My AT&T Complaint to the Attorney General

This post was written by marc on December 10, 2003
Posted Under: Consumer Complaints,Technology

To the Attorney General of California

I have a problem with AT&T wireless cell phones in the San Francisco area. I am an electronic and computer professional and communications specialist and I know what I’m talking about here.

I own 2 AT&T cell phones and they both have the same problems.

The audio is very choppy even with good signal strength and the calls drop all the time. Knowing what I know about electronics the type of distortion sounds like digital packet loss – in short – AT&T is oversold and running in excess of their capacity.

Additionally – my cell phone turns off by itself even with a full battery. I seems as though AT&T is turning off phones to save bandwidth. And this results in missed calls. When it comes down to it – I’m not getting what I’m paying for.

There are several issues here. I am not just one customer who is and isolated incident. AT&T is oversold in the bay area and doesn’t have the network capacity to handle the number of subscribers it has. This results in packet loss distortions, disconnected calls, and I believe the they are remotely turning off my cell phone to conserve bandwidth.

To explain this in simple terms – it would be like a hotel who was renting more rooms than it actually had to the point where when people showed up – there were no rooms. AT&T does not have the ability to provide service to the number of phones it has sold in the Bay Area.

Because the service is oversold, during busy times I get what is known as packet loss distortion where words or parts of words are dropped. When it gets more overloaded it becomes unintelligible, then – they will drop the call. Sort of like kicking people off an over crowded bus to take on more passengers. Calls that should have been received are not received – phone never rings – but have voice mail.

The system works fine on off hours. If I make calls in the middle of the night I don’t have these problems. And – if this were happening for short periods of time I could understand that. But – this is happening throughout most of the day to the extent that the service is unusable. I am not getting the service I am paying for. I am paying for cell phone service – and I am not getting it.

I have made numerous calls to their customer support department and I just get the run around. I have had them do tests on my phones and according to their tests – the phones are fine. Yet they can not solve the problem. It seem to me that they actually want me to go away so they can collect $350 in termination fees and reduce the load on their overloaded system.

What needs to happen is that AT&T should be required to install enough equipment and capacity to handle the load. And – until they do – they should be prohibited from accepting new customers in the Bay Area.

Furthermore – because their service is unusable – they should not be allowed to collect and additional $175 per line for me to move to a different cell phone service.

This is not something that is happening only to me. I have talked about this with other AT&T users and it’s happening to a lot of people. It would be appropriate for the Attorney General to step in and take serious steps to correct this.

Sincerely,

Marc Perkel

Here’s what communicating with AT&T customer Service is like

Dear Mr. Perkel:

Thank you for contacting AT&T Wireless regarding our previous response. We apologize that you were not completely satisfied with the information offered regarding your current situation. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any different options or information than have already been presented. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link, simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter web addresses, and press “ENTER”.

http://66.162.6.220/idce/start.asp?SID=AWS2323

If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
attwireless.com/ocs/contactus/ContactUs.jhtml

Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.

Sincerely,
David D.
AT&T Wireless
email Customer Care
attwireless.com

TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000049527

—–Original Message—–

From: marc@perkel.com
Sent: 28 Oct 03 09:48:18
To:
Cc:
Subject: Re: BW0009319

I am unsatisfied. I was however satisfied for the first 30 days when
things were working properly. Now your service is oversold and it is no
longer working properly.

Under the contract you are obligated to provide me with service of a
reasonable quality and you are not doing so. Because you have failed to
provide reasonable quality of service – you are in breach of the terms
of the contract. You service is so oversold that it is all but useless.
I am therefore giving you notice that you are in breach.

customer_service@attws.com wrote:

