AT&T can kiss my hairy caucasian ass!

My very first Pit thread.

I moved last month, and of course I had to get all my utilities moved over to my new apartment. Many of them took the opportunity to [del]sodomize me[/del] charge installation fees. I was expecting this. I was dismayed when the cable/internet guy charged me $55 for installaton, in addition to the first month’s bill, but at least he came out to my apartment and did some work. (He had to replace a wall socket that the painters had painted over, plus hook up the cable and the cable modem.) The next couple of bills were not bad. The electric company charged me a whopping five bucks to switch the electricity over to my name. And the gas company (actually a billing service that is contracted by my apartment complex :dubious: ) didn’t charge me anything. Then came the phone bill.

A month ago, I asked the person at AT&T for a basic phone plan. I got one that costs about $35 or $36 per months. OK, thanks guys. They warned me that the first bill would probably be double, for both November and December. Fine, whatever. A few days ago, I registered online and started watching for my first bill. Today, I see that it’s ready.

$119 :eek:

I look around the website for a phone number, so I can call and ask, “WTF?” The customer service link leads to a web form. No dice; my bile wants something more immediate. I check the phone book, find the number for billing inquiries, and call. The next five minutes are spent navigating the dreaded automated customer support system. (I hope there’s a special place in Hell for the person who invented that monstrosity.) Finally I get a real live person. She’s a lady, and she sounds young and has a bit of a southern accent. Aw, Jeez, I can’t be rude to her. The one time I actually want to get some Pakistani guy who can barely speak English, so I can rant and curse to no effect, and instead I get someone who sounds like a major babe. God is testing me; I just know it.

I force myself to be polite, and ask the customer support chick why my bill is so high. She confirms that it’s for two months, and then adds that there is a $45 installation charge. I said “thank you” and hung up.

Fourty-five dollars? For what? I know damn well that their “installation” consisted of someone at the central routing station typing a few commands into a computer to switch my line on. Grrr. Bastards. The cute-sounding chick told me that the sales guy was supposed to tell me what my first bill would be. He didn’t. It’s not that I can’t afford to pay it or anything, but it’s a rather unpleasant experience to sign up for a $35/month phone plan, and get a bill for $120.

My cable company is going to be offering phone service soon. I’m going to have to check that out.

I know exactly what that is like.

I moved from 4th street in my town up to a house near 18th street. From the 600 block to the 1900 block. Maybe a five minute drive away. This house had a phone hooked up in it when I moved in, and it seemed to be working. I went to Verizon to have my service transferred and they said they would let me know the next day, as the person who was working was new. No big deal. That night, I recieved a phone call in my new apartment on the number the previous tenants had, so I figured that means it works.

When I went to Verizon the next day, they told me I would have to pay for the installation charge and for a technician to come to my house. I explained to them that it was working, I just wanted the number to be in my name or my number to be transferred over. The person working explained it like this…

I could have my number transferred over, but that requires a technician to come out no matter what. That starts at $65 for the technician and a $30 installation charge, added to the first bill. I thought this was a little ridiculous, so I thought about the other option.

They told me I could have my name put on the number at my new place, I would just have to pay the back overdue bill for the person who had moved out so that the account could be closed. They fully expected me to agree to paying this lady’s 100 dollar phone bill.

Switched to two cells and no house phone, wireless internet instead of dialup, and things have never been easier (or cheaper)


This is a little late too hear this. But you should not pay most of these fees. You negotiate with the Cable company for a deal and drop the phrase satellite service a few times. The installation fee disappears like magic.

As far as AT&T goes, you mention Telephony and maybe I do not need a land line, I guess I really only need a Cell Phone.

I know the cable companies will drop the install fees. I am not so sure about AT&T, but if they do not offer to drop the install fee, do not use them. You have other choices. Lots of other choices.

Maybe someone else will read this and avoid the problems you faced.


I don’t mean to be a dick, here, but this isn’t necessarily true. I can think of four or five reasons an install would require a dispatch. Installation rates are tariffed with your state regulatory agency, and the company has to justify them. Yours might be easy, but others are hard, and you pay the average. It’s like welfare.

Be very, very careful with VoIP. Before you jump make sure you have sufficient bandwidth, check into number portability, and understand that E911 won’t work for you anymore.

Some cable companies (including the one I work for) offer VoIP service that does not use any of the high speed internet service’s bandwidth. Also, our phone service does in fact work with E911, although I can’t speak for the cable company in your area.

Always try to get the installation fees waived. If you ask enough times, and mention satellite once or twice, most of the sales reps who work at the same cable company I do will waive at least some, if not all, of the fees.

This can’t be reiterated enough - Jim is so right on target. We’ve had to move several times in the last ten years - four times in five years (we’ve been here for awhile) and used this “system” (for lack of a better word) every single time. We have yet to pay a “move fee”.

