03-14-2012 10:12:55 AM - last edited on 03-14-2012 10:58:37 AM by Phil-101
I am looking for any help on how to best get AT&T to honor the commitment the "sales" team made to me when i upgraded phones.
I originally had an iphone 3 and iphone 3gs along with 2 phones for my kids. I skipped the entire iphone 4 lifecyle to wait until i was out of contract to potentially get a deal and also knew that my kids would press to get our "old" iphones. I did not want to pay data fees of $15 per month per child for a 14 and 12 year old (no need for cellular data, wifi data would be fine). My understanding from the media was that this was not possible.
In January 2012 (all 4 phones were out out contract), after significant pressure from my wife and children, I called AT&T and tried to find out what deals were available. I get average to poor service in my area for AT&T, and even with a MicroCell, do not get reception in various areas of my house. Given that, I was exploring going to Verizon or Sprint. Let the sales rep know that on the phone and she obviously said AT&T wanted me to stay. I told her that my goal was to upgrade to two iphone4S'. I asked about repurposing my old iphone 3 and iphone 3gs and she said that she could put me on a $2 per MB plan. While that is really high, I knew i would turn "cellular data" off and not have the problem. I confirmed that this was available and she acknowledged it was not a problem. Went out, got the 2 iphone 4s', swapped the SIM chips from my kids phones into the "old" iphones, however, only one of the old phones worked.
Called AT&T support and they said thank you for committing to the new iphones, however, the old iphones had to go on data plans. I obviously protested since this was not what was agreed to. The second person i talked to agreed that this was not fair, and put a "data block" on my old iphones and i made sure cellular data was off.
Fast forward 45 days, which is conveniently past the 30 day return and contract cancellation deadline, and we got a notification that we were being slammed onto a $30 per month per phone (for the old iphones) data plans. While i understand the data plans for the new phones, for the old phones, this was never agreed to in any way shape or form. Called tech support and the first level said there was nothing she could do. I did rant a bit about how i was now stuck with two new iphones and an extra $30-60 per month in fees on the old iphones. She escalated to a manager - Phil - who basically told me - "tough, that is the way it is". Asked for his boss and got Caroline. She was more pleasant than Phil, but said that the old phone required the plan, and agreed that i should not have been told what i was told in the up front sales process. I told her that this was completely unacceptable as i was now $700 into the deal for new phones, now committed for 2 years to AT&T and also stuck with $30-60 per month extra that was never approved or in budget. She said this was explained in my customer service summary, but looking at the ones i saved off, i sure cant see anything of the sort.
It has now been 10 days since i have heard from Caroline, no credits (which she offered to provide for January and February) were applied and i am approaching the due date for the bill. So, not sure if this is a ploy to threaten me with cutting off my cell phone bill, but i am getting very frustrated with this process.
I plan to go to the BBB and most like the FCC and Federal Trade commission and file complaints, but does anyone have any good ideas on how to get this resolved?
[edited for privacy]
03-14-2012 10:54:45 AM
As much as I'd like to tell you otherwise, I think you're going to be stuck. You just cannot trust what salespeople tell you, in person or over the phone - the company will not stand behind verbal agreements; only what is in the contract will hold. Even if the salesperson admits "Yes, I told him that". This goes not just for AT&T, but also Verizon, Cox, etc. All of these companies have gotten to be too large for their reps and salespeople to know all the terms and conditions, so some of them just make stuff up, and some are truly ignorant.
Your best bet, if you don't want to pay $60/month for your kids' iphone data plans, is to sell your new 4s phones, use that money to payoff the ETFs, and try another carrier, assuming there's another one that meets your needs. But, your kids are going to be stuck with crummy 'feature' phones.
And, to AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/etc.: Requiring a data plan on a smartphone that the customer is providing, not subsidized by the cell company, it is a stupid policy! I would love, like the OP, to get my kids an older smartphone with which they could connect through wifi and not use the data plan of the cell network.
03-14-2012 06:55:43 PM
As seajohn stated, you're not going to win this argument. ALL smartphones have required data plans since 2009 or 2010. There are no exceptions granted for bringing your own device. Sorry, but this is well documented on AT&T's web site, and anything a salesperson told you in error will not be binding on the company. You have two choices - get rid of the iPhones or get data plans.