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Oct 01 2014


We are selling our old house and the closing is scheduled for this week. We have an AT&T Uverse landline phone there and have an alarm system with a monitoring service. First thing I did was to try to login to my AT&T account on line to “manage” it. Seems as if there are different logins for AT&T, AT&T mobile, and AT&T Uverse. Stumbling along, I could not seem to login anywhere. So, started a chat with a rep.

I told him what I wanted to do was to login to my Uverse account to stop my landline at the old house but to make no other changes (our mobile phones are on that particular account as well). After going back and forth and back and forth with who I am, what my address is, what my access code is, etc. (let’s say about 15 minutes), he told me that neither he nor I could do what I wanted to do either with him or if I could login to my account. I’d have to call an 800 “retention” number. Got that … retention.

The rep told me to say “Cancel” after the machine voice answered. I called. I said “cancel.” Oh, that doesn’t work. You have to put in your phone number for the account you want to deal with. After a few more machine questions and answers, I did get a customer service rep. He said he would cancel the landline. A couple of things here: (1) we shall wait and see if something as simple as stopping that particular phone line really happens and nothing else gets screwed up (been there too many times with AT&T), and (2) the rep advised me to wait at least 30 days before combining the old account (now with just mobile phones on it) with our new account at our new house. Combining it earlier would insure a screw up in billing or worse. So, we shall see how this all pans out. I have never found dealing with AT&T simple. A first time, maybe?

Next I called our monitoring company on their 800 customer service number, a company with whom we’ve been doing business for at least 40 years in their present form and their predecessors. Had to wait 20 minutes on hold before getting a rep (loud, repetitive music). I requested that their monitoring service terminate on the date of closing since the buyer wasn’t sure what he/she wanted to do about an alarm. I was informed that (1) I’d have to mail (yes, mail) them a cancellation letter and (2) since I was cancelling and not moving the account to another address, I’d be responsible immediately to pay the monitoring fees through July, 2015. Seems as if I’d signed a contract for three years of service. What I don’t understand is that I own the alarm equipment. So why should I have to pay to cancel service? Oh, when I asked, he did tell me he could email me the cancellation letter which I can fill out, scan, and send back. And he is to send me a copy of my contract as well.

Called back on local service department number. Found out the customer service department was in St. Louis even with its toll-free number that I had called. The Service Department rep said she’d try to connect me with someone in management in Customer Service. After about 10 minutes on hold listening to their ads for their services, an operator asked how she could direct me call. Arghhh. Thought it was directed. Told her a manager in Customer Service. So, now music and another 15-minute hold. Rep answered and tried to get a manager, waited on hold again.

Rep came back on line, said manager was busy in her office, but knew about my earlier request. He told me that “all” alarm companies have long-term contracts with clients that “spell out each party’s duties and responsibilities.” He really could not tell me what I got from such a contract since I own my equipment and have always done so. It was just the way it is and he alleged it is this way with all alarm companies. I know that when we cancelled service with another company at a non-profit I am associated with, it was just cancelled. Period. No future fees to pay based on a long-term contract. So, “all” seems inaccurate given the other company is a major player in this market as well.

I played the “long-term customer” card. Back on hold as he checked with his manager. He came finally back and said given how long we had been associated with the company, his manager had agreed to waive the balance of the contract fees. Took about an hour of my time like pulling teeth, but finally got relief. Time for an evening libation … and waiting to see how this all really turns out.


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