First, AT&T billed me for a full month for the month of May, when my service was discontinued on the 19th and my equipment was mailed back on the same day via UPS per their instructions (and I have the UPS receipt to prove it).  Then in June, they tell me they owe me $91.17 and change because I overpaid.  Duh! So I call them the day I got that bill and asked them, “Where’s my $91 bucks.”  Oh, it’s company policy that they won’t send it until they’ve verified that they have my equipment, which they should have gotten within 10 days if it was sent by UPS ground.  Oh, you’ll get it at the end of July.  So I called again Monday to ask where my check is.  They said, oh, it’ll be mailed out to the duplex address — which is where I haven’t lived since 05/19.  So I gave them my forwarding address.  Today I got the check $91.17, mailed to my forwarding address,   AND I GOT ANOTHER BILL FROM AT&T FOR THE BILLING PERIOD 06/07-07/06 CHARGING ME A $5 “CONVENIENCE FEE”!!!!

Needless to say, I pinballed between the floor and ceiling four or five times and got on the phone to AT&T.  The first time I called, they wanted me to take a survey to be eligible to win a Caribbean vacation, press 1 to begin.  Press 1 to begin.  Press 1 to begin.  When I refused to press 1, they hung up on me. So I called again, and after it rang six or seven times, I got the phone tree guy. I must say it only took two “branchings” for me to get to a live American human being.  It usually takes four or five.

First, I explained to the lady that I mailed every piece of AT&T equipment I had back on 5/19, and that I had the receipt from UPS to prove it.  Secondly, I explained that I could not have been using AT&T TV and internet services until 5/21, which is when the bill showed they had been discontinued, because in the first place, as of 5/19 I was no longer residing at that location, and in the second place, neither were my phone, computer and TV, and even if they had been there, I had no AT&T equipment to hook them up to because I’d sent everything back on 5/19.  And then I explained to the lady that in addition to the check for $91.17, which I got today, I also got a bill for the billing period of 6/7-7/6 charging me a $5 “convenience fee,” which amount was due in full by 7/31, and where do they get off charging me a “convenience fee” after they’ve drawn interest on my $91 bucks for a whole month and a half?

I managed to keep a civil tongue, and the AT&T lady was very nice and contrite, and saw in her records that, yes, indeed, my equipment had all been surrendered to UPS on 5/19, and she professed puzzlement at them charging me a “convenience fee.”  The upshot of the phone call was that they are going to issue me a check for $22.25, which was what they tried to overcharge me over and above the $91.17 they said I had overpaid them, and I do not owe them the $5 “convenience fee.”  I was going to say that actually, THEY should pay ME a $5 INconvenience fee, because it took four phone calls over the course of three months to get this mess straightened out, but I was able to restrain myself.   I will say this, though.  After the billing department had tried to pull a fast one on me, she then had the brass to ask me if I knew that I could get Dish satellite service at my present location.  (Dish is a subsidiary of AT&T.)  No, I don’t want DISH.  I’ve had it.  That’s why I changed to AT&T Uverse in the first place because I was tired of fooling with service outages every time it rained.  And besides, AT&T Uverse wasn’t available where I was currently living. Then she asked me if I wanted them to call me when AT&T Uverse was available in my area!  I did not say, “Not bloody likely!” but as I politely declined that’s what I was thinking.  I told her, no, Suddenlink was giving me the same services I had through AT&T but were charging me $20 a month less for it.

I hope I get my $22.25 by the end of next week.  That plus the $91.17 I got today will just about buy me a new vacuum cleaner for carpet.  I think I’m going to get one like my BFF has.  In the meantime, I think I’ve had enough aggravation for one night.  Guess I’d better shut the computer down and go take my shower and wash my hair.

*The proverbial wet hen.