13 July 2011

AT&T Fail

(Yes, I know the headline is redundant.)

So I've had an AT&T GoPhone for use in the US since Oct 2010. One of the GREAT features was free international text messaging (you pay $2 per day for unlimited talk and text).

I just got back to the US and found that my text to the Netherlands costs $0.25. Not a big price, but a big surprise because I had not been charged before.

I called them and -- after 45 minutes -- found out that the Netherlands is NOT included in AT&T's list of 100 free countries, but Netherlands Antilles was. (AT&T's rep insisted they did not unilaterally change my service contract; wish I had an old screen shot of those 100 countries!)

Which countries are on the list? Italy is not, but the Vatican is; Great Britain is not, but Gibraltar is; France is not, but French Antilles/Guiana/Polynesia are! China is, but India is not.

Seems that AT&T wants to list as many free countries as possible without listing countries that many customers want to contact. Good old bait and switch.

But wait, why was I getting free messages? "There was a mistake in our programs that wasn't fixed until April 2011."

I don't know if I am more upset as a customer about the fixed service or more worried about AT&T's competence. But the Death Star has never been too good at that (except when handing over customer records to government spies.)