Merced County Times Newspaper
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The Ongoing Battle Between Me And AT&T

John Derby Headshot
Times Publisher John Derby

“Do you mean to tell me, you shut off my phone for 66 cents?” we asked the AT&T operator.

It was the last straw.

We had had it with AT&T.

We decided to switch phone companies. That was when we found out AT&T could hold our phone number hostage, the one which we had used for years. Until they released it, the new phone company could not set it up for the new phone service.

This was another one of their tricks. We switched anyway. Our landline with the old number had already been ruined as it was on overload with Robocalls being allowed by AT&T. Having a new phone number might be a blessing.

Our battle with AT&T started years ago when we got our cellphone. We were told they offered a special program in which a flat fee was charged — $40 a month, for all calls within the United States, Canada and Mexico.

It seemed like a good idea since we did spend a lot of time in Mexico. We put it on autopay, so we could not have to worry about the monthly bill. Then one day, our cellphone was shut off for non-payment.

How could this be? It must be the phone.

We took it into the local AT&T store and had them fix it. Which they did, not mentioning what the problem was.

When it happened a second time, we decided to buy a new phone of a different brand. Several weeks later we were shut down again.

This time we charged into the store and asked the manager, “What is going on?”

He told us that we had overdrawn the account. But we had been told it covered all calls.

“All calls but directory assistance calls,” was his reply.

AT&T charges $2.95 for each directory assistance call, and they are not covered in the program.

“And your salesman failed to notify us with this little bit of vital information!” was our reply.

Another little trick of AT&T.

To pour salt in the wound, the sales manager said, “However, there is a way to call for directory assistance for free if you just use this other number.”

“Now you tell us,” was our reply before storming off.

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