Great choice of wireless partners, Steve.
I thought of writing this as a movie pitch. Kind of a coming-of-age story. Here’s the plot: a group of young, idealistic, and of course good-looking people hire on at AT&T Wireless. They are then sent to a secret island . . . or maybe a temple high in the Himalayas . . . no, let’s stick with the island. There they learn the ancient secrets to the most horrible, incompetent, and openly contemptuous customer service the world has ever known. Then they return to the workaday world and set to work tormenting their fellow humans.
Then I changed my mind. Way too depressing. Makes There Will Be Blood look like Little Miss Sunshine.
As you might have guessed, Evil is powerful angry at his soon-to-be-former wireless carrier, AT&T. But you know what? Instead of boring you with the story, why don’t I just post the letter I wrote to the VP/GM of AT&T Wireless. If nothing else, you can wallow in a bit o’ die schadenfreude.
The letter is after the jump:
Attn. Mr. [Progenitor of My Displeasure]:
My name is Edward Cowan, and I am writing to you as a soon-to-be ex-AT&T Wireless customer. I have been an AT&T customer in good standing for over two years, having never been late with a payment. Your company, however, has forced me to look for another wireless carrier due to a combination of incompetence and outright fraud.
On May 20, 2008, my cell phone stopped functioning. Taking it to your store located at 4125 Atlanta Highway, Bogart, GA 30622, I was informed that repairing my phone would cost more than buying a new one. I specifically asked for the cheapest, no-obligation replacement available in the store and was directed to my current phone. I specifically and very clearly told the sales representative that I did not want any phone that would put me under a new contract. The sales rep said he would enter me into NO new contract.
I paid for my new phone with a debit card and was presented with what I was told was my receipt. In fact, I was being misled into signing a new contract—in direct violation of (1) what I specifically requested from your sales rep and (2) what that sales rep told me he was going to do.
I did not discover this fraudulent contract until this month. I attempted to purchase an iPhone and discovered I would be charged not $200, but $400. How could this be? As an existing customer on a month-to-month contract, I should be eligible for an iPhone at $200. This is how I learned that your employee fraudulently signed me up to a new, 2-year contract.
On Monday, December 8, 2008, I contacted your customer service department. The customer service rep I spoke to apologized and began the process of terminating that contract. That termination has been effected, though in the process I had to return to the store on Saturday, December 13 because my phone had been erroneously disabled.
While at the store, I was told that, although I had been returned to my correct, month-to-month status, I was still not eligible for an iPhone at $200. This stood in direct opposition to what your CSR promised me the previous Monday. Sales representative [Name Deleted, But a Minor Demon to be Sure] and Assistant Store Manager [Another Minion of Darkness] told me a special “application” must be sent to you to clear my account. They assured me this was merely a “formality.” As an existing customer on a month-to-month basis, there is no reason by your own terms that I should be denied an iPhone at $200.
I returned to the store on December 16, where I was told this “application” had been rejected. Store Manager [Destroyer of Hope] told me I was rejected because I paid a discounted price for my existing phone. I explained, again, that I had been misled by his own employee into buying (1) what I was told was a full-price phone with (2) no new contract. Let me be clear: I DID NOT ask for a discounted phone. Quite the opposite; I asked for a replacement phone that would put me under no obligation before this holiday season, when I intended to purchase an iPhone. It did not seem to bother Mr. [Destroyer] that one of his employees lied to a customer. I find this very hard to swallow.
We have now established a pattern of deception among your employees. First I was lied to by the sales representative who promised he was not putting me on a new contract and not offering me a phone at any discount. Then I was misled by your CSR, who claimed the termination of my fraudulently-issued contract would clear up these erroneous iPhone issues. I was misled yet again by Mr. [Minor Demon] and Mr. [Minion of Darkness] when I was told this issue would finally be settled via your approval.
Let me be clear on one last issue: it is only because of the actions, both fraudulent and incompetent, of your employees that I am “ineligible” to purchase an iPhone at the “promised” price of $200.
Mr. Holmes, I do not think any customer should have to ASSUME he is being lied to when he enters one of your stores. If I ask for no contract and am handed a new phone, plus a receipt, and am told that I am NOT in fact signing a new contract, should I immediately suspect your employee is lying to me? Is that the corporate culture AT&T supports, one in which customers are deceived into signing contracts, then further misled by other employees?
I am cc-ing this letter to the Better Business Bureau and my State Representative, Paul Broun, who needs to know his district is “served” by a store and a company engaging in blatant fraud. In the meantime, I will be forced to seek out a new wireless provider, one I can only hope will treat its loyal customers with a modicum of respect.