AT&T Asks You To Pay In Advance To Handle Its Credit Problems

from the and-there-you-go dept

Despite explaining how the financial crisis will impact everyone, beyond just Wall Street, there are many people who still insist that it will have no impact on them. That's simply untrue. While the impacts may seem small and remote, when added up, they'll be noticeable. Richard Ahlquist writes in to show us a perfect example of this. AT&T has discovered that the commercial paper it relies on is now a lot more difficult to get, causing a bit of a cash crunch for the company. So how is it dealing with it? By pushing that cash crunch to you. Rather than its usual habit of billing you for the month that just past, AT&T is telling customers it's now billing them for the month ahead -- meaning that your latest bill may be double (paying for last month and next month). Effectively, AT&T is changing the credit terms on its customers, from net 30 to prepay. Sure, it may not be a huge deal that your telco bill doubles for one month only, but that's still money that's out of your pocket 30 days earlier -- and if other vendors do the same, it could be quite noticeable.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Chris, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 6:26pm

    I totally lucked out of this. I just downgraded my DSL and canceled a second line. While rearranging services on the phone with customer service, they mentioned the paying ahead news. Luckily, I racked up enough credit changing services that I'll miss a month of billing. Otherwise, a double-size bill would really tick me of.

     

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  2.  
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    Chris, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    And this just isn't the long distance charge. DSL is also billed prepay.

     

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  3.  
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    some old guy, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 6:43pm

    I wonder...

    The area I live in now is currently serviced sanctioned-monopoly style via "an authorized AT&T reseller". Which largely sucks, cause whoever planned this planned community sold out it's denizens from being able to choose competitive service providers.

    So far, from everything I have seen so far, AT&T is not exactly...kind... to its resellers. Makes me wonder if I'm gonna get double billed too.

     

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  4.  
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    Mojo, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 7:17pm

    CHRIS: Thanks for sharing the details of your credit situation with AT&T. I was worried how you were going to handle the double-billing. Oh wait, I'm sorry, I totally forgot that neither I nor anyone else gives a rat's ass. Whoops! Never mind. By the way, "off" has two Fs. You left an F off. Get it? F off!

     

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  5.  
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    illegalprelude, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 7:49pm

    surprised

    oh wow....this just seems wrong for some reason...plus, it kind of messes up the whole over charge cycle, in terms that this month you will be fine, but next month you will get nailed. Ive reduced my hours at work dramatically sense im back in school full time and this double charge is not gonna sit well with my iPhone billl...

     

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  6.  
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    Bob, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 7:59pm

    AT&T

    See this is one of the reasons I went with Vonage years ago.
    This is also enough to break a cellular contract too, IMO.

     

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  7.  
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    JC, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 8:28pm

    Funny

    I remember a few years ago when AT&T (at the time Cingular or Bellsouth or whatever they went by) wanted a deposit, and I offered to pay them a year of service in cash instead (principles people, principles). They couldn't do that, they said. Funny. Now they want it in advance.

    Oh, and Bob, if you read your contract, it basically says that they can stick it in whatever orifice they want, and you better thank them for the privilege.

     

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  8.  
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    Kev, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:01pm

    Everything nowadays works on credit. Phone bills, electricity, gas, credit cards.... oh man, every store has a credit card nowadays. Gas stations and food stores have credit cards.

    But I've been following delinquency rates, and this change seems like relatively good business for AT&T. You've heard how people aren't paying their mortgages and are being foreclosed? Well, other credit-based accounts aren't being paid either, like credit cards and UTILITIES. If more people aren't going to pay their bills on time, then the solution is to make everyone prepay. Yeah, it sucks that you need to pay in advance, but the alternative is that those of us who do pay our bills on time get to pay for all the deadbeats. Do YOU want to pay for the guy down the street who decides to stop paying his utilities? I didn't think so.

    No, this move by AT&T has nothing to do with the financial crisis. It has everything to do with people not making enough money. If everyone would pay their bills on time, then AT&T wouldn't need to change. The fact that some bank is holding the accounts for a bunch of bad mortgages and doesn't have the cash to loan out money does not impact AT&T's ability to budget its income to pay out its obligations. And the financial bailout that passed in Washington will neither put money nor take money away from ordinary Americans.

     

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  9.  
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    Fred Ritz, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:03pm

    Double Bill by AT&T

    The way to stop AT&T is to change providers this makes them sit up and take notice POWER BE WITH THE PEOPLE

     

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  10.  
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    Erica St. John, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:11pm

    new

    I just signed up for DSL. The next day, I was called and told before installing, that I had to pay a month ahead before I could get an installation date scheduled. This article explains why - since the rep could not. Thanks for the info! Perfect timing

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 9:26pm

    That explains a lot.

