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I am so glad to be shut of AT&T — or almost shut!  For those of you who have tuned in late, here’s a recap of the battle with that octopus:   They sent me a bill for the whole month of May even though I had surrendered all their equipment to UPS as instructed on May 19th, the day the movers came, and I had the receipt to prove it.  When I got the bill, I called straight away wanting to know why they were billing me for a full month when I hadn’t used their services for a full month.  “Oh, that’s company policy.  You’ll get a refund, but not until our records show we have received your equipment.” They promised me that once that happened, a check would be forthcoming, but I wouldn’t get it until the end of July, which is absurd, but I let it pass.

Then about halfway through July, I made a second call wanting to know where my refund was.  I pointed out that if my equipment had been returned by me on the 19th, even if it went by ground, it should not have taken a month and a half to get to them.  “Oh, our records show that your equipment was returned the 19th and that it has been received by us.”  That call was made on a Monday.  That Friday, oddly enough, I received a check for $91.17, refund for the period of 05/21/2014 to the end of that billing period. I also received, by the same post, a bill from them for a $5 “convenience fee.”

So I call them a third time and point out to them that they owed me more than the $91.17 they had promised to refund me because, as their records showed, I had returned my equipment on the 19th, so I had no equipment at the service address with which to avail myself of their services, and even if I had, neither my computer nor my TV nor my telephone was physically present at the service address after the morning of the 19th, so even if I had had any equipment, which I hadn’t, there was nothing at the service address to which to hook it up.  And further more, what was this bill for a $5 “convenience fee”?  They had had my money in their bank drawing them interest for over a month and a half, and they were charging me $5 for that privilege?!   They agreed that it would not be a good idea to bill me for two days of service that I could prove I could not possibly have “consumed” and that they would refund me an additional $21.25.  And the lady I spoke to had worked for them for over 10 years and she had never heard of the “convenience fee” they were charging me (and I could tell that even she was shocked by their corporate effrontery).  She would see that it was waived.  By now, I was beginning to feel like John Cleese in the famous Dead Parrot Sketch, but I thought maybe I was finally done with their constant nickeling and diming octorporate* practices, and well and truly shut of them.

Monday, I received a check from AT&T for — are you ready for it? — $17.25.  Yep.  They’d deducted the “convenience fee” from my refund.  So yesterday, I get on the phone for the fourth time, go through the whole spiel again, to be told, no, they had indeed refunded me all they owed me and I did not owe the convenience fee.  Of course, I didn’t own them a convenience fee! They’d already deducted it from my refund, even after the lady I talked to before had assured me she worked for them for 10 years and had never heard of the convenience fee (“Oh, that just started in 2014.”), that I would receive a refund of $22.25, and that the convenience fee would be waved.  We went round and round again, and she mentioned that she would report the other lady to her supervisor for giving me incorrect information, and that I didn’t owe a convenience fee.  I could see I wasn’t getting anywhere and hung up.

I simmered about it for half an hour then got back on the phone and made a fifth call.  I waded through the phone tree and when the lady answered, I asked to speak to a supervisor.  Oh, she assured me she would do everything in her power to see that I was a very satisfied customer, and that if I still wasn’t satisfied, she would put me in touch with the supervisor.  So I went through the whole spiel again, and we fenced a bit, and I made it clear that what would make me a very satisfied customer is her sending me a check for $5, which she agreed to do, but — wait for it — I wouldn’t get it until the end of the next billing cycle. What do you want to bet I end up having to make a sixth call?

In other news, one of the kitties, and I have my suspicions as to which one, provided me with an opportunity to use the power suction “pet” attachment to my new vacuum by ralphing on the bedspread.  By the time I found it, it was dried.  Vacuumed out nicely, though.  I also learned that I could reconnect the vacuum in such a way that I could use the “floor brush” portion ( “business end” when the vacuum is configured as an upright) as an attachment on the end of the wand when using just the “tank” portion as a “carry around” vacuum.  Somebody has put some serious thought into this baby.  Also, it’s so quiet it didn’t panic the kitties.  They’re understandably leery of it, but it doesn’t panic them like my old upright, or the Eureka tank I’ve had longer than I’ve had the kitties.

Last night, the Littermaid’s rake froze at the top of the cycle — at least it didn’t freeze in the middle where it would have completely blocked the kitties access to the box.  But as it was, the soiled litter receptacle could not be closed. I turned it off and on a couple times, and all it did was sit there and blink.  Rather than just leave it sitting there blinking, I turned it off.  This morning when I got up, I was going to call Littermaid (it’s still under warranty), but on a whim, I turned it on.  Amazingly, it finished its cycle and has continued to work so far.  However, this rake “freeze” is an ominous sign.  Good think I have a brand new one in an unopened box stashed in the closet.

I’ve got to go take my bath now because I’ve got to go by the bank to get a money order for my rent, and then go to the dentist for a teeth cleaning, and then I’ll see if my BFF is home and go fix her computer.  Again.


*A word I just coined, derived from the strength of an octopus’ grasp because of all the suckers on all eight of its tentacles and all the things it can grasp because it has eight tentacles, and the type of corporate culture that attempts to get hold of as much money out of a customer’s pocket as they possibly can without doing anything overtly illegal, in AT&T’s case  by using a convoluted and admittedly creative system of fees and tolls so complex the customer would have to be especially determined to get to the bottom of and catch them at, and even then . . . . “Convenience fee,”  my Aunt Fanny!