The Death of Cell Phone Deals

ATT good vs bad.png

This started out as  consumer “BITCH” Blog but what happens in the process will STUN you!  I have been an AT & T customer I think most of my life (I am 53) BUT records show me as a customer since only 2005 which is ok still a long time.  I pay a monthly wireless bill of over $250 each month and I even have u-verse that costs me another $250 plus each month.

I have 5 phones on my plan 4 are for my children.  Today however I am faced with walking away from AT & T completely, my u-verse, my cell service and yes even selling my stocks.
Why?

On 9/3 I walked into the store in Florissant, MO on North Lindbergh.  My daughters phone had finally died.  Because she is a young college student who works over nights sitting with the elderly or physically unable I knew she could not go long without a phone.  So the next day I went to my local At & T Store located in Florissant Mo in N Lindbergh.

I was pleasantly surprised when I was waited on almost immediately.  I believe the young man who waited on me was named Bryan (I only know that from the follow up text AT & T sent me the next day)  I can’t afford to keep buying new phones for my children so I thought I would just upgrade my 5s to a 6s plus and give her mine, I mean the new 7 is coming out so surely there will be a deal on the 6s right?

I went into the store and explained what I needed.  A new iPhone 6s plus but I want my plans etc to remain the same, I was very clear about this because I have the grandfathered unlimited plan.  I reminded the young man that absolutely no changes could happen to my data plan because I didn’t want to lose this service.  In fact this plan is part of what keeps me as a AT & T Customer.
So he showed me phones, each time I asked him “how much” he said, “you only pay the tax.”   I said it doesn’t matter what phone I get I only pay the tax?  He said yes mam only the tax.  I asked again are you sure? , this doesn’t seem right, online it said the phone was $900.  He said again , “you only pay the tax”.  I thought WOW that is awesome!  This must be a perk of being a customer so long with so many phones.  YEAH!
I said ok picked a phone and started the process.  About 45 minutes or more into the process he hands me a screen to sign, it says pay $79 today and financing $949.  I say wait, you said I only had to pay the tax and he said, yes thats all you pay is the tax.  I said wait a minute.  It says I am paying $949 for this phone, you NEVER told me the price of ANY phone we looked at today.  You said you only pay the tax, so I wasn’t able to make a decision on price, every time I asked you how much you said, “you only pay the tax”.  He then said something that stunned me, “Well that is the financing”.  WHAT?  I thought to myself,  does he realize I have to PAY the financing?   Is he just dumb or is he trying to confuse or deceive me?  I stopped him right there and said STOP right now.  I am not paying $949.00 for a phone.  Please just give me my old phone and lets stop this right now.
He was clearly upset, started packing things up, I said my phone isn’t working please make it work it says no service.  I said why does my phone say no service, he said because you are connected to wifi.  I thought that doesn’t make sense it connects to wifi at home and works but ok.   He gives me my phone back and it still says no service.  I tell him he needs to fix this, he is barely speaking to me now, clearly upset.  Someone comes to help him and a new sim card is put in my phone.   Once he finally gets it working I get a text message that says I have gone over my data limit.  I immediately show it to him and say what does this mean??  I have unlimited data I am grand fathered.  Did you change something?  He looks at my phone and then says no and to ignore it it doesn’t mean anything.  A few minutes later it says it again.  I ask him again, remember he isn’t even hardly looking at me now, he is packing up all the accessories he tried to sell me instead.   now a lady who appears to be a store manager comes over to help him.
She is also quite dismissive of me and my questions.  She tells him to keep packing up all the garbage on the table.   I tell her I don’t understand why am I paying full price for a phone AND renewing a 2 year contract?  You used to get a phone discount when you renewed.  She said it is NOT like that anymore.  Now you get cheap cell phone service and have to pay full price for the phone.  WHAT??? Cheap cell phone service?  HAHAHA Have you seen my bill??????  $250 per month!!!!  I said you get me on the phone AND you tie me back to your service for 2 more years and I get NO incentive to resign?   She said that is the way ALL the phone companies work now.  And as I researched this I think she is right, when did this happen?  How did this happen?  My phone bill doesn’t go down it only goes up?  Who can afford this insanity?   I say never mind I just want my phone back in EXACTLY the same order it was before, I keep getting overage texts and he says it means nothing, I need it fixed now.    She runs around with my phone for 10 minutes or so and comes back and says ok it is fixed.  I ask her if she is sure, she says yes.  Disgusted I leave, feeling certain I will be the talk of the place once I am out of ears reach.
The next morning I have another email saying I have gone over my data limit.  So I log online to AT & T to a chat session to get help.  This chat probably took more than an hour.
You can read the entire chat if you like but the skinny is this
At this moment my grandfathered unlimited data plan has been removed and a case had to be opened to try to get it back up that MIGHT take up until 9/13 (In short he DID remove it, those text messages DID mean something and she did NOT fix it)
The young man at the store has no business working with customers, he was deceitful in his practices.  I asked him clearly HOW MUCH was this phone and every time he answered the same you pay only the taxes.  When I challenged him on that after he showed the the 949 cost he said, well yeah but that is the financing… WHAT do you not realize I PAY that amount?
It is not only he who should be fired or at least retrained but who in the world trained this guy?  I called the store  when it opened that morning and I was told the manager was on vacation and someone named Bob was in charge but he was with a customer and couldn’t talk to me.  You do realize that it is easier to keep a customer than to get a new customer right?
A stock holder
A customer since MORE than 2005
Paying you over $500 a month for services and NO one could find the time to treat me properly?
I could see the writing on the wall that ATT might no longer be a good partner for me in my business and personal life and might not even be a good future invest for me if this is how you chose to do business.
I was VERY disappointed and hope someone there at the top stops for a moment to look into this and attempts to find a way to teach your employees how valuable loyal customers are.
Steps to get action.
So I went to AT & T’s corporate website and found the name of the Chairman and CEO.  With a little digging I found is email.  Once you get the formula for company email they normally are all the same (firstname.lastname@companyurl  or firstinitial.lastname@companyul)  So I took the entire list of Executives  I found that here and emailed them basically what I have written in this blog.  I also went to investor services and emailed everyone on that list, I found them here.  As a stock holder I figure I have one more way to complain.
Within 24 hours on a holiday weekend I got 4 responses.  2 responses from people who I did not email but I was stunned when TWO top executives took the time on the Sunday of a Holiday weekend and PERSONALLY replied to me.  Here are the emails below.