Jim - on behalf of everyone who is moving, THANK YOU!! :slight_smile:

I do this a couple times a year as a matter of course. They lower a couple services for six months at a time. I’m currently enjoying my $175 to $134 negotiation. I’m getting pretty good at it.

Ain’t had a home phone in years. When I told the phone company to “suck it” I meant it! Got a cell phone.
'Course, now that we’re starting a business, I HAVE to get a business line in the house, and the good news is that I’m technically not breaking my “suck it” directive because the phone company is now owned by someone else! :smiley:

Since there are so many choices these days, though, if I have to tell a new company to “suck it” I can go on down the road to someone I have not previously had to tell to “suck it”.

Call AT&T back and tell them you will not pay any installation fee that you were not specifically told about in advance. It’s worked for me in the past.

Also, yeah, you can definitely negotiate with cable companies and possibly other service providers. Ask to speak to someone in the Retention department. A lot of times you can simply name your price and if it’s somewhat reasonable, they’ll go for it rather than lose you as a customer completely.

I just did this yesterday. I upgraded to HD cable (yay!) and the rep told me that they had a special deal going where if I upgraded my internet service too, I’d actually pay a few dollars less monthly. My first bill comes-- it’s $25 higher. I called the company and they told me there was no such promotion, but all I had to do was tell them what I thought I had been promised, and they would change the bill.

Not to be dick, but this always chaps my ass. VOIP is perfectly reliable home phone solution for many people. The major limiting factor is of course bandwidth, but anybody using DSL or high speed cable access (Roadrunner or the like) is not going to have a problem. Number portability is an issue with an carrier; VOIP, cellular, or pots. Plus, number portability is pretty now well established, given that it is mandated by the FCC. E911 is not an issue as the OP was about a land line, and E911 refers to wireless phones. 911 service works over VOIP, but you must register your physical address with your provider. Note: Vonage practically came to my door and made me do this (they sent several emails and actual post office delivered letters.

Sure, if the power goes out you will loose phone and internet access. But most people have cordless phones that require power and one of the nifty features of VOIP is that you can usually have calls rerouted to a cell phone automatically in case of service disruptions or for everyday use.

Sorry for the hijack, but I hate phone companies with the passion of a thousand suns, and encourage anybody who has trouble with them to look into VOIP through Vonage, their cable provider, or whoever.

I hate SBC, and I hate them just as much now that they’re AT&T. There is not a chance in hell I will ever do business with them again.

When I moved to my current location, I set up a land line - no matter what I did, I could not seem to get my monthly phone bill under $60 a month - I dropped options, I dropped long distance once I got a cell phone…still $60. Multiple calls with SBC couldn’t seem to get them to explain why. So, once I knew I got good reception with my cell phone in my apartment, I dropped the land line.

I never had pleasant dealings with any of the SBC representatives when I called them - they were always rushed and somewhat unpleasant. I tried to be nice, though they did get my temper up when I called to cancel and they repeatedly wanted to know why and tried to convince me that I couldn’t go without a land line. Yeah, ok. But I laughed when we were done and I realized that the last thing the woman said to me was that I would “receive a call” to ask me about my experience with SBC - when they didn’t have my cell phone number.

You know what chaps my ass? When, on a board dedicated to fighting ignorance, some jackass comes along and makes authoritative statements that are fundamentally wrong. Then there’s stuff that’s either slightly wrong or incomplete. Like this:

Depends. Most cable systems will work fine, but you don’t get dedicated bandwidth. If a lot of people in your neighborhood have Roadrunner and decide to get online while you’re on the the phone you’re fucked. xDSL is dedicated, but signalling speed is highly dependent on the amount of copper in the loop. Lower-grade DSL circuits (which are most common) don’t support VoIP well at all. Furthermore residential “broadband” (both cable and xDSL) connections aren’t symmetric, so while you may be getting upwards of 3-5 meg down on a great circuit, you probably aren’t getting more than 600k up. But of course you knew that.

Wrong. Vonage and other VoIP providers have repeatedly argued that they provide an internet service and are therefore not subject to regulation as common carriers, and the FCC has agreed with them. I’ve had to deal indirectly with hundreds of complaints from people who switched to VoIP providers, decided thay didn’t like the service for whatever reason, and then were unable to port their numbers back. Then there’s this little gem:

which indicates to me that you don’t have the faintest idea what E911 is or how it works.

One of the marketing lines Vonage used early on was that you could take the box with you anywhere in the world and still get service. Which means you could register your address in Trenton, NJ and take your box to Peoria, Il to visit your mom and still yack on the phone on the cheap. Thing is, if her house catches fire while you’re in Peoria and you call 911 on your VoIP phone, the Trenton FD will respond to your house in New Jersey.

Actually, some providers now offer battery packs, but you have to maintain them.

I’m not a big fan either, and I certainly don’t want to discourage people from seeking a VoIP alternative, but I don’t see whats wrong with counselling people to be careful or to aquire more knowledge about the subject than you seem to have.