Monday, February 6, 2012

AT&T Bill $665

Whenever my husband comes to me with papers in his hand, I know there is usually a problem. Saturday he had a fist full of papers and I asked what it was. I never expected him to say it’s the AT&T bill and we owe $665.00. I said, “What!?!” as I jumped up to look at the bill. It must be a mistake. That’s almost $500 over what we typically pay.  I checked all the pages. We have four phones with 1,000 minutes and 3,000 rollover minutes that we don’t use. I don’t get it! I was shaking as I tried calling AT&T three or four times and the call wouldn’t go through. Who knows what number I was dialing? 

As I am waiting for someone to pick up at AT&T, I am pacing in circles and making myself dizzy. My daughter is laughing at me, telling me not to worry, they will fix the bill. She wants me to stop pacing before I end up on the floor. All the while, my saint of a husband is telling me not to worry, if we have to pay it we will pay it. But, I finally managed to get a customer service representative while I am still barely on my feet and shaking. 

It’s Nicole. How can I help you she asks. I tell her my story. I thought I had over 3,000 roll over minutes and now my bill is almost $500 dollars over what I normally pay.  She pulls up my account and says she will see how she can help me. She tells me my rollover minutes were all used up in November, 2011. Apparently, I had been eating into my little “cushion” of extra minutes all along and never realized it. And, now all the “extra” minutes over 1,000 for the month, were billable. She tells me she will see what she can do about it. A couple of minutes later she says she is taking off $303.33 from the amount due; that is all the computer will allow her to do in one day. But, she adds, she will call me back tomorrow to see if she can take off more money and give me some rollover minutes too. She asked me what would be a good time for her to call me and I said 11 AM. I thanked her for her help.

The next day, promptly at 11 AM, Nicole calls. She reviews my account and says she is taking another $178 off the bill and adding 5,000 rollover minutes to my account for me so hopefully I won’t go over again. I laugh and tell her she can be sure I won’t be going over ever again. I think her again for all her help and ask to speak to a supervisor to tell them how much she helped me. She tells me all the supervisors are busy, but thanked me. I said I’d be willing to write a letter or email. She said it wasn’t necessary, I was a good customer and I should have a nice day.  And with that, my phone bill went down to the normal $182 a month and I have more rollover minutes than ever before. 

Yes, I learned a valuable lesson about checking minute usage. Over the years I have gotten very complacent about never going over my minutes. But. It seems it’s very easy to do and very stupid on my part. I do have a landline and many times I use the cell phone because it’s easier and right there. You can bet I won’t be using it as much any more. And now I won’t be able to rant and rave when AT&T has a temporary outage in my area. I usually give them a very hard time about things like that. But, they didn’t give me a hard time when I needed this problem solved. So I owe them big time!  

On top of that, I knew this whole problem was my fault. The other three in my family hate talking on the phone and rarely do. If minutes were being used, it would have had to be me. However, I couldn’t yell at myself, could I? Then I would have looked like an even bigger nut than the one who went over LORD knows how many minutes to add an extra $500 to the bill. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you how many extra minutes I used. The paper was shaking so much in my hand and I was going into a mini panic attack, that I couldn’t see the numbers.

The next thing I need to do it to see if they have some kind of usage alert feature on the website, so they can tell me when I am getting close to using all my minutes (like that’s ever going to happen again). I think that should be an automatic feature for every cell phone. If you don’t have it activated, you might want to, so that one day you aren’t in my shoes pleading your case to the phone company.

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