Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Terrible Thing

A Terrible Thing. ATT. Yes, this is a followup to my previous blog about the joy of being a customer of AT&T.

As I've said before, I'm sorry to use my blog as a complaint forum. I prefer to keep my posts on a positive note. But friends have pointed out that it is a good thing to let people know what is going on. Kind of a "duty to warn" situation I suppose.

If you know a copperhead snake is in the backyard you have the responsibility to warn those who might be walking there.

Actually I shouldn't malign copperhead snakes.

If you have just seen a drunk person urinate in a pool, you have a responsibility to warn the kids that are getting ready to jump in. Right? Though maybe it would depend on if they were the same kids that toilet papered your yard, but I digress.

Anyway, last Friday I received an envelope in the mail for a "Gary Stevens". The name seemed familiar. A neighbor perhaps? The address was ours though. Then I remembered something I'd heard over the phone about a month ago, "the account was opened by Gary Stevens and he must have punched in your phone number by mistake". Residential Email LLC had once again reared their ugly head.

The envelope turned out to be stuffed with items that an email spam filter would block in a second. Viagra advertisements, pyramid schemes, pleas from millionaires from Ethiopia. Unfortunately having no postal spam filter, I suppose I'll have this kind of crap to look forward too from now on. Thanks AT&T.

But this was just the beginning of a delightful weekend. On Saturday our AT&T statement arrived, and as usual it did not disappoint.

Now, the problem with the Residential Email LLC charges had actually been resolved during April after I'd threatened to report AT&T to the proper authorities. Supposedly, we even now had the elusive "Third Party Billing Block" whose existence was spoken of in hushed whispers.

Indeed the the credit for the $14.95 charge shined like a beacon of hope from the statement.

But the Past Due Charge of 35.02 shined even brighter.

Yes, in addition to the current bill we were also being charged the amount for the last statement (sans the 14.95 credit) plus a $7.10 late charge. AT&T was saying that we had not sent them our last payment.

What were we thinking not sending in our payment? How could we do something so vile and despicable to a company whose only thought was to provide us with safe and efficient communications services?

Or perhaps we did send the payment in on time, and there were witnesses?

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine and tune in for the next installment of my adventures with AT&T, The Strange Case of the Purloined Payment.

1 comment:

TallCowboy said...

I came across your blog searching for the dastardly LLC charge, and called AT&T and she told me they would bill back the 2-months of charges to the company, she immediately credited my account, and told me I would need to contact the Bad Guys to cancel the "service". I asked her to set my Third Party Billing block, and she explained to me that "the people who expect that to prevent these types of third-party billings are mistaken". Remember (if you are old enough) when we would, for example, be at Auntie Bernice's house and feel the need to place a long-distance call our sister Beulah in Beaumont, but desire to do so without sticking Auntie Bernice with the bill? We could call the operator and say "will you please transfer the charge for this long-distance call to my home number?" and the operator would do so (No, REALLY...operators used to do stuff like that for you ~ it was a simpler, more trusting time, before the world moved on, but I digress). Well, THAT is what "Third Party Billing" represents, and if you block it, then you will not be able to transfer the charges in the future and Auntie Bernice will get stiffed. She told me she was a CSR with the Phone Co for over 27 years and this flag you guys are talking about is to block this "third party billing", NOT the third-party service billing, which cannot be LEGALLY stopped due to laws put in place (back in the day when Ma Bell was busted up) regarding monopolizing us poor peons (access to mom-and-pop service providers must be maintained).

Regards and I look forward to your next installment. ;)