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Man Emails AT&T's CEO, Gets Threatened With C&D Order 306

Posted by timothy
from the better-than-a-d-&-c-order dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After its recent bait and switch, AT&T went ahead and threatened someone emailing the company CEO about customer service concerns, namely with a query about tethering and eligibility rates. The email author also put up a voicemail recording of the company's response and how he managed to contact the CEO in the first place — through The Consumerist." As Engadget notes (as does the complaining customer's updated page), AT&T did at least offer an apology for the threat of legal action, which the company says was unauthorized.
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Man Emails AT&T's CEO, Gets Threatened With C&D Order

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:30PM (#32451790)

    is like trying to decide whether you'd prefer to have cancer or AIDS.

    • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:31PM (#32451810)
      Or if you live in an area like me, it's Comcast cable, or nothing else. There is no choice.

      It always annoys me to no end when I have to call their dismal tech support line, and am greeted with "Thank you for choosing Comcast!"....
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by davester666 (731373)

        Well, you did choose Comcast over watching the paint on your walls dry. Now doesn't that make you feel better?

      • by swb (14022) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:05PM (#32452816)

        Is Comcast that bad?

        I recently switched and have been happy. I got 12/2 business class with 5 static IPs for $69/month, free installation and it was all up and working within FOUR DAYS OF ORDERING.

        Performance has been great, and it beats the shit out of the 1.5 I was stuck with on DSL forever.

        • by LordKronos (470910) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:15PM (#32454154) Homepage

          Is Comcast that bad?

          Are they that bad? Well, lets see. The last time I had them, I had no internet service for 3 days. After repeated calls and a tech coming out I got no resolution. Finally I took it upon myself to install a packet sniffer, and what do you know...all of the IP traffic on my subnet was in an entirely different range than the IP I was being assigned. I picked a random IP in the valid range that appeared to not be in use and statically assigned it, and *mysteriously* every was suddenly working. I had to wade through first level tech support, convince them to let me talk to a network engineer (because he had no clue what I was talking about), and then tell that guy how to fix my internet service.

          Then there is the billing department. The bill is conveniently itemized so that you can see the comcast charges, and then separate entries for the franchise fees, city taxes, universal service fees, etc. Comcast raised the bill by exactly $1 with absolutely no mention in any of my previous 6 bills about a coming change. That $1 increase was in the line item for the comcast charge. Yet when I spoke to the billing department, they were insistent that they absolutely did not raise the rate on me, and that the increased charge was solely due to city taxes. Even showing them my previous bill and pointing out exactly where the increase occurred could not budge them. They blatantly lied to me, and continued to lie even when shown evidence that they were clearly lying.

          Now, compare that to WOW, where I can personally email the CTO directly about a problem, and he'll happily respond with a technical answer, and even admit fault if something went wrong on their end. Or with the install techs, who routinely show up in the first 30 minutes of the 4 hour service window, instead of the last hour (or even after the 4 hour window). And those techs are always willing to chat with me about how much better WOW treats them and makes it easier to do their job.

          yeah, comcast is that bad. I kind of feel bad for the comcast guys that come around to my door every now and then trying to get me to switch back. They probably feel like I treat them as if they're carrying the plague or something, as I won't even humor them to listen to their sales pitch. I'm very polite in declining to hear their offer (I know the guys going door to door really have nothing to do with my experiences), but they always act like they've never seen someone so dissatisfied with a company before.

          • by datapharmer (1099455) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:40PM (#32454294) Homepage
            I feel your pain. Here we are stuck between Cox and AT&T. Cox experience is about like yours. I can't get anyone out to fix problems even after I prove it is their equipment. As for AT&T, we tried to get a business contract with them at work and after 12 unreturned phone calls our secretary called the cellphone that was listed on the voicemail. The rep screamed at her about how she shouldn't bother him on his cellphone and how she should call back on his main number. Seriously? Is that how you treat a customer that wants to know where to send a 36 month contract for 20+ lines?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cylix (55374) *

        I remember quite clearly that congress said the FTC cannot regulate cable companies because consumers have a choice.

        So, clearly you not correct and you have a choice!

        Congress told me so :P

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Completely untrue and an insult to medicine. It is actually like choosing to live under Hilter or Stalin.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by drachenstern (160456)

      No, you die!

      I choose cancer...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by moxley (895517)

      Honestly,

      Comcast is better than most in the US, IMO.

      I find Comcast's internet offerings to be the best option in all the areas I've lived where Comcast operates, far faster and more reliable than Time Warner or Adelphia. I download a lot of binaries and torrents and never had a problem - and I have 22/8 to the home, and 50/10 for my office - both of which I get (and then some) consistently in real world testing...The other services I have used and seen didn't have those speeds, and weren't as reliable.

