Wednesday, October 8, 2008

AT&T Rules, BestBuy Can Suck It

Dear AT&T:

I’ve been an AT&T customer for over 8 years – I was with you when you were AT&T, I stayed with you when you were Cingular, and I made it through the third transition back to AT&T. Last month I was happy to find out that my boyfriend wanted to buy me an iPhone for my birthday – the perfect gift, since my new work schedule necessitates my having a phone with access to e-mail and the internet for Google docs. That, and my old iPod breathed its last breath several months ago (did you know it’s difficult to run on a treadmill without music?).

My boyfriend and I went to BestBuy after having seen the ads that they were now carrying the iPhone 3G. We have a BestBuy Reward Zone card, so my boyfriend thought purchasing the phone there would be great, because it would also earn him points.

We were sad to find out that because I was an existing customer I could not get the iPhone for the advertized price of $199 – even though I was due for an upgrade, I would have to pay $399. “This is total BS,” I thought, but not wanting to have to pay $200 to get my present, my boyfriend opened up a new AT&T account under his name to get the phone for $199, and I essentially gave away my rollover minutes and the phone number that I just had printed on 3,000 business cards. Not to mention that they said we could not do a family plan with an iPhone and a regular phone, which meant I would need to find another solution for my mom who has been on my family plan. Oh, well, they said we couldn’t do any of it.

Not a week later and the phone broke – the touch screen was bad, and I hadn’t yet synced my contacts to my computer, since I had only had the phone for 3 days. I went back to BestBuy, explained the situation (letting them know I was using the phone and why even though the account was under my boyfriend) and I was able to exchange the phone – but I was unhappy when BestBuy told me that the iPhone didn’t contain a sim card, and I’d have to enter all my contacts again from scratch – it had taken me 3 hours to do this with the first phone.

Then yesterday, when I called you all to cancel my old line – the line with the number I have had for 8 years, the line with the family plan with my mom, the line that’s been due for an upgrade since August – your associate, Jeff Johnson, tells me that everything BestBuy has told me is completely untrue. I can get the phone, even at BestBuy, for $199 because I’m due for an upgrade, I can keep the family plan and have my mom stay on the plan with me, and (holy heck) the iPhone does have a sim card after all.

Jeff was so appalled that he called the BestBuy from which I purchased the phone (White Marsh, Maryland 410-931-3107) and spoke to the cell phone manager on duty, Henry. While I was on hold with Jeff during my lunch break at work, Jeff set Henry straight and received confirmation that I could come in, return the phone bought by my boyfriend, and upgrade for $199 (keeping the family plan too). Henry was only working till 3:45pm, so I called before he left and confirmed with him that if I came in tonight after he had left, the situation could be handled and the other BestBuy cell associates were in the know. He confirmed.

Having to return the phone by the 10th (30 days per BestBuy), I cancelled my plans last night to go to BestBuy, because I’m leaving town for several days on the 9th, and this is the only time I could get this situation straightened out before I left town.

I had prepped myself for the worst case scenario – I was ready for the BestBuy people to not know what they were doing, and I was ready to sit and wait an hour while they tried to figure out the process for what they needed to do. Instead, I was greeted by a cell phone associate named Greg who started to shout at me about how BestBuy was not going to give me $200. Didn’t Henry relay the message? Apparently not. After engaging my boyfriend and I in argument after argument, we tell Greg that we’ll do a simple return – that we won’t give BestBuy any more of our money, only Greg hijacks our phone and won’t tell us how we need to go about returning it. He also refused to “inspect” it, as his department is required to do when returns of phones are made.

After waiting another half our in line at the Return Desk, we finally make it, and Greg starts to argue with the girl handling the returns about how we shouldn’t be allowed to return it. He then verbally engages us again.

Finally, a second cell phone associate, Daniel, comes up to the desk and asks us to explain to him (for the 40th time we’d explained it in that store) why we were returning it. When Daniel hears what happened, he is baffled and states that you all were correct and he can fix the problem. Well, Greg can fix the problem, because Daniel’s about to leave. I tell Daniel there’s no way I’m dealing with Greg again and will sooner drive 20 miles to an AT&T store to chance that I won’t have as horrible of service with an unknown salesperson than I know I will have with Greg. I’ve spent about 10 hours of my life over the past month dealing with this upgrade, and I’m at my wits end. I will not have an arrogant, argumentative salesperson “correcting” my problem on my time. Daniel agrees to stay late and help us.

As we’re waiting by the desk for Daniel, Greg approaches us again and starts yelling at us. I tell him to leave and stop talking to us. He gets even more aggressive and loud. When we refuse to answer him, he finally goes away.

As Daniel is completing the transaction, he tells us how he’s moving to Texas in 2 days. It struck me funny, because if anyone in that store were to speak to us the way Greg had, you’d think it would be Daniel – someone buying his time with nothing to lose. Instead, Daniel stayed late, fixed the problem, and we actually enjoyed talking to him while he was doing it.

You’d think after that I’d be happy to be on my 3rd iPhone in a month, but I’m not. Maybe it’s because I’ve been burnt over and over and I can only hope and pray nothing goes wrong with this phone, so I never have to set foot in BestBuy again. Maybe it’s because I’ve wasted 10 to 15 hours of my life trying to fix something that should have been done right in the first place, only to have the people who are suppose to help extend a verbal bitch slap to me.

I would petition you to never work with BestBuy again. Not only are their associates, who represent you, misinformed and incompetent, but they are rude as well. As I was sitting there last night writing down Greg’s and Daniel’s names, I was trying to come up with adjectives to describe them. Daniel was easy: very helpful. Greg took some thought – I wanted to get it just right – and I think I captured it appropriately with “argumentative douche.”

Although the bulk of this letter is meant to show you how BestBuy is falsely representing AT&T (I would have directed a letter like this directly to BestBuy if I thought they gave a shit), I would like to commend your associate, Jeff Johnson on a job well done. I have always received good service from you, however I was both surprised and happy that Jeff would go so far as to call the sore at which I originally bought the phone – the BestBuy. I’m continually pleased in my dealings with AT&T, and I wanted to take the opportunity to share the good along with the bad (and lets face it, it’s not like it’s you all who are the bad ones here).

I hope you’ll pardon my at-times crude language. Since I’m posting this letter on my blog (1,000+ distinct visitors per month), I was at times more conversational in tone than I normally would be when writing this type of letter. I wanted to make both my glowing reviews of AT&T and my utter disgust with BestBuy something that would be read by all site visitors. I hope you can understand.

Thank you, again, for the superb job, and keep up the good work!


Tara Gebhardt


Anonymous said...

You have the worst luck with that Best Buy. That's probably why it's impossible to find, because they know they suck.

Tara Armov said...

Greg needs some major attitude adjustment. I hope he gets his candyass fired and beaten up in the parking lot for yelling at the wrong customer.

Big In Day-town said...

Yes, Best Buy is the root of most all evil. The iPhone is so damn vexing, I'm seriously not going to get one (and I worship all things Apple).