    I paid my phone bill on Tuedsay. Today I got a call from AT&T saying I owed a month's payments. The clerk acknowledged that I had made a payment on Tuesday and could not (now I understand that she would not) explain. They were very aggressive about the payment, even calling my kids' numbers and wanting payment immediately. The crunch must be on pretty hard.

     

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  12.  
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    Clarence, Oct 3rd, 2008 @ 11:58pm

    A month in advance eh?

    I have the go phone. I already pay a month in advance. I have no contract that they can either charge me out the wazoo iif I try to leave or change the rules as they go along... quiet as it is kept, the fact that they can do this and there's nothing you can do about it means that they are a monopoly in your area and are breaking antitrust laws... but hey who cares right? Certainly not the politicians... they get our tax dollars to pay the ATT of the world.

     

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  13.  
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    Nixter, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 12:02am

    Yeah but,...

    They will now owe customers one month credit when they drop AT&T, any savings are an illusion on AT&Ts part. They must really be in big trouble to risk angering their customer base in such a crude and obvious manner! AT&T is vastly superior to Comcast, it is a shame to see this happening.

     

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  14.  
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    Nixter, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 12:29am

    Correction ,...

    Just checked my AT&T bills going back the last two years, they have been billing me one month in advance the entire time, I guess this policy is nothing new after all, anyone else checked this on their bills? Mine show I've been pre paying, I never realized that I was paying before I used any service. I wonder, do other service providers do this same thing?

     

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  15.  
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    Bish, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:16am

    Re: That explains a lot.

    What bugs me most about this, Anonymous, is that AT&T can't be up-front about it all and tell the freakin' TRUTH. Why do they have to beat around the bush WHILE they're being all aggressive and such? It's stupid, this secrecy, it's pointless, and they treated you (and others) like children.

    Sadly, they own the infrastructure, so they can be as childish as they want. Why do we validate this behaviour by paying them money, again?

     

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  16.  
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    Kevin, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:23am

    Re: Correction ,...

    I pay for internet via COX prepay, paying for the next month at the end of the last/or beginning of that month.. I don't recall it ever being the other way in the past 3 years since I've used COX.

     

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  17.  
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    gutless, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:32am

    Prepay works/Double Bill Sucks!

    No logic->Times are hard so let us help everyone by taking out a few more bucks??? Most Logic->Times are hard, an we Will understand what most americans are going through. So, it makes more logic to move to prepay-but to forgive all of the customers who have been with them->and give them one free month->and move to prepay. That equals no much gain or loss.

     

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  18.  
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    Grem135, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 4:41am

    Charter Communications has always charged amonth in advance. the aholes even tried to make me pay next months bill when i wanted to cancel service with them after a price hike from $34 to $64...with no notice at all.(they ended up doubling my speed to 10meg for $37 a month) im not worried about AT&T. I believe most cable companys make you prepay as does AOL and other internet providers

     

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  19.  
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    Craig D., Oct 4th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    AT&T Billing a month ahead

    They are doing this to help with there money issues, don't you think they will loose customers over this and have more money problems than they do now?

     

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  20.  
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    tommi 2 tone, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 5:55am

    they have been billing me a month ahead since last year

    nothing new folks.....

     

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  21.  
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    Your Gawd and Master, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    This my friends is why we don't let the mentally handicapped get on the internet.

    So tell us Mojo, did the kids pick on you for riding the short bus to school?

     

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  22.  
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    Wimpy, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    hamburger

    I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:45am

    Perhaps all their customers should say, "In that case, I'd like to put my service on hold for one month so my budget isn't disrupted"... see what AT&T has to say to that!

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:58am

    GET AROUND IT EASILY

    If you want to get around paying a month ahead, simply pay your phone bill with your credit card (which will give you about 30 days to pay the bill).

     

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  25.  
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    Vrtigo1, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    They've always done this for wireless services

    I manage a corporate wireless account for a large company, and they've always billed us a month in advance. It sucks even more when you're talking about being billed 15k a month in advance. I'm sure our finance people could come up with something much more productive to do with that money if they had it an extra month.

     

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  26.  
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    Jack_Frost, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    I don't think so

    If AT&T Wireless tries that crap on me, they will get a rude awakening. As it is, I'm not renewing my two year agreement with them. I'm not getting roped into another cell contract again with them. I will buy an unlocked Cell rather than buy another one from them. The only reason I'm still with them is the carry over of Cingular's rollover minutes. If AT&T ever gets rid of that, I will bounce to Sprint and get their "Everything Plan", never having to worry about overages or data overage charges again.

     

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  27.  
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    sdookey, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:02am

    Not a "new" thing for most

    I owned an ISP for several years, and we always billed in advance. While they may be trying to ring in some extra cash, we did it because people tended to forget to pay their bill. If they were paying in advance, it gave us more time with the money, as well as more leverage when they were late. I don't have a problem with it.

     

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  28.  
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    Paul, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    Re:

    "No, this move by AT&T has nothing to do with the financial crisis. It has everything to do with people not making enough money."

