AT&T apologizes to customer who was threatened after two e-mails to CEO Stephenson

AT&T apologizes to customer who was threatened after two e-mails to CEO Stephenson
Giorgio Galante is a developer of iPhone apps and is a customer of AT&T. On Wednesday he sent an e-mail to AT&T Wireless CEO Randall Stephenson. The subject was the carrier's elimination of unlimited data plans. A week earlier, he had sent a separate e-mail to the CEO trying to get the carrier to move up the date when he would be allowed to upgrade his phone so that he could pay the discounted price for the next-gen iPhone when it launches. An AT&T representative replied to the first e-mail by turning down the request. Galante responded by saying that he planned on leaving AT&T for Sprint and the new EVO 4G that launches today. AT&T responded a lot more harshly, "I want to first thank you for the feedback," said the AT&T rep in a message left on Galante's voice mail. The rep continued, "Going forward, I need to warn you that if you continue to send e-mails to Randall Stephenson, a cease-and-desist letter may be sent to you." The whole thing has left AT&T looking mean and petty and comes at a time when the carrier is the first and only one of the big four U.S. carriers to put an end to unlimited data. With the whole affair becoming a public relations nightmare, AT&T did the only thing it could do-it issued an apology to Galante, who was called by a senior vice president who said that the company was sorry. To the public, the operator tried to set things straight: "We are apologizing to our customer," AT&T said. "We're working with him today to address his questions and concerns. This is not the way we want to treat customers. From Facebook to significant customer-service channels, AT&T strives to provide our customers with easy ways to have their questions addressed." Apology accepted? Not really. Galante says that he still is leaving AT&T for Sprint and the EVO 4G and that while it was nice to hear from some of the carrier's top brass, it would have been better to hear from Mr. Stephenson himself.

source: DallasNews

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23 Comments

1. bronxbomber

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 10, 2009

these are the types of customers that i hate. they want something they are not eligable for. this guy either needs to man up and pay for the phone for whatever he qualifies for or just wait until he is eligable for the upgrade. i hate the fact that he thinks sending an email or escalating his call he would get what he wants..lol.. idiots. that being said, cant blame him for being upset about the data plans changing. however from what i've read he can keep his old unlimted data plan.

2. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

If you're going to whine when the company breaks their contract, you have to be willing to abide by your side as well. The guy doesn't deserve to break his, but I'm amazed by what you can get when you ask for a favor. As for the data plan issue - he might not be able to keep his older plan if he has to sign a new contract to get the upgrade price for the phone. Threatening a customer for sending polite, non-threatening messages, however, is just plain stupid. Someone needs to re-write the routine (computer or human) that did that. It would support your credibility, however, if you could spell eligible, and didn't think you were e.e. cummings. You must be reading too much Phonearena - their postings have been drifting more and more toward looking like the output of a third-grader.

3. BlackberryUser

Posts: 609; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

First, what happened to customer service, there is always a "customer friendly" way of saying no or responding. To threaten a legal order over two emails? If he doesn't want emails from the public then change his email addreess. Second, if you are the "right" customer Verizon will allow you to upgrade early sometimes. You can get a lot of traction depending on your account, the years of service, and talking to the right person. A friend of mine owns a business and called Verizon (I'm guessing no more then 30 lines). Not only did they upgrade him for free, they put him in a smart phone for free (the price for the upgrade was supposed to be around $200). He wasn't asking to get out of his contract, he was just asking for the ability to get a discounted price early which isn't unreasonable. The problem with 2 year contracts is that most phones don't last that long for heavy users. I personally plan ahead and do 1 year contracts. Verizon lets me upgrade at 9 months. The telephone sales department have a little more flexibility with early upgrades.

4. bronxbomber

Posts: 82; Member since: Apr 10, 2009

i never said i agreed w/ the email that was sent. but i am sure this is one of those customers that bitches about something he cant get. customers know there agreement and know when they can get a new phone, now i am sure he asked nicely but i am also sure he was told in a nice way that they could not grant his wish. as for the spelling part if your looking for that on forums you my friend have no life. thats sad that you are checking the spelling on peoples blogs. must of us just write and dont care about it, especially at 5 in the morning.

