New York, New York
6 comments

Anyone who signed up or is thinking of signing up for AT&T's 2-year contract for cell phone service should watch out for two major abusive billing practices by AT&T, plus overbilling of $1 or $2 every month.

1. First Abuse: If the 2-year contract ends on, say, June 30th, they intentionally set your billing cycle to a few days before, like 28th of every month, so that they can bill you until the end of next cycle, July 28th. If you cancel service on the last day of the contract, June 30th, they WILL STILL bill you until July 28th, well beyond the contract termination date, even when no service is provided! They set the billing cycles arbitrarily, without informing the customer. When challenged, they simply say it's company policy not to pro-rate a bill and hang up on you. The only way to fight it is to go to arbitration committee, for which you have to put up $10,000 in deposit (even if your dispute is only for $90)!! The contract takes away your right to small claims court or any other avenue of justice. It is well known that arbitration panels are stacked with industry insiders, so who in their right minds would put up $10,000 in an improbable attempt to recoup $90? The US supreme court has also reinforced (upheld) AT&T's ability to force the consumer into arbitration.

Clearly, the customer is setup to be ripped off.

2. Second abuse: AT&T incorrectly calculates the Contract Termination Date as two years and one day, instead of just two years. The customer is not allowed to challenge it. If you started a contract on July 1st 2012, it should end on June 30th 2014. But AT&T will state the end date as July 1st 2014.

AT&T ostensible has a "dispute mechanism", which is a black hole. They only have a postal address. If they don't reply to your physical mail, you cannot call them or email them.

All this amounts to systematic fraud by the company.

Product or Service Mentioned: Att Phone Service.

Monetary Loss: $170.

  • Att Billing Practices
  • contract termination date
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Anonymous
#722284

"First Abuse: If the 2-year contract ends on, say, June 30th, they intentionally set your billing cycle to a few days before"

They never intentionally set up your billing cycle unless you ask them to. Billing cycles also can be changed at any time.

"If you cancel service on the last day of the contract, June 30th, they WILL STILL bill you until July 28th"

If your billing cycle closes on the 28th of July and you cancel on June 30th, that means that you are still billed for the final month of service, which is found in the terms and conditions

Anonymous
#701434

In the United States judicial system, if you send a letter certified and one regular parcel post - it is presumed that they receive regardless to if you get signature confirmation back or not. As I understand it, this is in recognized in all 50 states.

Also, under the terms of AT&T contract, you can file through or arbitration or in small claims court. This is provided that the dollar amounts of your claim fall under small claims court rules.

This, in essence, gives you the ability to have a fair hearing in the judicial system.

Check with your local courts, but here the cost of court is $75 and that cost is to paid by the losing party.

Peter
#664838

On the first point you are completely incorrect. When ATT terminates a line (unless it is a buyer's remorse or military cancellation), the service itself is actually extended until the last period of the cycle and that is the day it is cancelled.

This is done automatically by the billing system because if you r account is in advanced billing you have already payed for the full cycle for your service.

On the second point, the contracts are set that way to be easy to understand, remember, and interpret by the customer. That way, if someone gets their phone on March 15th, for instance, their contract will extend until the end of March 25th 2 years from then, and they cannot cancel until the very next day.

Technically you are correct about the 2yr+1d length. However, if you believe this is really "systematic fraud" then I believe you're just "systematically nitpicking" and *** about something totally silly.

Peter
#667196
@Peter

Just to clear something up, when I said "if someone gets their phone on March 15th, for instance, their contract will extend until the end of March 25th [...]" I meant the latter date to be "March 15th".

Anonymous
#661860

You can change your bill cycle date if you want, just call customer care.

Ameilia
#659233

New York 336ef99,

Ugh! Thanks for the insight on ATT's arbitration & billing cycle info.

So it seems that us common folk are unwittingly contributing to their bottom line. Imagine it's in the millions of unrecognized dollars customers are being overcharged. See my tale "57 yrs customer: ATT sneaky billing". I just ordered Ooma & am going to change cell service, save hundreds in just a few months.

Shame on ATT. Thanks again, Mimi

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