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Monday, April 12, 2010

Plume's Letter To AT&T Wireless In Response To Bill Collection

To put it simply, AT&T wireless was horrible. I'm not blaming anyone, but I would say I do have a long standing vendetta with the company. Here is my letter in response to their attempt to collect:

Dear AT&T,

I am writing you this letter in regards to my account for the phone number 914-217-5254. I have chosen this method of correspondence due to my phone’s constant disruptions, for which I lack time and patience. It has been noted on four separate occasions that I contacted customer service to notify your company of my obnoxiously poor service, namely multiple connection failures during calls and lack of any Internet service or the paid GPS feature, which failed me at two separate times of need.

The calls I made to the friendly AT&T representatives, each of which were interrupted at least twice, ended with the same basic conclusions; either it was a faulty tower or my phone’s SIM card. Both were ruled out since the problem occurred in multiple areas with working facilities and on both phones belonging to my account. Because these previous calls were so problematic, as I mentioned, calling for a fifth time simply seemed too daunting. It is for these reasons, as well as documentation purposes, I chose to write a letter.

Being a former employee of Bellsouth (now AT&T), myself responsible for troubleshooting the many communication failures that arise on such a vast network, whether it be cable or cellular transmission, and being an overall easy-going individual, I am usually extremely clement when it comes to service trouble. However, I am not exaggerating (as you can verify) when I say that every single call I make can be expected to disconnect at least once. It was easy to shrug off in the beginning, but when it only worsened, despite endless technical support, and began to occur during important calls at very inopportune moments, the problem then became embarrassing and irritating to both myself and those on the other end.

In addition, as I also touched on above, I had included a 200mb/month data plan and AT&T GPS (9.99/month), yet I have no connection to the web and cannot send or receive e-mails or SMS messages containing media attachments, nor will my GPS function. Besides the obvious inconvenience brought about by a lack of Internet service, I found myself on the side of the road in desperate need for directions on two separate occasions. Surely, you can imagine my chagrin at that moment, which was only intensified when the courtesy call notifying my destination of the delay was cut off twice.

My conclusion is simple. I just can not, in good conscience, bring myself to pay the hundreds of dollars that is due on my account when the service rendered was not only sub par, but was in fact detrimental to the very circumstances for which it was purchased. It took the service reps no more than a casual glance at my call records to confirm my testimony, and when coupled with the interruptions on that very call, prompted one rep to applaud my serene disposition. However, because I do enjoy the phone (Nokia E-71), when working, I had every intent of giving it one more try. If and only if your company feels that this situation can be rectified, I am willing to start from scratch, meaning that the current bill be wiped clean, and I, in turn, will honor a new 2-year contract beginning this month provided, of course, my service is functional and complete.

I have done a fair amount of research on this topic, including your own contract terms, and I acknowledge that, indeed, AT&T does NOT guarantee quality of service and, furthermore, will not be responsible for network functionality at all. I can not deny agreeing to this contract; although, I will contend that this policy is rather sordid and nothing more than a shrewd method of dismissing the basic responsibility of any merchant or service provider. However, it is only fair that I give the benefit of the doubt and allow your company to make good on our agreement. I ask only for a working phone, equipped with the capabilities I ordered, specifically Internet access, including proper connection to allow for multimedia messages and email management, as well as AT&T GPS, a $10 add-on. As far as the damage done to my business relations and precious time lost, I will simply contrast it with the brief periods of uninterrupted talk and admittedly flawless text-only messaging.

If indeed my findings were correct, and your company does strictly follow the exact verbiage of the contract, dismissing all ethics, then I will be forced to fall back on my own stipulations that may possibly have gone unnoticed. You see, at the time of my contract agreement, I clearly uttered a statement claiming that unacceptable service, going far beyond random and routine complications, was sufficient reason for me to breech the pact, providing I had made at least three attempts to reconcile the problem by notifying customer service. In the event that this route is chosen, the contract would become null and void and we would immediately part ways. For the record, this is not my preference and would actually mark the first time this provision, known as the Plume Clause, has even been invoked.

I implore you to kindly respond to this letter within reasonable haste following its receipt, as my balance is due at this time and arrangements must be made to insure I remain connected to the worldwide network. As I mentioned, I am sympathetic to the intricacies of telecommunications, allowing me to overlook the ample amount of complaints found online regarding your companies quality of service, and although I was terminated by this very company only a half decade ago, I hold no grudge. With that said, my ability to utilize the full capabilities of a 3G smart phone trumps any residual loyalty toward this or any other cellular conglomerate.


Frank Plume
75 M----- Lane
New York
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