AT&T Wireless can burn in hell (long rant!)

Discussion in 'Community' started by Thomas Veil, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    Sometimes I wish we had a "Rant Room", like MAF, 'cause I've got to tell you guys this story, in order to save as many people as possible from these cretins:

    Right now, as I type this, my wife is on the phone with an AT&T Wireless representative, trying to get the umpteenth problem with our bill fixed.

    The latest one...just the roaming charges. My wife was in Florida last month. Before she left, she had her plan changed so roaming charges would not apply if she left our area.

    Well, guess what was on our bill? For quite a lot of money?

    Now she's arguing with somebody because they kept her on the phone for a half an hour before they transferred her to a "resolution specialist". When they transferred the call, my wife could hear the resolution specialist, but the r.s. could not hear my wife. So they hung up on her.

    So now my wife is calling back and going through the whole bull**** process over again.

    I thought I'd try to help, so while she's on, I went to AT&T Wireless's website. I punched in the wireless number we use, and the password that I use for ALL my internet affairs. "Sorry, wrong user ID or password." I know the phone number is right, so I go to the "lost password?" link, and type in the phone number again. No user found with that phone number. What?

    So I give up and go to register anew. I type in the phone number. "Sorry, that number is already registered with AT&T Wireless." WHAT?

    There's a link at the bottom of that page: click here to continue. I click on it. Nothing happens. I command-click on it. Nothing.

    I figure maybe it's Safari. I go back through the whole thing in Internet Exploder. Same damn thing. No open linky.

    And this is not yet the end of it. Another problem we have with them is that, in order to obtain a meager discount from them, we have four of our family's phones all on the same plan. One of the phones is my son's, who doesn't live with us. Twice we've called them and asked them if they could bill him separately at his address. Twice they've told us yes, we can...and here it is, four months later, and they haven't done it.

    Another problem we have that we've called multiple times about the fact that they've registered three of the four phones we have to one family member. And they keep billing under that name. That person is my teenage daughter. They can't seem to correct that problem either.

    These people are idiots! Absolute flaming, blathering, mongoloid idiots.

    NEVER go with AT&T Wireless for your cell phone plan!

    Wait, let me say it more strongly:

    NEVER go with AT&T Wireless for your cell phone plan! were warned.

    This has been a public service tirade. We now return you to our regularly-scheduled program.
  2. dopefiend macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
  3. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    Back in the 90's when ATTW first started up, I had a $870 bill, and it took me 5 months to get that resolved, and then another 2 months for them to remove the credit entry on my credit report. If I were paid my salary rate for the hours I spent, they'd owe me around a thousand $$.

    If there was a way to warn you, like time travel or something, I would have done it. Im sorry that you had to go thru it too.
  4. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Thanks for the warning story.

    ATT's customer service sux!

    A while back, I cancelled their telephone calling card. Even received the final bill and a letter acknowledging my discontinuing their service.

    One year later, I am still receiving bills for zero balance and no charges. I sent a few letters explaining to them what happened and please stop sending the bills.

    Finally, I gave up. I just started to not accept the bills. Marked them Return to Sender. That finally got the bills to stop...I think.

    One thing I know for sure, I will never use ATT again as long as I can help it.

  5. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    i'd suggest you get a copy of your credit report, and make sure the account is actually closed.

    *resisting rant*
    I had horrible issues with AT&T's Universal Card VISA as well... damaged my credit score for years. :mad:
  6. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    Good advice. Thanks!


  7. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    wow, your experience with at&t has sucked. i can see why you are recommending that people not go with at&t for their wireless services.

    not to say you are wrong (your opinion is based on your horrible experiences with them, which is entirely valid!), but i just wanted to say that i've used at&t wireless for 5 years now and have never, ever had a mistake on my bill. i will say that they aren't as flexible as they used to be - they used to allow changes to your plan in the middle of the billing cycle, which i found very handy when i was traveling and wanted to switch to a national plan for a week or two to avoid roaming charges. however, now they only allow changes at the beginning of a billing cycle that must apply for the entire billing cycle. that's probably the only gripe i have with them. i will say that i haven't found their customer service people to be all that, um, enlightened, shall we say. but none of their reps has ever caused an error that cost me money, and there's only been one issue that took about 20 minutes of my time to correct.

    no, i don't work for at&t, and don't ever plan to. just wanted to provide another perspective. i know market research principles state that an unsatisfied customer is 5 times (or some other multiple, can't remember exactly) more likely to tell others about their issues than a customer who is satisfied. so negative experiences tend to get "amplified" more than good experiences.

    good luck with resolving your issues. i hope you resolve them quickly and smoothly make a transition to another carrier. i hear sprint and tmobile aren't too bad. and sprint even has the treo 600 in that dark gray that other carriers don't have - i wish i could get that one... :p

  8. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    That's really bad. Good luck getting and keeping it straight.

