Anyone but AT&T Ripoff for Wireless Service Nothing but errors
Here's a copy of the letter I sent to AT&T. It pretty much says it all.
Dear Sir or Madam
Yesterday, January 23, my AT&T wireless service #619-894-1311 was mistakenly interrupted for the second time. I run a small business and my cell phone is my primary business line, so apart from the inconvenience this has caused me, it has also mean financial loss incurred from missed business calls. It has reached the point where it is no longer reasonable for me to continue with such an unreliable provider.
When I first opened my account in September of 2001, I paid a $400.00 deposit. My first bill showed that AT&T had taken my monthly charges of $41.41 out of my deposit, that I now had a credit balance of $358.59, and that I owed nothing on my account. There was nothing to indicate and no way for me to know that this was not the standard billing procedure.
Soon there after I also received a bill saying I owed $400.00. There was no explanation accompanying the bill. I promptly called AT&T and spoke to a service representative who told me that the bill was a mistake and to ignore it. I also received a letter dated September, 28, 2001 which informed me that due to my lack of credit history, a $400.00 deposit was required for me begin service with AT&T. It also stated if you activated service and have already paid your deposit there is no need to contact our credit department for further clarification. I assumed, since I had activated my service and I had already paid my deposit, that the letter was a formality, and, as it suggested in the letter itself, I did not contact AT&T's credit department.
I continued receiving two bills from AT&T, one showing that my charges were being subtracted from by deposit, the other saying that I owed $400. Again, I called AT&T, explained the situation to a representative. He assured me that the $400.00 bill was a mistake and told me he would mark it with don't send to insure that I wouldn't be receiving it again. Shortly after that, my service was interrupted for the first time.
I called AT&T again. At first the representative I spoke with rudely accused me of being delinquent on paying my charges. Then, after speaking with her supervisor, Hiedi, she acknowledged that a billing error had occurred and offered me 100 extra minutes through March, 2002 by way of compensation. She informed me at that time that the error involved AT&T's taking my charges out of my deposit. She also assured me that my service would now resume as normal. I received one bill after that date which showed that I owed $47.18. Included in that bill were $3.20 in charges incurred by the mistaken interruption on my service, and a service representative agreed to remove these extra charges from my bill, acknowledging that they were a result of a mistake made by AT&T. Therefor my balance due was $47.98, an amount for which I sent a check on January 7th 2002.
On January 23 my service was again interrupted. When I called AT&T, they informed me that the balance of the bills that had previously been taken out of my $400 dollar deposit was exactly $400.00 and that I needed to pay that amount immediately in order to resume service. The supervisor I spoke with, Laurie, told me that I had knowingly let AT&T take my charges out of my deposit. However, I do not feel I should be held responsible for knowing AT&T's billing policy. This is my first wireless account and I assumed I was being billed accurately as per AT&T's usual policy. I resent AT&T's wrongful accusation, and I deplore a policy that holds a customer responsible for understanding the internal procedures of a company. Up until now, I have not been re-billed. I am told that the $400.00 will appear on my next bill; however my service was interrupted without me ever having been billed for those charges. At the very least, it would have been more reasonable to wait until was billed to interrupt my service.
Of course I understand that I am ultimately responsible for my charges, but it is outrageous for AT&T to expect me to pay this lump sum which has only accumulated due to it's own original billing error. What is more outrageous is for them to interrupt my service without sending my any readjusted billing following the billing error. When I signed up for wireless service I did not expect that I would be calling AT&T every month with billing problems and I never expected my service to be interrupted like this. Instead of threatening me with keeping my deposit and disconnecting my service, AT&T should be apologizing and offering me compensation. I have made no mistakes in paying my bills responsibly. All of the errors have been AT&T's.
Please find enclose copies of all bills received to date.
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