Friday, August 31, 2007

Dear AT&T

Dear AT&T, You can take my arms and legs but not my first born!

Once upon a time in the not so distant past (like June), I had an account with Cingular, now AT&T , through my previous employer for $9/month including free nights and weekend and $0.25/min otherwise. My bills ran $15 per month on average for 3 years. Now that I've gone down the iPhone rathole, I am now sinking under the weight of these new bills. Here's the rundown so far.
  1. $49.77
    • 7/3 to 7/8 - nearly $50 for 5 days of service because I was too impatient to wait for my number to be transported from my business account and wanted to try the phone RIGHT NOW on a new number. Most of this was the $36 activation fee.
  2. $120.34
    • 7/8 to 7/15 - $20 for my current number
    • 7/8 to 7/15 - $20 for the new number that I canceled on 7/8. I had to pay for 2 lines even though I could only use one due to my SIM card debacle, and they wouldn't remove the charge, telling me that accounts are terminated only at the end of the billing cycle and the representative should have informed me that was the case.
    • $18 transfer of service fee.
    • 7/15 to 8/15 - $60 for my current number
  3. -$3.17
    • 7/8 to 7/15 Woo hoo I got a $3 refund for closing my old business account.
  4. $174.28
    • 8/15 to 9/15 - $60 for my current number
    • $8 for roaming calls I made in Toronto
    • $101 in data charges while I was in Toronto FOR ONLY 3 DAYS!!!
Obviously I am not the first person to experience the international iPhone gouging, and $101 is relatively small compared to others (I've heard of a $3000 bill), so when I called they were hardly sympathetic. They informed me that those were completely valid charges. When I pressed the issue, the rep asked me to hold, and then came back and said that he would not be able to reduce the charges. I often wonder when you get put on hold whether it is just a tactic to make you believe that they are checking with their manager, or whether they are just faking it trying to let you cool down. Although sometimes it does actually work (but never with AT&T). I asked how I could avoid these charges in the future, as the phone will automatically check email, etc. He informed me that I could call them and stop the data service and then call back to resume the data service. That is probably the only foolproof way, as I've heard another story where someone put the phone into Airplane mode for an entire trip and still got charged ridiculous amounts when he left the country.

So for the last two months, my services bills have reached more than half the cost of the iPhone. I guess that's what I get for wanting the latest gadget. Refurb models are now available for $100 less if you feel like saving a few bucks from Apple only to get diverted to AT&T.


Bigqueue said...

Eeek....$174 cell phone bill....for a single phone?

I love the iPhone.....but I'm afraid I would be addicted to it and run up a huge bill too!

Anonymous said...

I did a 30 day trial of the iPhone with a 2nd basic phone. I finally gave up and returned everything within 30 day trial (with in 14days on the iPhone). My Bill came to $549.00. They charged me 3 activations, a full month of usage. And TWO end of contract fees. Then I called them and they said I'm not authroized to give a credit that large and it will take 3 weeks to process. Well I didn't want this bill hanging over my head and I had other disputes. They finally fixed it and called like the last day that the bill was due that day.

I loved the iPhone but AT&T is so bad. I love my Sprint plan $30.00/mo with unlimited data, unlimited text and nights starting at 7PM.


Anonymous said...

Regarding do help desks put you on hold on purpose. I'm not sure but check out this video.