    I've had it with AT&T long distance, again. They apparently decided that I wasn't happy with the current no-charge plan and thought to help me. I now have a $5.00 per month minimum plus various other charges. The last time I used long distance was August 2003, when I had to FAX something to Apple. I guess I'll go with no long distance on my home phone.
  9. medea macrumors 68030


    Aug 4, 2002
    Madison, Wi
    Well I'm pretty happy with Cingular, the only problem I've had is my phone sucks but that is not there fault it's Ericcson's. Good rates and rollover minutes is a big plus but I don't know what their customer service is like as I've never had to use it.
  10. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    AT&T Wireless is actually owned by Cingular now right? im sorry for all of your troubles, i hope you can get everything resolved, and the Rant room is basically the community section, as long as you recognize that you are ranting its all good....lets just hope that Cingular can help AT&T clean up their act
  11. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    I don't like to use clichés (and if you don't like to read them, read elsewhere), but Verizon is certainly the lesser of the two evils. I know my father used to be signed up with AT&T, but then switched over to Verizon (and the wireless version for his cell phone)...I still remember him saying that a telemarketer from AT&T called him, and he yelled over the phone at the poor sap, then hung up.

    And what's MAF?
  12. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Yes, Cingular bought AT&T's wireless customer base, but I've already seen an article about them getting right back into the business. You have to wonder who was thinking about all of this. Do you envision a bunch of vice presidents and executives vice presidents yelling "Hell no, we won't go!"?
  13. craigdawg macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    I believe AT&T Wireless II or whatever they'll call themselves, will only resell service from other providers, not build out their own network.

    I must be one of the few that have had a good experience with AT&T Wireless. I've been with them (they used to be Cellular One) for around 10 years. Now I just jinxed myself.
  14. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    If only Verizon had better phones. Some of those Palm flip-phones look cool though. Is there any phone that has the Palm interface and Bluetooth and works with iSync? I'd be sold in a heartbeat. Or if the Treo had Bluetooth.... :(

    I've had:

    Sprint -- not too happy with them, but never really any billing issues. Mostly just don't like their phones and don't like their coverage.

    T-mobile -- I get some minor funny billing that I don't agree with -- like I take my phone into Canada through the Detroit tunnel, and I get hit with a coupla little 50 cent roaming charges every month even though I don't *use* it there. Coverage is good though, phone selection is good.

    Still the biggest problem is the farcical game they all play with only offering rebates to new customers. Now with # portability, they're almost begging you to switch providers every time you need a new phone. They need to resolve that somehow. :( Although if you call and gripe, they'll usually work with you, but then the problem is I'm so tied to wanting certain phones that what they offer is unlikely to appease me.
  15. King Cobra macrumors 603

    Mar 2, 2002
    BTW: Anyone notice the ads at the bottom of the page? [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Attached Files:

    • ads.gif
      File size:
      10.1 KB
  16. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    This is interesting to me. I'm thinking about replacing my phone after 4 years. It's a Motorola Star Tac and the reception has been amazing and Sprint PCS has been good but not exceptional. T-Mobile looks as if it has more dead space than coverage, except around Philly/NJ/NYC. However, I had an account with Aerial, which became part of T-Mobile and the coverage was adequate but the cheap phone limited reception.

    How much is actual in-network coverage and how much is roaming?
  17. Jovian9 macrumors 68000


    Feb 19, 2003
    Planet Zebes
    I had Cingular from mid-2000 until April of 2004 and had to end up paying them off to switch companies. For the first 2 1/2 years they seemed like a good company and it was easy to take care of discrepancies in billing but for the last year-and-a-half their service seemed to decline at an ever increasing rate. My wife and my cell phone bills were double what they should have been for about 8 months.....I was constantly trying to get this taken care of....month after month until finally I gave up and switched to far so good.

    Also....SBC/Ameritech home services are awful....but I'll save you an hour of reading my complaining.
  18. Elan0204 macrumors 65816


    Apr 16, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    This happens whenever their web system is having problems, which is more often than not. Just yesterday I had the same problem, but then a half hour later I was able to login again without problems.

    I agree that AT&T Wireless is the worst company ever. Their computers are always down (meaning that after you wait on hold for 30-60 minutes, a representative picks up and tells you they can't help you because their system is down, call back later), and their customer service representatives are either rude or incompetent, or both. I'm so happy that my contract just expired, so now I can cancel my service. My family has 2 other lines with T-Mobile, who I love. I think the longest I have ever waited on hold is 5 minutes, but of most the time I'm on hold less than a minute. Their customer service has been excellent, and T-Mobile's polices seem to be way less "big evil corporation only out to make money" than AT&T's.