    The financial crisis is about banks that have bad mortgages BECAUSE PEOPLE COULDN'T PAY THEM. This has everything to do with the financial crisis. The financial crisis are the people who can't pay, NOT the banks.

     

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  29.  
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    Rahn, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:25am

    Opportunity for Change.. Thanks AT&T

    This is actually a great opportunity to change services/carriers if youd like to escape a contract.

    Showem how much you appreciate them fostering their poor
    management onto your shoulders by exiting a contract.

    These are the magical words:

    "This change in billing is a materially adverse change for me and I wish to exit my contract"

    This is the law. The rep can argue, but its futile. This is a federal law..

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Ha ha - google it

    advance payment scheme ?

     

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  31.  
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    Marc S, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    This is news?

    Color me confused (which is my usual color!) but AT&T POTS has always charged you a month in advance for service, and the prior month for usage/calls.

    Comcast does the same thing on my cable/inet connection.

    I've have Sprint, and Verizon and Cingular before AT&T and they too have always charged a month in advance for service plans and prior month actual usage.
    If you look at your Auto insurance or any installment program, the vendor is always "ahead" in charges so if you choose to leave or not pay, they can disconnect or cancel service so you won't be into them for too much if you skip.

    This has nothing to do with the current "meltdown" or tight credit market. Look at your credit cards: you first "pay" the accrued interest, then what's left goes to lowering principal.
    Move on, there's nothing to see here.

     

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  32.  
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    Chris, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    Mojo: My apologies for disturbing that gigantic stick up your ass. I hope the branch-ectomy is a success for you.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 10:27am

    Locate Foot . . . Aim . . . Find Trigger

    One month of credit extended to all their customers is a HUGE pile of money and their bean counters saw it and decided it looked tasty, but they haven't really changed the balance sheet by much. The asset of money owing (less allowance for bad debts) will be changed to the asset of payments less failures to pay.
    And then they lose the asset of Good Will--customers who will be planning to use their services and pay them an ongoing revenue stream. But they don't have to account for that until the following end of fiscal year.
    So in the interest of liquidity, they created the illusion of Doing Something so they won't lose their jobs for a few more months.
    Totally bogus. No advantage to AT&T, grief for customers, some of whom will stop using this kind of service altogether if the double billing makes them unable to pay, promotion of allowance for bad debts to actual bad debts . . . . oh . . . I get it. They plan to sell a pile of sh . . . sheets of paper to the government bailout program.

     

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  34.  
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    Nate, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Mojo: Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to contribute to this forum, complaining about what you thought was someone's worthless post with one that was worth even less.

    Mike, it might be nice if Techdirt's forums gave you the option of voting comments under the threshold.

     

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  35.  
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    William, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Windstream (local carrier) has been doing this for years. I didn't know AT&T didn't already. Thanks, I guess...

     

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  36.  
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    Thomas, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    Well, the voting thing sounds like an interesting idea, but in practice, it may add a new level of unneeded complexity and actually incent trolls. Have you ever tried to find any decent analysis from Slashdot comments? Every time I go into the woodwork at Slashdot, I come back emptyhanded because there's nothing with any good value.

    So just don't feed the troll.

     

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  37.  
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    Joe Smith, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    working capital

    AT&T has been running with negative working capital for years. Their "current ratio" is about .5. Running a business with negative working capital is living life on the edge and it looks like AT&T is on the verge of going over that edge. Welcome to the credit crunch.

     

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  38.  
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    Thomas, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re:

    "The financial crisis is about banks that have bad mortgages BECAUSE PEOPLE COULDN'T PAY THEM. This has everything to do with the financial crisis. The financial crisis are the people who can't pay, NOT the banks."

    Good Catch, Paul. But I wonder what a long-term solution would look like. Employment dropped for the 9th straight month, and maybe I'm being cynical, but could high unemployment possibly have an effect on people's ability to make timely payments? Where's job creation in the bill?

    Half of all business income in the United States now ends up going through the individual tax code, while most large companies are paying less in taxes. That's patriotic. Isn't it great tohave your cake and eat it too?

     

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  39.  
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    Lucretious, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 2:48pm

    I dropped AT&T long ago. I use a call around service for the 3-4 times per month I use long distance and it comes out far cheaper.

     

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  40.  
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    Bob Yocum, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 3:41pm

    ATT billing et al

    Oh you poor folks who make the mistake of calling ATT for anything. Here in Houston they have a hidden incentive plan for their call takers. YES THEY ARE STILL adding features and equipment to your account without your permission-then they meet their daily objectives- they gotta do it to keep their job-so don't call them for anything except to Cancel. This scramming occurs on both their Sales and service call takers-BEWARE , I have seen it happen to neighbor 3 weeks ago, and other neighbor 4 months ago. Took weeks of calls and a cancellation to get it cleared up. THEY ARE HURTING FOR CASH.

