This is a trivial matter in the grand scheme of things but I wanted to write this to alert you of some rather deceptive practices by AT&T when it comes to one of their high speed Internet packages.
Several months ago I made some changes to my monthly bills – as in, made efforts to lower them to cut back on costs. One of those changes involved my Internet service. I had been using Comcast cable Internet to get online but paying 45 or 50 bucks a month just to surf the Web finally bothered me enough to look around for other options.
Enter AT&T. They were offering $19.95 a month for high speed DSL service, or $14.95 a month for basically the same thing with a slightly slower rate of transmission. Great. Sounded pretty good to me.
I was interested in the $19.95 service and so I called to inquire about it. Found out they didn’t offer that at my address but they did offer the $14.95 service. So I went for it. 15 bucks a month vs. 45 bucks a month was a no-brainer. If it was slightly slower, I honestly didn’t care.
Got the Internet hooked up. That was a struggle, but the person who installed it was nice and did his best. Spent a lot of time on the phone to customer service to get it configured on my laptop after that but in the end, it worked. Cool. Smooth sailing, right? Unfortunately not. Cue buzzer sound: EHHHHHH!!
I got my first bill from AT&T and much to my surprise, saw a ‘4’ as the first number…and it was in the ‘tens’ slot, not the ‘ones’ slot. 40-something dollars was my charge for the first month. Not good.
Called customer service and informed them that I made certain to ask for the $14.95 package when I signed up. They noticed that on their system, then updated the charges. Ok. Problem solved. Well, no actually.
The next month came around…same thing on the bill. Sigh. So I called the customer service folks again and mentioned once again that I signed up for the $14.95 a month service. This is where the deception part comes in.
The rep proceeded to tell me that AT&T bills you the FULL price of their Internet service for the first two or three months when you sign up for this discounted rate. Supposedly, you are then credited for the difference after paying that much higher amount the first few months. Then you get the $14.95 rate. Wow.
I was not a happy camper, to say the least. The whole reason I switched was to pay less every month! I politely (ok that’s a stretch but I don’t think I went too crazy) informed the person on the other end of the call that I would not be paying for something I didn’t sign up for – credit forthcoming or not.
So they agreed to take off the charge and give me, you know, the price I actually signed up for. Or so they said.
The next month came around and wouldn’t you know, it was the same thing. Unbelievable. This time we went through the same routine on the phone, with a few words of advice from me that the person should maybe tell their superiors that this is a completely shady business practice and that it would probably make life easier for the customer service reps if their company stopped doing this. They agreed to update the charges to the correct charge of $14.95.
Well, that never happened. Turns out AT&T then started charging me late fees for these phantom charges that they failed to remove. As for me, I continued to pay $14.95 on time every month, just like I signed up for.
Fast forward to this month and their Web payment page actually locked me out and would not let me pay my bill online, due to late fees which had been tacked onto the aforementioned charges that I did not sign up for. Charges that were left on the bill by the customer service folks who specifically said they would take them off. Sheesh.
I called about this today and mercifully the person I talked with actually took the charges off while I was talking with her. Supposedly my balance is now correct. If I can find a way to log back into the payment site (it’s now having technical difficulties) then I will gladly pay my latest bill, as I have been doing every month.
Moral of the story: You get what you pay for. One shouldn’t expect greatness when one opts to save a few bucks.
All of this is just me blowing off a little steam by the way. It’s seemingly all taken care of now and if that really is the case then I am grateful for that. As with every situation in life there are positives worth mentioning here. The woman on the phone today was nice and the installation guy was, too. Not all bad.
Still, I want others to know that what you see is most definitely not what you get with this promotion. If I were you I would avoid the AT&T discount Internet plan. The money you save isn’t worth the headaches and time spent trying to get what you actually signed up for. I will be looking elsewhere for Internet service in the months ahead.
Hopefully this company will stop their current practice of signing people up for this plan and then deliberately overcharging them for several months. Seems like it would be the right thing to do. Your move, AT&T.
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