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Monday, June 30, 2003

Scam:

Farewell, lovely ladyIt's good to see that the possibility of getting a mix CD has motivated you people to come through with the cheap, meaningless compliments that I knew you were all capable of. I'm so proud.

But overriding my pride at seeing my 'blogging homies come up with mildly stalker-esque and blatantly fake compliments is a sense that I am being ripped off royally by my mobile phone service provider. You might ask, "What else is new, you hot sexy bitch? People have been getting the shaft from cell phone companies since cell phones were the size and weight of a medium-sized malformed baby." This is true, but I want to describe to you the blatant, lubeless ass-fucking that my service provider, AT&T, is ever so graciously giving me.

You see, this past month I have been using my mobile phone much more than usual. I have a fairly generous plan, which includes 1,000 minutes per month, plus unlimited night and weekend calls. Unfortunately, my phone only tracks total minutes used and doesn't differentiate between "prime-time" minutes and night/weekend minutes. Since I used my phone a significant amount while I was driving to Arizona in early June, I thought that I was either close to going over or had perhaps already gone over my allotment of "prime-time" minutes, so I logged in to AT&T's web site to check on my monthly usage. However, though this service is available to "most customers" according to the site, it was unavailable to me.

"No problem," I thought, "I'll just call customer service and ask them to look it up for me."

If only it were so simple. I called customer service and was promptly informed by the woman who answered that they did not track usage. I insisted that they must track usage, since the service for tracking currently monthly usage was available to "most customers" via their web site. After several minutes of hemming and hawing and putting me on hold for what seemed like an interminable amount of time, she returned and told me that the reason I could not view my current monthly usage is because I am on a corporate-affiliated plan that has a discount. (It's a very minor discount, by the way.) She then informed me that the only way I can activate the "feature" that will allow me to view my currently monthly usage would be to forfeit my inclusion in the corporate plan and give up my discount.

So, basically, my options are as follows: Keep a manual running tally of my current monthly usage and keep my discount, or lose the discount and have this feature enabled. There is no option for me to pay a few extra bucks a month to view my current usage. Now, why would I get so pissed about this that I would write about in in my 'blog without using vague references to an amorphous corporate entity?

Because there is no way for people to know how many minutes they have used that month, they run the risk of going over their allotted minutes. If they go over, they are subject to ridiculously high rates for the minutes over the allotted amount, simply because they were unable to tell how many minutes they had used. Discount or not, I think this is an unacceptable way of doing business - denying a very large group of your customers access to viewing their current monthly usage simply because they get a few bucks discounted on their bill every month seems ludicrous to me.

In response to this, I'm planning on changing to a new service provider, unless anyone can tell me why this business practice is anything other than shady.


babbled by Kat @ 12:22:00 PM | |