7. Mateo8326

Posts: 472; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

That's why you always read before you sign, i used to work for ATT the only way he would have got some satisfication out of this is if he paid like over $200 a month with our service. If he is a faithful customer and pays on time all the times and his like a gazillion features, of course we'll do something, not exactly what he wants but something..but if he just a person who has like the lowest rate plan with like no features and pays only like $75 for his wireless service, get the "F" out of her your lucky you got an apology. that just the way business works.

9. vzwtechbill

Posts: 175; Member since: Mar 16, 2009

#1: Who said it was a politely worded request? I don't know any *customer* who bothers emailing the CEO of a company to make a 'polite' request. #2: Why was he emailing the CEO anyway? People fail to understand, WAY too often, that he higher the food chain you go in a company, the more distant from customers/customer service the person is. My job is to handle customers. My boss monitors my stats. His boss is responsible for his stats, so on and so forth. I doubt the CEO even knows how to pull a customer up in the data base, just hands it off to an underling to handle anyway (case in point, guy never spoke to or heard from the CEO), cause THAT'S NOT HIS JOB! The CEO has much bigger worries than 1 customer upgrading to an Iphone. I don't think the schmuck deserves the apology he got, and I hope Sprint has another mass termination of customers that whine too much like they did a couple years ago, and this guy is #1 on that list.

10. spoonb1

Posts: 77; Member since: Jan 02, 2010

Glad he is leaving. This guy is probably one of the people who jailbroke their iphone and was tethering and burning up all the bandwidth that caused all the problems in NY in the first place.... the recent change in data plans are the fault of people like this. The companies(not just att, but all carriers) never intended for customers to be using 10 or 15gb of data over their wireless network. Anything over 3 to 4gb is flat out abusing the network anyway... and realistically the only way to use more is if you are tethering or if you are surfing the web and streaming internet radio 24hrs a day--which again was never an intended use, which is why the elimination of the unlimited plan. If everyone wants to be able to use navigation tools, surf the web upload pics and everything else that smart phones can do then bandwidth is needed to do so. This guy was just bitching that he wasn't going to be able to abuse the network and pay only 30 for gigs and gigs of internet, so let him go destroy sprints network. Either way, people that have unlimited will be able to keep unlimited, so it would not have been an issue for him anyway. He is just an idiot that didn't read anything further into the changes and simply spoke out prematurely... just like a lot of other people on this site and other sites who don't truly know what they are talking about, but yet they post comments anyway. Still customer service should have handled it differently perhaps, but crazy people that make threats are the reason for having to issue legal actions... especially when you make demands and complaits directly to a CEO. If I wanted free french fries for life at TGIFridays I would not email the CEO saying give it to me or I will go to Chilis from here on out... this guy just made a dumb move....

11. Fanboys Suck

Posts: 609; Member since: Dec 12, 2008

@vzwtechbill: Holy Hell, No one could have said it better. Amen!

13. BlackberryUser

Posts: 609; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

The cost to send the data to the phone does not justify the recovery. Although the intention wasn't for the "gigs" of use like you claim, then they should have put together a plan to support those users. Maybe still offer an unlimited plan at a higher dollar amount. Either way, could you imagine your DSL or cable provider telling you that you were limited how much data they could use? The cell phone companies have entered into the industry and to sustain in the industry they need to meet customers needs. Eventually everything will be over the internet and use the precious bandwidth.

16. spoonb1

Posts: 77; Member since: Jan 02, 2010

time warner or comcast (i cannot remember correctly) was already considering limiting usage during peak times.... read in an aritcle a couple of months ago..... so yes, i can imagine.... also, i do agree that att could still( and they might) have a higher tier plan for more usage later down the road.... wouldn't be entirely out of the question.. who knows...

19. pingpong

Posts: 145; Member since: Mar 28, 2010

I believe it was Comcast that was doing the bandwith throttle. The FCC got involved at one point about it but the courts said that Comcast was not in the wrong.

5. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Notice that we do not know the details of what the customer had actually written in his letter to the CEO. The customer is a whining idiot and going to SPRINT is his choice as a consumer. I know that AT&T will override upgrades to do one early, but not for the iphone. Oh well, that is life. Get over it. It is only a cell phone, which is still a luxury to have in life.

