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I’ll make this as short as possible while still covering the important points.

Before we go any further, let’s revisit that letter I got from AT&T:

The letter I received from AT&T - the only reason I left

The letter I received from AT&T - the only reason I left

That letter was the only reason I left AT&T for Verizon.  I was pretty happy with AT&T over the years.  And I do mean years – I was with them for nearly a decade.

But as I’ve said before, it wasn’t AT&T that caused my troubles, at least in large part.  It was the “authorized retailer” I got the phones from.  Turns out there was a part of the paperwork that said I’d stay with AT&T for a set period of time or they’d charge me $250 per line upon termination.

Now, I understand how this works and normally I’d be pissed off at myself for a while and chalk it up to lessons learned.  The problem with that approach is that the third party signed me up for the plan that caused this situation.  The way they present their store makes it very easy to confuse them with AT&T itself.  I’m a bit annoyed that AT&T didn’t have better communication with the people who did this, but I blame the “authorized retailer” for the lion’s share of this goat rope.

There are a few facets to this situation that have me royally fuming.  They waited from 30 December 2009 until 16 February 2010 to do this, there was no communication – not even a phone call or email, no bill, and there were no questions.  On top of that, they electronically showed the charge as coming from Nellis when it came from California.  I know this because they sent me a charge card receipt in an envelope postmarked from California.  I can only assume that it was done this way so as to avoid tripping any red flags with the bank.  And I didn’t get any of this in the U.S. mail until today.

I grabbed the letter and called AT&T to see if there was any way they could help as the “authorized retailer” is an agent of theirs in a way and it was very confusing to me before this point.  They washed their hands of everything.  While on the line with AT&T, I headed down to the store where I got the phones in question and after hanging up, I spoke with the manager.  He was a nice guy and very sympathetic.  I was as polite as I could be under the circumstances meaning I didn’t make a scene and kept the language civil and the tone of voice mostly so.  I’m pretty sure my face was a shade of crimson and I might have been trembling just a bit.

Mr. Manager made copies and after I’d left managed to contact someone in accounting.  Per their request, I scanned and emailed the letter above (minus the redactions, of course) to the accounting person while including Mr. Manager as a CC.  They hope to have this cleared up somehow by late Friday or early next week, but I still have no guarantees that I’ll ever see that money.

My plans for the near future in this matter are to let it play out first and give them a chance to make it right.  OK, to go back to the status quo ante where my money is mine without any sort of legal wrangling.  Failing that, I’m prepared to use one of the free legal consultations I’m afforded under my employer’s employee assistance program.  The last line of defense is small claims court.  I’m hoping the first option works as I really don’t want to deal with the others.

In the mean time, I get to call up my bank again and spend my lunch time on the phone with them tomorrow while I adjust the claim.  After I get out of work, I get to deal with my renter’s insurance company and apartment complex.

God, I can’t wait for this all to just be over with!

Thanks again for the support, the comments, and the good vibes everyone.  I’ll keep posting updates until this thing’s done.



  • Kath

    Still, it’s AT&T’s fault. None of this would have happened if you had not been pushed to have to do somegthing bec. of that letter in the first place.

    If I make a call on my phone and it ends up in my promotional minutes or my plan minutes, I pay if there is a charge. My phone company doesn’t act like Big Brother and not allow me to make a call to someone that happens to have a different plan.

    Plus, doesn’t the letter say they’re letting you know this so you can get out WITHOUT an early termination fee? And now they want to charge you an early termination fee. WTF??

    So, poops to AT&T. They took your money. They need to give it back. Period.

    • Kath,

      Thanks for the sentiments!

      AT&T took back the early termination fees that they had billed me for. It was the third party that’s their “authorized retailer” who charged my card. The problem comes when the two don’t talk and when the third party doesn’t talk before taking.

      The reason AT&T let me go was that it was costing them too much money in paying the other providers whose cell towers the calls were going through. I’m still not thrilled, but at least I’m not wandering aimlessly in a fog.

      But yes, I do want my money back.

  • kc

    Believe me, they ain’t goin’ broke using someone else’s tower, or however that works. Over here in NEFL, all the landlines belong to at&t, and are leased to other providers. I’m thinkin’ it balances out…somewhere.

    Glad you didn’t blow a gasket. Ain’t usually worth it. Hope your weekend is MUCH better than your work week. Of course, you could stay in bed with hives and have a better time, I bet! :-)

    • KC, thanks! I work for one of the providers out west who leases the lines, so I know how it goes :) Still, they’re not making all that much on me if all my stuff goes through someone else’s switch :wink:

      And the weekend will be good :D As in truly epic thanks to a new friend of mine who just so happens to have a license to manufacture some interesting items :twisted: … There will be pics and video 8)

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