AT&T Can Stoop Low

I have written about AT&T before, specifically about problems in the past related to their horrific customer service and how abusive they had been to me. The last piece I wrote, linked above, focused on their very aggressive push to get me to sign up for their DirecTV product.

This particular AT&T anecdote involves a third phone that I added to my account. I had myself and my girlfriend, Catherine, on the program. Her brother was getting out of prison, and was in a place where he’d need to get re-established in society. The best way we could help him at the time was to pay for his phone until he got on his feet.

He was doing well and going to all of his court-mandated programs.

One day, his official direct report [similar to a parole officer] called to let us know that he did NOT show up to his final class, and that he might end up in prison. This was a serious infraction.

We knew that he didn’t skip his class, because we’d see him on some weekends and he’d talk about how much enjoyed the class, and that he was looking forward to graduating. He had a potential job with the DMV. Things were looking up.

But we knew something was wrong.

We called the police to do a welfare check on him. They found him wet and naked in his apartment, with the lamp pulled over.

Based on what they figured out, he had a severe sugar issue. He had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes just 3 months earlier. He was in the shower when it happened, and he tried to get to the door to open it and call out for help.

He was just 2 steps from the door when he fell.

His blood-sugar was over 650. To put this into perspective, I work to keep mine below 130.

We sat with him on life support and watched over the weeks as organ after organ failed. We got a report that he was brain dead. We decided to remove him from life support, and we waited with him for 9 hours before he died.

That set-up is important to understand. After her brother died, I decided that I didn’t want to keep paying for his phone line. After all, he wasn’t using it and I didn’t need it.

So I called AT&T and told them, “I’m calling because my brother died, and so I need to disconnect his line from my account.” I referred to him as “my brother” simly for ease of conversation.

The rep kept suggesting reasons why I should keep the line. With every suggestion, I found myself getting more and more upset. The last suggestion was the one that set me off.

“Is there anyone you can give the phone number to? Another family member? Friend?”

Oh boy. I had to reply.

“Let me ask you: Would YOU pay for someone else’s phone?”

She replied, “No.”

I continued, “Hell, why don’t we just move MY phone number onto YOUR account, since you think that paying for lines and then giving them away is an actual thing? What do you say?”

She said, “Sir, I can’t do that.”

“But you think this is something that people do. So I want to put ALL THREE of my lines on YOUR account, so that YOU can pay for them.”

“Sir, I…”

“Tut tut tut! If this is how business is done…”

Then I calmed down a bit.

“Look, I’m working to deal with the death of my brother, and all YOU can think about is how to squeeze more money out of me while I’m in a time of mourning. You want to take advantage of me while I am in a state of weakness.”

“Sir, that’s not what I’m trying to do.”

“Okay, here’s the deal. You’re going to cancel my DEAD BROTHER’S phone number, without a hassle, without an up-sell, and without sending me to Retention. And you are going to apologize for poking me like this when I’m not in a good place.”

She was apologizing as she started to delete the line. I sat quietly. By the time this was all over, I was utterly livid.

She didn’t ask if there was anything else she could do. She knew that I wanted that number gone, and that was it.

I don’t know if other phone service carriers do this, but AT&T certainly does. Your entire family could die in a house fire. They don’t care. You could call up and tell them your entire family died in a house fire, that only you remain, and that you want to only keep your line.

And in response to this, AT&T would ask you if there’s anyone you know that you’d like to GIVE the phones to for use.

American End-Stage Crony Capitalism makes people say and do horrific things.

Published by DrumWild

Writing about drums, music, and philosophy.

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