     

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  41.  
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    Dan, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 3:48pm

    Since when did AT&T ever give a shit about customer good will? They have been screwing their customers for years and are proud of it.

     

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  42.  
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    Tim, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Correction ,...

    I work for AT&T. Telephone companies, cellular companies, and tv and internet companies always bill for a month in advance, they always have. By the time the bill is past due, you have used that entire month of service. The only part that is changing is Long distance. Since most people now have unlimited long distance, it seems reasonable to bill that in advance just like everything else. It eliminates alot of customer confussion on prorated bills when changes are made. The author of this article did a horrible job giving the facts but what's new.

    Keep bashing I guess,

    Tim

     

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  43.  
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    Dan, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 7:32pm

    Pay in advance

    I have Verizon for phone, TV, and FIOS. The pay-in-advance happened some months ago, but seemed to coincide with adding TV to the mix. Cable companies (video providers) have essentially charged in advance all along. So, I thought that the pay-in-advance thing, at least for Verizon, was the result of all being bundled together and, therefore, coming under the video provider "rules".

     

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  44.  
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    Mojo has a point, Oct 4th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Nobody cares about your lousy credit situation. Your post adds nothing to the conversation. Quit trying to find someone to care about your pathetic life on-line. Newsflash: Nobody cares.

    Now, this AT&T move is rubbish but common practice in the telecom industry.

     

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  45.  
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    Eric, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 1:27am

    Re: A month in advance eh?

    Exactly why what I did. Unfortunately I have an AT&T 8525 and would rather not use a go style phone. Instead I went with T-Mobile (yeah they suck but so far has been fairly decent) and I'm on the flexpay account which is equivalant to the GO phone system. I pay a month in advance with no contracts and can leave anytime I want.

    I love my AT&T 8525... LOL

     

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  46.  
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    bill, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 8:16am

    Everyone should realize that it won't stop at the phone companies. It isn't an isolated practice. Ipass makes you pay in advance for toll road use, the utilities average your bills and will soon make you pay in advance. Any "convenience service" will make you pay in advance. every month you pay your income tax in advance. Basically you are the last person to ever see or use your own money. There is no accountability of our leadership to do anything about this situation. We don't get our salaries before we work and more and more people are out of work, there isn't any work. You can't pay bills on minimum wage jobs. If you have been unemployed for more than a couple of months, it becomes a decision of warming your house, keeping your phone service or feeding your family. Many more people are in that situation now than ever before. The solution is simple, bring jobs back to America, bring industry back and make service industries and government accountable for their actions. Most of the comments here are very limited in scope and effect. Its a much larger picture which just keeps getting worse. The only way to stop the problem is to quit supporting the abusers. Stop playing the "game." We have to make hard decisions. Take back the responsibility for our own lives. These are very hard decisions, ones these companies and politicians don't want us to make. But they aren't giving us better solutions, they are just taking more and more non-existent income from us. Its been proven, you can't fix a problem by throwing money at it. The big trouble is we have stopped looking at who is catching the money and what they are doing with it.
    Those of you who have extra income and see this direction as a minor inconvenience, the best of regards to you. For the rest of us, the only way to stop this kind of abuse is to stop using the services we think we can't live without. Its funny, you can either choose to reduce your dependence on these conveniences or by not paying, have them cut off from you. Ultimately its the same outcome. I'm digressing, the consumer didn't invent credit, the supplier did. If no one used credit, "demand" it wouldn't exist. The fact that our currency is based on credit is sad. Again it points to accountability, our leaders representing all of us, not just the financial interests of the few.

     

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  47.  
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    al van acker, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:10am

    AT&T up front payments

    Was talking to a sales rep to switch service [phone, TV , and internet ,I have cell now ] and I have just chhanged my mind . I'll stay with Comcast .

     

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  48.  
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    JANET, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:21am

    We've always billed a month in advance for local service. The only change is billing a month in advance for the long distance plan, which is INDUSTRY STANDARD. Any long distance calls that are made on a basis of so many cents per minute are still billed a month in arrears. Cell phone service is the same way with other carriers too. Verizon bills a month in advance. Tell the true story instead of trying to freak people out. Why don't you report the names of Telcos who bill for local service a month in arrears? You may not have ANY names on that list. LOL

     

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  49.  
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    JANET, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    Hmmmm lets see. Your mortgage is paid a month in advance, rent is collected a month in advance, cell phone service is collected a month in advance, auto payments are collected a month in advance, landline service is collected a month in advance....GET YOUR HEADS OUT OF THE SAND. I guess this news will make them change their mortgage companies, change landlords, change cell phone companies, change their auto loan, all to discover they're still being billed a month in advance. How many of you were greatful for being billed a month in arrears for the long distance plan? If you're on a plan that bills by the minute then you're still paying a month behind for the calls?

