Unbelievable AT & T

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Mintee
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Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Mintee » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:41 pm

I would like your advice about a billing issue with AT & T.

Thanks to a tip from Student, we moved our wireless service from AT & T to T-Mobile the last of August. We've had unlimited data for a month, now, and it's been wonderful. We even used our plan in Canada without extra cost. We pay less and get substantially more.

We were, frankly, very happy to leave AT & T. While we had few problems with our wireless service in the last few years, we've had all kinds of problems with UVerse. The problems are too numerous to catalogue here, but billing has been awful, service is inconsistent, prices were raised while we were under contract--but we couldn't get out of our contract--etc. If we can find another TV provider, we would in a heart-beat.

Now the coup de grace: I called At & T to get a final wireless bill. The charge should have been for about 5-6 days. Instead, AT & T informed me that, even though they can pro rate service at any time, they will not pro rate a final bill. Thus, they want us to pay for the month of September. And, the customer service rep warned, if we didn't pay, we would be turned over to collections.

Our credit rating is excellent (although I don't know what hackers may do to it). It's very unlikely that we will borrow money, we will never take out another mortgage, we have more credit cards than we need, etc. My inclination is to pay for the 5-6 days, then let AT & T do whatever they want to do.

Your thoughts, suggestions? Any experience to share?

Thank you.

Mint

neilpilot
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by neilpilot » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:52 pm

I think your's is a reasonable approach.

Coincidentally, we just reduced our AT&T mobile family account from 3 lines to 1, and it's likely we will eliminate the last line soon. So your post is useful for me. I may try to get information on our options BEFORE I transfer that last line out.

It hasn't been unusual to get bad (wrong) answers from an AT&T rep at our local retail outlets, so I wonder if another contact might produce a very different response.

In you situation, rather than send in partial payment of what you estimate to be 5-6 days of the monthly charge, I might consider telling AT&T you will pay for the service due in full after they send you a corrected invoice. From the standpoint of collections, you are likely in the same position weather you send in partial payment or withhold payment pending a corrected invoice.

bloom2708
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by bloom2708 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:53 pm

When your lines were ported, that ended your service.

Billing should be up to the port date and include any/all line cancellation/early cancellation fees on each line.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

mouses
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by mouses » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:57 pm

When I ported out from Verizon, the info I got from their phone reps about the final bill was wrong. Eventually a correct bill appeared and I paid it. I think a bill is going to appear in the correct amount, and asking for the bill just confused their phone people.

Germonico
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Germonico » Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:57 pm

Don't know for sure but the saying "penny wise and pound foolish" comes to mind. I'd call again to see if a second customer rep can confirm the "last month of service cannot be pro-rated." Also, despite the issues noted, I would probably pay the final bill in full to put closure to the account, otherwise, you may be dealing with them for months into the future.

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midareff
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by midareff » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:10 pm

I got so tired of AT & T harassing me to take data that I moved service to Consumer Cellular and pay half of what I paid before, and now have data too.

neilpilot
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by neilpilot » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:15 pm

midareff wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:10 pm
I got so tired of AT & T harassing me to take data that I moved service to Consumer Cellular and pay half of what I paid before, and now have data too.
I was with AT&T mobile for decades. I was never harassed, and in general was very happy with their customer service. We're switching because we use little data, and the new Xfinity Mobile plan is so much cheaper. Our bill for 2 lines with AT&T is $85/mo. Depending on actual data usage, our 2 lines with Xfinity will cost between $5.50 and $30/mo, including all tax and fees.

michaeljc70
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:17 pm

I would look at your agreement with AT&T. Even though you have credit cards already, credit scores may be pulled by those credit card companies from time to time even if not applying for new credit. A bad score may make your homeowner's insurance or car insurance go up. It could affect employment. Granted, one small blemish is not devastating to your score. I don't think this is a good move over what is probably not a lot of money. Try to resolve it with AT&T. Obviously looking into this before switching and timing it accordingly would have been ideal.

goingup
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by goingup » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:24 pm

bloom2708 wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:53 pm
When your lines were ported, that ended your service.