> Dear Mr. Perkel:
>
> Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the AT&T Wireless
> cancellation policy on service. When you activate new service with
> AT&T Wireless, we are confident that you will be pleased with your
> purchase. However, if you are not, and you purchased your phone
> directly from AT&T Wireless, your phone and accessories can be
> returned to the original place of purchase within 30 days. Because
> your service is over the 30 day trial period, we cannot waive the
> cancellation fee. Your other option may be to switch back to digital
> service if you still have your old digital phone and use your service
> until the end of the current contract.
>
> We hope this information resolves your request to your satisfaction!
> We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our
> service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey
> about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click
> on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link,
> simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter
> web addresses, and press “ENTER”.
>
> http://66.162.6.220/idce/start.asp?SID=AWS2323
>
> If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly
> to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all
> documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for
> contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
> attwireless.com/ocs/contactus/ContactUs.jhtml
>
> Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.
>
> Sincerely,
> Elaine
> AT&T Wireless
> email Customer Care
> attwireless.com
>
>
>
>
> TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000042930
>
> —–Original Message—–
>
>
> From: marc@perkel.com
> Sent: 27 Oct 03 21:11:19
> To:
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: BW0009319
>
> I’ve already conacted your customer service and your service determined
> that my equipment was fine. The problem is that your network is
> overloaded and you are not providing the service we contracted for.
> Because you seem to be unable to resolve the network congestion issue –
> I have to declare you in breach of the contract and unless yu resolve
> your network congestion issues in the next 30 days I will move my cell
> phone service to a new provider.
>
> customer_service@attws.com wrote:
>
> > Dear Mr. Perkel:
> >
> > Thank you for contacting AT&T Wireless regarding coverage reception.
> > Wireless service is normally available to your telephone, when it is
> > within the operating range of our system and it may be available
> > outside of that area in other carrier service areas. However, the
> > quality of your service is subject to transmission limitation or
> > interruption caused by natural conditions such as atmosphere and
> > topography. Also, there may be other limitations such as capacity
> > limitations, system repairs/modifications, and/or other conditions.
> >
> > Please note that coverage concerns or equipment related inquires are
> > not currently supported via e-mail inquiry due to the number of
> > factors that can affect your service. We apologize for any
> > inconvenience this may cause.
> >
> > In order to troubleshoot the issues you are experiencing with your
> > equipment and/or service in the most effective manner possible, we
> > will need to have you contact one of our Customer Care representatives
> > by calling 1-800-888-7600 between the hours of 6:00AM and 1:00AM CST,
> > 7 days a week.
> >
> > We hope this information resolves your request to your satisfaction!
> > We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our
> > service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey
> > about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click
> > on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link,
> > simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter
> > web addresses, and press “ENTER”.
> >
> > http://66.162.6.220/idce/start.asp?SID=AWS2323
> >
> > If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly
> > to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all
> > documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for
> > contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
> > attwireless.com/ocs/contactus/ContactUs.jhtml
> >
> > Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.
> >
> > Sincerely,
> > Daniel M.
> > AT&T Wireless
> > email Customer Care
> > attwireless.com
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000034887
> >
> > —–Original Message—–
> >
> >
> > From: marc@perkel.com
> > Sent: 27 Oct 03 10:42:18
> > To:
> > Cc:
> > Subject: OCS25G Application Response – Next Generation Wireless – Next
> > Generation Wireless
> >
> > Message From: Marc Perkel
> > Account Number:
> > Contact Number:
> > SSN Last Four Numbers:
> > Message:
> > Add this to my record. I am hereby giving you notice that I intend to
> > move my service in the next two months to anyone else who can provide
> > me clear cell phone service in the San Francisco / San Bruno area. I
> > have complained numerous times about the quality of service and
> > nothing has been done. I have 2 cell phones and both of them are in
> > proler working order. The problem is that you have oversold your
> > services in this area and it is causing packey loss – choppy audio to
> > the point of being unusable – and connections continously dropped. The
> > service is so bad that I can not use it. I am an electronic tech and I
> > know what packet loss from an overloaded system sounds like. In our
> > agreement I agreed to a plan and you agreed to provide me with cell
> > phone service. You have failed to uphold your end of the bargain. I am
> > therefore giving you notification that you are in breah of our service
> > agreement and that I intend to terminate the plan within 60 days based
> > on the breach. Please enter this email as part of your record on my
> > account. And – pass this on to your customer support managers. Marc
> > Perkel

Reader Comments

Please read entire e-mail…and the correspondences for several weeks now.

This is an ongoing problem I would like resolved TODAY!

Once again I am getting a bill from you guys. It shows a credit for the last month for the amount of $4.56, but now you are charging me $15.64 for this month. WHY???? AGAIN WHY????

I do not have a home phone!!!!!!!!!