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:35am

    Re: AT&T up front payments

    good..stay where you are...by the way...you're paying a month in advance for internet and cell service too you dingbat.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:39am

    Re:

    EXACTLY! What rock are people living under. I work for a mortgage company and we bill a month in advance also. My cable company bills a month in advance and my cell company. Who bills a month in arrears anymore? Whoever is still doing it won't be in business long.

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re:

    Ditto! I work for a Telco and we've always billed a month in advance. THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE GET PAID. There's so many people who call us and TELL us when they'll pay their bills. Many accounts are delinquent and customers still whine. Our company is good to make pmt arrangements and many people get spiteful and leave for Vonage. Then when they find out they can't dial "911" or when the customer has cable telephone service and their cable goes out, they realize they dont have tv, telephone or internet services...they want to come running back. And guess what..they owe us hundreds or thousands of dollars and want their service reconnected without wanting to pay their old bill...or they whine about paying a measley $50 deposit. We provide a service and we should be paid for it. When a person goes to the movie, they don't pay for it after the movie is over..duh Get real folks.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:50am

    AND DON'T FORGET, YOU WORK A WEEK, TWO WEEKS OR MONTH IN ADVANCE BEFORE YOU GET PAID! I'M LOL AT THE WHINERS AS THE PREVIOUS POSTER CALLED THEM. WAIT, MAYBE THEY DON'T HAVE A JOB, THEY'RE JUST COLLECTING A CHECK.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    Re: That explains a lot.

    YEAH. THE CRUNCH MUST BE ON REALLY HARD...WITH YOU

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:53am

    Re: That explains a lot.

    YEAH...THE CRUNCH APPARANTLY IS ON...WITH YOU

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Janet, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    Re: AT&T Billing a month ahead

    They're not doing this to help with money issues sir/mam. All phone companies, cable companies, mortgage companies, landlords bill this way.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    marvin, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 11:28am

    AT&T

    My AT&T land line service could not receive incoming calls for a week, AT&T credit .90 cents. Plus the land line quality was so poor, Internet connections were snail like slow.

    So I set up Broadband for the Internet & went totally cellular for voice communications. And get this AT&T! I'm not a kid, I'm an older white male.

    With policies & poor customer service, AT&T going to lose their core customer base of older individuals!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Dana, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 11:49am

    Re: Yeah but,...

    Comcast requires payment in advance.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Bruce, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 12:05pm

    Re:

    Eh? You can't pay a mortgage a month in advance. If you borrow $100,000 on Nov. 1 and make your first payment on Nov. 1 (in advance) then you haven't borrowed $100,000, you've borrowed something less.

    Mortgages are paid in arrears by definition. At the end of November you've accumulated interest and that is what you are paying. For example, at the end of Nov. you'd have $100,000 principle plus $500 interest and you've make a payment for something slightly more than $500, bringing the principle below its original value.

    Sigh...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Interest paid in advance ?, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 3:03pm

    Mortgage paid in advance ?

    I've heard of creative accounting and I've heard of innovative lending, but the only advance payment in a mortgage that I am aware of is the loan origination fee. Possibly the subprime silliness has out done its self, I wouln't be suprised.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    William G. Rourke, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 3:32pm

    let's get gov't off our backs so the pvt sector can rip us off

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    It's always been that way, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:12pm

    Every since the late 90's with ALLTEL the first bill had a prorated month and then one month in advance. AT&T wireless does the same thing. Your first bill contains a partial month, and a month in advance the first bill. This is nothing different than it has been for years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Art, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    AT&T Advance Billing?

    Friends,

    I began working for one of the Bells, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AT&T in 1971. A few years ago, I also retired from the same company.

    At that time I began, the Bells had been billing a month in advance for service and a month in arrears for LD for YEARS. They have never stopped to my knowledge.

    So, why is this a change worth noting? It's no change at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Art, Oct 5th, 2008 @ 7:23pm

    Pull The Article

    TechDirt...

    Why not just pull this article?

    I don't have any idea what morsel of information it was based on to begin with. ALL the phone companies...land line and cellular..along with all the cable and DSL companies...and who knows who all else...have HISTORICALLY billed in advance for their services.

    This is a non-story story, getting the uninformed steamed up for no good reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    icon
    Richard Ahlquist (profile), Oct 5th, 2008 @ 8:18pm

    Re: Pull The Article

    Wow you're such a follower you don't even have enough gumption to follow the links in the story Mike put up. If you follow the link to my post on patentlystupid you will see a screen shot of the official notice from AT&T and pardon the hell out of me for giving a shit.

    Some of us here in the southeast where AT&T is deciding to stuff the shaft up our back sides are already paying $4/gal for gas every day, if we can find it, on top of the BS everyone else in the country is putting up with. So forgive me if I find you lack of research uninspiring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 12:00am

    redpill ranting

    Yes, this seems like spillage from the previous AT&T rant from a few weeks back.

