at&t and my iPhone robbed me of $1300

What follows is a story of one chick whose been on the receiving end of some bad bad customer “service.” I wish I hadn’t called. If you can help me pay the insane bill (paypal nosh [at]subvert[dot]com) I shouldn’t have to pay (since I didn’t knowingly order or use these services)  or have the email of a Sr VP of  customer service at Apple or at&t, that would be great. (If I can get the credit from at&t I deserve,  I will return every paypall-ed dollar to you).

I went to visit my family for Passover last month in Toronto. I called at&t while still in the U.S. to ask if there was a way to use my iPhone as a PDA/camera only in Canada. I should place my iPhone on airplane mode so as not to incur charges. He said no.

Let me warn you now, iPhone travelers, that the correct answer is yes.

I asked if I should buy some kind of package to cover Canada. He said no. I’ve spent hours on the phone with at&t reps trying to clear this up. It’s been a cornucopia of buck-passing, tush-covering and script-reading from various people. 

I have one simple piece of advice for anyone dealing with at&t iPhone customer service: Write down notes of every conversation you have with them and don’t expect them to do what they say they will.


What they could have done:

1.  transferred me to someone from Apple with the first call to get accurate information on how to avoid background charges

2. Been human and responsive to my questions. In short *serve* me.

3. Given me correct information.

4. Had the billing changes implemented which were promised on the phone.

5. Advocated for me and called me back rather than passing me on to the next at&t person to start over 

If you want all the gory detail, here’s what they did do:


I was advised by at&t cust. service on 4/17 (while in the US) that my $20 data plan would cover all data charges in Canada and that i did *not* need an add’l plan to cover data in Canada. I asked specifically if the phone would do something in the background that would cause charges and the att rep said “no.” I was amazed as i was set to turn off my phone. He convinced me I would have minimal additional charges for the couple of short phone calls and texts i might make. So I did have the iPhone on at times while in Canada.

Then I saw my bill for $1300.

I called at+t and was advised on 4/25 by at+t cust service an international plan would be added to my account and backdated to cover the outrageous $1300 I was billed for my time in Canada.

Then I saw my account online the other day. Still: $1300 owing.

The backdating was not implemented. Many phone calls since with at+t cust service have not resolved the problem (including speaking with at&t international who tells me they don’t have the authority to backdate more than to 5/1). At this point I was transferred to an Apple rep whose tone was much more helpful and who stayed on the call while another at&t rep was brought on who created an “HLA” or “high level adjustment form.”

This person was named Kaylee and she told me she could only give me a $250 credit and that she wasn’t authorized to credit me for all of the Canada charges incurred unknowingly. She told me she’d recommend i was credited. 5/9 I was called back by the person who “researched” the HLA named Cheyenne who told me the charges were valid and said i was told on 4/17 about an international plan. I was not and this was the first I’d heard from at+t that they had *any* internal notes on the 4/17 call even though I’d asked in prior calls.

Ms. Mcclanahan , Cheyenne’s supervisor then came on the line and told me to email through the web site. Throughought the experience with at&t the two people who sounded helpful either did not implement what they promised or did not give me accurate info. Everyone else was quite stern an would not respond to most of my questions in an individual fashion. Please credit my account for the Canadian data charges (which I’ve now been informed were for my email pinging the server on auto check in the background..even though I’d asked on 4/1 if I should put my iphone on airplane mode) This was a terrible user experience and customer experience.  

Steve Jobs, this is not insanely great. Just insane.

And I love Apple. I worked on Apple’ first music/webcasting team. 

One of my favourite comedy bits that I’ve done is proof: Microsoft=Xians / Apple=Jews .

Comedy = love.


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