I was in Vietnam from July 6th-July 22nd. I arrived at the hotel and the last I saw of my phone was just after I arrived at the hotel. I remember putting it in my bag in the hotel room. I had no reason to look for the phone during my stay as I had no intention to use it. Instead I used Skype etc. for my calls.
On July 22nd, I was packing and noticed my phone was not there. I thought there could be a possibility it could be deep in the overpacked luggage so I decided to wait until the next day when I got home.
On the 23rd, I went to an Apple Store and purchased and iPhone and told them to cancel my previous phone. The clerk said there was no problem. Then I discovered that there were charges during the period my phone was missing. I tried to explain my circumstances to the agent. She was extremely rude and accusatory. She kept me and my friend on hold for over 30 minutes.
I recontacted AT&T several times. Finally I was called by Ms. Barbara G. in the payment disputes area. She said that the charge would be over $2000. She understood the problem and reviewed my entire account history: the phone bill was always exactly the same every month. I paid with auto-pay and was never late. I had never called with international roaming ever in the history of the account, which was previously singular except for last May when I had the international calling plan for that purpose. Aside from that, I made ZERO international calls, ZERO data transfers etc. when I was abroad. In fact, I had been explicitly told I could NOT call internationally until the international roaming had been activated from the US. Ms. G. worked for 3-4 hours on the problem.
She called and said that the issue had been taken care of, but that the bill had not come up yet, so the charges would appear but then be waved. I asked her if she was sure that the issue was resolved. She said, "I will pay it myself if it is not...I am that sure". She said that certain people "did not get it" - people were making claims like, "But he was using the phone July 23rd" - Yes, indeed I was, that was the period I restarted my phone and there was no dispute with that.
On August 7th(?) I called AT&T on the billing date to make sure everything was ok. The agent said that the regular charge of $108 had appeared but not the disputed charges. He said MS. G. had done everything right. He asked if I wanted to disable autopay to avoid the disputed charges from being debited if they should occur. I said that I'd wait and check the next month. Basically, I had no dispute with the charges to the time I left LAX on July 4th and after July 23rd when I got the new iPhone.
In the last days of August, I checked my account statement, it was now $3500. Again, my account has been pretty much exactly the same amount - previously $35 etc. every month. I called customer service. They acted like they were hearing all of this for the first time. When I referred to Ms. G., the new person said, "These notes are not that clear..." After being kept on hold 30+ minutes several times, I was told another high level review would occur.
I mentioned that Ms. G. had taken very extensive notes and assured me all was taken care of. They made me go through the whole issue again. Each time I call, the agent reads a different version of what was written - so the disputed period starts on July 6th? July 8th? All of the extensive notes taken by Ms. G. and all of the hours spent were wasted.
It took one week for them to call me back. I was told that the claim was denied. I asked why. First, the agent said because I did not report the phone missing. I explained to her that I did not know the phone was missing as I did not plan to use it in Vietnam, I had no reason to take it out. She then said that allegedly there was a phone charge made on July 11th which had been made on another statement. I went through the charges on that date point by point, she could not point out the disputed charge to me. Then she claimed there was a text message sent that was sent in previous months. I said I would check out what this was.
I asked the agent why the claim was denied without calling me. The agent said, "Well it was denied, maybe that's why..." The agent apologized and said the issue would be reviewed again. I paid the portion of my bill that was not disputed.
Several minutes later I checked out the issue of the text message. They were all of the series 101-010. These text messages are from AT&T itself and are sent when certain emails are received. I had several alerts set up so when the person in Vietnam began using my phone, this text message indeed came in. It was automated from my email account. This same text message also came in this month and almost every month. Thus, when the person who stole my phone started talking, a text message was sent to the phone. It was still automated and this same automated text message occurred that month and almost every month for that reason.
I called back AT&T and asked the agent to note this in my record. She kept me on hold for a very long time, said she didn't know what to do. I asked for a supervisor. He at least listened and wrote down my explanation regarding the incoming text message.
I was also told by Ms G. that I could contact her if there was a problem but assured me all was fine. But when I did call and asked for her, I was told by numerous people, "I can't contact her directly, I can only send an email..." Other agents have said, "I can't contact her.." So someone has been lying to me.
I am extremely upset about this issue because
1) Ms G. spent 3-4 hours on it and assured me in no uncertain terms the situation was ok and told me I could contact her if there were problems
2) I pointed out there was never any irregularity in my account ever. It was always exactly the same amount and paid by auto-pay every month. I never called internationally or had international roaming on the phone ever except for last May when I called from Mexico using the international calling plan.
3) I have to reexplain the whole case each time I call, everyone ignoring the previous comments made. The dates that I have disputed change each time, showing the sloppy state of their record keeping
4) The disputed charges did not appear in the next billing period but in the one after that
5) The person denied my claim on the flimsiest of reasons - a call that allegedly was made and appeared in other statements - they cannot tell me which call that is when I look at the online statement. The text messages that came in were from AT&T itself. But the person reviewing my case did not bother to take this into account
6) I have no certainty that the charges will not reappear at any time. I was assured once the problem would be resolved. The charges reappeared. I am unable to contact the people making the decision on the case, they contact me only when a decision has been made. Their record keeping is extremely sloppy and they make assumptions that should have been explained in the extensive notes taken by Ms. G.
The alleged charges are approx $3,040.00
Product or Service Mentioned: Att Phone Plan.