What can be done to make AT&T and Dish honor what was sold to me? Since leaving AT&T a few years ago, they have bugged us weekly via phone and mail to check out this or that new deal they have, but we were very happy with Comcasts three services all on one bill-Internet, telephone, cable tv. In the mean time I have become disabled and am not bringing in an income at the moment.
While searching for ways to cut back I received a call from a very nice lady w/a Texas drawl offering me an AT&T bundle that I could simply not refuse! (I have her name and her telephone #, as well as where she was calling from) This "Triple Play" deal, or bundle would save me $80. a month on those three services.
My immediate concern was that instead of cable tv it was satellite dish tv, and I'd heard how they go out at the slightest drizzle, or breeze. I had to get her telephone number in order to discuss this with my husband first. My husband also voiced his concern about getting a dish, but told me to ask her for a list of programs that her "100+" uses. There was a whole list of channels that I asked her to check her list for, channels that were important to each of us in this household. She said 'yes' to each querry. She also told me as part of the package I would be getting all four premium channels for free for the first three months, then I can pick any two premium channels for $20. a month.
When I voiced our concern about the stability of a satellite dish, she assured me that they had become much higher tech than that now and they were known to actually compete with digital cable for clarity and sharpness. I asked if we had to have a HD tv in order to get it and she said "no". She needed to know how many televisions I needed hooked up to the satellite and I told her three. She told me she'd need to get a credit card number to 'hold' my equipment boxes, for protection, in case we ran off with them or something, that the card would not get charged unless we took off with the receivers or something.
On the telephone I was asked if I wanted to keep my old number, and I agreed to. I was told that the service for home phone came with the following package: voice mail, caller ID, anonomous call block, *98, *69, Three-Way calling, call forwarding, & call waiting, to name all of the ones I'd jotted down. She also assured me that this was the same service I had had before, that I had at that time with the Local and Long Distance calling being unlimited! And the best thing was that not being digital, the phone should not go out in storms the way Comcasts does.
The internet offer was for the fastest DSL available in our area-6.0! With the security suite including virus protection, fire wall, pop-up stopper, continuous updating of definitions and protection features, auto run background scanning that I could install on each computer in my household. A large quantity of individual mailboxes, a certain amount of available space on the internet for one year for backup, and individual space and help in creating my own website. I was concerned about losing my files and my address list, but she told me that was one thing that she was glad of, that when AT&T's techs install the internet on a computer, they also show you how to send out one change of address email to everyone in your address book, and that they set up your email in both webmail format and Outlook Express format. She didn't have one bit of problems with any of her files or anything disappearing during the switch. This bundle would cost me $110.00 a month, not including my states taxes.
I looked on my recent comcast bill and saw that it was .06 for taxes, but also saw a surcharge and a fee making the "xtra" on that bill 13.72. The taxes would be/should be $6.60 on the 110. she said, and that there should be none of those hokey FCC fees and Federal surcharges etc...She said that I could count on the price and know that only the tax should be added. ALSO, there would be a total of $375. in rebates sent to me as well from each of the services I had signed up for.
I agreed to the deal and she set us up for an install date of April 18th, between 8 and noon. I asked if I needed to call Comcast to change over all of my services to AT&T on that date and she told me "no, AT&T takes care of that for you as they switch each service". I was glad to hear that. I received a few phone calls during the time we waited for things like the install date being changed once, then back again, being told that we would need to move all the tv's out away from the walls and make a clear path to and from them and the wall outlet.
April 10th I noticed that $99. was removed from our bank account by Dish Network. When I called them about it I was told (I have name/number/date and time) that it was for the HD equipment. I responded that I had no HD tv, and was told I didn't need to have one to get satellite. He told me that the amount would be credited back to my account within the next 5-7 bus. days. That was April 10th, several times between then and now I have inquired about it and have been told that it was approved, can see where it was started, but it was denied before it left the bldg.
The latest I was told is that it will be credited to my next bill, although there is another charge of $99. on my first bill that says "HD equipment". I don't think I quite got through to the fellow that paying $99. twice and getting back one credit for same puts me ahead. But, then again, this is the kind of people I am dealing with.
On the install day (almost, almost finished, trying not to make a complete novel here)the installers showed up, did a great job, nothing amiss until it got down to the tech demonstrating the remote control and the channels, and the satellite, etc...That's when I noticed that there were no premium channels.
When I asked, the tech checked his clipboard and told me that they were not included in his order. I thought that I would cry as I explained to him the bundle deal. He told me that his company had just joined AT&T in March and since then he had installed at least 20 satellites for people that said the same thing. He said that they had that deal January through March, that it was over now. I told him that I was sold it in March, but he said the order came in after that date. He could see that I was visably upset and he called his supervisor who told him that it could not be honored, that I would have to call AT&T, the company that sold me the bundle. The black cloud was moving on over our house.
He dialed the contact he knew of at AT&T and handed me his cell phone to speak with them. The most I got out of that person was "I do apologize, but there is nothing I can do". I had to reply that what she could do was get her supervisor on the phone, but the same exact thing occured. Why couldn't I get these people to understand that they were liable and had to honor what thier customer service rep had sold me? The tech even vouched for me that I had copious notes about what was part of the package, with questions on channels that are not even included with the deal. That didn't matter to anyone I talked to.
As I flipped through the channels, though, I realized with a sinking heart, that pretty much all but two or three of the channels that I was told I would have were not included in the lineup-No Nat'l Geo, no Animal Planet, no Biography, no, oh the list goes on...What I DID have for my 100+ lineup was maybe ten channels worth watching at different times a day. I have never seen so many shopping networks in my life, and even entirely Spanish speaking ones, TWO whole channels that are NOTHING BUT knives and cutlery! I lost count of how many say "off air" or "to be announced".
