First of all, I apologize for what you are about to be reading.  I really didn’t want to post this when it happened because it was rather petty, and honestly, I wasn’t all that mad about it.  After last night, however, I feel the need to post about it.  Plus, I don’t post often enough, so this helps that.

tl;dr: AT&T wasted a few hours of my life with their inability to hire competent employees.

As most of you know, Morgan and I switched over to iPhones when the 3GS came out back in June.  For a brief period, about 3 days, I had a local cell phone number because the preorder-and-sign-a-contract portion of AT&T’s site wouldn’t let me port my PA number.  When Morgan bought her iPhone a few days later,  I ported my old number over and we combined accounts into one family plan.  All was well.

Well, about a month ago Morgan comes home from work and shows me this letter from a collections agency saying we owe AT&T 300 some odd dollars in unpaid charges.  It isn’t really the money that aggrivated me, it was that I pay the bill early every month.  I have never missed a cell phone (or any) bill payment.  So I call the collections agency, they give me the AT&T account number, I see that it is different from the one on our web account, and I call AT&T.  After an hour or so I get this as the official story; When I ported my number, the clerk at the store canceled my old account and created a new one, causing an early termination fee on that old account.  He then left the activation charges on the old account AND put new ones on the new account.  He then didn’t tell me any of this and said Morgan and I were good to go, just use our new cell phone numbers to log in online.

It turns out that while you use your cell phone number to access your account, there is an account number that truly identifies your service.  A number that is only accessible on A) your account website, or B) your phone bill that is mailed to you.  I don’t get paper bills since I pay everything online.  I no longer had this number and had no reason to remember it, so as far as I was concerned that account was dead.

At any rate, the AT&T representative told me she would take care of it and I should be getting a text message in a couple weeks telling me the new bill cost for that account (3 days of prorated  service).  I was cool with that and hung up, satisfied.  We called the collections agency representative back and she said she would call us in about a month if she had heard nothing from AT&T before then.  She called last night (awesome of her to go through with that, by the way).

I call AT&T back, tell the representative what is up, she looks up this old account and tells me she is a little confused by what is going on and asks if she can put me on hold to verify some stuff.  About 25 minutes later she comes back on and tells me she understands what is going on, but that there is also a missing iPhone unit somewhere in all of this.  Basically when the store clerk canceled my account he also forgot to do whatever he had to do to note that I just had a sim-card switch, not an entire new phone(also, it isn’t like the AT&T store even had iPhone 3GSs that day to give me a replacement anyway).  I gave her the number of the place I did the porting and she called them.  After about 15 more minutes of hold she tells me that she was able to verify that I did not exchange phones and that I am in the clear, her manager would remove the charges and she would call me the next day to confirm with me that they are indeed gone.  I then asked her to call the collections agency representative for me so my credit would be unaffected, as I’ve supposedly had this outstanding bill for nigh on 30 days with them.  She conference called in with me still on the line (which was also really awesome of her), and cleared everything up.  So I am pretty sure I am in the clear.

So because someone didn’t follow proper line-porting/account-merging procedures, we almost took a credit hit (which is bad because we are trying to save for a house, and our credit right now is really awesome), and I had to deal with AT&T/a collections agency for basically  4 hours.  It was not cool.

Also, I wanted to note they all three of the women I talked to (the two AT&T representatives and the collections agency representative) we very, very helpful and friendly.  It probably didn’t hurt that I am very patient and always make sure to remember that it isn’t the current-person-I-am-dealing-with’s fault.  Basically its just that one guy I am annoyed with.  It really aggrivates me that because someone didn’t do their job right, I almost had to take a credit hit, which is pretty annoying to come back from.

Zach

Rediculous: verb, to diculous again.