on the cable. She first said that my account started in Feb and that the 6 months was up. I informed her it started March 5th or 6th and was for a year and even if it had been for 6 months the time was not up. I also informed her that I had the original advertisement and other paperwork to support the year at that price. She looked through all the billings and determined that even on the billings it said 12 months. She will investigate and get back to me regarding the $19.00 credit.
Miss C called back at 10:10 a.m. – she was issuing a $19.00 credit to bill that runs June 15 to July 14th and that I sent check for payment on today. She has also flagged the account to check on next cycle which should be anyday now.
She then had Christie from the tech dept. get on and Ms C got off. Christie then had me unplug box on LR tv and she began process of getting it live again. She had me on phone for about 10 minutes but did get LR tv re-installed---effective July 7th so I would owe ATT for 7 days on current billing cycle.
At this point I felt I had no chance of ever receiving a correct bill as we are 6 months into this and not one bill has been correct so:
Called to cancel service on Monday, July 20, 2009, around 3:15 p.m. told them there was no way ATT could make me a happy customer today when they ask. Told them I wanted service canceled –she was off line and had me on hold, came back and made cash offer to stay --- I said no it was way to late for that. She told me I would need to take equipment to a UPS pack and ship store within 21 days. She again was off the phone for awhile then came on and gave me a number to provide to the UPS store. Took pictures of all equipment sitting in UPS store, ID# etc. and was told by UPS clerk to keep documentation for at least a year as they have had customers reporting that ATT has came back almost a year later stating equipment was not returned! Wow! A company that makes good money off of ATT warns you about them.
Within 30 days I received a call from a consumer survey organization as call proceeded it was obvious it was ATT trying to figure out why I left. Inquiring if the new company I went with paid more money upfront. They wanted to know then if a larger rebate from ATT would get me back. I pointed out that even though I was unemployed ATT did not have enough money to get me back as a customer, and stressed that the problem was with the CEO and top tier officers the Senior Executive VPs and the board should dismiss all immediately.
UPDATE: March 2010---ATT still owes me $10.58. I went with a small local carrier SUREWEST with all new lines—problems NONE—installed as agreed, bills always correct, polite and courteous and never argue with the customer, more channels for the dollar AND the quality of the picture on old set and 2 year old set is much better than on ATT.