Billing should be up to the port date and include any/all line cancellation/early cancellation fees on each line.
When I switch from ATT to Verizon last year the final ATT bill was prorated. I didn't have to ask for a final bill.

OP, just wait to see what they send you.

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djpeteski
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by djpeteski » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:28 pm

AT&T is a total mess right now. The introduced UVerse and then bought DirecTv. There systems do not integrate well and it causes severe problems. I am really struggling with their services right now and even paying my bill despite being signed up for auto pay.

If I was you, I would happily pay them for the 5 or 6 days, and move on with your life. Here are some strategies to combat the "sent to collections" mantra:

1) Call back and talk to someone else. You are very likely to get a different answer.
2) Go to small claims court. No judge would allow them to charge for days they did not render service. Perhaps the threat is enough.
3) Ignore, see below.

I used to have ATT DSL. I canceled and they wanted me to return the modem. "We will send you a shipping label", sure no problem. Six weeks later still no label. Repeat this about 8 times over the course of a year. I offered to take it into a store, two were located very close to me. "Nope we can't do that".

In the end I gave up, and they might have sent me to collections. I probably disputed it, but unsure how that turned out. During the 7 years that should have stayed on my credit I ref'd my house twice and also got a loan on a car that had been paid off. So it really did not effect my ability to borrow.

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Pajamas
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Pajamas » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:29 pm

What does your contract with them say about this? That's what I would go by.

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:36 pm

We recently switched our wireless service from AT&T to Xfinity. We paid our final bill with AT&T and thought that was the end of it. They quickly terminated our access to our online account with them so that we could see no further account activity with them.

After a couple of months we received a bill in the mail (first snail mail in years) stating we were overdue for part (maybe all?) of the final month that our service was discontinued. DW made a few phone calls with little satisfaction. We paid the (relatively piddling) amount as it seemed the most expedient way to have AT&T out of our lives forever.

mouses
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by mouses » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:24 pm

Doom&Gloom wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:36 pm
They quickly terminated our access to our online account with them so that we could see no further account activity with them.
One of life's little annoyances, you close an account and it immediately vanishes from the web. Some credit unions do this and some leave them around for awhile, why this is done differently, I would like to know.

Easy Rhino
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Easy Rhino » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:31 pm

When I ported early this year, I had to wait until my statement would normally cycle, then I got my final bill. I think AT&T even emailed me a temporary username to use to log in, since I no longer had any numbers.

That final bill was prorated.

It may depend on if your bill is paid in advance (most common) or some really old paid in arrears bills.

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Alexa9
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Alexa9 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:53 pm

I would see what it says in your contract. I don't think it's worth the black mark on your credit score.

bluebolt
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by bluebolt » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:25 pm

When I switched away from AT&T, I called customer service to verify the final bill would be prorated. The customer service rep told me it would be prorated. I switched 2 or 3 days into the billing cycle.

When I got the bill, it was for a full month. I called up customer service and they told me they don't prorate the final bill and that the other customer service agent was incorrect.

I asked them to play back the recording of my previous call. They offered to take $10 off my bill. I was insistent that they honor what the other rep said. I ended up raising my voice and the rep eventually conceded.

So annoying.

michaeljc70
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:34 pm

You might want to look here:

"Except as provided below, monthly Services and certain other charges are billed one month in advance, and there is no proration of such charges if Service is terminated on other than the last day of your billing cycle. "

https://www.att.com/legal/terms.wireles ... CalcMyBill

Edit: It is really important to find these things out in advance. After you dump a company, they have little incentive to make exceptions for you.
Last edited by michaeljc70 on Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

tenkuky
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by tenkuky » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:18 pm

This thread is so helpful and timely.
We recently started ATT Internet, and I will keep this pro-rate issue in mind when I switch after my promo period is up.
Will do it on the 2nd last day of the cycle and also will keep in mind the issue re. modem/gateway return.
Thanks, BH family!
On another note, didn't have a similar problem when I ported from ATT wireless to Consumer Cellular and as another poster stated, cut my bills in almost 1/2.

