October 1, 2008

AT&T still nasty about service plans

So, you thought you remembered reading about how the cell phone carriers were going to be getting friendlier to their customers about their service contract cancellation policies? Ha!

I am as loyal an AT&T customer as you are likely to find. I have a $200 monthly bill with three lines. My 3rd line is for software development, and I brought my own phone to the plan - that is, I did not use a carrier subsidy to discount the price of the phone. So, imagine my suprise (ok, not really) when I called to cancel this third line. I was told that not only would they charge me a cancellation fee of $175, but that despite the news recently of them prorating these cancellation fees, they would not prorate my cancellation fee. Why? Because I had a pre-existing contract, and they were only pro-rating new contracts. (And how can they justify a two-year contract when they didn't provide a subsidy? Because they can.)

To make matters worse, when I asked to speak with a manager, they said that "no manager was available", and that they had a policy of not calling customers back - but I was free to try to call again later.

Boy is AT&T lucky they have an exclusive deal with Apple. I sure hope that Google's efforts to make a more competitive marketplace for communications services gets some traction.

For the record, here are the details of my call:
  • "no manager available" - Wed at 9:30am EST. Wouldn't call back when one was available.
  • My service is for 3 lines, $200/month, 3rd line for 1 yr 4 mo
  • The line I was trying to cancel was with my own phone and had no carrier subsidy
  • They still would charge a $175 cancellation charge that wasn't pro-rated - this policy started in last three months and isn't applied retroactively.
  • I spoke with "Hela"

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