And the most interesting ones are a three way tie: NASA-where you only watch silently the operation room at NASA, the guys sitting at the computers...that's all, then there's the University (one in Calif. one in Utah) television stations where you can hear students making speeches, professors making speeches, cam. of the school grounds....and the best is the "WHAT'S ON DISH 500?" that has nothing but elevator music, as if you are waiting for something to appear but nothing ever does?? right up there with all of the porn channels, the religious channels right next to them, the shopping network channels, the tennis open channels...so about 90 trash stations that NO ONE would pay to see, well, maybe the porn ones, but....
I am steaming by the time the tech asks me to sign his clip board that he installed the necessary equipment, picked up his trash, and didn't leave any mess. Majorily distracted, wondering how they would screw up the phone and DSL, I read the hand writing that the tech had written above my signature, which just included the equipment with model #'s that he had installed, that he had installed a face plate to one outlet, replaced a cable, had to run a telephone line from kitchen to outlet in office (?) etc....I wanted to put, and I thought I had, that there had been a misunderstanding and it had not been resolved, but I didn't want to get this fellow in trouble, he had worked hard and was very nice and compassionate. I would later find that I had signed a two freakin' year contract that if broken would cost me ten dollars for each month short I was in honoring the contract!!! I will have AT&T pay for that, I thought!!
The box with the DSL modem and filters arrived from UPS that same day, as my husband and I walked across the street to the little out building and greeted the man who'd gotten out of the AT&T truck, we watched him flip a switch inside while he talked to us, and then he said we now had telephone service by AT&T with the same telephone number. I knew so when i returned home, there was crackling and disconnects on the line. Also there was no type of instruction booklet given for us to set up voice mail, or know how to operate any of the features that came with the new service. The DSL, I was in no mood to deal with that, or deal with another AT&T person on the telephone.
That was all on a Friday, I didn't install the DSL until a week or so later, had some minor issues, think I have it now, and set my husband up maybe a week later.
In the mean time I am calling every day, talking to someone at the Dish Network, or tossed to someone at AT&T or transferred to another office at AT&T....When I found requested instructions on the telephone features I was told where to go on thier website to get them (!) And setting up voice mail was a no go, as was the anonymous call block, and when I called to find out I was told that those two were not a part of the package, that the best they could do would be to add voice mail for $6. a month!
When talking to several people at AT&T about the missing premium channels, etc...I was transferred to thier in house representative, who after some explaining and crying decided to "give" me ONE premium Channel out of his own pocket! Nice, but !!! I wont be satisfied until someone takes the responsibility to do the right thing and honor what was told to me.
My first Bill has arrived and it is for $390. Ok, I knew that it'd be for a piece of month and a full month, BUT!! I didn't know that to flip a switch to turn my telephone from one carrier to another would cost I&M labor basic mtnc-reprd at $85.00 or that the charge for serv. connected=first line would be $46.00, or that there would be eighteen fees, surcharges, and access charges totalling $36.84 themselves. I didn't realize that the Dish bill would be $140.50, well over the 110.00 plus taxes that I was told, oh, yea...forgot...being charged for a month and a half....all on the DISH bill? NOT!
Someone at AT&T that I talked to said that the two telephone charges for maintenance and installing one line (46. and 85.) were not legitimate charges, so she removed them for me. But I could get nowhere with anything else on the bill, as AT&T do not know how to discuss the DISH bill with us and the DISH people don't get a copy of thier portion of our bill. I had to tell him to "sit down, I'll read it to you!!"
I also got another bill from Comcast for internet and cable alone, the phone was marked credited. When I called to inquire about a bill that I had already paid off in full I was told that the phone had been shut off, per AT&T , but no one had told them to cut off the internet or cable and I was still being charged for those services at $107. I really blew a fuse then!! She asked me why I had not called them before switching to AT&T and asked if they could beat the deal. I told her that I wasn't aware we could do that. She then offered me the exact same package that I had had costing me near $200. for $127. a month! including taxes, and that they have only taxes, no surcharges...I told her that I was a bit gunshy, that I needed to see that stuff in writing first! That's when I found out about the "little" contract thing!
I've spent two days typing this thing, the first day it went "POOF", and I know that I am wordy beyond wordy, and fear that it will blow up when I push send and say "minimum of 250 words you jack***" !!
I have to know what else can be done to make this huge conglomerate hold to thier word! I think that they could not compete with Knowledgy and Comcast, who offered all three services (four, now counting wireless) and they just grabbed the fastest deal they could get and the hell with what they had to say or do to get the customers interested and signed back up!
They are huge, pay huge power bills, and hire huge amounts of people in every state, who on earth would ever touch them over all of the politicians who support them? I was told, forgot to say, that the person that sold me the bundle was a "contract worker"...as if that made a difference, as I tried to explain to this supervisor that I am the customer, I don't care WHAT or WHO screwed up, it's all AT&T, and people who win contracts for AT&T are the same as an employee of AT&T, not an excuse. I was told later on that it should make me feel better to know that the woman was fired! I asked 'exactly how does that make me feel better?"....Someone told her to sell that package deal. Someone dropped the ball when it came to training her and making sure she had what she needed and I beleive if she went down a supervisor should have gone down right along side her....in which I do not believe that she was fired....just something they say hopeing to make you feel revenge was granted, but it was not.
I asked another supervisor that was telling me "I do apologize ma'am, but there is nothing I can do" if she had ever heard of "customer delight"? She chuckled and said she didn't believe so...I responded that I knew she hadn't, because customer delight is the art of keeping the customer happy, keep the customer coming back, doing whatever it takes to meet your customers needs...but that obviously that isn't taught anymore when you work for a big impersonal company like AT&T!!
GOOSE CREEK, South Carolina
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