Thursday, January 19, 2012

a class action suit waiting to happen (lyn)

A month ago Alexander and I both get new iPhone 4S's.  I settle on the 200MB monthly data plan of $15 per phone.   I don’t know how to measure data usage (as it turns out, no one does).  I use the only tool available to me…my own history.  Before my new iPhone, I had an iPhone 3G.  For the past three years, I haven’t exceeded 90MB a month except for one month when I was traveling.  So purchasing a plan that offers 200MB feels right.  I even cancel my unlimited data usage plan of $30/month that is no longer being offered.

Within 16 days of having our new phones, Alexander has used 198MB and I have used almost 100.  Something is wrong.  I call AT&T, and explain the problem.  Larry appears to understand and advises me to go to the nearest AT&T store, bring my phone, and there, “A technician will be able to analyze your usage in detail and see if there is a problem with the phone.”  Sounds like reasonable advice to me, and so I follow it.

At the store, Robert greets me with a big smile, and says, “How can I help?”  I answer with, “Oh, Robert, you are probably going to regret getting me as your next customer.”  Before I leave, I’m sure he does.

Robert helps me as far as he can.  He calls an iPhone specialist; she’s not helpful.  We speak to an escalation person.  He is the least helpful, suggesting that maybe I just use more data than I think I do (even though my texts, internet and emails prove differently).  Robert’s manager gets involved.  She is nice but offers no answer (but does give me a $30 credit for my time).  After ninety frustrating minutes, this is what I learn:  AT&T cannot verify usage data.  If they say you use two billion GB of data in a month, there is no way to refute it.  And, you must pay for it.

Imagine if the food industry operated that way. 

Me:  How could I gain 10 pounds in a month from eating an entire Entenmann’s Chocolate Fudge cake every day? 

Entenmann’s Rep:  I’m not sure, ma’am.  The nutritional labeling says it’s only 1 calorie per slice, or 8 calories for the whole cake. 

Me:  But how can that be?  I’ve gotten so fat from eating it! 

Entenmann’s Rep:  I’m sorry ma’am, but the label says its only 8 calories. 

Me:  But what if the label turns out to be wrong? 

Entenmann’s Rep:  The label is NOT wrong.

Me:  How do you know it’s not wrong?  How do you calculate the calories?

Entenmann’s Rep:  I can’t tell you that.  All I can say is that the label says its 8 calories, so that's what it is.  Labels don't lie.  You probably had a Big Mac and Large Fries for lunch every day and just forgot!

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