      I dis

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by erroneus (253617)

        It's comments like the one above that convinces me that Comcast is doing more than just port blocking to the packets flowing through their network. Instead of the expected complaints, they inserted a commercial advertisement!

    • by Xyrus (755017) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:09PM (#32452870) Journal

      Looks like the old slogan is still true: "AT&T. We don't care. We don't have to."

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        Credit where credit is due, and the correct quote (from the days when AT&T was a monopoly)

        "We're the phone company. We don't have to." -- Lily Tomlin's "Ernestine the telephone operator" character

  • Fuck it. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck AT&T. Go Android.

    • Re:Fuck it. (Score:4, Informative)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:33PM (#32451836)

      Fuck AT&T. Go Android.

      You mean except for the fact that AT&T has Android phones?

      • by Kenja (541830)
        Since when? Nothing listed on their phones page, or anywhere else.
        • Since a while? I found this [att.com] in 2 seconds by googling "at&t android phones".

      • And guess what, you get the same "bait and switch" data plans with Android & Blackberry on AT&T since it applies to all their phones with data plans.

  • by Sepultura (150245) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:32PM (#32451824)

    Steve Jobs says, "You can do that?"

    • by xTantrum (919048) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:42PM (#32451938)
      You hear the one about the unemployed man about to jail time for complaining to his senator? [huffingtonpost.com]classic.
      • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:05PM (#32452192)

        Seems more and more like the country is being run by Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader with Grand Moff Tarkin tightening his grip.

        These elitist assholes need to be slapped upside the head with the constitution, and the bozos on the grand jury that handed down the indictment need full frontal lobotomies. I guess I should be waiting for a knock on the door for the previous statement...

        • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @07:37PM (#32452516)
          On the other hand, the political climate in the U.S. is becoming unstable. Just off the top of my head, in the last couple of years we've had a security guard at the holocaust museum gunned down by a white supremicist holocaust denier, a guy flew his plane into an IRS building because he didn't want to pay his taxes and a christian militia that was allegedly planning on murdering police officers. This is to say nothing about the people screaming threats at e.g., Obama, at conservative/tea party rallies. I was just in eastern TN last weekend and saw a bumper sticker on a traffic light box that read, "Secession before socialism." I'm glad that the FBI is checking up on these things, because I have no desire to see any assassinations in this country. We heard one side of this story, until we know the whole story in the court case, I will reserve judgment.

          I'm certainly not for AT&T sending C&D orders because people are e-mailing them rants, but I am tired of the minority of people in this country who think they can hold the entire country hostage to their will through threats, imaginary or real. I'm also tired of hearing of people espousing sedition.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Shakrai (717556) *

            I was just in eastern TN last weekend and saw a bumper sticker on a traffic light box that read, "Secession before socialism." I'm glad that the FBI is checking up on these things, because I have no desire to see any assassinations in this country.

            Wow, the nerve of that person to exercise his 1st amendment rights by having a bumper sticker that you might not agree with. Pray tell, what does such a bumper sticker have to do with assassinations?

            I'm also tired of hearing of people espousing sedition.

            This country was founded on sedition.

            • by tsm_sf (545316) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @08:31PM (#32453076) Journal
              This country was founded on sedition.

              Aren't most of them?
            • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:04AM (#32456716)
              Just because you are within your 1st amendment rights to talk about seceding if you don't get your way politically doesn't mean that I can't criticize you for it, nor talk about how I believe it's a good thing the FBI is investigating people who might kill innocents. The point of my quoting the bumper sticker was another example that the political climate is unstable in the U.S. That there is a fine line between protecting your first amendment rights and crossing it and using violence against your fellow citizens. Conservatives like yourselves like to couch your arguments in select passages of the constitution without consideration of the larger context. I believe that people like yourself are not actually patriots, you don't give a damn about the rest of society you just want your freedom to act any way you please and not have to answer for yourself and you couch that in convenient sounding platitudes and select texts of the constitution.

              This country was founded on sedition.

              Yes, but somehow I think that secession because the U.S. tries to give health care to poor people is not on the same caliber of "good reasons to secede" as say, taxation without representation, the quartering of troops or the right to a speedy trial. Next you'll be telling me that since Rand Paul was within his 1st amendment rights to say that businesses should be allowed to discriminate against black people, we shouldn't criticize him for it. While far from perfect, the U.S. government does much more good than harm for U.S. citizens. You should really stop and reflect on that.

        • by StikyPad (445176)

          I'd rather have a full bottle in front of me.

        • ...tell the Emperor that his new clothes are fake and that he's actually stark raving naked or you will get your head chopped off.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          *waves hand* This is not the CHANGE you're looking for.

      • But... but... but...

        This can't happen. The One is President. It's all fluffy bunnies, rainbows, and unicorns now. Hope. Change.

        Isn't it?

