Customer Service


So I bought a new Audiovox Smartphones recently - and with it a plan from ATT Wireless (before the merger with Cingular) that included unlimited data for something like $25 a month. I've been really enjoying the unlimited data - especially because Windows Mobile 2003 supports sync'ing with Exchange servers over the air - and being able to get calendar and mail updates to my phone without cradling has been a total luxury.

In any case - I got my first bill over the weekend and to my surprise there was no unlimited wireless - in its place was a charge for over $500.00 for downloading approximately 20MB of data over the course of the billing cycle. So I quickly became upset about this and called Cingular's customer service. After getting aggrivated by the wacky voice-recognition interface for a while it eventually put me on hold for 19 minutes after which I was given the gracious opportunity to speak with a human being!

I explained the situation to the Cingular rep and after pulling up my account information she explained that the guy at the store who set up my service initially failed to put the data service on my account for whatever reason. She said she could add the data service but in order to reverse the $500 charge, she would have to put me back on hold for another 10 minutes. So 15 more minutes go by - during which I get to listen to this maddening loop of elevator music behind a perky voice telling me about how I can keep my phone and my plan even though the company got acquired.

Here's the kicker - eventually the lady comes back on the line and says she not only got the charges reversed, but she credited my account the entire month's bill  - almost 100 dollars!

And I was happy. It's a little wierd - having truly terrible service was so easliy overcome by compensating my time with money. Go figure...

Comments (4)
  1. Ohhh my friend ! You were really lucky !!!

    You have to "feal" that in Spain.

    /R

    Benji

  2. Judi Sohn says:

    I’ve blogged a bit about my adventures with Cingular. I’ve been a customer since 1998 under SNET. It’s hard, because no other carrier offers the coverage or features that Cingular does. So even if I didn’t have nearly 2 years left on my current contract, I have nowhere to go. I have come to rely heavily on the Fast Forward cradle and rollover minutes and they have no competition there.

    But boy, is their billing/account management messed up or what?!?

    I blogged my adventures in just getting the phone to show my name on the caller ID, but since then we had a similar story to yours where they left off the $2.99 charge for the Fast Forward cradle on my husband’s account when he changed contracts. We had his cradle, he used it, it worked. But without the feature listed on the account, every call routed to the Fast Forward was billed as a forwarded call. That accounted for about 1000 extra minutes in one billing cycle that took nearly a month to straighten out.

  3. i wish that i could report that my service is OK. It in fact sucks, just as does the Company. Below is a letter i sent to the President; after 3 weeks an executive complaint dept. called to say their is nothing they can do to better my situation:

    Richard M. Stein

    Mr. Stanley T. Sigman President & Chief Executive Officer Cingular Wireless LLC 5565 Glenridge Connector Atlanta, Georgia 30342

    Reference: (480 ) 922-7078 Mr. Sigman:

    In that I’ve been in your position as President of a large, multi employee Corporation that had a major merger, i wll be succinct in my comments.

    As a former AT& T Wireless Customer ( as were several hundreds of my associates, ) i am appalled at the travails i must put up with respect to my cellular service. My phone simply does not work in my Scottsdale, Arizona Condo nor anywhere near it. Further the reception ( while never excellent, gets worse daily. )

    After discussions with various persons in your industry i am aware of the reasons why these conditions exist on the old AWE network. Nevertheless, you are courting a public relations fiasco of enormous proportions ( as well as numerous uncomfortable legal situations. )

    My personal situation is: my car was equipped with the plug-in Motorola phone ( most of my Executives used the AT&T service. ) We also negotiated an excellent agreement in August of 2003. Now the service is barely operable ( as noted above. ) Yet I’m told that the only way to expect an improvement, albeit, not right away in Arizona, is to purchase a new phone & a new plan from Cingular ( to get your newer GSM band. )

    I frankly think this is unconscionable. I would expect, for the future success of your venture, that if necessary, and i believe it is, that you replace that phone with a comparable Cingular Phone and plan.

    While you " may not " be required by law to do this, it seems prudent at this time. As a rather large stockholder of SBC & Bell South, I sense that in the interests of all concerned, you have your associates seriously consider this request.

    Sorry to bother you with this " small " situation; but, I think a person in your position must be aware of the potential harm this kind of little problem will ultimately bring to the success of your merger.

    Sincerely, Richard M. Stein

    And a letter to SBC / Bell South:

    December 24, 2004

    Mr. Edward E. Whitacre Jr., Chairman and CEO of SBC Communications Mr. Duane Ackerman, Chairman and CEO of BellSouth Corporation

    Gentlemen:

    Enclosed you will find a letter i sent to Mr. Stanley T. Sigman, President and CEO of Cingular Wireles LLC concerning my extreme pain with the Cingular / AT&T Wireless network. As a former President of a large national corporation, i truly understand the pressures a CEO experiences, most especially after a large merger. And further, do not expect a direct reply from an executive in his position.

