February 28, 2008

Customer service at AT&T (Cingular) Wireless

Posted in Daily life tagged , , , , , at 12:38 am by Lauren

Ask me why I’m writing a blog post about Cingular when I have been living in France for five months. No, really, go ahead. Ask me if I didn’t close out my Cingular account when I left in September.

Thanks for asking. I DID in fact close my Cingular account. I called and asked for both phones to be cancelled on September 14. La di da, boarded a plane and never looked back.

Until December. In December I got back to the States to pick up my visa and found a notice from Cingular in the mail. (I assumed it was a note to say the account had been closed.) It was an overdue notice saying we owed over $100. Now, I could understand if somehow I owed more money for the last month I was in town (though why I wouldn’t have known sooner, I don’t know), but how could I possibly owe over $100 more to Cingular?

Let me tell you. Cingular only closed one of the phone lines on our family account. So while I was eating baguettes, Cingular Wireless was charging me for a phone line that I wasn’t using in a country I wasn’t in. So, I called them, and I explained their mistake. After a little bit of bouncing from department to department, a customer service representative credited the account for the additional months, and I paid $58.71 to close out the account for good. Zero balance.

But that was December? Why am I writing about this in the end of February? You’re an intelligent reader – you’ve guessed by now that they didn’t close the account. Except apparently they did, but not before charging me for another month. And sending the overdue balance to collections in the meantime. Thank you so much, Cingular Wireless. Worst customer service ever.*

This evening I spent about an hour on the phone with Cingular – long distance from France, mind you, and they don’t need to know that I pay pennies for hours of conversation and listening to the advertisements while on hold – and the customer care and receivables departments (the latter deals with the collection agencies) were able to close out my account and zero the balance for good. (Haha, did I just say “for good”?) Let’s all hope I’m not blogging about Cingular/AT&T Wireless again in May.

*For the record, it does have a rival for the moniker of worst customer service ever. Comcast did a number on us a few years ago when we moved out of Arlington. We paid the final bill, returned all the equipment, and thought we were finished with them. Two months later, without ever any sort of contact (though we’d left a forwarding address), we receive word that Comcast has reported us to a collections agency. I have to call Comcast to find out what we supposedly owed them. And do you know what we owed them? My modem. That’s right. They wanted us to return my personal modem that I had purchased from Amazon. That was a marathon set of phone calls with Comcast, with appropriate indignation that the first I was hearing of it was when I found out Comcast had reported us to collections. And didn’t they think it was odd that my account said “customer modem” on it and had no modem rental charge? Well, they did, but they couldn’t clear the account unless I proved I owned the modem. I had to prove I owned the modem I had purchased four years before. Fortunately Amazon.com orders can be researched and receipts printed for perpetuity. I had to fax Comcast a four-year-old receipt for them to call off the collections agencies. So you decide – does Comcast or Cingular have the worst customer service? I suppose I should order another credit report now…


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