        </sarcasm>

        • and unicorns got blown away in the wind. They just don't make straw objects like they used to.

      • You hear the one about the unemployed man about to jail time for complaining to his senator? classic.

        If its in the Huffington Post it must be about a republican senator... Oh look! It is. Well, its only natural, democrat lawmakers never do anything wrong; http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1865781,00.html [time.com]

        • I grow weary hearing "democrat party" instead of the proper phrase "democratic party". Of course, it's members of the republic party who are at fault.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Eryq (313869)

            I grow weary hearing "democrat party" instead of the proper phrase "democratic party". Of course, it's members of the republic party who are at fault.

            The wingnuts learned the phrase "democrat party" by listening to Rush Limbaugh -- you know: the OxyContin-junkie radio host that they all worship. Apparently, when a wingnut says "democrat party" it's supposed to make Democrats mad or something. Beats me. I think it's cute, in a pathetic sort of way. Like when a five-year-old calls you a "poopy head" and thinks they've scored a victory or something.

        • by jvkjvk (102057)

          Right, because what Blagojevich did TOTALLY absolves everyone else of anything they might do.

          Perhaps you should judge people for what they do regardless of any other affiliations.

          Regards.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        www.huffingtonpost.com

        No link to a RELIABLE news source?

      • at least he gets free food in jail!

  • bottom line is (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dyinobal (1427207) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:38PM (#32451888)
    Bottom line is you can't do anything all you can do is if you don't like they way they run business is to cancel your service with them. America is for the corporations now after all they paid for it.
    • by nurb432 (527695)

      and if you cancel, you get charged for early termination.

    • by jvkjvk (102057)

      I'm sorry, but that's not how it works anymore.

      Now, large corporations have a right to profits.

      If enough people switch to a model that causes profits to fall, the corporations will cause laws to get passed to restore them.

      Witness the tax levy on blank media in Canada.

      Witness the proposed tax on electronics to support the news conglomerates in the US.

      Witness ACTA.

      Face it, they have Power now and they will amass an increasing amount in the foreseeable future because the problem has become systemic.

      Regards.

      • by schon (31600)

        Witness the tax levy on blank media in Canada.

        What about the levy on blank media in the USA [wikipedia.org]?

  • by PatHMV (701344) <post@patrickmartin.com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:39PM (#32451900) Homepage
    I continue to fail to see how it is "bait & switch" when a company decides to stop offering one plan, after several years, and change to offering a different pricing plan that it thinks will better meet its and its consumers needs. No contract you ever signed with them guaranteed that you would ALWAYS be able to buy unlimited access at $30. They never guaranteed that unlimited access at $30 would be available forever. Me, I've been using my iPhone pretty extensively for almost 2 years now, and I've run up a grand total of 3.8 GB. That's 2GB a year for me, and AT&T's service will now be $5 per month less and give me 2GB per month. I'm coming out ahead of the game here. I'm glad AT&T has decided to change their plan to charge me less for the same amount of service that I am actually consuming now. AND they've announced this change just before release of the new iPhone version. That's the exact opposite of bait & switch. "Hey, folks, before you sign a new 2 year contract to get the new iPhone, we're telling you about this new service terms that you'll be signing up for, so you can make an informed decision." That's truth-in-advertising, not bait & switch.
    • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:46PM (#32451994)
      It's bait and switch because they advertised $15 / month for 250 MB and $30 / month of "unlimited" (5 GB) for the iPad - you know, that same iPad that's only been on sale (well, with 3G) for about a month. AT&T advertised that you will have no contract, can change your plan at any time (go up, down, or no data all together) at no charge, and that you can have unlimited data on your iPad to watch all the Netflix, browsing, apps, etc you could want. So yes, telling a customer X to get them to buy a product and then just a couple weeks later making changes that make it impossible for the customer to use what they bought under the terms with which they purchased it, is a bait and switch.
      • by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:49PM (#32452024)

        Current customers are grandfathered in and can continue to receive what they signed up for. For now.

        I agree that changing things after a month or two is pretty crappy, but I guess on some level no-contract is a two-way street.

        • Current customers get to keep unlimited data for $30 / month as long as they never change their plan. If they take advantage of the iPad's no contract feature and go down to the lower data plan or cancel it all together for a month (say going out of the country), they then lose the ability to get unlimited data.
          • by Lars T. (470328)

            Current customers get to keep unlimited data for $30 / month as long as they never change their plan. If they take advantage of the iPad's no contract feature and go down to the lower data plan or cancel it all together for a month (say going out of the country), they then lose the ability to get unlimited data.

            So? They can go to any mobile provider at any time, the iPad isn't exclusive to AT&T.

        • by Rogerborg (306625)

          Current customers are grandfathered in and can continue to receive what they signed up for.

