a little upset with AT&T's tech support. Well the only solution I could see was to switch carriers. We had Divya come over and test her cell signal in our house and it was perfect. She's on T-mobile, which is awesome, because our iPhones would work just by getting a new SIM card, no need to by new expensive iPhones or enter into some weird contract.
So I call AT&T. Can you guess what happens next?
I'm out of contract, but Kendle is two months from being out of contract, and they will not waive the Early Termination Fee. Even though it's their towers that are down, their 3G micro cell that I tried to get to work and could not, and their techs who won't be out to fix the towers till September!
So I'm on the phone with one guy who tells me I can't switch to T-mobile because they don't have micro SIMs (the type of SIM that goes into iPhone 4 and up) then he tells me they NEVER waive ETF's. Never ever ever (except for death and military members...I asked). Then he tells me that talking to a manager will take forver, and that they will not be able to do anything more, as even they don't have the power to waive ETF's.
"Well who DOES, because I can do this all day long. If your manager can't, then I'll talk to the next guy up, and the next guy up."
We ended it there with the fact that I was just going to have to wait this contract out.
But something didn't feel right. I looked on the T-mobile website and sure enough...they DO have microSIM cards. So if he lied about that...what else might he have possibly lied about?
So I call back, and get a different guy. We go though it all over again. Finally I say "I"ll pay your ETF fee, send me unlock codes for my phones so they can be used on other networks"
The steps required for me to move to T-mobile.
- Go into T-mobile with unlocked phones and start new service
- T-mobile will grab our old cell phone numbers which will start the contract termination with AT&T
- I pay the ETF
- TWO MONTHS PASS
- Unlock codes are sent to me to type into my phones for use on other networks
Wait what? Yeah. They won't sent me the codes to unlock my phone till the ETF is paid, and that happens at the end of a billing cycle, which is in a month. Then it takes a month to process/verify that the fee has been paid, then the numbers are released, then the new service starts....you get the idea I need step 5 to happen before step 1. I even got the AT&T guys to admit it was cyclical, but there was nothing that could be done.
So basically I'm fucked. I have to ride out 2 months of no service in the house because even if I paid their fee it would be impossible to speed up the transition due to the billing cycle and policies. I even checked to see if I paid it today with a credit card, over the phone if that would do anything to speed things up.
"So what if I just jailbreak and unlock these phones since you can't do it for me, we could get this transfer done today, right?"
"Uhh...well...yeah, I you could. That would void any warranty and you could destroy your phone"
Destroy?! Like it would blow up? "Alright, I need to speak with a manager at this point, you are getting me nowhere."
This guy was happy to move me up because I had taken up a ton of his time already.
The manager? This is where things get better. The manager gives me the news that a) the towers will actually be up next week, and she's not sure why I was not told that between the 3 tech and 2 service reps I've already talked to. b) Gave me a 60 dollar credit for not being able to use the service for a month and c) gave me free unlimited text messages for 6 months (a $30/month charge) for taking up all my time with techs and sales reps.
She's also calling ME back the day after the towers are scheduled to be fixed to make sure everything's working and to see if there's anything she can do that day to make my phones work better.
So it should all be fixed by the 4th or the 8th when the towers are supposed to be coming back online. I'll keep you posted.
Fun lines I used while talking with AT&T:
- "Riddle me this..."
- "Let's pretend for a moment I'm willing to pay your termination fee..."
- "I know your job is to say no, and squeeze every last dollar out of leaving customers, but human to human here, I need phone service, and your company cannot provide it, what can you do to help me out?"
- "If you cannot unlock my phones, and you cannot let me out of my contract early, and you cannot provide phone service at my primary residence, what's the solution? I'm asking you because I'm out of ideas now."
- Remain calm...joke/laugh with the representative if possible. The person over there probably hates their job, so do your best to not be just another asshole complaining.
- Listen and understand what their policy's are, but present a strong argument that they cannot refute quoting their policy's. (IE don't try to exit a contract early because you want to...have a good reason to do so).
- Don't make it a me vs. you conversation. Make it a US vs. THEM conversation. Be their buddy, and let them know you realize what their job is, and that you understand that they can bend rules or even break them.
- Take up as much of their time as possible, argue in circles if you have to, that's what they will do to you, they only have so many responses on their script. They are humans, and they can be wore down just like anyone else.
- Insist on talking to a manager. The first line of defense has no power, and it's their job to say no, and get every bit of money out of you possible. The managers job is to retain you as a customer and fix the issue.