    But, after this length of time has passed, i would think a delegated person within the company would have contacted me. They have not! And, therefore my reason for this correspondence to both of you. i have for years owned a large amount of stock in both your companies. Further, i have advised numerous others to hold stock in your corporations.

    We, in the investment community, all recognize the challenges you have faced in the last several years. This is most true in the cell phone area, where your corporations have constantly performed behind your rivals. The above referenced merger was at best a gamble that the two weak entities ( especially AWE, ) would through economy of scale ( among other factors, ) be able to compete successfully with the Verizons, etc.

    Well, my " little " specific problems and the lack of concern ( obfiscation of or ignoring me, ) by the Chief Executive of this merged entity portends continued weakness if not in fact doom for this merged Cingular company.

    i shall endeavor to highlight this weakness along with the obvious Cingular shortcomings to the financial community as well as to your owners – the stockholders of SBC and Bell South.

    i trust you understand my strong feelings concerning the above. And i remain,

  4. i wish that i could report that my service is OK. It in fact sucks, just as does the Company. Below is a letter i sent to the President; after 3 weeks an executive complaint dept. called to say their is nothing they can do to better my situation:

    Richard M. Stein

    Mr. Stanley T. Sigman President & Chief Executive Officer Cingular Wireless LLC 5565 Glenridge Connector Atlanta, Georgia 30342

    Reference: (480 ) 922-7078 Mr. Sigman:

    In that I’ve been in your position as President of a large, multi employee Corporation that had a major merger, i wll be succinct in my comments.

    As a former AT& T Wireless Customer ( as were several hundreds of my associates, ) i am appalled at the travails i must put up with respect to my cellular service. My phone simply does not work in my Scottsdale, Arizona Condo nor anywhere near it. Further the reception ( while never excellent, gets worse daily. )

    After discussions with various persons in your industry i am aware of the reasons why these conditions exist on the old AWE network. Nevertheless, you are courting a public relations fiasco of enormous proportions ( as well as numerous uncomfortable legal situations. )

    My personal situation is: my car was equipped with the plug-in Motorola phone ( most of my Executives used the AT&T service. ) We also negotiated an excellent agreement in August of 2003. Now the service is barely operable ( as noted above. ) Yet I’m told that the only way to expect an improvement, albeit, not right away in Arizona, is to purchase a new phone & a new plan from Cingular ( to get your newer GSM band. )

    I frankly think this is unconscionable. I would expect, for the future success of your venture, that if necessary, and i believe it is, that you replace that phone with a comparable Cingular Phone and plan.

    While you " may not " be required by law to do this, it seems prudent at this time. As a rather large stockholder of SBC & Bell South, I sense that in the interests of all concerned, you have your associates seriously consider this request.

    Sorry to bother you with this " small " situation; but, I think a person in your position must be aware of the potential harm this kind of little problem will ultimately bring to the success of your merger.

    Sincerely, Richard M. Stein

    And a letter to SBC / Bell South:

    December 24, 2004

    Mr. Edward E. Whitacre Jr., Chairman and CEO of SBC Communications Mr. Duane Ackerman, Chairman and CEO of BellSouth Corporation

    Gentlemen:

    Enclosed you will find a letter i sent to Mr. Stanley T. Sigman, President and CEO of Cingular Wireles LLC concerning my extreme pain with the Cingular / AT&T Wireless network. As a former President of a large national corporation, i truly understand the pressures a CEO experiences, most especially after a large merger. And further, do not expect a direct reply from an executive in his position.

    But, after this length of time has passed, i would think a delegated person within the company would have contacted me. They have not! And, therefore my reason for this correspondence to both of you. i have for years owned a large amount of stock in both your companies. Further, i have advised numerous others to hold stock in your corporations.

    We, in the investment community, all recognize the challenges you have faced in the last several years. This is most true in the cell phone area, where your corporations have constantly performed behind your rivals. The above referenced merger was at best a gamble that the two weak entities ( especially AWE, ) would through economy of scale ( among other factors, ) be able to compete successfully with the Verizons, etc.

    Well, my " little " specific problems and the lack of concern ( obfiscation of or ignoring me, ) by the Chief Executive of this merged entity portends continued weakness if not in fact doom for this merged Cingular company.

    i shall endeavor to highlight this weakness along with the obvious Cingular shortcomings to the financial community as well as to your owners – the stockholders of SBC and Bell South.

    i trust you understand my strong feelings concerning the above. And i remain,

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