    If you want a wireless phone get T-Mobile.
  19. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Hmmm...I guess T-Mobile doesn't have great BFE coverage, but it seems to hit most large areas. I haven't had much trouble travelling and getting coverage.

    FWIW, pretty much anywhere where you can get a GSM signal is fair game at the "in-network" price. So this may be part of the confusion. Like in a lot of places Cingular or some podunk GSM operator come up as the service provider, but using the phone in those regions just uses wireless minutes with no additional charges.

    But I'm not at all sure I'd stick with T-Mobile next. I guess based on the phones I like, and since I've had other friends with stories like Thomas', that pretty much leaves me with them or with Cingular.... :(
  20. Neserk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2004
    Between the carriers I've personally used and the ones my parents have used (I talk to them a lot on their cell phones) I'd say Verizon is the best by far.
  21. Thomas Veil thread starter macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Feb 14, 2004
    OBJECTIVE reality
    Well yeah, I'm sure Google has some sort of script that reads the page and slips in what it feels are appropriate ads. Doesn't work as intended when the page is a rant, though! :D But it's good for a laugh.
  22. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I'm probably going to stay with Sprint PCS since I haven't had a horror story and I'm getting a corporate discount of about $5-$6 per month. Now, if the Treo 600 was only $150...
  23. wow macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2004
    My ATTWS story

    Here's the email I sent to AT&T WS back in January:

    Subject: Why I left AT&T Wireless
    Date: January 27, 2004 1:14:24 AM CST

    Michael G. Keith
    President of Mobility Operations
    AT&T Wireless
    P. O. Box 68055
    Anaheim Hills, CA 92817-8055

    Mr. Keith:

    This letter will explain why you lost a customer of seven years, and why you MAY lose another.

    First, some background. I have been an AT&T wireless customer since 1996. During that entire time I have NEVER had any new equipment provided by you. That's not a complaint, just a note. Also, for the last 12 months or more I have been paying $59.99 for digital one-rate service, and during that time my average usage has been approximately 30 minutes per month. If you do the math, you'll see that means I've paid - on average - about $2 per minute for my AT&T wireless service.

    You may think that I am complaining about that, but I am not. It was my decision to keep that plan even though my usage didn't justify it. I was not forced, cajoled, or coerced into it, and I never expected any adjustments for my usage. What I DID expect was excellent customer service.

    I didn't get it.

    On November 14th I called your company to get a new phone, as I thought my old one was defective. The person on the phone explained that they were having 'computer problems; and could not activate a new account nor transfer my number to the new GSM service. They suggested that I visit a local store, where they MIGHT be able to activate new service.

    I visited the store at Eden Prairie Center, where I picked out a SE T616. They were unable to activate the phone or offer any 'deals' but suggested that I contact the customer service people for both. After numerous attempts and about one and a half hours on the phone I had my new phone activated, and a promise of credits totaling about $300. I asked about internet plans and told them that I used the internet a LOT, a so they suggested the $19.95 plan as it was 'the biggest plan we have".

    I have had a cell phone since 1986, and remember one or two astronomical bills. Not wanting to repeat that experience, I called about 10 days after activation to find out what my usage was. At that point I was already at THREE TIMES the total usage allotment!!!!! After spending about an hour on the phone again, I was made aware of a $79.99 'unlimited' internet plan for my phone. I was also told that my plan could not be made retroactive, but if I called after receiving my bill I could get a one-time 'courtesy adjustment' to my account. By the way, I did do this and I did receive the credit, but wasted another 45 minutes on hold first!!!! and about 20 more minutes on the phone call. I wonder why they call this customer service?

    After using the T616 for a few days I realized that I had made a bad equipment decision, and decided to return it. I wanted to have a single device that could function as a cell phone, planner, and wireless modem for my laptop. I asked LOTS of questions before choosing a Palm Tungsten W, including making SURE I asked whether it would function as a phone without the headset, as I felt that it would be TOTALLY IMPOSSIBLE to go through all the necessary steps (pull out the Palm, pull out the headset, connect the headset, etc.) in time to answer a call. Only after getting the Tungsten W home did I find out that I had been misinformed by the AT&T salesperson I spoke to. Sigh... more time wasted.

    At this point I determined that I REALLY had to do my homework before deciding on my next product.

    On Thanksgiving day I ordered a Treo 600 from a very nice phone rep. He assured me that the credits he was giving me for being a 'loyal' customer would not affect any previous credits.

    I received my first GSM bill, only to find that virtually NONE of the credits had been applied to my account, To be fair, a single $59.99 credit had been applied. As far as the rest of the credits - well, I called and spoke to a customer service rep who ultimately told me 'not only can't I give you any more credit, my supervisor has made a note on your account to make sure that you NEVER get any more credit'. Let's just say that I feel that - in addition to being poorly treated - I was either lied to or stolen from.

