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  1. #1
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    I've had AT&T Wireless service since 1994. I've updated my cell phone a few times, and have found the service to be acceptable for the most part. Until this week.

    A friend was looking for a new cell provider, and asked who I was using. After advising it was AT&T, they wanted to know about my plan, how much it cost, etc. They'd heard AT&T ads running on the radio, and wasn't I surprised to find out that I was paying a lot more than new AT&T customers, for less minutes and fewer perks!

    So off I go to call AT&T "Customer Service" which is a term they should use loosely to define assisting their customers. After running the gauntlet of "press 1 for...press 2 for..." I finally got a live human! At least, I think she was alive...

    I told her I'd heard a radio ad about the new plans that were available, and she was just thrilled to tell me all the details about them. When I asked why the radio ads offered a better deal than she did, she said, "that's just for new customers."

    "Oh, OK. The fact that I've been a customer for 9 years doesn't entitle me to the same thing new customers are getting?"

    "No sir, it's to encourage new customers to sign up for AT&T service."

    "Well, what are you offering current customers to encourage them to stay?"

    "You can get a new phone for $49.99, with 300 minutes of..."

    "Your new customers get the phone FREE!"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Have you already offered me the best deal you can?"

    "Yes, sir."

    "Then it seems to me it would be in my best interest to become a new customer somewhere else."

    "If you'll hold on a minute, I'll see if I can do anything else for you."

    Wait...wait...wait...

    "Sir, I can offer you a similar phone for just $24.99, which is a discount from the regular price..."

    "But your new customers are getting that phone FREE, with several extra accessories at no charge. Can you not give me the same deal you would give a new customer?"

    "No, sir, I'm afraid not."

    "Fine. I'll be calling you back to terminate my service. I'm going to become a new customer with your competition so I can have a better deal."

    That's what you get for sticking with one company for 9 years, and paying your bills on time.

    Sorry, I just had to vent. If I were the CEO of AT&T, and found out that this was happening, I'd be very unhappy! Give the new guy a great deal, but long time customers pay top dollar! I guess they haven't figured out how much it costs them to get new customers. FOOLS!

    Andy

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    <font color="red">Call the Exterminators! We've Got PARASITES!</font>

  2. #2
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    It is unfortunate but I am sure it happens all the time at alot of places. The same thing with Comcast. They are offering new customers something like $19.99 per month for their first 3 months of Internet Access. I have been a customer of Comcast for over 12 years now. I never got that kind of break on anything with them. But the "New" people sure are getting all the hookups and benefits that I will never get...

    You would think they would do something for their long time customers that didn't get that opportunity then that they are giving to their new customers...

    Plus with Comcast you are stuck (at least here in Michigan) because they have no competitors and they know it. A friend of mine called Comcast one time complaining and threatening to cancel, the lady on the phone just laughed at him and simply replied "Well where else are you going to go?"

    Now if that isn't being cocky I don't know what is...


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  3. #3
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    I didn't know they had cellular service in Oklahoma.

    <-------

  4. #4
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    Similar stories from the UK..

    The way I deal with it is to cancel my service after the initial 12 month contract, then sign up again as a new customer to whichever supplier is offering the best deal (often the one I've just cancelled!)

    Keeps 'em on their toes

    “There are only two settings, stun and kill...it would be best not to confuse them.”
    --Malcom Reed

  5. #5
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    That is the nicest thing about sprint pcs. You sign a one or two year contract. But inside of that timeframe, you can change to any plan they offer, when a new plan comes out you like, just switch, next month you are on that plan until you want to switch again. The only thing you cannot get is the new free phone etc, but the actual service plans are all available to you.

    With the advent of number portability, I think more companies are going to go this route to keep customers happy.

    Chet

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador Radegast's Avatar
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    It's the same pretty much everywhere. Companies think in the short term (if CEOs don't please the stockholders in the short term they won't remain CEO for very long.)
    Companies also depend on people's innate laziness. Most people stick with the same lousy deal for years on end rather than go through the hassle of changing providers. Assuming they're aware that there are better deals available in the first place.

