06-18-2012 04:28:48 PM
I have been an AT&T customer since 2004. During the last 8 1/2 years I always paid my bill on time. Not including the 2 year period that I had AT&T U-verse, my monthly bill averaged about $120 per month. By my calculations, I have paid AT&T at least $11,000 over the last 8 1/2 years.
We received orders to go overseas and as such, I requested and received from AT&T a military suspension. Because of the nature of my job, it will probably be about 12 years before my family and I will return to the United States to live. My service was terminated (or "suspended" to use AT&T terminology) on May 17th. My bill cycle (at the top right hand corner of the bill) goes from April 14 - May 15. However, on pages 2 and 3 of the bill the monthly charges are from May 15 - June 14. Since my account was suspended on May 17th, this means that my last bill included charges for service that I did not use (May 18th - June 14th). Since the bill was already paid, I called AT&T (from overseas I might add) to determine when I would receive a refund. As information, my final bill was for $154.
This is when I discovered exactly how horrible AT&T's customer service really is. On Saturday night I literally talked to four different representatives. Each one of them had a different story as to why I wasn't owed a refund. Because I'm on an international call and the call quality isn't that great, the call was dropped while I was talking to the first rep. The second one I talked to told me I wasn't owed a refund because my billing cycle went from April 14th - May 15th. When I asked her about being billed in advanced and to explain the charges on page 2, she agreed that I was correct and transferred me to the "refund" department ( I don't know the correct name for this department). This rep proceeded to tell me that I wasn't owed a refund and that the $154 DID NOT include charges from May 15 - June 15. Finally he transferred me back to the billing department. The next rep. told me that I would have a "credit" on my account until I returned to the United States. When I explained that I'm not coming back to the United States for another 10 years, she hung up on me (I know it wasn't the phone connection this time!). I called back AGAIN. The fourth representative told me that I wasn't owed a refund that that there was actually a mistake with the printing of the bill - I'm not joking! She actually told me that a printer error caused the "Monthly Charges" on page 2 and 3 to be different from the "Billing Cycle" date that was in the top right hand corner. I will admit I almost lost it at this point. She finally relented and agreed to escalate the issue. Today, I received an e-mail from Payment Escalations stating that the billing cycle went from April 14th - May 15th and therefore, no refund was due. I am furious!
Undeterred, I called AT&T again today. The first rep agreed with my logic, but she claimed she couldn't see my bill because something was wrong with her computer. Therefore she was going to transfer me to another representative who's computer was working properly. I was then transferred (to another call center that I believe was in India) in which the guy told me that, per my contract, I agreed to pay a month in advance. Ok, I agreed with that. As I stated, 8 1/2 years with AT&T, I've always paid my bill in advance. I told him that I understood that, but that I wasn't going to use the services in the future and therefore I shouldn't pay for them. He said I signed a contract that stated I would pay for services that I would never use (this is a direct quote). Furious, I asked him to tell me which portion of my contract stated that I would pay for service that I would never use. His response: He doesn't know my contract and it's not his responsibility to tell me what my contract says!
I demanded to be transferred (again). I finally got a representative who appeared to be more reasonable, although I am still awaiting the final results of the call. He explained to me that military suspensions operate under the theory that the person requesting the suspension will return to the US soon and resume service with AT&T. When I explained that I won't be back for about 10 years, he said he understood and agreed that AT&T should not hold on to my money for 10 years. He said the origin of the issue was that I should have received a military cancellation and not a military suspension (something the customer in the AT&T store neglected to tell me was available when I originally requested the cancellation back in the States). The issue, as he explained to me, was that the system didn't really allow for an easy way for him to refund the money. Therefore, he promised to make very detailed notes regarding my account (I was hold for about 60 minutes while he did so) and escalate the issue so that I could receive a refund. Since all of this has just recently transpired, I have not yet received my refund or a second response from the payment escalation department.
This whole experience has shown me that AT&T has THE WORST trained customer service representatives. The service I received was horrendous. If the first or second representative that I spoke to would have given me the explanation that the last representative gave me and then worked to resolve the issue, I would have been satisfied. However, the attitudes of the each reps. was horrible. It seems to me that they either don't know even their own rules and regulations or they just don't know how to explain them to customers. To top it all of, they're RUDE!
When we eventually come back to the states (in another 10 years) I can guarantee that I WILL NOT be an AT&T customer. I can't believe that they treat their loyal customers so terribly. I'm still waiting on the outcome of this situation. If I don't receive a refund, I plan to escalate this issue as high as I possibly can - and tell everyone I know back home to stay away from AT&T!
As a side note, I am a CPA and I wonder how AT&T is accounting for these credits that they are "holding" for people until they return to the states. I hope they aren't treating it as revenue because it certainly is not!
07-08-2012 01:23:05 PM
It sounds to me like they did not process the suspension correctly. It is actually a "military cancellation" and if I am not mistaken it is for no longer than 39 months. The appropriate procedure is to set up a case, which will determine if any further documentation is needed. If you are gone longer than that, it's entirely on you. I would cancel the account completely if I were you. If they merely suspended your service, even though there is such a thing as a "military suspension" in out billing system, it would not wipe out your monthly service charges. It sounds like, that's what happened. If I took you call, I would have set up a case and made adjustments to correct the bill or escalate the issue with the Resolution desk. As far as the leave being over 10-12 years, I would set the expectation for you to have to eventually have to cancel your service.
07-08-2012 09:03:54 PM
Reach out to Jamileh here via a private message and see what she and her staff can do. She is a Community Manger and is authorized to help on behalf of ATT here. Others who are ATT employees but participate here do so on their own personal behalf. Others like myself and you are just customers. Here is a link to her profile: http://forums.wireless.att.com/t5/user/viewprofile
If there is something that can be done, her staff will do everything possible.
Good Luck and Thanks for your service!
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