There are charges for:

$7.90 for basic rate monthly charge….WHY?
.86 for a University connectivity charge…. WHY?
$3.50 for instate connection fee………WHY?
$1.98 for a Regulatory Assessment fee……..WHY?
totaling $14.24
then……..
Federal tax fee for .45
New York Gross receipts Tax Surcharge fee for .27
Local Tax for .26
State Tax for .24
New York State Tax Surcharge for .18
Miscellaneous adjustment -$4.56 which should have never been charged in the first place!

Total bill for me NOT owning a phone in over three years or more is $15.64

… What the hell is going on? I thought we discussed this and you were going to, “Have my name removed from the AT&T telemarketing list.”

Now please explain to me why I am on a telemarketing list, but yet I have no phone in which to contact me with in over 4 years if not more, and I am receiving bills from you over and over again on a number I never had. I have asked your company on several occasions to please stop sending me bills from AT&T. I cannot get billed if I do not have or ever had your service. May this be the last and FINAL time I receive any bills from your company. And again you ARE going to credit this account. I do not need to go through this every month!

My credit better not be suffering because of your constant lack of knowledge and errors! I have been trying to build my credit and with you guys billing me, I cannot do so. I will not pay for something I do not have! I know that AT&T does report to the credit bureau’s. THERE BETTER NOT BE ANYTHING FROM AT&T ON MY CREDIT HISTORY!

And another thing, what does 631-642-9271 number have to do with 631-462-8309 number. Not only that, I did not have AT&T for the 642-9271 number. But you already know that.

“Your account is now disconnected and there will be no further billing. Please accept my apologies for any frustration this matter has caused.”

These are your words, Not mine. Please follow your advise and clear this matter up immediately.

As you know I have forward this letter on to the FCC. I am getting very annoyed and disgusted with AT&T and its practices. I will NEVER use AT&T for any services! If you cannot get the billing corrected on someone that does NOT have your service, I could just imagine the nightmare on the poor person that does have your services. I have seen it first hand how you guys handle it. BY HANGING UP ON THE CUSTOMER but not after a screaming match…..And how many people are actually paying you not realizing that you are slamming them like you did me last year on my business line. Then you lock up the phone and give me some bull story that you need my information before you can free up my line. I argued that I did not have AT&T and yet you still managed to slam me. You even have a seperate line for SLAMMING. What is that about? I still have the phone bill to prove you slammed me from both my present business phone company and the one you decided to slam me with. How can a company like yours get away with such dishonesty? You must be making millions, so I suggest with that money that you hire a competent person to bill for your company, preferably, YOUR customers not someone else’s.

CORRECT THIS PROBLEM!

Daisy Wisniewski

Please read below!

Original Message
From: Matthews, James, III (Jim), CCARE
To: frank wisniewski
Sent: Wednesday, March 03, 2004 8:09 AM
Subject: RE: At&t Error 631-462-8309

Ms. Wizniewski,

I have had your name removed from the AT&T telemarketing list. This process takes approximately 30 days for you to be removed from all lists on your 631-642-9271 number. If you have other phone lines in the home that you would like removed, please let me know.

As far as why you were billed, unfortunately after all this time, I am unable to determine. I can tell you that somehow on July 22, 1999, AT&T records were updated to reflect that you were selected to AT&T on 462-8309. Whether this was due to a local phone company feed or an AT&T order, I can’t tell. The only reason you were billed was because AT&T never received any information to the contrary. If as I suspect, it was an error, the local phone company would not have sent disconnect information on this number because they would only send it to the company that you were truly selected to at that time.

Your account is now disconnected and there will be no further billing. Please accept my apologies for any frustration this matter has caused.

Thank you,
Jim Matthews
Original Message
From: frank wisniewski [mailto:fdwiz@optonline.net]
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2004 8:05 PM
To: Matthews, James, III (Jim), CCARE
Cc: fdwiz@optonline.net
Subject: At&t Error 631-462-8309

I want to thank you for such a quick response to my problem.

As I remember, I never had AT&T as my home phone provider. The number 631-462-8309 was a number that I had over 3 years ago with another company. This is why I am so surprised that your company would even send me a bill to that account. I had another provider for that number. Please make sure that there will be no further billing to me at that or any other number.

As was written in the letter sent to me by you….”AT&T began billing a basic monthly charge on January 1, 2004 to all customers selected to AT&T.” ….what does that have to do with me? Why was I selected and for what? I have no intension of having a home phone and even if I did I would NOT use AT&T for any services.

