AT&T Is Doing It Again, Again

 

 

I have had AT&Tís Personal Choice Plus plan for almost eight years.

 

I forget what it started at, but lately the monthly charge has been $60.95 .† This does not include surcharges, taxes, and other fees.

 

Last month the monthly charge was $36.00.

 

While it is nice to have the rate go down, I was concerned that it meant that something had been screwed up.

 

On Tuesday, October 29, 2013 I called AT&T Customer Service.

 

I talked to several people but will simply summarize the gist of the approximately 45 minutes I spent on the phone.

 

 

Me: Why has my rate had gone down, was it a mistake, and am I getting the same services as before?

 

AT&T: It is not a mistake, you are getting the same services as before, and yes, your rate has gone down.

 

Me: I know my rate has gone down. Why?

 

AT&T: You were moved to a new plan.

 

Me: Will my bill be the same next month ($36.00)?

 

AT&T: We donít know what your bill will be next month. We donít know what your bill is until it is printed.

 

Me:  What????

 

AT&T:  You might make International Calls or add services.

 

Me: I am not talking about making International Calls or adding services. I am talking about the monthly charge.

 

AT&T: We donít know, but it will probably be $57. You will be saving $3 per month.

 

Me: This month the monthly charge was $36.00. Why is it going to be $57 next month?

 

AT&T:  Because thatís your new rate.

 

Me:  The difference between $57 and $36 is $21. When will I be charged for that?

 

AT&T:  You wonít be.

 

Me:  Why not? Where did it go?

 

AT&T:  It didnít go anywhere.

 

Me:  Since I pay a month in advance, is the $21 a prorated difference between the old rate and the new rate?

 

AT&T:  No.

 

Me:  Then where did the $21 go?

 

AT&T: We donít know.

 

 

This conversation was repeated about three times. It reminded me of the famous Abbott & Costello sketch ďWhoís On First.Ē See it on YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_gSWTQKE-0 starting at about 1:20.

 

The first phone call ended and I called back so I could talk to someone else.

 

The second conversation went about the same as the first one. Whoís on first? I dunno. Third base!

 

 

Then, during my second call, I got an idea.

 

I asked when the new (All Distance) plan started.

 

AT&T Guy said he didnít know but guessed maybe three years.

 

I quickly calculated: 3 years * 12 months * $3 = $108 and asked for a credit of $108.

 

AT&T Guy: I canít do that.

 

Me:  Why not?

 

AT&T Guy: Because I canít do that.

 

 

Then I got another idea.

 

Me:  OK, then I will call AT&T every month and ask if there is a new plan that will give me the same services that I already have but will cost less.

 

AT&T Guy: OK

 

Me: And I will suggest to my friends that they do the same.

 

Then I told AT&T Guy about my Web site and said I could probably get 10,000 of my closest friends to call AT&T every month to ask if there are any new plans.

 

AT&T Guy said he could have an AT&T Supervisor call me the next day.

 

I said ok.

 

 

October 30, 2013

 

I did indeed get a call from an AT&T Supervisor, David Voss.

 

I was on the phone at the time, so what I got was a message.

 

 

The reason I was on the phone was because I was talking to Nevada Health Link, the Nevada Exchange for ObamaCare. That conversation went about the same as my conversations with AT&T. Whoís on first? I dunno. Third base! The only useful things I learned were:

 

1.  The Nevada Health Link Web site is linked to the servers for the Federal Web Site for ObamaCare for several important functions. So when the Federal Web Site goes down, the Nevada Health Link Web site is useless, and it may have been useless since at least October 7 when I registered.

 

2.  Nevada Health Link is not run by the State of Nevada and the people who work at Nevada Health Link are not employees of the State of Nevada.

 

Nevada Health Link is run by Xerox for the State of Nevada and the people at Nevada Health Link are Xerox Employees.

 

3.  The people at Nevada Health Link are clueless about email security. Even a Supervisor insisted that email was completely secure so it was ok for me to send them personal information in an email. (I am not talking formmail which many Web sites think is the same as email. I mean regular email.)

 

 

Back to AT&T.

 

The message I received was from AT&T Supervisor David Voss.

 

Either AT&T Guy failed to note why a Supervisor was supposed to call me or Mr. Voss thought he could finesse the issue. For Vossís message click here.

 

I called Voss and explained the thing all over again.

 

He said he would not give me a credit.

 

I said, ďokĒ and told him what I told AT&T Guy the day before, that I will call AT&T every month and ask if there is a new plan that will give me the same services that I already have but will cost less. And that I will suggest to my friends that they do the same.

 

I also told VOSS about my Web site and that I could probably get 10,000 of my friends to call AT&T every month to ask if there are any new plans.

 

Voss accused me of extortion.

 

That offended me greatly.

 

Here I was, giving AT&T the opportunity to do the Right Thing, and they insulted me.

 

 

The funny thing is that not long afterwards Voss did say that it was a good idea for me to call AT&T periodically to ask if there was a new plan that would give me the same services at a lower cost. However, his idea of ďperiodicallyĒ was once a year.

 

I figure that since AT&T sends me a bill every month I should call them every month. You might want to do that, too.

 

 

And, finally, Voss said that my new monthly rate was, indeed $36, not the $57 that AT&T Guy said. I asked Voss why AT&T Guy had said $57 and Voss said he didnít know.

 

Iíll find out next month if Voss was telling the truth about the new rate being $36.

 

 

Jed Margolin

Virginia City Highlands, Nevada

October 30, 2013

 

 

.end