Update 2: I called the next day and escalated myself to another supervisor. This supervisor looked at the history of the call from the night before and said that he would verify that Amazon.com did indeed have this offer going and if they did he would apply the credits. He made it clear to me that he was doing this not only due to how long I’ve been with AT&T but also due to the fact that if I’m willing to write an email, a blog post, and call more than once – that I was eventually get what I wanted. The supervisor also acknowledged that AT&T doesn’t make money off of the handsets themselves (they pay $699 each for the Torch) but that they instead make money off of the contract for service. It simply didn’t make sense to him for him to block my request when ultimately I was considering switching to another provider over the incident. AT&T stood to lose much more of my money by not giving me the credit than by doing so.
If you try to get such a credit applied to your account I do wish you luck as even this email to the executives got responded to with essentially “We won’t price match, sorry.” Good luck!
This post will consist entirely of a letter sent to AT&T concerning my recent experiences with their customer service department. I give anybody and everybody full rights to reproduce this email in it’s entirety in any way, shape, or form.
To: AT&T Executives
Subject: Extreme Disappointment with AT&T Customer Service (lack there of).
I’ll start by saying that I’ve been an AT&T Wireless customer for quite a while as I started out originally as a Cingular customer. I’m a fairly intelligent individual and an entrepreneur myself so I understand how important public relations, customer service, and company reputation are. Some may feel that a large corporation such as AT&T doesn’t have to worry about an individual unhappy customer however that is exactly when a large corporation begins to damage it’s own reputation. Big or small any company always needs to do their absolute best to make their customers happy and to provide consistent quality customer service. I’m not naive to think that you can make every customer happy in every situation however the situation I’m about to share with you is one that I do believe your company could go a long way towards making a very solid positive reputation gain or loss.
On August 12th, 2010 I went into my local AT&T Wireless Corporate Store to upgrade a line from a BlackBerry Bold 9000 to the new BlackBerry Torch 9800 and overall the experience was pleasant. The phone was actually for my wife who is an avid BlackBerry fan and is active on several BlackBerry related sites and forums such as CrackBerry.com and she’s been happy with the phone thus far and this is where our positive experiences have come to an end.
We paid $199 for the phone with a 2-year upgrade and a $18 upgrade fee that the representative said that they could not waive which seems fairly standard fare. It has been five days since we made this purchase and we can already see that there are reputable vendors such as Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/BlackBerry-Torch-9800-Phone-AT/dp/B003Y8XBRY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=wireless&qid=1282015012&sr=8-3) selling this phone for $99 and waiving the activation or upgrade fee. Everywhere that I have seen goes as far as to say that the $99 price as well as the upgrade fee waiver is sponsored directly by AT&T so I thought that I’d call up AT&T Customer Service and discuss this with them.
I originally connected to Chrishnelle Nesanet who is a standard customer service representative and she informed me that under no circumstances will AT&T in any way, shape, or form do any sort of price matching which I can understand is probably a good policy. I explained to her that AT&T could choose from two options:
- Applying a credit of $118 to my account to save me the trouble of having to return the phone and then subsequently order the new phone again through Amazon or another vendor.
- Refuse my request and force me to make an extra trip into the corporate store, return the phone, and then order the phone elsewhere.
Ultimately I’m going to do what I need to do in order to save myself some money and while I understand a firm policy against any sort of price matching I find it absurd that you’d make a long time customer of more than several years go through this sort of trouble. I made my intentions and my opinions clear to my original customer support representative and asked to speak to a supervisor. The representative said that she understood my views however she wasn’t authorized to do what I was asking and I waited on hold for approximately 15 minutes for the next level of representative.
The next representative to come onto the phone was Tanya [Redacted] who was an Escalation Specialist to which I explained the situation and my views to all over again. She also made it clear that the policy was that they couldn’t do anything to help me in this situation and I asked again to be escalated to the next level supervisor. Tanya told me that it would be approximately a minute and placed me on hold.
The third representative that I spoke with was Wanda [Redacted] and when I asked her for her official position she simply told me that it was “Supervisor.” I explained the situation once again to this individual and at this time I had been on the phone for a grand total of 35 minutes. She gave me the same exact lines and told me that the only way that I was going to be able to make this happen was to return the phone including paying a restocking fee and then to purchase the phone from one of the vendors that were selling it at this discounted price.
The culmination of this event is the fact that AT&T had the opportunity to make a valued customer happy by making a one-time exception for them. I’ve been with AT&T, and Cingular, for years and I’ve never asked for any special treatment or any sort of credits or exceptions up until this point. AT&T had the opportunity to make this right for me and to improve my views about the company and its customer service however it seems that the company reputation and overall public relations are not important or taken seriously. AT&T had a great opportunity to improve my views of the company and as such, being a mobile phone enthusiast, likely the views of thousands of others. In this particular case AT&T has failed horribly at providing excellent customer service and as such AT&T’s reputation in my mind has greatly decreased and I will be making sure to get that across to anybody and everybody I ever speak with about cellular providers or phones again in the future.
I do appreciate you taking the time out of your very busy day to read my email. I’ll be honest that I don’t really expect any sort of direct response however you’re more than welcome to respond to this message or to contact me back at [redacted]. I’ll go so far as to be bluntly honest that my apartment is in a “moderate” cellular coverage area between two distant towers so if for any reason you can’t get through – do leave a voice mail and I will call you back as soon as my phone picks up signal again.
█ Michael Denney
Update 1: I’m more than happy to update this post (at the top) should any further actions be taken by AT&T to make this situation right.