They guy at the AT&T store said that they didn't have any other 8525 in stock, but that they now have the AT&T Tilt. We'd never heard of it, but apparently it was the next generation of the 8525 - now including GPS - and had been out for a whopping four days. They didn't have one available that day, but were expecting deliveries all week. He had one that we could play around with and suggested we call back the next day to see if they had received any.
We called back every day, and on Wednesday they had one in stock. So at the end of the day we went back down to the store. It was becoming dangerously close to the end of our 30 day exchange period, and we wanted to make sure we had a good phone.
When we explained the situation to the salesperson, we were informed that the Tilt was only available for new customers - and not available for exchange. Something about how they are only receiving a few units.
But I've signed a new contract - doesn't this qualify me? No - it's only for new customers.
"So what you are saying, is that current AT&T subscribers that are looking to enter a new contract cannot get this phone. It's only available if you are actually signing up a new number."
The rep called around to other stores in the area to see if they had a Tilt available for exchange. I tried to explain to him that I wanted him to find a Tilt period. He should not be indicating that it was "for exchange" because if they did not find us a Tilt - I was cancelling outright.
To be fair, I was irritated with AT&T before I walked into the store for a number of reasons:
- When my grandmother had died, I went through the process of changing all the house bills into my name. My grandfather is in a nursing home, and I am now officially paying rent, so it didn't make sense to keep anything in his name. I had no trouble switching any of the bills except for the phone bill - with AT&T. The first time I called, it went fine. But then the bills kept coming to my grandfather. I called back and was told that even though I had a confirmation number - they were in the middle of switching from "the old" AT&T to "the new" AT&T. Since I was with "the old" AT&T, anything I did with them was for naught.
- So then I needed to make the switch with "the new" AT&T. Even though I had all the required information - account number, last bill, his social security number, date of birth, drivers license, mother's maiden name - they wouldn't make the switch without actually speaking to him. As if they would even know it was him. Because their customer service hours are essentially during my work hours, I would have to take time out of work to go down to the nursing home and make a call so that he could talk to them.
- We have AT&T DSL at my work. I'd called a few months back to see what my options were to upgrade the line - we were looking at installing a MS Exchange Server and needed a faster connection. I had talked with the rep at length regarding the different options and pricing. When I called Tuesday to make the desired upgrade, I was informed that my current bandwidth was the fastest available in my area. Then why did the rep bother giving me pricing for all those plans if I can't even sign up for it. I would have researched other broadband options for my Cap Ex proposal.
So at this point I'm becoming a little irate with AT&T Customer Service policy. I can see the reasoning behind reserving a new phone for new contracts - it assures a conitnued income stream - but not only for new customers. This tells me that AT&T does not value their current customers.
I tried my best to be assertive without making the reps feel like I was attacking them. I know Bobby thought I was being aggressive. I explained that I did not want to be involved with a company with such poor customer service and was ready to cancel not only this contract, but the other two wireless accounts, home phone, and DSL that I have with them. We had just signed up for the DSL and had not yet cancelled our cable internet. I could easily switch the phone to Vonage, and Sprint had called recently offering to pay our cancellation fees with AT&T for the wireless accounts.
Now the manager finally becomes involved. He tries to smooth things over. He offers to have AT&T send us a Tilt in the mail - then have us bring in and return the 8525.
I should not have to go through all this to purchase a phone. I should not have to fight with a company to subscribe to their service or purchase their product. We may still leave AT&T and just eBay the phone. We'll see if they improve at all.