  7. #7
    ABW Ambassador Ron Bechdolt's Avatar
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    Yes, I think it is the same just about everywhere. I change wireless companies about every 2-3 years. I end up paying less for more minutes and get a more modern phone. The timing is great because the batteries only seem to last about that long before they stop taking a charge.

    Ron - 7 Days A Week Marketing

  8. #8
    Just Lurking
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    Some Companies these day give a whole new meaning to customer service.

    This year I've switch long distance plans with Verizon four times. It's only October!

  9. #9
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Adam wrote: I didn't know they had cellular service in Oklahoma. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You're funny!

    You should have a comedy special on HBO.

    They're going to call you about it. I'm sure of it.

    Just go sit by the phone now and wait for them to call.

    It might be a while, but they WILL call.

    Don't go anywhere...you might miss them, they don't leave messages.

    Just sit there and wait...and wait...and wait some more...

    Andy

    _______________
    <font color="red">Call the Exterminators! We've Got PARASITES!</font>

  10. #10
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    I had a friend who used the 90's version of that policy as his only source of revenue - He would switch to MCI for the $50 check- then call Sprint and ask what they would give him to switch- onto ATT next and then back around again. It doesn't take much to live in college... I haven't kept up with him in years- probably a politician now- or the guy who bought $3,000 in pudding for the airline miles...

    Jessica Hutson
    Senior Manager of Affiliate Relations/Development
    Interactive Affiliate Network

    A parasite free contract since June 2001
    http://ian.com

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    CUSTOMER TIERING

    I just saw a news story on CBS about poor customer service. Apparently, many companies are now rating customers on different levels. Big bucks customers are on the top tier, and get preferential service. Regular everyday customers are on lower levels.

    The story said this means holding longer to speak with someone, and how willing a company is to work with you when there's a problem.

    MCI and Capitol One were mentioned specifically in the story, but CBS also said many large and small companies do this now. Something was mentioned about a report on every consumer that included their spending habits, how often they traveled, etc., so a company knows how to rank you from day one.

    I THINK THIS STINKS! Proves that not everyone is created equal...at least in the eyes of big companies...

    Andy

    _______________
    <font color="red">Call the Exterminators! We've Got PARASITES!</font>

  12. #12
    ABW Ambassador parentsworld's Avatar
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    Think that's bad? AT&T Canada refused to cancel my husband's cell phone service when he died.

    "But he signed a contract" was all they kept saying.

    Finally I told them, the phone was in his name only and I planned on running them up a HIGH bill if they didn't cancel it. They could send the collection agency to the grave yard.

    They cancelled it

  13. #13
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    Just found this thread, admittedly it's a bit old.

    Had two fun experiences with the phone company my self.

    1) Switched long distance carriers, after years with AT&T... They call up and say "Hey, we can save you big money, switch back, we'll lower your rate". I replied "Oh, so you do offer lower rates than what I was paying?" "Yes!". "So why didn't you offer them to me before I switched, instead ripping me off!?! You had your chance, see ya!"

    2) Got a cell phone bill with roaming charges for being in North Carolina. All day long I was in North Carolina one moment, then 15 minutes later I was in Seattle. Called up Qwest and said "Uh, I think your computer made a mistake". "That's not possible..." "OK, so how was I in Seattle then in North Carolina 15 minutes later? Do you think I was on the space shuttle or something?" "Well no sir, your phone will pick up the strongest signal it can find, so it must have picked up that tower..."

    I had NO LESS THAN 3 PEOPLE from Qwest tell me, sincerely and with a straight face, that my phone, in Seattle, must have picked up the tower in North Carolina. When I asked if "line of sight signal transmission" and "curvature of the earth" were familiar concepts, I totally lost them... I then replied "OK, if you didn't make a mistake then it was me that made a mistake by signing up with Qwest. Cancel my service." Been with Verizon for a couple years, they're much better.

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