From Nickie Parsons- She was not on my email list so someone must have sent this to her

Ms. Mantia,

Thank you for your recent email.  I do apologize that you had so much difficulty at the retail store recently.  Please know, if your data plan was changed in error, we will be happy to get this corrected for you.  Please provide your account information and the best contact number to reach you at so I can get a case created and assigned to a Customer Appeals Manager in our Executive Offices.  They will reach out to you on our next business day Tuesday September 6, 2016 if this will work for you.

Thank you again for bringing this issue to our attention and giving us the opportunity to work with you to resolve it. 

Thank you,

Nickie

Nickie Parsons

Customer Appeals Manager, Executive Response

I quickly replied with what happened and then received this

Ms. Mantia,

Thank you for the quick reply.  I have corrected the data plan on wireless number ending in 7869 placing it back on the Unlimited Data Package.  A Customer Appeals Manager will be contacting you on Tuesday to discuss the remaining details of your complaint and work with you towards resolution. 

Please enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend

Thank you,

Nickie

 

 From-John Stephens
Senior Executive Vice President and CFO
HOLY COW!
Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 1.16.06 PM.png
I received your note and apologize for the situation
Have forwarded to my Exec support group and they will have someone teach out to you

 

From Lori Lee

Senior Executive Vice President and Global Marketing Officer- AGAIN WOW

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 1.14.37 PM.png

Ms. Mantia,

I have just read your email.    First, I am so sorry.  This is not the type of service experience we expect to provide.   Second, I am forwarding this to the President of our Mobility business.   I will ask him to make sure we get this right for you.    And third, thank you for making me aware of this.     I sincerely appreciate the feedback.

I hope you will give us a chance to correct this.    We appreciate your business and being an owner in AT&T.

Sincerely,

Lori Lee

AT&T Global Marketing

 

From Leann Priebe-She was not on my email list so someone must have directed my email to her

Ms. Mantia,

This is LeAnn Priebe the Central Region President for AT&T.  I apologize for the service you received in our Florissant store.  We will have someone reach out to you today to get this taken care of.

Thank you.

LeAnn Priebe

When I first began this blog post I wondered if I would be left hanging by this corporate mammoth.  I think most people might have, heck MANY people might have believed the young man who told him that the cost was only the tax and signed on the dotted line.  It looks like my situation might be well on the road to correction even on a holiday weekend thanks to some hard working people and some well placed emails.

Know your rights and who to reach out to when the systems they set in place FAIL.  I have adjusted to the fact that I am going to have to pay a small fortune for a phone at least now I know all the facts.  I ended up feeling not so bad about it when I went and bought my new phone at Best buy and also secured a $100 Best buy gift card.

But what is the real moral of the story?  Somewhere between the poor customer service you may receive and the very top, you find that there are MANY people who actually DO care and WILL take action even at a time that is inconvenient.  I have to say for ME The group of individuals listed above who responded to me when above and beyond to not only resolve my problem BUT to also show me that NO ONE at AT & T is too big to help fix something that is broken.

One thought on “The Death of Cell Phone Deals

  1. I have been contemplating switching phone companies (I have AT&T). We have a 20% discount on our phone through my husband’s work… a few weeks ago he saw an aarp discount of 10% and put it on our phone plan via online thinking that it would be in addition to the discount we already have. Instead, it cancelled our 20% discount and we now only had a 10% discount that showed immediately in our online account. About 10 min later I called ATT and was told that I could not change it back over the phone and that I had to come into the store to fix it. Since my husband is the one who did this I sent him to the store. He drove to St. Louis because we don’t have an official ATT store in Festus and was told that his name wasn’t on the account so he could not make changes to the account so they could not put it back the way it used to be! I then called AT&T again and questioned why he could change the account online in the first place if he was not on the account. I spent about an hour on the phone listening to some smart-alecky girl who kept telling me that I did NOT need to speak to her supervisor though I asked to be transferred about 6 times. Finally I told her I would like to cancel my phone service (4 phones). Within minutes I was transferred to the customer retention line and suddenly everything was put back to the way it was in the first place.
    Seems to me it would be better customer service to not have so much customer hoop jumping and more employees with common sense.
    I’m sorry I seem to have written a book in your comments… but this post seemed to get me fired up on my ATT issues again…I am glad that the big people cared enough to actually contact you back and seem to truly care and fix what was messed up.
    This is a great post by the way 🙂

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