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nisiprius
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by nisiprius » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:00 pm

I hate to suggest just caving, but I will. The only time I've ever been dunned by a collections firm was in connection with AT&T (long distance service on my landline phone--it was a while ago!) I used a bank's bill-paying service. AT&T claimed I was a day late on payment. I had been an AT&T customer for thirty years with no previous late payments. When I got the cancelled check image from the bank, it proved the payment actually had been made on time. The AT&T billing department agreed that the bill had been paid and that my account was in good standing, and even acknowledged that it had been paid on time.

It was too late. The bill was in the hands of the collections agency. They called me every night at dinnertime for three weeks and I could not get them to stop. I don't want to get onto a long rant but let's just say collection agencies are scofflaws, they do things even though "they can't do that," they don't listen to reason, they claim they have never received documentation you've sent, they decline to give you addresses to which you can send things with signature confirmation, etc.

It was only three weeks, but it's the kind of thing that sets me off. I don't think it affect my credit record.

But my experience is that AT&T sometimes has a short fuse on sending things to collection, and collections agencies have the power to make you miserable. Frankly at this point I would not risk an encounter with a collections agency over twenty-five dollars.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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samsoes
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by samsoes » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:03 pm

It's not just AT&T. Sprint pulled the same thing with me when I divorced them a couple of years ago. Final billing was for a full month, with no pro-ration. Just one final twist of the knife.
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren at Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

michaeljc70
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:08 pm

People seem to be lashing out at companies because they were not familiar with the terms of agreements they entered. A simple call or Google search could have prevented any issues. I doubt anyone needs to dump a provider that fast that they cannot wait until the billing period ends. That being said, I am certainly not sympathetic to most of these companies as they are known for poor service. But I would pay extra attention to terminating an agreement with said companies.

Katietsu
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Katietsu » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:05 pm

Just pay it. You owe it. It is very common for wireless companies not to prorate the final bill. This has been true on and off since the beginning of cellular service. So, besides the hassle that will result from not paying , there is no principle to it.

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bottlecap
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by bottlecap » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:25 pm

Don't ever use AT&T again. For anything.

I had a billing issue with them 16 years ago. I paid the bill, cancelled the service, and never dealt with the company ever again.

And never will again.

JT

squirm
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by squirm » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:58 pm

Mintee wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:41 pm
I would like your advice about a billing issue with AT & T.

Thanks to a tip from Student, we moved our wireless service from AT & T to T-Mobile the last of August. We've had unlimited data for a month, now, and it's been wonderful. We even used our plan in Canada without extra cost. We pay less and get substantially more.

We were, frankly, very happy to leave AT & T. While we had few problems with our wireless service in the last few years, we've had all kinds of problems with UVerse. The problems are too numerous to catalogue here, but billing has been awful, service is inconsistent, prices were raised while we were under contract--but we couldn't get out of our contract--etc. If we can find another TV provider, we would in a heart-beat.

Now the coup de grace: I called At & T to get a final wireless bill. The charge should have been for about 5-6 days. Instead, AT & T informed me that, even though they can pro rate service at any time, they will not pro rate a final bill. Thus, they want us to pay for the month of September. And, the customer service rep warned, if we didn't pay, we would be turned over to collections.

Our credit rating is excellent (although I don't know what hackers may do to it). It's very unlikely that we will borrow money, we will never take out another mortgage, we have more credit cards than we need, etc. My inclination is to pay for the 5-6 days, then let AT & T do whatever they want to do.

Your thoughts, suggestions? Any experience to share?

Thank you.

Mint
What is stated in the contract fine print? I wouldn't want to ding my credit over a phone bill.


At the very least pay the bill, buy some T stock, collect the consistent dividends, be happy.

furwut
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by furwut » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:35 pm

Here’s my AT&T story.

