AT&T Wireless Sucks

AT&T Wireless LogoI've just about had it with AT&T Wireless. Back in May of this year, I aggravated Jenn to no end as I attempted to find the best wireless plan out there. My work had mandated that we all get cell phones, and was willing to reimburse us for $20 of the expense each month. For those who already had cell phones, this was a boon. For me, however, it was just a boo!!! I didn't have a cell phone, and I didn't want one. We had a great deal on Jenn's phone from Verizon, at just $20 per month for 100 minutes. Unfortunately, they weren't offering that deal any longer. I decided to look around, and settled on the AT&T Wireless National GSM plan which had 300 minutes each month for $29.99. It included free incoming text messages, free voicemail, free call waiting. It seemed like a great deal. I added the mMode internet access for $2.99 a month so I could play with that as well.

And thus began my slow painful torture by AT&T. I received my first months bill, and I only had 200 minutes per month. I scratched my head. I was absolutely positive that the web site advertised 300 minutes per month. So I gave my friends at ATTWS a call. Oh, their mistake. The original plan had 200 minutes, but the web offer provided for 100 more. So the operator not only added the missing minutes, but also gave me an additional 60 minutes for the next month for my trouble. Woohoo, I thought. Way to go customer service.

Then in July, I received my bill and it had a $26 activation fee. What the hell?!?! I had signed up for the 2 year service agreement, which indicated that the activation fee would be waived. Another call to my friends at AT&T. Somehow, they had lost my signature for the two year agreement. The $26 was the activation fee that automatically was given when the two year was not received, and the one year service agreement was enacted instead. The operator offered to send me a new 2 year agreement, and assured me that if I filled it out and sent it in, the $26 fee would be credited to my account. Okay, accidents happen. No biggie.

So I'm on my way back from a client one day in July, and I look at my phone. Instead of the big AT&T Wireless network indicator at the top, it says Cingular. That's odd. Maybe they have an agreement with Cingular that I can call on their network now. Another call to AT&T. The operator tells me that yes, AT&T and Cingular have entered into a roaming agreement to cover areas of Indiana that the current AT&T network does not reach. Awesome! Now I can make calls from more areas right! And I have the national plan with the no roaming, no long distance gurauntee, so no extra charges, right? WRONG! Cingular charges a $0.75 per minute roaming fee while on their network. I just about blew water through my nose (I was taking a sip at the time). Wow! That is an outrageous per minute fee. I guess I'll just have to watch myself to make sure that I'm calling from the AT&T tower, and only use the Cingular tower in an emergency. No problem the operator says, my phone has the ability to choose the tower to talk to, when multiple choices are available. Okay, not a great situation, but still not bad.

I start traveling to Lafayette on a daily basis for a project in August, and I notice that, for the majority of the trip, I'm on the Cingular network. That sucks, because if anyone from work calls, I'm going to get charged roaming. I'll just cross my fingers..... Crap it's ringing!! I had over $7.00 in roaming fees that first month alone. Suckage! But I notice something else on my bill. AT&T Voice Dial service has been added. What the crap!?!? My phone has built in voice recognition, I don't need that service. I saw that the invoice was credited for the same amount as the service fee ($3.99), so I thought, well at least I can remove it and not be hurt by it. Another cheery call to what are becoming my enemies at AT&T. Operator person is more than happy to remove the service, and can't understand why it was added in the first place. In any case, my account has been changed, and the October bill I receive in November should show that.

Ahh, sweet November. Should be a repreive from my monthly wrestling match with AT&T right? No, they got lonely and decided to do something else to get me to call. I receive my bill (again, in excess of $45 on a plan of $29.99), and I not only spy the Voice Dialing charge, but now they have added Text Messaging as well! Grrr...... Speed dial AT&T. "Due to high call volume, there is a long wait to get an operator. The current wait is.....10 minutes". Blood.... pressure.....rising...... Must... control.... rage...... So after 10 minutes of playing on the web waiting for an answer, I get Chevon. Poor Chevon. Immediately after answering the phone, she goes into a coughing, sneezing, hacking fit. Evidently she has a cold. I hope they don't share headsets. Wait a minute, YES I DO! I explain to Chevon the myriad of problems I have had on my account. I tell her that I don't want VoiceDial, which I was charged $0.77 for this month (who knows where that came from). I don't want Text Messaging, I never did! I'm also tired of the mMode internet access, which I never use. A few sniffles and sneezes later, Chevon takes a look at my account, and can't figure out why I've been getting these weird charges. She then laughs and says "Yeah, we have a few thousand account change forms to work through today. This happens all the time." Chevon, let me tell just how reassuring that is, that this service slamming is a known and epidemic problem for AT&T. Grr.... Chevon puts me on hold several times (Her computer is slow today you know) and works through crediting my account and removing the services. When she is done, she has credited my account for $6.55 worth of monthly services I either never asked for, didn't use, or don't want. She assures me that they will not show up again either. Thanks Chevon, go get a tissue.

If you are in the market for a cell phone, do not, I repeat, DO NOT get an AT&T Wireless GSM plan. I spend more time on the Cingular network than I do on the AT&T network. I guess it is a small blessing that the contract was shortened from 2 years to just one. In May of next year, I'll probably be switching my services over to Cingular. I can use the same phone, and they have better coverage in all of the areas that I travel to.


Jade Mason