    It's things like this that make me question a few things.

    First off, ask youself, Red Pill or Blue Pill. You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed, and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

    1. The fact that AT&T LOVES to give money to people in Congress. Why didn't they just add some pork to the Bailout bill? Did they become a customer-focused company and quit playing the game? If this is so, BRAVO.

    2. Taking a "standard industry practice" from the wireless world and applying it to landlines seems far from bad, but people like Mike are keen to see the far reaching effects.

    3. Taking point #2 further, it presents a much more worrysome issue: could the next bailout come from telecom sector? Yeech. Hope it's not so.

    Remember, folks, it wasn't that long ago when California had a Budget Surplus under Democrat Gray Davis. I imagine Davis felt pressure from receiving hefty contributions from Enron, and was persuaded to spend the entire some-billion dollar surplus on purchasing the state's electrical grid from Edison Electric. This odd purchase was shepherded by Enron, a heavy campaign contributor for Davis' re-election effort.

    Later, Davis, (Who was somehow fully credited with the California Energy Crisis of 2000 and 2001) was recalled. Davis was replaced with highly-qualified [sic] Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    All this is odd, because it seems the Arnold is now prepping a $7B bailout package for his entire state, which, if the original surplus was kept and spent in a more fiscally responsible way-- building small business for example, Davis would still be in charge.

    So who is to blame? It seems it's the now defunct Enron. Which is interesting because Phil Graham, McCain's old Campaign adviser who did a good job in creating a secondary energy market for derivatives from the American Consumer. This is what we now call the "Enron loophole" This piece of work, who had to repeat three grades, also had the gaul to call us a nation of whiners.

    As Chris Matthews says, follow the money. With Paulson being #1, and other directives, it seems to have a big focal point back to Goldman Sachs.

    I await the day when Jim Cramer absolutely and unequivocally disowns Goldman Sachs, and even refuses to call them back.

    I never want to hear "My old buddy pal at Goldman Sachs said..." The whole CROX and CMG stock debacle should show what his value is on TV. He's a smart guy, don't get me wrong, but as I sit down, drinking LVMH.PA, I try to understand where we all went wrong.

    Jimmy man, we like ya, and you know what, we're going to fight for ya, but come on out and sit here with us on the linoleum floor for a few days. We don't know what to do. You were too smart for Goldman, man... Come sit on the floor with us. Let's fix it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaG9d_4zij8

    Think about it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Twinrova, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 3:43am

    And now you know...

    Why I'll never, ever again be an AT&T customer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    nunya_bidness, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 4:24am

    wtf

    This post proves itself wrong.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    InanimateOne, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 5:44am

    I work for a cable company that also provides internet and phone. I have been here three years and we have always billed a month in advance. We collect 1st month and installation up front from customers at the time of install. If you happen to owe us money from a previous account we also collect that money and a deposit from you up front as well. If we did not bill in advance we would run the risk of losing a lot of money. The company pays a sales rep. hourly plus his/her commission on the order, pays for the gas in the truck to drive to the customer's house, and pays a tech to install it the services. If you think a smart company is going to pay all those fees out of pocket and just cross their fingers that you pay your bill then you are mistaken. Because if they do not pay now we also have to pay a tech to go and disconnect the services. It has always suprised us here that AT&T still billed for the first month's service and continued to bill at the end of the month. Now I have even more ammo for my arsenal when a caller tries to tell me "AT&T said the would bill it to me!" They must have finally realized how much money they could save themselves and how risky it is to the consumer in times like these, even if their intentions are to pay their bills.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    InanimateOne, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    Correction:

    "how risky it is to TRUST the consumer in times like these..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Re: Yeah but,...

    The newly oimplemented "disconnect fee" will be equal to one month's service.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  72.  
    identicon
    freak3dot, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 11:47am

    Re: redpill ranting

    I never want to hear "My old buddy pal at Goldman Sachs said..." The whole CROX and CMG stock debacle should show what his value is on TV. He's a smart guy, don't get me wrong, but as I sit down, drinking LVMH.PA, I try to understand where we all went wrong.


    I have also spent time wondering where we all went wrong.

    I think my pondering started one day when I was tired of the bureaucracy at work and googled that term. Bureaucracy by its very nature creates waste and only grows. Think about it, to cure bureaucracy issues wouldn't your first impulse be to make new policies. Isn't that more bureaucracy? I read one article that spoke of bureaucracy as if it had ended the Roman Empire. I fear our government to be headed the same direction as they add more bureaucracy which wastes more taxpayer money and then they want more money that we don't have.

    The second thing that got us here today is greed. People being greedy and buying everything from overseas must have had some impact on our country. Now we have less money because it is overseas. I guess it is like some sort of Karma in return for being greedy.

    Greed is pretty scary though. Now, we have cheaper (in both sense of the word) items made only to last a few years instead of decades. This costs us more in the long run.