Some years ago I decided to switch from AT&T to an MVNO. While doing some preliminary research I ran across several threads of former customers all warning that if you had auto payment AT&T would collect the final bill at the full monthly amount and refuse to give a prorated refund. The suggestion was to first cancel auto payment upon which AT&T would issue an invoice for just the prorated amount owed.

Wanting to verify I called AT&T billing and they confirmed that I would receive a final bill just for the amount actually owed.

So I cancel auto payment. Next month I cancel service about 8 days into the the billing period. Bill arrives a few weeks later but it is for the full amount. I call up billing again and get escalated to a second tier. This person refused to even consider reducing my bill no matter how much I argue. They refused to acknowledge the original assurance I had received from them to the point of
A) explicitly calling me a liar AND
B) saying the 1st tier of AT&T billing support was offshore and this is what you get for relying on “those” people.

Then it really got heated. The AT&T person kept insisting she had no authority or ability to reduce the amount owed. Round and round we went with her refusing to escalate my call to another supervisor. But in the end we agreed to SPLIT the difference. Which means SHE was the liar becuase all along she could have and DID reduce the bill.

The whole termination process is clearly a corporate sanctioned shake down to squeeze a few last dollars from their customers.

BogleWogle
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by BogleWogle » Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:50 pm

For all those with conflicting responses from service representatives, particularly with prorated billing, my advice is to file a complaint with the BBB and make your case. That was the only way my issue was resolved (to include the late fee I was charged after being told to expect a revised bill, as well as the phantom billing that occurred for months after cancellation in another instance). Trying to reason with phone representatives & managers has proven to be a futile effort in my experience.

Best of luck and I'll echo what others have said about confirming billing practices prior to making any changes to avoid the frustration in the future.

student
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by student » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:27 am

I can confirm that AT&T does not prorate the final bill. It is probably billed into the fine print of the contract.

As for Uverse, I found it very surprising that they can raise your rate under contract without giving you a way to escape. I would imagine that they will say we are raising the rate and if you do not agree, you have 60 days to get out of contract free of penalty. This is what AT&T did.

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Meaty
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Meaty » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:53 am

BogleWogle wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:50 pm
For all those with conflicting responses from service representatives, particularly with prorated billing, my advice is to file a complaint with the BBB and make your case. That was the only way my issue was resolved (to include the late fee I was charged after being told to expect a revised bill, as well as the phantom billing that occurred for months after cancellation in another instance). Trying to reason with phone representatives & managers has proven to be a futile effort in my experience.

Best of luck and I'll echo what others have said about confirming billing practices prior to making any changes to avoid the frustration in the future.
Good advice. Unfortunately, most large companies seem to have decided it's a best practice to screw over their customers. Filing a complaint with a regulatory body or other method of creating reputations harm/financial penalty is seemingly the only way to get their attention. After you get clear, resolve to never do business with them again
"Discipline equals Freedom" - Jocko Willink

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KlingKlang
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by KlingKlang » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:57 am

One other problem to beware of. When I used U-Verse for TV and ISP AT&T linked my Yahoo email account with their AT&T email service. After I cancelled U-Verse AT&T shut down my Yahoo email account. Yahoo refused to restore it because "I had to go through AT&T", AT&T refused me because "I wasn't a customer". I lost at least ten years of email history.

Mintee
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Re: Unbelievable AT & T

Post by Mintee » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:58 am

OP here. Thank you for the feedback.

Frankly, it never occurred to me to look for termination language. That's a good point.

The amount of the "overpayment" I would need to make would be $80. That's a heck of a penalty for a customer of several years. Do you think we should pay that much? I will, of course, try to get another bill, but I think it's unlikely that will happen.

We remain a customer of AT & T's UVerse service. And, yes, they raised the rate in the middle of one of our contract periods. The service itself is okay--when it works--but I was on the phone about every other month because of some billing issue. I have spoken with a representative in most states in the U.S., Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Costa Rica, India, etc.

And the bill is prospective, so it's for service in the month of September, even though we terminated in August.

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