When I disconnected with the other provider, about 4 years ago. I was not aware I had to contact all service providers. Especially if I never had them for any service, or agreed to any service. I had local and long distance with another provider, so you see…. there was NO need to have AT&T.

In the past I have had problems with AT&T with slamming on my business line. Again, I did not have AT&T for my that line either, but you guys slammed me. After many months of fighting with your company and letters back and fourth, I was exhausted in my attempts to remove you from my life and my phone line. I was and am VERY happy with the provider I use for my business line as well. Until AT&T interrupted. So I cleared that matter up with the FCC.

Thank you for clearing this matter up so fast.

Please insure that this will be the last time I ever hear from AT&T again. I do not want any further contact with AT&T. So please remove me from your slamming list, or any other lists that have my name on it. Any and all of my experiences with AT&T have not been very pleasant.

Thank you for your kindness,

Daisy Wisniewski

#1 
Written By daisy on March 22nd, 2004 @ 2:35 pm

I recently just moved to a different state, and when I wanted to change my number, I was told that I will nolonger be on the same plan, my original plan was unlimited minutes days/weekend nationwide for $99, and when I wanted to cancel, I was told that have to pay $175 for earli termination fee. I wasn’t the one default on the cell phone contract, so why should I be charged for something, when it’s AT&T that default the contract.

#2 
Written By Dan T on March 26th, 2004 @ 9:17 pm

04/13/2004
Letter sent to AT&T after two attempts to cancel my contract. Still this issue is unresolved

AT&T Wireless
PO Box 68055
Anaheim CA 92817

Dear Sir or Madam:

After two telephone calls to your company requesting a cancellation of service, I am forced to write a letter to you requesting that it be cancelled. AT&T has continued to send me monthly bills despite my request over the phone to cancel my contract.

During the month of December, 2003, I called AT&T wireless asking them when my contract would be up for renewal, with the intention of terminating the service. AT&T told me that my contract would be up for renewal in March and that I would automatically be receiving renewal papers before the contract end date. They also told me that I would then be able to renew or terminate my contract. In February, AT&T called me stating that they did not have my correct mailing address however on verifying they found the address was correct. In early March (03/06/04), not having received the renewal papers, I called AT&T back to inquire regarding my contract renewal papers. They then told me that they could put the papers in the mail the next business day. At that point, I informed the customer service representative (Julie) that I did not wish to continue AT&T services henceforth and that they should cancel my contract immediately. I then paid my current bill over the phone. Julie asked me why I wanted to cancel and I simply told her I was dissatisfied with their services. She then informed me that the service would automatically cancel as of midnight the same day and that I should seize using the cell phone. She also told me that I had 15 minutes of time left for which I could use before the service ends. I asked her if I would receive any bills after cancellation and she assured me that I would not. I asked her if she needed anything in writing and she assured me that everything was recorded and indicated in the database.

On 04/13/04, I receive a bill from AT&T charging me $86.02 for the month of March. I called them and spoke to a customer representative who informed me that there was nothing in their database indicating that I had cancelled service and that I would be billed until May for their services. I inquired why they had continued despite canceling and despite not receiving my renewal contract. The gentleman said I had been placed on a month to month contract. He then transferred me to a resolutions agent who was not helpful at all. I asked if he could send me a written confirmation indicating that my contract was cancelled by him and he said he could not do so.

Despite the fact that AT&T did not have my consent to continue their services, they assumed I would continue to be their customer.

This unpleasantness of customer service and daylight robbery has to stop. AT&T’s tactic of forcefully placing customers on a month to month contract without providing them with the proper written information is illegal. The customer always needs to know and sign an agreement of any contract before agreeing to terms and conditions of it. I am displeased and dissatisfied with AT&T’s service, lack of coordination and inability to inform customers. AT&T does not have the right to make a month to month decision for me without my consent. As of 04/13/2004 AT&T databases should indicate I cancelled my contract.

Sincerely,

Diana
Student

#3 
Written By Diana on April 20th, 2004 @ 6:45 pm

Yes I call a&t And wrote them about the fact I
do not have the phone any more an I never used it.They said they would take care of it an yet
they keep sending me an bill for something I do
not own or have.I have nationwide,why would I want them.Thank U I donot own them 186.82
Which part of that do u not understand.I want them to stop sending me a bill an the account 25571910.

