Sigh. Remember last week when I was SO EXCITED about all the money we’d be saving through a few minor changes, such as switching cable? We were moving our bill from $115 per month to $71 per month by switching to ATT Uverse, and I was pumped. I should have known better.
The thing is– I hate salesman. A lot. It is my firmly held belief that although there are SOME good ones, the industry as a whole is built on an “us vs. them” (salesmen vs. consumer) mentality that encourages misinformation and sometimes outright deceit. To combat this, I’ve grown very weary of having to deal with salesman, and I am always extremely careful to ask a LOT of very specific questions.
When signing up for cable I called in to speak to a real person rather than signing up online so that I could ask those questions. They included details about the channels we would be getting, internet speed, the details of the $100 visa card we’d be getting, and I specifically asked the salesman if there was an upcharge for HD service. I was told no, it was included in the package I had selected and my total was $71/month. I asked him if that 71/month also included all the various taxes, fees, random unexplainable charges that always seem to pop up on cable bills— I explained I wanted to know my actual, final, out-the-door cost. He said yes. $71 was the FINAL cost. Honestly, I didn’t really believe him about that, but the taxes/fees/etc I was paying with the last cable company were under $5 so I mentally figured it might cost us more like $75 rather than $71 and moved on. The next day I called back to actually book my service (the first day was a price scouting mission because I was comparison shopping). I went through the whole deal again with saleslady #2. She confirmed $71 was the final cost for everything I wanted– Uverse 200 + Internet Elite and it included HD service and it even included HBO and Cinemax for free!! (for 3 months and then I have to cancel it or they’ll charge me without warning me and we don’t watch HBO anyways… but whatever. Calendar marked to cancel).
So the installation guy comes out to install it yesterday– and I should note, I find that techs and installation people are generally always very nice and this man was no exception— he took one look at my 60″ tv and said “Um… you know that you didn’t order HD service right?” I told him no, I confirmed with two people that I DID. He said “Oh, yea… they lied. I can hook you up for that, but it’s an extra $10 per month.” I’m betting they do this a lot– and most people just pay it because once you’ve already waited a week for installation and canceled your other cable, what else are you going to do? Unless you’re me, and then you’re going to have the installation guy help you call the direct customer service line to complain. To their credit, the woman I spoke to was quite nice (and didn’t sound at all surprised) and comped the HD service for the next 12 months, bringing my total back down to $71/month. If that was all that had happened, I’d probably not be writing this post.
Then late yesterday afternoon I got an email with my new customer survey, which included an estimated first bill. And what do I find? Over $15 in taxes and fees. What the what?!?
I didn’t want to call again because 1) I hate phone mazes and 2) I don’t really trust what people are telling me on the phone anymore, I prefer to make complaints via email.
So I wrote an email (which finding an email address for ATT is no easy task, let me tell you– if you need to reach them it is ATT_1MI@amcustomercare.att-mail.com). I didn’t even ask for my money back per month because I figured they probably won’t do that at this point. But I did let them know that having two salesmen in two days assure me that $71 was my final price for my package including HD service and finding out on install day that my actual costs (if I’d not complained about HD) would be $96/month was absolutely dishonest. And it was a pattern. It is clear that they train their salesman to lie to book customers on the “package price” without informing them of the upcharges. And I’d be warning people. Get Uverse if you want— but don’t believe the salesman. Be aware that there will probably be an extra $20-30/month of charges you’re not being told about, no matter how many times you confirm the price.
I just got an email back this morning. Let me show you….
So let’s break this down. First of all… who the f is Dennis Desmond? At first I thought this must just be a form letter and they forgot to take the last guy’s name off of it (smooth move…) but then I noticed the typos. Like “genrated” and non-capitalization of the letters starting sentences. Which means it was actually typed by whoever sent the email (or their form letters are really just awful haha). Next… let’s talk about who sent this. Sean? Elaine? I have another suspicion…
Whoever it is, they are apparently going to “personally take care of” my concern after my first actual bill is generated. Let’s just say… I’m not getting my hopes up.
The bottom line is… if we’re paying $86/month for cable and internet– it isn’t a horrible price. It’s better than we were paying before (although if we had to pay the 10/month for HD service and actually got all 3 tvs hooked up to the cable like we had before it would be the same because Uverse charges per tv). It’s worth keeping for the next 12 months to us at this cost. But we do need to be sure that we switch services again before month 13 starts because all of their insane upcharging means that once our 12 month deal is gone, our bill will DOUBLE. And it also means that I want people to know what happened so they don’t make the mistake of trusting ATT. If you want to sign up for ATT because you like their service (not customer service— we know that’s questionable at best) better… go for it. But realize that you’re being lied to. That they are trained to lie to you. And that whatever price they give you will be less than you actually pay.
Be careful out there folks. (And I’ll update after I get my first bill to see if Sean or Elaine or Bobo actually fixes things or not…. I suspect not).