    Society is not about innovation anymore because they are greedy. This greed has caused the patent problems we often read about on techdirt.

    I wish things would change and people would all work together to make things better but money stands in the way of that.

    I am literally scared because the way things are going there will be desperate people doing desperate things.

    freak3dot

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  73.  
    identicon
    telelou, Oct 6th, 2008 @ 7:16pm

    Re: prepay for communications

    I worked for the now-morphed-into-the-current AT&T company for 17years. It used to be Illinois Bell, then Ameritech, then SBC, now AT&T. This company and all the others starting with Ameritech, has ALWAYS billed in advance for their services. If you go back to say last year's October bill, it stated the billing date near the top of the first page, the monthly services detailed stated "billed in advance". This is really nothing new. If you were not billed in advance then you either lived in the East St. Louis, Illinois area, or there was a billing mistake. Most companies do bill one month in advance generally speaking anyway. Now I am refering to the state of Illinois, and some other midwest states. Though it could be that laws in other regions are changing in favor of At&t to allow this monster to get away with what it does. Now that the fat-derriered board management and lawyers got their way from the federal government, AT&T can pretty much do what they want now. By the way, don't take up any more than 9 minutes of a representative's time complaining about this, and trying to get an adjustment. Management says the rep will get in trouble for going over the average call handling time allowance for that rep. You may just get transfered back into the que to have a "specialist" take care of it. That "specialist" will be just another rep. like the last person you talked to.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: prepay for communications

    They want our hold time (in the Southeast) to be 7 minutes or under. We aren't allowed to speak to fellow employees when we walk by, yet the mgrs can stand around and scream "SELL SELL SELL" while we have customers on the line. It's turned into a Prison atmosphere at work. Mgrs scream "I need 30 more DSL lines." And if someone calls us to take something off, it counts agains US. If anyone needs to remove services, please go online and do it or use the "contact us" link and have a rep call you back to remove the service, but please don't call in and do it. I have seen so many reps walked out the door (FIRED) because their sales were not where the company wanted them to be.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  75.  
    identicon
    Janet, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    At&t installs jacks, re-wires homes without collecting for this in advance. Plus, we don't make any money off the wiring work we do. If you can find an electrician to drive to your home and rewire a jack for $57.00 go for it "Inanimate One." And, what do you mean At&t bills at the first of the month and continues at the end of the month? We bill one month in advance for phone service. The next bill you get would be for the following month..JUST LIKE the cable companies billing. P.S. When U-Verse comes out, we'll see who has "Ammo" for who...LOL At least our customers don't lose their phone service, T.V. service AND internet, when the cable TV goes out. Your customers lose it all. Need a tissue?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  76.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re: redpill ranting

    Yeah, like the cable companies

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  77.  
    identicon
    Janet, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Pull The Article

    EXACTLY! I thought journalist were supposed to be informed. We've always billed in advance for services. The telcos should take techdirt to task, or to court for being SLANDEROUS!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  78.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    Re: AT&T

    You probably aren't telling the whole story. You sound like a customer who had a problem with the INSIDE wiring, which is YOUR responsibility, no At&t's responsibility. And if your credit was .90, then that tells me you aren't spending very much for phone service...LOL Enjoy your cable while its on, because when the cable TV goes out, guess what? You won't have tv service OR internet service. Sure glad you have a cell phone, because you'll need it to call the phone company when you go running back. Or better yet, go to Vonage and don't get upset when you need the police or an ambulance only to find out that you can't dial "911."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    identicon
    nikiesha hill, Oct 7th, 2008 @ 8:42am

    war

    what have we done in america ..we need to come togehter as one as a people

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  80.  
    identicon
    Sylvia, Oct 9th, 2008 @ 7:04am

    AT&T Prepay

    I read my notice about prepayment and it stated that only the long distance portion of my bill would be prepaid. Did you read more into it or did I miss something?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    identicon
    Gomez, Oct 14th, 2008 @ 6:37pm

    AT&T

    AT&T discovered the commercial paper of relies on lot more difficult causing with the financial crisis,and
    ability to budget its income to pay out its obligations.
    ----------------------
    Gomez
    Credit Card Debt

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 6:23am

    I'm pretty sure when I first signed up for Bellsouth (now ATT) that I was billed a month up front (I need to go back and confirm). If that's the case, now they have two months worth of free money from me. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? If so, please post. This really smells.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  83.  
    identicon
    king pat 38, Oct 24th, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    time for T Mobile!