#4 
Written By June Wright on May 28th, 2004 @ 3:02 pm

I could write another long letter like the ones attached above, but why just pick any one of them and you have one or more of my problems. At&t in Southern Calif is no better and their customer service just psaaes you down to the next person. They could care less. I was told it’s not AT&T’s police to issue credits for poor service.

#5 
Written By J. Mc Cracken on June 19th, 2004 @ 4:50 pm

Well where do we start, ATT was bought out taken over whatever by Cingular, well problems are worse then ever. Calls cut off, no service and that wonderful airtime on most TV stations here in South Florida say Att can now talk to Cingular customers with no air time charge is false also, well unless you pay an extra fee for that service. They can’t get billing address right send things to address that arer fake or address you have not lived at in years.

#6 
Written By wendy roberts on March 9th, 2005 @ 8:56 am

I’ve had a terrible time with AT&T. They billed my home phone number when I don’t even have an account with them! Their service center is in India (which they won’t tell you, but it’s obvious from their accents), and it was impossible to get satisfaction. I needed a credit memo faxed to me, but of course they can’t do that. They said they’d credit my account and send me something in the mail within 10 days. After 11 days I called again and the credit hadn’t even been issued! So, I asked that they overnight me something, which they refused to do. They are terrible at customer service. How do I send this message out to anyone and everyone and let AT&T that I’m doing it. Down with huge mutlinational companies that don’t give a crap about their customers!

#7 
Written By Laurie Donohue on May 6th, 2005 @ 9:46 am

To all:
After trying to deal with the Arrogant Empire of ATT, I resorted to a PUCO complaint followed by an Attorney General complaint. Suddenly I am receiving a heap of apologies and a FULL refund. Don’t waste your time trying to talk to these idiots, file against them.

#8 
Written By Steve on November 23rd, 2005 @ 1:56 pm

I move my phone account to AT & T four years ago from Southwestern Bell. And saved about $20.00/month for may efforts. This year SBC (Southwestern Bell) bought At & T and changed the name of SBC to AT & T. Three months ago I changed my account form AT & T back to AT & T (SBC). I kept getting bills from AT & T and AT & T (SBC). Both bills said AT & T. I pay my bills using my WAMU account. I paid the AT & T bill out of that account. WAMU mails a check to my vendor using the address I give them. It tool about three months for me to realize that something was wrong. I was confused because I was getting two phone bill from AT & T for 972 772 2773. I finally figured out that I forgot to change the address in WAMU. AT & T is now sitting on about $500 credit balance in my account. And AT & T wants me to pay them $180. I can see their point. However they cannot have it both ways. They cannot hold them selves out as AT & T and say they cannot get money from AT & T. Sure I should have been more careful. I do not feel I am the only one at fault.

#9 
Written By steve on August 13th, 2006 @ 11:22 am

I too am having AT&T problems and just filed a complaint against them. You are not alone. Maybe if enough people file complaints, and leave this company, things will change.

Prospective customers, beware of AT&T!!!!!!!!!!

#10 
Written By Jody on December 14th, 2006 @ 4:35 pm

ATT is in business to defraud people and provide defective service. living in the New Orleans area the cell phones were out for awhile. After 6 months I still had little reception for use. I was told to upgrade to another phone, which I did. After spending 200 dollars I still had no better reception and my phone was 95% useless. They would not address the problem or let me out of contract. Now that I am going to another company since my contract expired. Now they refuse to return my deposit because I was late with payment a couple of times in 6+ years. Even though I paid the late charge they said I breached their contract and forfeited my deposit for being late a couple of times. The were to provide sufficiant service but for 2 solid years could not provide any service over 90% of the time. they refused to acknowledge or do anything to help. ATT is not to be trusted and is the worse communication company in the world. BEWARE of doing business with ATT.

#11 
Written By Ron on July 25th, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

This is the worst US company I have dealt with in my 7 years stay in the US.
The ONLY way to disconnect service is by calling them at 1-800-288-2020, and when you do that, they keep you on hold forever !!! I have tried this three times and given up. The only alternative I see is to send a cancel request letter to their Chicago office, and guess that’s the path I’ll take.

Try calling them to change or ADD service and the response time is almost instantaneous.

#12 
Written By vinay on August 28th, 2007 @ 1:22 pm

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