Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saturn = AT&T: A Different Kind of Company

Never before have I gotten a return personal call from a higher up at a major company. So today, when a call showed up from a 405 area code, I was hesitant in picking it up - not knowing who it was.

It ended up being from Oklahoma, as my iPhone's Recent Calls told me after I hung up. A reverse lookup of the number confirmed it, though I can't find the caller's name. While, yeah he told me as I said 'Hello', but when he said "...calling from AT&T about that MMS issue..." I admittedly was so blown away that a company called me back, that I didn't catch his name.

From Oklahoma City, OK, all I could gather was a Tim or a Bill, but whoever it was helped out a lot. So much so, I switched my own tone. We talked for only about 10 minutes, but we actually both listened to one another as we each talked - which is a lot more than what happened with any of the customer service reps. He said I had some great points, and a great idea in one thing I suggested.

I told him how through all the agreements, terms of service, notices, statements, and right down to FAQs, there is no definitive clear understandable explanation on how AIM clients are regarded and counted as both Data and Text. He now told me they will certainly consider remedying that. They may do some sort of a bill insert, email notice, or post something on the website, but that something indeed needs to be said to put it out there clear and precise.

They're right. I admit it. Now the problem is trying to see what Apple is going to do to educate their staff. Will I do anything beyond this? Probably not. We'll see though.

Not only did AT&T refund my $3.65 overage, the guy that called offered me a complimentary month of service, waving my typical $72.43 bill for September for "pursing this matter as much as I have" and spending the time to stay on it.

I thank AT&T. I thank Apple. I also trust that something truly gets fixed. Thanks Tim or Bill.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jay Leno, You Rock

Jay Leno has always been my favorite talk show host of all time. He's great. He's a great person and a great comic.

He however just did what I hoped someone would - deliver the smackdown to Kanye West.

Moments ago, Kanye was speechless, and near tears, after being asked what his mother would have thought about the VMA deal with Taylor Swift and Beyonce.

He couldn't think of anything, and as much as I don't like him, you could tell he was affected by that thought.

Good. Go Jay.

Friday, September 11, 2009

(Updated x4) Does AIM count towards iPhone Text Plans? The verdict is in:

...and the answer from A.A.A. is...

Apple: No
AT&T: Yes

From about 10 to 11 this morning, I talked to 3 different AT&T reps and 2 different Apple reps. Guess what? Apple says I shouldn't be charged, and AT&T says that I should. Surprising? Didn't think so. I told the Apple rep that if she could call me back at noon, that would be great - I had class.

Update #1, 12:45pm Friday -
I get home, and the rep calls at 12:02pm. Nice. Apple is on the ball, like I knew they were. She informs me I was right with how I figured the whole thing out - like this: I send an I.M. to an iPod Touch. They get it and respond. Since they don't use AT&T or any cellular work, that positively confirms that it is strictly DATA. I'm right. I knew it. I should not be charged she tells me. The only way it will count you will be charged is if you set it up to I.M. a phone number or if you have it set up to notify you via SMS. It should be counted as DATA when it is screen name to screen name.

She tells me my next step is to talk to AT&T again. She transfers me over, and with the other girl on the line, tells me to have a nice day. As I hear the click of her hanging up, the AT&T rep starts to tell me why I should be and am being charged...

She is useless. I then ask to be transfered back to Apple. I am. I get the customer service version of Jesus.

I then explain the entire situation. He goes "WHAT?! WOWWwww", and I laugh along with him. I told him about my theory of iPod to iPhone, and how it must be DATA and not SMS Text, and thus not counting towards my AT&T limit. He agreed entirely, and said to my delight "I'm going to have fun with this". I told him I had another class, and he said that he was going to call AT&T.

Update #2, 4:30pm Friday -
I get a call back at about 2:30pm, and he tells me that he has bad news. He says it looks like they're right. He then tells me some AT&T rep is on the line - yes, another one. She tells me the same thing I heard 4 times over already. That they charge for all iPhone messages as Text, be it through the Messages app or any Instant Messager app.

I then ask to talk to a higher up. I get her. She's clueless, naiive, ignorant, and plain rude. I explained the same thing to her yet again. Her response? You'll love this.

"The iPhone is a phone, and the iPod is not"... Translation; We can charge you whatever the hell we want because you're an AT&T customer locked in to our death grip contract. When I explained that the iPod and iPhone are basically the same hardware running basically the same software, that over Wifi, they both act the same way, she ignored it. Completely. She cut me off to tell me that it wouldn't be on my AT&T MyWireless account if I hadn't used it.

She repeated that a couple times, until I heard the tone in her voice go dry and strict. She repeated the same thing again. That the iPhone is a phone. Yes lady, I know that, the name gave it away...

So I cut her off finally. I told her that I give up, and that AT&T will just charge me whatever they want anyway. If they really want the $3.65 that badly, then they can have it, because I give in.

I hung up on her.

So in a nutshell, after 1 AOL phone rep, 4 Apple phone reps, and 5 AT&T reps, 2 of which were AT&T supervisors, I am left stuck with one answer.

Even if I'm right, and the text that goes through AIM is DATA, AT&T refuses to recognize it, and will charge it as SMS Text, because they don't care. Apple telling me it's free and AOL telling me it's free are both trumped by AT&T - because after all, they are high and mighty.

Tomorrow, I go to a local AT&T store. Let's see if Round 2: In Person leads to anything different. Bets anyone?

Update #3, 12:45pm Saturday -
The rep at the AT&T Store told me what I expected; that he simply "could not help me", and that I should call tech support.

I did this morning, and I got further than I did in collectively 5 hours of debate yesterday. The person I spoke to took the $3.65 off of my account, but only on the condition that I understand that AT&T is still billing me correctly. That AIM does count towards SMS Text messaging. He told me that while it does count towards DATA, it also counts towards the 200 text messages I have per month.

It's all ridiculous, but it's one small win for Skippy. That's $3.65 that AT&T will not be getting from me. In part, I win. In some says, I always win.

Update #4, 10:45pm Sunday -
I just got a text. I got a text. Are you reading that? Can you guess what I'm getting at? A text from AT&T FREE MSG... It reads as follows:

"AT&T FREE MSG: AutoPay Enrollment Change Confirmation - conf #**************. Your change request has been processed."

The problem here? I've been at work all day. I haven't enrolled in anything at any time ever. They decided to enroll me in AutoPay. Why? Well because if I go on AutoPay, then they can go right ahead and charge me whatever they want, and I may not notice.

The only problem with that is that I am the most stubborn, persistant, and obnoxious person that anyone's ever fucked with. Let's play, bitches.