Monday, May 13, 2013

Bye AT&T!

I'm not one to post much in the way of consumer reports.  But I am one to rant when I get a good chance and if that rant happens to fall into the category of products and customer service, I let the chips fall where they may.  As part of the Mother's Day plan we arranged for the kids to be looked after by the grandparents while my wife and I finally got the much needed cell phone upgrades.  Not because we have to have the newer model with a front facing camera and the virtual assistance of Siri.  No, more-so because we have been limping along with our 3GS's as each of them were getting glitchy, having memory issues, and charging problems.

But this wasn't the first time we tried to get this upgrade.  Late last year was the first time we dared enter the AT&T gates and ask when our upgrade options were available.  We were told a month that began with an "M".  I heard March but apparently they meant May.  Our second visit was (you guessed it) in March.  We excitedly re-entered the gates, checked in with the host, and browsed our options while waiting for it to be our turn.  Before I could ask the difference between the 4, the 4S, and the 5, my rep tells me that I cannot upgrade until May and we leave defeated again.

So yesterdays visit was key.  It was the culmination of anticipation and past rejections being overcome with a  final and glorious victory that left us with smiles on our faces and new iPhones in hand.  We check in, we go to the wall of phones and stare with a sense of awe, and then it happens.  Our sales rep approaches and says, folks I can't upgrade you until this months bill is paid for.  I am immediately irritated with a side of frustrated anger.  Our bill is paid automatically and we set it up to pay on the 17th of each month because that is how it best fits in with all of our other bills.  This is before the 21st late fee cutoff but apparently not what they consider "on-time" either.  So despite being customers for over a decade with impeccable credit and pay history, I have now been turned away by AT&T for the third time.

I understand the first time.  We were over six months away from the upgrade deadline.  The second time they could have figured something out since we were just two months out.  And then yesterday there was just no excuse.  I was NOT going to lose this opportunity (especially with kids in grandparent hands).  So a quick drive just one parking lot over and I am standing at a Verizon store, getting my 4S, keeping my phone number, getting a cheaper monthly plan, and being treated like a customer that is of value.  I fought every urge to pull a Goodwill Hunting as I imagined going back to AT&T, showing them my new phone, and asking "How bout them apples!?"