Anyone who has been reading the news knows that AT&T has been funcing One America News [OAN] Network. This is a corrupt Right-wing network that spreads lies about COVID and makes dangerous statements to move uneducated, angry Republican voters into action.
This seems to be financed primarily through DirecTV, a subsidiary of AT&T.
I currently have TWO cell phone lines with AT&T. I don’t feel good about it, and as soon as I can afford to switch, I will.
In the meanwhile, I want to give you TWO different anecdotes about AT&T and DirecTV.
SCENARIO 1 of 2: THE IN-STORE UPSELL
I went to the AT&T store in my area one day to talk to a representative about upgrading one of my phones. It should have been a simple thing where they helped me with a phone upgrade.
Instead, the sales person was highly motivated to get me to sign a DirecTV contract, no matter what. This resulted in a VERY heated verbal altercation in the store.
For the sake of typing, I will put AT&T comments in bold, and will leave my comments in standard form.
Welcome to AT&T. How many I help you.
Hi. I’d would like to upgrade this phone to a newer model.
Excellent. Let me pull up your account. Out of curiosity, who handles your cable television service?
I don’t really want to talk about that.
Who is handling your cable?
I don’t use cable television. I don’t watch television.
Have you ever considered switching to DirecTV?
No. I really want to upgrade the phone, as I have to be somewhere.
And I am trying to set you up with superior cable television services that are cheaper than what you are paying now.
You don’t even know who provides my services, and I already said that I DO NOT watch cable television.
[At this point, a large crowd has gathered. Customers are behind me, and a bunch of blue shirts are behind the sales person.]
I can save you a whole bunch of money right now.
I’m not really interested. I’d have to pay deposits, set up appointments, and really I don’t have the time for it.
How can you say that you don’t have time for superior cable telvision service?
[Remember that I am an Autistic adult.]
Look, I’m getting uncomfortable here. Maybe I should ask T-Mobile to help me.
What do you have against superior cable television service?
I do NOT use it and that’s NOT why I’m here.
Just give it a try and you can cancel at any time.
I don’t have time to do any of that, and I’m not interested in doing any of that.
Just tell me why you don’t want superior cable television service?
[loud scream]: BECAUSE I ALREADY SAID I DON’T FUCKING WANT YOUR FUCKING CONTRACT OR YOUR FUCKING SERVICE YOU FUCKING FUCK!!!!!
At this point, an older man wearing a BLUE shirt comes over. He says, “Excuse me, sir, may I borrow her for a moment?” He walks her into a room, the door closes, and she does NOT come out of that room for the additional hour that I spent there.
I got all kind of apologies from another salesperson who agreed to help me with what I wanted, and nothing more. By this time, everyone in the entire store, whether they worked there or not, knew that I was really, truly NOT interested in their DirecTV offerings.
But this wasn’t the end of my DirecTV saga, and part of it is my fault.
SCENARIO 2 of 2: SOLD OVER THE PHONE
A few months later, I had to call AT&T service for something related to my phone not working properly. I could make calls, but other issues were arising. I called them on my drive home, since that took an hour.
The lady on the phone brought up DirecTV again. Instead of giving you the equivalent of a chat log, like last time’s incident noted above, I’ll just tell you what happened.
She kept talking about DirecTV, but she was more devious about it. I kept telling her that I was NOT interested in DirecTV and that I wanted my phone issue dealt with now.
We had our call, I hung up, and I thought that was the end of it.
But no, it was not.
I got a call a few day later, from a DirecTV representative, wanting to confirm a date and time for installation. That rep SIGNED ME UP AGAINST MY WILL! I told the DirecTV rep that I DID NOT consent to this.
They told me that I’d have to talk to someone in Customer Service.
I got someone from “Retention” instead.
The woman on the phone was VERY insulting to me. She called me names. She mocked what I would say, by repeating it with some kind of voice that you’d heard a kid use on a 2nd grade playground.
I’d want to hang up, but she told me that I would have to stay on the line if I wanted my “order” cancelled. Otherwise, they’d show up and start billing me for not being there.
Basically, my choices were:
- Stay on the phone and take her abuse, or
- Just give in and accept my appointment.
I chose the first one. After just over 2.5 hours of verbal abuse on the phone, the order was cancelled.
WHY DO I STILL HAVE THEM?
All of this happened in 2013, shortly before I moved from the LA area to another area.
The area where I moved had SOME service by T-Mobile and Verizon. But their AT&T coverage was the most stable. So I kept it.
When I moved to Oregon in 2019, I spent so much on the move that there was nothing left to spend on switching phones.
There is a T-Mobile store in town. I need to find out if they have good coverage in the area.
My biggest roadblock is expense. My AT&T phones just got paid off about six months ago. Switching to AT&T now would mean needing to invest in TWO NEW PHONES. This is not something that I, or many other people, can afford right now.
IN THE END
I do not want to support any companies that are engaging in this type of corruption that is destroying American society and American citizens.
What they are doing by supporting OAN is supporting the continued wholesale of a big lie [that the 2020 election was stolen], as well as COVID conspiracies that are LITERALLY KILLING PEOPLE.
At the very least, I’ll look into it. Maybe T-Mobile can do something to offset the costs.
This is NOT a black-and-white decision. T-Mobile was accused of getting cozy with Trump back when they wanted approval for their multi-billion dollar deal to absorb Sprint into their networks.
However, their current CEO appears to be on the side of reason. He doesn’t support Trump or the insurrection attempt. He also wants Left-leaning activists to NOT hand Trump or Republicans a win by rioting or otherwise inflicting destruction upon communities.
It’s difficult to choose which monopoly gets the money that I MUST spend if I want to have communication capabilities. Without it, I’m not even an observer to society.
I will look into this and maybe file a follow-up. For people like me, I cannot sell myself a lie so that I can sleep at night. I have to make decisions. Not every decision is great, and some are better than others, but my goal is to have a conscience that is as free of guilt as humanly possible.
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