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Rant :: Poor Customer Service
  submitted on January 28, 2009, 6:36 AM

Just a quick complaint regarding AT&T and what I would consider "good" customer service.

My wife and I have been Cingular/AT&T subscribers for probably 4 years now. For the most part I'm pretty happy with them, and I think their rollover minutes that they offer are an underrated feature to their cell phone plans.

Anyways, when we signed up on their family plan, they were offering 450 anytime minutes, 5000 nights & weekends (essentially unlimited as far as we're concerned), and free mobile-to-mobile minutes. Pretty standard stuff. Pricing was pretty standard too, $39.99 for the plan, $19.99 for any additional line. So sans taxes, fees, and any other features you're basically looking at $60 a month straight up for the two of us to have our phones. No problem.

Well, at some point in time AT&T does away with the plan that we are on, so now their lowest family plan offers 550 anytime minutes, unlimited nights & weekends, and free mobile-to-mobile. There pricing also changes slightly, so now it's $49.99 for the plan and $9.99 for each additional line (It still works out to $60 for two people).

Here's my problem: AT&T never notified us of this new plan, never offered to switch us over to this new plan, and seemed perfectly content to screw us out of 100 minutes every month. It may seem like I'm nitpicking, but we tend to hover right around that 450 minute mark pretty frequently. Some months we are under, and can accumulate some rollover minutes, but other months we are over, sometimes as much as 120 minutes over. So there are times where we go over our allotted minutes, and don't have enough rollover minutes, and we get hit with charges for the extra minutes, which add up pretty quickly. But if we had an extra 100 minutes a month? We'd be fine. We would have plenty of rollover minutes stored up on the off chance we actually went over 550 minutes a month (Just as a small sample size, Melissa's minute usage tends to range from 350-450 minutes a month, while mine goes anywhere from 30-190 over the past 7 months or so).

Now, I'm not suggesting we shouldn't have to pay for going over, I fully understand that we have 450 minutes to use and it's our responsibility to make sure we don't go over. All I'm saying is that a company that really stressed good customer service might think about notifying their customers when they are in an old plan that is costing them 100 free minutes a month, all because they signed up earlier and are older customers. I know cell phone companies are all about new customers, with their deals on new phones, new customer discounts, etc., but sometimes you should try and pay more attention to the needs of your current customers as well.

And just as an update, once I discovered this new plan, I switched us over immediately, so starting with our next billing cycle we will have 550 minutes to deal with, which should make our monthly bill look much nicer.

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