Back to top

I hate you ATT Wireless (and Apple)

This is a cranky post. Sorry. I'm pissed.

Earlier this week my phone stopped working. Parts of the touch screen no longer responded to my touch. My wife still responds to my touch, so I assume it's a phone problem, not a touch problem. Conveniently, my buddy davexoxide let me know about a $50 refurbished 3G phone.

Today I decided to do something about it.

My experience so far today:

1. Log on to ATT Site, Get a Free Upgrade!

Turns out, the ATT site says I qualify for a free upgrade.

I click to do it and see the error message below. So I called that number.

2. Call the number

I called the number. They suggested I go to a store.

3. Go to a store

I went to the nearest store. It says AT&T all over it. It is not an "AT&T Core" store, though, so they don't have the iPhone and can't sell it. They suggest I go online. I mention that the website gives me an error. They suggest I call. I ask for an entry in my customer records.

4. Go online, try again


5. Call the number suggested by the website

While I'm waiting on hold I hear:

Please keep in mind you can always visit any of our retail stores to view any of our latest product offerings and phones.

Not "any one" only "AT&T Core" stores. assholes

Talk to Adam. Adam is friendly without wasting my time. He suggests:

"To get the iphone you have to do the upgrade in stores."

I suggest that I did that. He suggests that it has to be an "AT&T Core Store." If that is an important distinction, as it is in this case, shouldn't they always make that distinction?
He apologizes and says that he can't do anything, but Alyssa will.

Alyssa says

"Hold on a second, OK"

And then she hung up on me. assholes.

6. Call Again, Thanks Dave

Dave expressed his gratitude:

I do thank you for choosing AT&T Wireless

Oh no, my friend. I didn't choose AT&T Wireless. AT&T (via the iPhone) chose me.

In spite of "appreciating my time" Dave wasted my time. He didn't know of the secret department that Adam sent me to. Instead he sent me to Sheldon. Shell(ding)don(g).

7. Attack of the Liar

I notice you've been a customer since 2008.

Actually since 2006. In 2007 I went back and forth from being a regular (postpay) customer to a prepaid customer so that I could I could retain my phone number while I was out of the country for 9 months. But whatever. It's not like an increase of more than double really matters.

I explained my woes. Sheldon was incredulous about the error. I told him the error number I got. I explained that the difference between being able to upgrade to a refurbished phone online and getting one in the store was $50, so how about if he just gave me a $50 credit. Being a reasonable man he actually said to me:

If I can get the same error, I will give you a $50 credit.

He logged into the site as me. And he got the same error. And then he put me on hold. At this point I was pretty sure he was going to hang up on me. Instead he came back and said something to the effect of:

Sir, I cannot give you a $50 credit.

But you just told me you could?

Instead, what I'd like to do is give you 500 free minutes. Minutes are worth about 45 cents each so this is like giving you almost $250 Dollars. You can go to the store, buy a brand new phone, and effectively still have a ton more money. How does that sound.

I confirmed that he had actually pulled up my account in front of him. I asked him to look at my usage and look at my rollover minutes.

Every month I'm under on usage. This past month my rollover minutes were so old that 480 of them expired.

(Side note: apparently your minutes can get old and milky no problem, but if they are over 12 months they are not useful.


So, when I lose 480 minutes each month to expiration you can imagine that 500 minutes isn't a very exciting offer. Sheldon's back was up against the wall, he couldn't offer me anything more. I got his magic number and asked for his manager.

Final Step? "Front Line Supervisor Dwayne"

After being on hold for a while so that Sheldon and Dwayne could strategize:

I finally talked to Front Line Supervisor Dwayne.

Dwayne explained that it is impossible to give a monetary credit to an account. I first explained my whole story, because Dwayne didn't know it, and then explained that I had already been promised a $50 credit. Dwayne explained it was impossible. So I started talking about the upgrade. I said I wanted a refurbished 3G phone for $50.


No, we don't have a $50 iphone

I pointed him to their $49 phone:


Yes, I see where it says $49 for the refurbished iPhone. You are correct.

Yes, Dwayne, I am correct.

So, we discussed my options and Dwayne finally agreed to just send me the thing. He then informed me that the problem I saw also meant that they couldn't process my order tonight. And he dropped the real brainbuster on me:

How can I contact you?

I don't know, Dwayne. You're looking at my account, 3 of your agents have confirmed that I don't have a separate home phone number. How about calling my cell phone? Does that seem logical?

Dwayne ended with the classic:

We do appreciate your time.

Obviously you do appreciate my time. After this 40 minute and 52 second call that followed a 7 minute 55 second call that followed a ~15 minute trip to a (non-core) Store that followed a 2 minute 49 second call.

It's clear that a company values my time when they treat me this way.

