Report: #280215

Complaint Review: Cingular / AT&T

  • Submitted: Mon, October 22, 2007
  • Updated: Sat, November 03, 2007
  • Reported By: the 'boro Kentucky
  • Cingular / AT&T
    Glenridge Highlands Two 5565 Glenridge Connector
    Atlanta, Georgia

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Around the middle of June 2007, my boyfriend and I received text messages from AT&T letting us know that our "promotional" text message package had expired and it would be removed as of July 1, 2007. This caused a great deal of confusion as we did not have "promotional" text message packages. When we bought our cell phone plans in February 2001, our contracts provided for free unlimited text messaging. We have never changed our contracts in the six & 1/2 years that we have been customers of Cingular wireless. We never had a problem with Cingular wireless... until they were purchased by AT&T.

I called AT&T's customer service line and was informed that there was nothing I could do about it. I asked for a manager and was told I would receive a return call from Colin Jackaman. Mr Jackaman called me back. I explained everything to him and he said he needed to get my contract in front of him and would call me back.

Mr Jackaman called me at a later time and informed me that although he could see on my contract that unlimited text messaging was included when I bought the plan, that the rep must have made a mistake because it should have been a 3 month promotional plan. I informed him that my boyfriend bought his cell phone plan about a week after I did and he was given the exact same plan from a different Cingular employee. So both made errors? I don't think so. It's more logical that 1) AT&T now understands how lucrative text messaging is and is looking to increase their income 2) they are trying to eliminate customers that have old plans with very low rates. My boyfriend and I only pay about $30 a month where most new plans start at $50 or more.

I refused to accept defeat on this issue so I looked up the CEO of Cingular Stanley T. Sigmon. I wrote him a letter trying to appeal to him as a business man. After all, my boyfriend and I have been excellent customers for over 6 & 1/2 years, never failing to pay our bills on time.

I received a call from a man named Travis stating that he worked in the corporate office for AT&T and he was assigned to respond to my complaint. Travis insisted that our free unlimited text messaging was a "promotion." I asked how many other promotions they offered that lasted 6 & 1/2 years? Travis said there was an error made.

I explained that I included a copy of my original contract in with my letter to Stanley Sigmon and the contract clearly shows "free unlimited text messaging" for "n/c" or no charge. It was grouped in with my voicemail, 3 way calling, caller ID and call waiting. So will these options also be removed as they were "promotional"? Of course not. Because those options will not make hundreds of dollars for AT&T.

After reaching no conclusion with Travis, I had no other choice but to file a complaint with the FCC. Travis has since called my work # (even after asking him to call my cell phone, a # in which he should be familiar seeing as he works for the company that provides the service!) and stated that his position remains the same and they will not be reinstating my and my boyfriend's text messaging.

So at this point we have no choice but to find another carrier. Unfortunately, in my city, AT&T has monopolized everything and theirs is the only reliable service. I do not know where to turn from here. I can only hope that the FCC can force AT&T to change my plan back so that my contract is enforced.

If you have any suggestions, please let me know. I am at my wits end...

the 'boro, Kentucky
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#1 Consumer Comment

I don't know about ATT/Cingular

AUTHOR: Bart - (U.S.A.)

but I have Verizon and a "contract" back then lasted one or two years. After it expired, the customer was month to month and they could pretty much change the plan if they really wanted to. The text withdrawals won't be that bad. Did you know you can actually "talk" on a cell phone also?
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#2 Consumer Comment

If it walks like a duck.......

AUTHOR: Faron - (U.S.A.)

Sarah, it doesn't matter what Cingular "intended" to do, which I highly doubt anyway. If it lasted up until the time AT&T purchased Ctinkular, then it appears it was for the life of the contract. If not, why the hell would they NOT start charging for it. I do also realize the consumer has no leg to stand when the Monopolistic AT&T bought Stinkular because they do not have to honor Stinkular's agreement.

Best advise is tell AT&T to shove it and find another provider.
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#3 Author of original report

"supposed to be promotional"?

AUTHOR: R. - (U.S.A.)

My contract does not have the word "promotional" ANYWHERE on it. Nor was this expressed to me or my boyfriend verbally. Therefore, taking away our free unlimited text messaging is in violation of our contracts and it is a rip-off. Which is exactly why I will be leaving AT&T for a better company. Too bad the great company Cingular no longer exists.
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#4 UPDATE EX-employee responds

The package was only supposed to last a year

AUTHOR: Sarah - (U.S.A.)

I was working Cingular customer support around the time this text messaging promotion was phased out. The reason why they used the word "promotional" is because the free messaging was only supposed to last 3 months. However, the plan didn't automatically switch over like it was supposed to, so some customers ended up staying on the plan from 2001 all the way through 2007 - over five years longer than what their original contracts promised. The original contract does say "free unlimited text messaging", but also should say that this is a 3-month promotional feature, just like how people who buy a plan today might get 1 month free roadside assistance. At the end of the trial period, it switches to the normal feature - or at least, it's supposed to...

In phasing out the plan now, Cingular is doing exactly what was supposed to be done in 2001/2002. So to look on the bright side, if you are affected by this problem, you have gotten years and years of FREE unlimited text messaging that you were not supposed to get. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
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