    Looks like I'm switching to the new google phone by T Mobile. Att is the devil!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  84.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 6th, 2008 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    Mojo, you're an idiot, if you don't care about what Chris just said, then why did you read it? IDIOT.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  85.  
    identicon
    Todd, Nov 11th, 2008 @ 11:25am

    This is ridiclous. I think that soon the grocery stores will
    start charging us in advance for the food that we MIGHT buy next month. Crap total Crap. The local electric company imposes a fuel surcharge of 50.00 per month. This is also crap. Fuel prices have went down and now thats all profit for them. This is just another way to rob the public

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  86.  
    identicon
    Jerry Smith, Jan 5th, 2009 @ 4:03pm

    WHAT A RIP OFF !!!!!!

    I switched to Vonage and it took 3 months for AT&T to stop over billing me. I finally got a bill that was not bogus, and then they send me this double bill. Their DSL service is slow and undependable, but it was a bargain at $24.95. They raised it to $40.00 after I switched to Vonage. The first thing that came to my mind was they are having a cash flow problem. These people are masters at wrangling money out of people. I am going to find another ISP and never have anything to do with these dirty rotten @#$%&*! I truly hate this company from the bottom of my heart. I had my doubts about Vonage, but so far it has worked flawlessly. I can now call my mother who lives 12 miles away, and not get charged long distance.Vonage is not perfect, but it 100 times better than AT&T.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    stan, Feb 22nd, 2009 @ 6:54am

    Quit paying in advance

    Charters policy of paying a month in advance didn't work for me so I only pay for the month of service I receive. As of the first of the year Charter's been very aggressive in trying to force the issue. I call them monthly and tell them I'm not paying in advance. There is nothing they can do. I explain to them I'm not "loaning them any money", "I don't know if I'll be using their service next month", and because your in bankruptcy I'm not sure your going to be around to "refund" the advanced payment/loan.

    Last night after 2 phone calls their billing department we silent. I said no. No negotiations, no advance billing, no loans. They then tried to add 4.95 late fee for not paying them in advance. I explained I'm not late, my bills have been paid on time in the month of service that I am using and have not intentions of paying for services in advance.

    I don't pay my employee's in advance for work they haven't performed so they don't get paid in advance to services rendered. The $4.95 late service charges got waived but this is a monthly battle.

    Same with ATT, I just told them no. I've had to pay one month in advance when I signed up with the lecs, and realize you can't get service unless you initially play their game, but after 1 month, I don't pay because I've already paid them. I tell them that straight up. No.

    Charter, ATT, no one gets loans without paying me internest for the free money. While on the phone with ATT I dropped my service plan, less minutes and told them I'd pre-pay with a go phone and they ended the conversation with we appreciate your business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  88.  
    identicon
    Nate 81, Apr 14th, 2009 @ 11:45pm

    All phone companies didn't use to bill a month in advance for wireless service until recently. When att was still cingular you were billed month to month paying only for what you have used. Once they became the new att and their service became even more horrible and their phones pieces of crap, and they then began billing a month in advance. A month ago I added my girlfriends line to my plan (which they had to make a new account for and i had to pay $150.00 deposit for a transfer of service) that they began charging me a month in advance. so i had my normal monthly bill, the bill for a month in advance and prorating and my deposit totaling altogether around $600.00. Which in my opinion is outrageous. At the time of the switch that i made, the lady over the phone said that the first bill would be a month in advance not all of them, so i planned my budget out like normal and low and behold here comes another bill a week later for $130.00. I was then given the run around with 5 different people over the phone and no one could have an explanation for me. All they could say was that they appreciated my business. At one point i had a lady on the other end reading my bill off to me and then rudely asked if she had "educated me on my bill," (good customer service there). I finally after threatening to yank my service got a hold of a person who could help and was informed of why it was changed and as far as they are concerned there was nothing they can do. I understand that may be the way they do things but by not effectively informing their long time customers, they are going to lose them leading to more people not paying on their accounts. Eventually those who actually pay their bills will leave. It about principle if you make a change let the customers know up front not in small print or a month later when they get a huge bill, the average American has enough to worry about now days trying to get by!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    fj1 (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:20pm

    AT&T nonsense rip-off

    I had the same experience with Nate 81. I changed my individual plan to family plan by adding more line to AT&T, what I'm rewarded is a huge bill due to a month in advance. Unluckily, both of us are iPhone users so we stuck with AT&T, then we can't never get our credit back if we don't have chance to end our contract with them. It's totally nonsense ripoff for AT&T to treat their good customers who pay their bill on time and they should not post charge the customer for service haven't been used. Can we sue them?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    josegrimez, Apr 24th, 2011 @ 9:58am

    ATTN ADVANCE BILLING

    As a recycle party advocate, I would like to know how Att was allowed to get a tax free advance from it's customers?
    This amounts to an interest free loan at the expense of you guessed it- you!! The congress ? Useless -IN the 21st century there is no difference between corporations and dictators....I urge anyone who reads this to join the recyle party spreading through the mid east and be ready when it hits our shores.Do this by recyling congress until they relearn the message of representation.ATT is the proverbial canary in the coal mine

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2014 @ 10:28pm

    wow

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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