Ebony Lusk was happy with her AT&T/DirecTV locked rate plan until something went awry. That rate became “unlocked” after just one year. Her bill doubled and, to add insult to injury, her available services decreased. Can we help get this billing debacle straightened out?
Question: When I switched from AT&T/U-Verse to AT&T/DirecTV in December 2015, I was told my price was good for two years. However my price doubled after a year! They also doubled my price for Internet and moved me from elite to basic. I just want the price lock that was promised. Even a supervisor that I spoke to said I should have had the price for two years, but they will not honor it. I called customer service and said I would like to cancel and then I was told I had to pay the remainder of the contract. I just want what the representative on the phone promised me: a two-year price lock. That is it! Can you help me? — Ebony Lusk, The Colony, Texas
Answer: It certainly is a reasonable expectation that your two-year locked rate plan should stay locked for two years. Not only that, your services should remain at the same level as you originally agreed upon.
When we looked into your case, it was clear that something had gone wrong with your contract and you deserved an explanation from AT&T. Unfortunately, you experienced further frustration when the customer service representatives did not agree that you were ever locked into a two-year plan.
You made many attempts to allow AT&T to correct this billing and service mistake. When none of your attempts moved the company to help you, you decided to cancel your contract with them and change service providers.
We don’t blame you. When a company does not honor its promises, a rational solution is to look for an alternative option.
But this is when AT&T hit you with another virtual punch. Now it told you that you could cancel your two-year contract, but you would be charged a cancellation fee.
So, let’s get this straight. AT&T wanted you to adhere to a two-year contract that it was not willing to abide by? This policy seems quite consumer unfriendly.
It was at that point that you turned to us for help.
I contacted AT&T on your behalf and pointed out that the company had not honored your two-year contract, that your services had decreased, and that your monthly bill had doubled. I requested that they fulfill your contract at the price that you had agreed upon.
AT&T agreed, and we are pleased to report that your bill has now reverted back to the rate that you are happy with and your services have returned to normal.
We do receive a fair share of complaints such as Lusk’s in which a company has promised a consumer a certain rate or certain services verbally, but never puts the “contract” in writing. These verbal contracts pose a serious problem for a consumer. If the company does not uphold its end of the bargain, the consumer is left with no proof of the agreement.
In order to avoid such problems, we recommend that when a company offers a great deal to retain you as a customer, insist that it put all of the terms in writing. If it won’t put its offer in writing, then it’s likely that you don’t have a deal that the company will honor.
Many consumer problems that we see each day could be avoided by following this simple rule: Get everything in writing!