Next Day: No call, so I call...again

The first person refuses to read the comments on my account (or maybe nobody is leaving them) so I explain my problem. She transfers me to someone "who can help." Someone who can help decides to argue with me.

I explain Sheldon's lie about "If I can get the same error, I will give you a $50 credit." She explains that wasn't a lie but a misunderstanding. She explains that the refubrished iPhone (according to her it's either $70 or $120 - I didn't bother arguing on that point) is not available over the phone. I suggest that this is a ridiculous situation. She transfers me to a new department who can help me since I'm "having problems with the website." I suggest that I'm not having problems, but that the website is broken. She agrees.

Yet Another New Department!

The new department is a sales department, not an upgrade department. He can't help. He suggests a new number and that when I talk to them I should

Be sure you say that you are upgrading, not a new customer line. Otherwise they'll send you to me and I can't help.

Ok. Good call. That's what I've said to everyone, you know, right as I confirm my social/address/name of my existing account and explain that when I try to upgrade I get the error message, but I'll be sure to keep it in mind.

People Involved: 


A beautiful epiotome piece

I had a very similar situation like 10 years ago when canceling an AOL account that got activated when a neighbor used my computer. Hours and hours of incompetency. Followed by lots of holding and accidental hang-ups. In the end, I got my $30 back. #customerwin

Oh boy...

You poor thing. I had to express my sympathy. It makes me nervous about going on contract and getting a 3GS. I have an ancient Edge model on pay-as-you-go. I sort of almost welcome a real iPhone killer.

Say no to Contracts

I had a verizon contract for 4 yars now. Enough is enough. The Motorola KRZR and Razor are obselete everywhere in the world!

I bought 2 new unlocked phones this wek in India.... hey a Touchscreen sleek KP500 for $160 and another leature loaded phone... I figure by switching my kid to a $20 prepaid messaging plan and my wife to a $100 prepaid topup that expires in a year, I get to do three things:
1. Save atleast $850 a year in wireless phone costs.
2. Since my family's phones are all quad band, there work across the world. On their recent travel, their CDMA phones from Verizon were useless. With GSM/EDGE phones, they have some resale value, with CDMA, none.
3. Switching to GSM now, my famly has the ability to send text messages worldwide, like I do on my blackberry.

This month I am also closing down my home phone and simply use my Magicjack... saving in total a princely sum of $1300 a year in communication costs alone.


[...] am I mixed on this? Well, my iphone broke and Apple and AT&T are a bunch of complete morons. (seriously). I would much rather that [...]


Now they have bumped the price to $150 for the 3gs I give up on
AT&T Especially now that Goggle has entered the market. T-Mobile here I come

same experience with att

I loved to read your outline of your experience with att. I had the same experience with uverse and how they can't see the previous notes from phone calls. They suck and I won't ever have an account with them! I just called direct tv, for tv, they suggested I go with att for internet... I said, "no thank you, I don't ever want to deal with them again!" that means, directv is out the door... I prefer to bundle.
Hope you have a phone that is working!

I hate AT&T for iTunes

Argh! I hate AT&T! I have been through a similar situation, though about app upgrades.
I call AT&T every freaking month because of my apps I cannot upgrade without billing infor (aka credit card info).
I call At&t to ask why I cannot upgrade my "free" apps, they put me on hold and say "we are checking for the problem now.". So, after a 20 minute hold on the phone they come. Ack on and say we don't have a answer to my problem. They say there shouldn't be a problem as they can see that my bill is paid up to date. Once again I explain the problem to them.
They say it's not our problem it must be a iTunes problem. They give me a number to call iTunes. Then they hang up on me!
So, I call iTunes. I explain my problem and they put me on hold to find my account. After 20-30 minutes of hearing Kenny G, they come back (different person this time..: they did a transfer), I once again have to explain my problem to the new person.
I ask why do I have to have billing info for a FREE app? They said it's for locations service. Then why do I have to pay for it? They don't have an answer and ask to switch me to a supervisor. I say sure. Once again....more Kenny G. 35 minutes gone this time.
Supervisor Alex comes on and asks me what the problems is. Really? I have to explain this again?! So, I explain again my problem. He repeats the same stuff the other person says. I tell him this. He says there is nothing he can do about bill for iTunes. I tell him bill? I shouldn't have a bill if it's a FREE app! I need answers and he obviously is not going to give them to me. He eventually hangs up on me. I call back.
Rinse and repeat same process. I eventually call back AT&T and tell them the problem again and let them know that if this isn't fixed I am canceling their service. Once the dreaded word CANCEL comes out of my mouth you think the whole world stopped, because they were throwing deals and services at me left and right. I told them to fix the problem and you know what happened? They Hung up on me again. No, resolution is near, guess I will have to just suck it up till the contract ends an then drop them and go somewhere else.
I hate At&t
I hate