I had wireless services with AT&T long before SBC bought them out. Once SBC took over, service went continuously downhill. I was an excellent customer and always paid my bill. Whenever I had an issue or billing question (which was rare), I encountered an attitude of rudeness, was placed on long hold times, and the onsite customer centers were no better.
As the clich goes, one follows the lead of behavior by the example set before him or her. That concept is alive and well within the At&T structure. In January 17, 2009, I finally decided to start the New Year right. I switched my wireless service (porting my numbers) over to Verizon. Little did I realize the unethical behavior I would soon encounter.
When I received the January bill, I called AT&T and spoke with an Ashley. I informed her that once I received the final billing I would call regarding payment arrangements. She said that was fine and would note my account.
Upon receiving February's final bill, I called and spoke to Diana to make payment arrangements. I agreed to pay the bill in three (3) installments with the first installment on Feb. 11th. She agreed to the arrangements and noted the account. I mailed the first payment Feb. 11th as agreed; I mailed the second payment on March 10th.
On March 13th, I called again and spoke with Bettina questioning the charges. The bill reflected no itemization. I requested a duplicate copy and was told I would have to pay for it or, that I could go online to view the billing. I explained to her that I did not have internet access at the time. She still refused to send the duplicate itemized statement unless I paid for it using the old "it's our policy excuse". Therefore, I have no idea if my charges on the final bill are even correct! I informed her, before hanging up, that I mailed the second payment on March 10th as agreed. She stated she would note the account.
Here comes the big surprise; on March 21st , I received a letter from Southwest Credit Systems stating that my bill was turned over to them for a balance due of $86.74. I actually owed $62.83. The un-itemized bill that I received from AT&T showed a pay by date of March 23rd and after March 31st, late fees would be applied.
On March 22nd, I called AT&T, and spoke with Tom regarding the collection notice. I asked him why, after making arrangements and accepting two of the three payments as agreed, they referred the account to collections. His response was, based on policy they do not make arrangements on canceled, bankruptcy or suspended accounts.
I requested a supervisor to try to resolve this matter and Tom continued to restate policy that he already explained. I questioned why, out of the three people prior to him, I was never told about this policy and was led to believe my arrangement were firm. I demanded a supervisor or I would call back in and make this request through another representative. He passed me to Jessica who immediately began restating POLICY again. Nowhere on my billing does it state that payment arrangements are not available. I once again restated the events (calls, arrangements, and billings). She agreed to contact accounts receivable and see if they could pull the account back from the collection agency. She did confirm that I had been pro-active up to this point and always paid my bills on time.
Today, March 23rd at 7AM, I received a call back from Jessica and was advised that accounts receivable refused to pull the account back. The reason stated was that I had sufficient time to pay the bill and that I had three months. Keep in mind that today March 23rd, is the pay by date on their final billing statement. My arrangements on the second call to AT&T extend that payment into April.
I told Jessica that I would have the account forced back to AT&T since they are refusing to cooperate. She told me that if I forced the billing back to them, I would still have to pay the balance and a 17% fee to cover the collection agency cost. I told her the only amount I was going to pay was the third and final payment, which was due per our arrangement.
Correct me if I'm wrong ---but, how did I lose a month and two days for getting this bill paid. Two days according to their pay by date on the final billing, and a month on my verbal arrangement before it was sent to collections. Even the accounts receivable representative validated I had three months to pay the bill according to Jessica. Yet he refused to acknowledge their error in sending the bill to collections.
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