FOWC with Fandango — Affable

Affable. I was in a pretty good mood when we got home from shopping, or at least as good as I feel after shopping when I have a cold and forgot to buy eggs. That was probably why I thought it was a good time to call AT&T and get my rates dropped. I’ve been overpaying for my phone for more than a decade and I was determined to GET the lower rates this time.

First, there is NO good time to call AT&T. No one knows anything. They transfer you back and forth and half the numbers they give you don’t work. Even when you get the right person, they don’t know anything. No one takes notes so you have to explain the problem over and over and over and by the fourth time I was repeating the same story, I was just plain pissed.

What I had done — THOUGHT I had done — was to transfer from my $53/month plan to the $29.99 plan which is part of the “Senior Nation” set of benefits for we old folks.

This required that I have an un-smart phone.

I wanted an un-smart phone in the first place because I don’t use the internet on the phone. If I want the internet, for this I have multiple computers. But our telephone distributor (they are morons there, too) said they didn’t have any, couldn’t get any — so you had a choice of a smartphone or? A smartphone.

We ended up with this Galaxy Samsung Google phone which does whatever it does pretty well, far as I can tell — but they only thing I do with it is to make an occasional phone call … like when we are on the road and lost (always lost, always and forever), or if the power is out and we have to call the electric company.

I don’t use it on the internet. I don’t use it to update banking or to text. I actually don’t know how to text. That’s embarrassing, I realize, but I simply haven’t done it … so I don’t know how. Garry doesn’t know how either. But Garry is anti-technical and I’m supposed to know all this stuff. I do know a lot of stuff, but texting isn’t one of them. Shoot me, but there it is. I also cannot change the ink in my printer. I hate printers and I refuse to even try.

After making this arrangement to get on the low-cost plan and get a free flip phone (yes, they still make them), I got a bill from AT&T informing me that I’d changed my plan and would now be paying them $90 next month and $60 for each month after that — which is significantly more than I’m currently playing. For having done absolutely nothing except try to lower my bill.

No mention of the senior plan. No mention of the free phone. No mention of nothing.

I called back. No one knew what I was talking about, but they kept transferring me from one department (who knew nothing) to another department (which knew nothing). Finally, I called back and said: “I’ve had it. Either you fix this right now or I’m leaving AT&T. You people are driving me CRAZY.” I have been an AT&T customer for about 15 years and there was a time when they actually had really good customer service.

Ah, those were the days. We were so young, so optimistic.


So eventually, I got the $29.99 (+ taxes, et al) and can use the phone I’ve got OR the one they are actually sending me. I don’t think you can transfer a smartphone SIM card to a flip phone. I’ll deal with that IF I ever get another phone. My current phone is five years old, but it looks brand new, probably because effectively, it IS brand new. I don’t use it. It lives in my bag and is usually off.

So much for affable.

At this point, I’m plain pissed off, even though I think (I hope, I believe) I have the issue dealt with. But who knows? I may get another bill any minute. Nothing like a long afternoon on the phone with customer service to finish off your good mood of the day.

Now I’m watching the news. The final crunch. I have such a nasty headache, too.

Categories: #FOWC, Customer Service, Daily Prompt, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Media, Technology

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19 replies

  1. Here the ‘big boy’ of old time-y phones (landlines as they’re quaintly called) is Century Link. That company was Mountain Bell (in the dark ages when I was a young adult) and was linked to AT&T for long distance. They split, due to something about monopolies being illegal (ah the good old days) and Ma Bell became something else and then finally Century Link. I’ve had that company for my phone service since 1985. Thirty three years last year and I disconnected the land line. Because, like your story, I got so damned frustrated with the ‘Uhhhh… I don’t know but I’ll transfer you 15 times so you can do all the work and find out for yourself.” Those big companies are stupid-ing themselves out of business. I told the peon that I spoke with last at Century Link. I said “I’ve been a customer for thirty three years!! And your company’s poor customer service and increasing costs without explanation have cost you this customer. How long til you go out of business??’ The peon didn’t say a thing. And my cell phone is getting more expensive and bugs the shit out of me, but what are you going to do? Apparently one MUST have a link to the outside world..


  2. The phone company, the gas company, the electric company, the cable company. They’re all the same when it comes to customer service: BAD.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I also switched from at&t. There is a huge difference in what they say and what they ask for.


  4. Oh, Marilyn…. You do get the worst service (no service?) from so many. What do these people who answer the phones actually do? Fingers crossed they bill you correctly from now on.


  5. There is no good time to call most “customer service” numbers.


  6. I hate to tell you but all the phone companies seem to do this. They make you wait, they shift you from one person to the next. They promise you one thing than they don’t follow through. Do you have a communications regulator in the U.S.? We have one here in Canada. Is there an ombudsman? I swear they won’t do anything for you unless you have a hissy fit. I complained to our regulator and boy did service ever improve.
    Take care of that headache.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They eventually (I think) got it right. Yes, we have an ombudsman AND the D.A. is always willing to give them a call on your behalf and in fact I had them do just that with Sprint, the bastards. In this case, the real problem is that you can never get back to the person you originally talked to and they don’t take notes … or the next person can’t find the notes because he lives in the Philippines and the first one was in Boston.

      It’s just exhausting and infuriating. I could go month-to-month, but when you are on Social Security, you need to be able to program payments by date. As I said, i think i got it done, but what a bloody PAIN.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Arrrrggggg I feel your angst!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. You’d think it would be possible to keep records in customer service, wouldn’t you? I’m sorry the phone company ruined your day. Mine is not that bad except that you have to wait so long to be connected but once you are they usually fix the problem even though I don’t think their operators are in Australia, either that or Telstra is staffed exclusively by Asians. They have sorted out problems for me a few times.
    What does annoy me though is how when I wanted to change the name of the account to mine they charged me a whopping fee even though my name was on the joint one and I was the one who paid for it anyway. I’m out of contract with them now and won’t renew it in case I have to move. You can still get your service without a contract.
    I suppose AT&T does not have BYO phone plans. It would be too simple if you could go to the store and buy a cheap phone that you liked instead of paying for one of theirs. But no, you can’t put a sim from a smartphone into a flip phone, they are smaller, unless you still have the holder it came it. You can’t put a sim from some smartphones into others either as sims come in three sizes, standard, mini and micro as I found out last year. I do sometimes use the smartphone for the internet when I’m travelling but I don’t have much data on my plan and don’t want to pay extra for more. I kind of miss my flip phone too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AT&T is the only service that even partially works in this valley. We tried the others and they quite simply, don’t work. Sprint is actually worse. I had to get the Attorney General of Massachusetts to call them and make them give me my money back.

      There IS BYO service and you can buy it anywhere, including Walmart. But I need bills.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I have always disliked AT&T! About 2 years before my mother died (when she was 96), she moved from her home to a home about 3 miles away. It was important to her to keep the same phone number. I called AT&T to make the change or address, and spent an hour from one department to another trying to find out whether she could keep the same phone number. In between calls, I called the cable company, and found that we could switch to their service with the same phone # — good bye AT&T!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The only reason for us to even HAVE a mobile phone is so we can have an emergency phone when we are on the road. Otherwise, I never use it. I rarely even turn it on, much less use it. If I have computing to do, I use a computer.


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