A Cautionary Tale: Misleading Sales Practices at AT&T

By John Griggs

On June 18th, I had an encounter with an AT&T In-Home Expert (IHX) that has left me with a bitter taste and a cautionary tale to share with my fellow community members. As my neighbors were getting AT&T fiber optic installed, an IHX Southeast States representative stopped by my home, and we had a brief discussion about service providers. I was upfront with her, telling her that I was currently with T-Mobile, paying $120 per month for two lines with unlimited talk, text, and data. I emphasized that unless she could offer a better deal, our conversation would be a waste of time.

With a confident demeanor, she looked at her iPad, punched in some information, and assured me that AT&T could provide the same service for $97 per month. Excited by the prospect of saving money, especially since I was already an AT&T Fiber Optic internet customer, I decided to make the switch. However, this decision soon turned into a regrettable one.

The first bill notification I received by text indicated that I was going to be charged $302 for the initial month’s bill. Surprised and concerned, I texted the representative but received no response. Assuming there had been some mistake, I contacted AT&T customer service. This is when the situation took a troubling turn.

I learned that the IHX Southeast operates as a separate entity within AT&T, and my bill was actually going to be $165 per month moving forward—far from the $97 I was promised. Additionally, it was conveniently after the 14-day right of revision period that these charges were revealed, making it impossible to cancel without penalties.

Feeling deceived, I opened a case of deceptive sales practice with AT&T customer service. To date, I have not heard back from the representative. I have also asked for any and all paperwork regarding my wireless account be forwarded to me. None have been received as of yet. A quick search on the internet revealed that my experience was not unique. Several forums and articles discuss similar deceptive practices by IHX, but unsurprisingly, AT&T has closed these forums to further discussion. I will update with any new information about the progression of this case.

After two phone calls to AT&T customer service and two trips to the local corporate store, the representative’s immediate supervisor finally reached out to me. After reviewing the bill and making some adjustments, he arrived at $138 per month to put me in the same situation that I was in with T-Mobile. Still, this was far from the $97 per month that was promised and he is aware of my displeasure with the misleading sales practice of the bait and switch variety.

Let me emphasize that I have no issues with the corporate store or customer service, as both were more than helpful and understanding of my issue. Their fiber optic cable is fantastic.

I share my experience to warn others: do not trust what you are told by these in-home experts. Ensure you get every detail in writing before making any decisions. Deceptive sales practices not only harm customers financially but also erode trust in service providers. It is crucial to remain vigilant and demand transparency in all dealings.

In closing, let my experience serve as a reminder to thoroughly verify and document all aspects of any service agreement. As consumers, we must hold companies accountable and advocate for fair and honest business practices.

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