          Say, by any chance did they sign up for an "unlimited" plan with a "reasonable use" caveat? You know, it's "unlimited" up until you hit the limit, which is entirely up to AT&T and not guaranteed by the contract. So it's 5GB this month. Next month it's 3GB. Then 1GB. Then you're a filthy resource hogging parasite if you use your "unlimited" connection to download a couple of email headers, and AT&T exercis

          • Unlimited has never really meant unlimited transfer amounts. It was also about having unlimited access.

          • Personally I like the t-mobile plan. It's advertised not as "unlimited" but as "no overage". You get up to 5 GB and then they reserve the right to throttle.

            Of course, throttling ranges from reasonable QoS stuff to Comcast's "throttling" torrents to less than 1 kbps, but even so I like the guarantee that I won't get slapped with extra fees.

            My main complaint isn't the caps, but the misleading advertising surrounding them. Having unlimited access isn't the world's best idea for obvious reasons from game theor

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        AT&T advertised that you will have no contract

        And thus in the absence of a contract they had no legal obligations to maintain these terms. If you wanted a guarantee things maybe you should have had them written down in a legally binding document (aka a contract)?

        • You're using two different usages of the term "contract". Just because there is no "contract" requiring you to pay $X for Y service for Z months doesn't mean that there isn't a "contract" that you have the ability to choose from 3 plans (no data, limited data, or unlimited data) from month to month and you can change which option you pick each month with no penalty.
          • Just because there is no "contract" requiring you to pay $X for Y service for Z months doesn't mean that there isn't a "contract" that you have the ability to choose from 3 plans (no data, limited data, or unlimited data) from month to month and you can change which option you pick each month with no penalty.

            In what way was a contract established if you hadn't even bought the product?

        • Being guilty of "bait and switch" doesn't require a contract or even a purchase. It's fraud on its face.

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        As much as i hate to say this, perhaps congress needs to get involved. That is what our government is for, to protect is from garbage like this.

    • by rickb928 (945187)

      My lunch partner used 5.5GB last month. Many podcasts, a few higher quality videos, and swapping a lot of music in and out. Same the month before.

      You are not using your iPhone very extensively, relatively speaking.

      And he's grandfathered in for now. They could change their terms and soft cap him.

    • To advertise a per month price that only lasts a single month is inherently misleading because such an offer assumes a multiple-month scenario. AT&T did this to try get people to decide on buying a device and hoping that once the decision is made and the customer has gone to the trouble of going to the store and the phone is in their bag they'll reluctantly agree to the new price.

      A company the size of AT&T doesn't turn on a dime. The change in policy was most likely planned well in advance and doesn

  • Flash... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikeskup (1337) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:42PM (#32451944) Homepage Journal

    [Flash 9 is required to listen to audio.]14,323 plays

    Grrrrrrrrrrrr

  • Unauthorized (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:55PM (#32452096)
    It worries me slightly that someone would send out a letter threatening legal action without even considering whether or not they had the authority to do that.
    Every day I try to be a little more cynical, but I can't keep up.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @06:56PM (#32452102) Homepage Journal
    this is the company to which you are going to entrust control of your internet. enjoy.
  • You do realize this isn't just because of the IPAD but also for all those users that will want the brand new Iphone 4G that will be announced last week. There is a reason they did it effective prior to June 7th(Iphone 4G announcement), because to get discount you will need to sign up for a new contract and with that they will move you to the new data plans, instead of being grandfathered in. That is unless you pay full price for the phone without a contract..
  • That is really incredible. Not to say Time Warner is any better than any of the others, but I was having a recurring data network problem that was no fault of my own, and had a hard time convincing the trained monkeys in customer service of the facts. I finally became so fed up with the run-around I emailed the CEO. The response was terrific, people were really jumping to fix my problem, I was very impressed. Sorry to see AT&T choose an alternative route for legitimate complaint resolution.
  • by Theaetetus (590071) <theaetetus,slashdot&gmail,com> on Thursday June 03, 2010 @09:15PM (#32453408) Homepage Journal
    This story was cross-posted at Fark.com also, and everyone immediately launches into a discussion of how awful AT&T is...

    ... and yet, we've never seen the email the guy sent. He hasn't posted it, and Gizmodo merely describes it as:

    a complaint about AT&T's new data rates. Nothing crazy about either of those.

    Was it just a complaint? If so, why hasn't he posted it? Or was it a bunch of swears, insults, and threats, like we've come to expect from most anonymous people on the internet?

    It's a bit tough to claim the high, noble road when you're hiding your actions.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:12PM (#32454138) Homepage Journal

    I just emailed him a link to the Wikipedia page on the Streisand Effect.

    These are his email addresses.
    rs2982@att.com
    randall.stephenson@att.com

    I wonder if they'll respond to me too.

    LK

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