14. BlackberryUser

Posts: 609; Member since: Jun 26, 2009

I could have sworn they had screen shots of the emails on here earlier?

6. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Also, if the guy already has an iphone and is wanting to upgrade to the next iphone, then he would be able to keep his current 30.00 unl plan, but without tethering...oh well, let us move on to better things such as the blown call by that umpire JOYCE.

8. Mateo8326

Posts: 472; Member since: Jul 15, 2009

That's why you always read before you sign per contact ATT is allow to do whatever they want regarding features (not sure about other providers), i used to work for ATT the only way he would have got some satisfication out of this is if he pays like over $200 a month with our service. If he is a faithful customer and pays on time all the times and has like a gazillion features on his phone, of course we'll do something, like an early upgrade and have his feature grandfather in...but if he just a person who has like the lowest rate plan a high churn rate with like no features and pays only like $75 for his wireless service, get the "F" out of her your lucky you got an apology. that just the way business works, companies are more willing to keep high end customer than ones who are conservative.

12. corporateJP

Posts: 2458; Member since: Nov 28, 2009

Customer is a moron, but so are AT&T's brass right down from the top to their middle-management. This is a wash.

15. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

i read this whole article and i didn't see anything wrong with the customer looking for a better plan that works for him someplace else. i saw no reason why anyone at AT&T would bash him for this reason he wants to leave because of poor customer support and service and then folk on here bash him for saying im going for whats better for his wallet then AT&T. to many people just talking shit and bashing others cause they don't get it. its one thing to be a fan of a company it's total bullshit to be a mindless sheep spouting the company line.

18. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009

I think where the "bashing" as you put it...comes from this customer pretty much actin like a big ass baby. He wants what he wants right now and if he doesn't get it he's goin somewhere else. Too many times customers feel that b/c they pay a certain amount of money to whatever entity they do that they can throw weight around and place ridiculous demands. He wasn't eligible...it's not AT&T's fault that he's not eligible around the time that the new iPhone releases. You're not eligible...so wait like all the other customers. Why should he be so special for a company to bend the rules for him. Wait...big baby, it's not like his phone was damaged...he just wanted somethin new. But b/c i guess you pay your little $59.99-$200 that qualifies you to demand what someone is GOING to do "or else". What was the actual content of the petty email he sent to the CEO...who knows, but I'm sure it was politely childish at best...the CEO was valid in not responding. As a CEO i'm sure he's smart enough not to get involved in the silly demands of some customers. AT&T does their part daily as ensuring that he has sufficient wireless coverage that he can rely on on a daily basis to make his daily life more efficient. From one consumer to another have some sense and stop sendin whining emails to CEO's about some miniscule reason...be happy with your iPhone 3GS and shut up.

20. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

seems to me AT&T was more childish and started the whole war of words thing. LOL you just told him to go damage his old phone to get a new one.

22. CRICKETownz

Posts: 980; Member since: Oct 24, 2009

@wade1968 - I'm completely lost on how you took from what I said to go damage his phone...i don't represent AT&T, point I was tryin to make (which I thought I did) is that he wasn't in dire need of a phone or in a emergency situation where he was without a phone. But I guess ppl see what they want to see. You're not the smartest smartphone on the shelf huh...

23. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

LOL i'm not a smart phone i am a person. i mix as much knowlege with common sence and come up with anserws. you may not have said it directly but the meaning was in there.

17. loco64

Posts: 10; Member since: Jun 04, 2010

Guys, you got to take a step back and think about it. Being a strong developer for AT&T (and depending on how strong), perks like this should happen. If it totally fair? Probably not, for the everyday customer. But if it is a major player in the development scheme, then why not? But it's probably not AT&T's fault anyways abut letting him do an early upgrade. But there are things in play that would possible make him able to jump back into the unlimited plan. It's about fame. If I was someone who had pull or a strong asset into development, than I might want something early. Like celebrities able to get and do what they want. You can't hate on him. If you were in his shoes, you would try the same thing.

21. wade1968

Posts: 224; Member since: Apr 12, 2010

great point loco thumbs up!!!!

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