04-20-2012 03:03:50 PM
Why on Earth did AT&T decide to change the format of their online Bill Summary? It has now become a near-impossibility for me to submit a proper expense report to my company's Finance Department.
For nearly 5 years (only the last 2 with AT&T) I had always been able to easily view my online Bill Summary... copy the full data... paste into Excel... and then edit/organize the data so that I have clean documents of business-related calls that can be submitted to my Finance Department. But I just discovered today that that while the data from new PDF format can be extracted and pasted into Excel 'With Formatting', the layout of the data makes it virtually impossible to manipulate as needed to prepare a proper document.
2 main sections of phone calls and texts per page? Date headers above each day of calls? What was wrong with each line of data having a column for the date in MM/DD/YY format? And it's not like the 'double sections per page' reduced the size of my monthly statement. It's still 30+ pages!
Who in the world was this design created for? Certainly not for customers that truly need to manipulate the data for business purposes. What was wrong with the previous format? I did speak with Customer Support, and while botht he rep and the Supervisor were understanding, there is no resolution. In fact, it would be faster for me to print out my 38 page bill and then highlight all relevant phone calls and text messages. That would actually be faster than trying to reformat this online Bill. How's that for reversing technology? And it certainly doesn't reflect AT&T's recent dedication to 'going green'.
06-12-2012 07:57:06 PM
AT&T should give the option to COPY & PASTE summary of BILL to EXCEL
I have a family plan with 5 connection; Now it is almost impossible to have all the usage/charge from individual usage in the summary.
NEW FORMAT IS JUST ANTI-CONSUMER!!!
06-25-2012 02:50:55 PM
You can download your bill in Excel XLS file format. On the usage details page there's a "download" link; click it and the download page gives you 2 options, XLS and CSV.
The XLS option used to open directly into Excel, but IE9 apparently figures that's just too dangerous, all it'll let me do is save it to file. When I open the file from the downloads directory Excel 2010 complains about the format and suggests it might be corrupted, but it isn't, it opens with all billing details intact. (Output format must be based on an older version of Excel.) If you only have one phone line on your bill, the spreadsheet is fairly workable. If you create a macro to clip the rate code/feature code legend crap at the top of it, and either delete the text message/data details section or move it to another sheet, even more so. If you have multiple lines that workability degrades some, the way it's sectioned doesn't lend itself to analyzing the entire account.
If you're into databases, the CSV option looks like it ought to be pay dirt, but sadly the output format is completely unusable, by absolutely everything else that implements CSV as a means of data interchange, that I've ever used or read about. If there is a useful purpose for which this output was designed I certainly couldn't guess what it might be, but I can say that purpose most definitely was NOT facilitating import as tabular data.
There are tabular call details data embedded within the output, but it's in sections, one for each phone line. In between those sections is all manner of garbage, not to mention the text message/data sections... Long story short, if your expectations were set based on past usage of other things that were called "CSV", the format offered here will be a major disappointment.
I wrote a script to parse this abomination and extract the tabular data from it, in 2005. Since then, that script has been broken at least 3 times by minute changes that never cease to amaze me. Case in point, last time the day-of-week column changed from abbreviations to fully spelled out names, the lines for text message data were prefixed with 3 tab characters, and they changed a column name from "Ms/KB/Min" to "Ms/KB". (There must be one other change in there too, but my ability to care enough about text message details to find/fix it, died a heinous death.)
I considered making the script available, but packaging it up so the average user could install it is prohibitive. If anyone is interested in using it, contact me here and I'll see what I can do.