Monday, October 18, 2010

    "Abusing" AT&T's System

    "Keep the minutes you save."  That's what the commentator says at the end of this AT&T add for the A-List with Rollover minutes.  But in a recent conversation I had with an AT&T rep, it turns out that's not exactly true.

    Here's the situation, since activating the A-List we have been banking minutes like they're going out of style.  Currently, we have more than 5 months worth of minutes banked.  With two iPhones on our account, the prices are starting to creep up...  Way up.  So, as a means of saving some money, I figured I could downgrade our base plan for a few months while we eat away at the ridiculous number of rollover minutes we have.

    Going into this, I knew that we would lose the A-List if we downgraded our base plan.  If you have anything less than the 1400 minute family plan, the A-List isn't an option.  However, I did not think I would be called out for attempting to "abuse" the plan structures.

    When I explained to the very polite customer support rep that I would like to downgrade my base plan until I ate up the enormous store of rollover minutes that I had accrued, the rep informed me that I would only be able to carry as many minutes with me as I would get in a single month on whatever base plan I chose.  So, if I chose a 700 minute plan, I would only get to keep 700 rollover minutes.  In the ensuing conversation (once again, a very polite conversation), the rep told me AT&T had made the change to the rollover program when people started "abusing" it:  Namely, they would bank a bunch of minutes, then downgrade their plan and live off the rollover minutes they had accrued.

    Ironically, that's not the first time that I've had an AT&T customer support rep throw around the "abuse" word.  Another time I called to discuss the possibilities of switching my SIM card around to other phones (one of the prime reasons for using a GSM phone), the rep I was speaking with said I needed to be careful that I didn't "abuse" the AT&T system.

    When all the dust had settled with the minutes discussion, the rep had agreed to allow me to keep twice the normal amount, which would have amounted to 1400 minutes.  Not many, considering the nearly 8,000 we have banked,  But, I do have this to say for AT&T customer support:  They're courteous and quite honestly a pleasure to talk to, going above and beyond to support me.  Two times (and the irony of this is not lost on me) I have had dropped calls when talking to a rep.  Both times, the rep called me back to finish the conversation.  Some are better informed than others, but all of them have been earnest and sincerely seem to believe that they are there to help me make better decisions.