    Neither one makes me happy.

    During the week before I reached then end of my 30 day return period, I attempted to call AT&T numerous times. In each case I endured a hold of at least 40 minutes, and often much longer. Although I TRIED numerous times to get through, I was not able to devote the incredible amount of time necessary to complete the contact. When I finally reached someone to get information on returning my phone, I was told that it was now 31 days since I signed my contract - one day over the 30 day period - and would therefore be assessed an early termination fee. When I explained that the delay was due to the UNBELIEVABLE hold times, I was told that there was 'nothing that they could do about it'?! Talk about a great way to reward customer loyalty, huh?!

    I received an RMA to return my phone, which I did. I switched my service back to a plain old plan until I could get over my dislief. I also started to shop around. On friday I completed transferring my number to T-Mobile, and I am now leaving AT&T Wireless as a VERY upset and unhappy FORMER customer.

    I called your customer care group again tonight at 12:19am, navigated through several insulating layers of auto-attendants, and finally ended up speaking to Candy. I first asked her if I needed to notify you that I was discontinuing my service, or if it would happen automatically, She informed me that it had already occurred on the 24th.

    I then asked her very politely if she would waive the Early Termination fee due to the way I had been treated and the one-day lapse caused by the unacceptable hold times for customer service. She asked me if I would hold for a couple of minutes, and placed me on hold at 12:24.

    At 12:33 she came back on the line and informed me that she was still going through the notes and would need a couple more minutes. I told her that I would hold.

    She cam back online at 12:40 and said she would need to speak to her supervisor. She was gone for approximately 2-3 minutes, then came back on the line to inform me that she would be unable to do anything for me. I want to point out that she was extremely polite and honestly seemed to care, but was prevented from doing what she knew was right by 'company policy' or other dictates.

    I am now going to ask YOU to do the RIGHT THING, and credit the early termination fee to my account.I believe that this is what an ethical organization would do. I also know that it is what I would do in my own business if one MY customers had gone through this experience. I would expect no less from any world-class organization, and see no reason why I should expect any less from you?


    Wayne Wenzlaff

    Former ATTWS #(Deleted for privacy reasons)


    BBB of the Southland
    PO Box 970
    Colton, CA 92324 -3052

    Hon. Mike Hatch
    Office of Minnesota Attorney General
    Consumer Protection Division
    1400 NCL Tower
    445 Minnesota Street
    St. Paul, MN 55101
  24. Neserk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2004

    Someone noted that on a thread ranting about SUV's. The system is set up to take the title of the thread and post info on it on the footer of the page.
  25. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    Before I rant I'll say I use T-Mobile (and have for years) and find it to be the best of the bunch of US networks. (unless you travel to the desolate reaches of the states)

    The truth is there are no excellent mobile phone providers in the US. We are slowly recovering from an obscene ammount of splintered standards and are in need of some serious technology updating.

    What do you get when you consilidate to one network standard (read GSM family)? Lack of choice? No! You get providers that compete based on value added service. PCS, CDMA, bah. The majority of the world standardized on GSM for a good reason. (Japan as a successful exception to this will be set aside, though they do have a single country-wide standard, its just not GSM)

    What gets me is AT&T _finally_ decides to switch from TDMA to GSM they introduce a new frequency??? WTF!

    I tend to buy tri-band GSM phones from the UK and Europe. GSM allows me some marketplace freedom to go where the new phone technology is first. The more standard our networks, the easier to go to other marketplaces. Here we suffer from a reluctance of take-up. People are used to "free" phones that are subsidized and ancient. Unfortunately I don't have a good answer for this one. If we seperate out phones from service and people pay full price, take-up of new technology will be even slower. (I doubt the average user wants to pay 400-600$ for their new phone, though there is the slight chance it would finally make people recognize how much phones really cost.)

    From all that ranting I'll say my serious thoughts are thus:
    1) Pick a single network standard for the states and stick with it (hopefully we will pick the standard most of the world uses)
    2) Make providors compete on value added services and customer service quality by leveling the technology playing field (same phone works on any network)
    3) Increase economic value knowledge of hardware pricing by hilighting costs and showing discounts from contract commitment (for example: phone XYZ6 from DigiCorp costs 400$ with no plan, but if you subscribe to our National 400 plan for 1 year its only $150. Note: While you may say this is already present, they don't show the full cost of the phone with no contract at all. What is important is the user sees what they would pay direct from the manufacturer)
    4) Make it easy to purchase hardware direct from the vendor. (i.e. I typically buy un-customized, un-branded vendor hardware)

    We are so behind the curve here.

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