Tuesday, March 13

OT: Persistence pays

This post definitely has nothing to do with knitting or spinning. It has to do with taking on the big guys when they don't come through with what's been promised.

How many of you signed up for SBC's DSL service and were promised a rebate? Lots of us did and never got the rebate. We signed up in February 2006 and promptly sent in the rebate form (after making a copy for my records). It said it could take 10-12 weeks so I didn't think about it for a long time.

Months later, I ran across the paperwork and wondered what happened to the rebate? Checked with hubby and he confirmed we had not received it. I followed the instructions on the rebate form and go to the website for rebates. I input my phone number and zip code as directed, and it comes back with:

"We're sorry, but we were unable to find any rebate claims matching the information you provided. Please make sure the information you supplied is correct and try again.

Note: It takes approximately 10-12 weeks to process your claim. If you were unable to find your rebate claim status and you submitted your rebate form more than 4 weeks ago, please call 1-800-228-5015.

Thank you for choosing AT&T Yahoo! HSI Service!"


On October 25, 2006, I make my first call to the rebate hotline. Mark tells me they received my rebate post card in February 2006 but no rebate check was sent out. Why? He doesn't have a clue. He told me he would "escalate" it to the Finance Department to issue a check. I was given a case ID number, told to wait 4 weeks, and then callback. I was not a happy camper.

On December 1, 2006, I called again. I talked to Robert this time. He tells me no check has been issued. He blames Mark, who I talked to the last time, for not doing something correctly. That's his reason why no check has been issued. He tells me he has "fixed" the problem. I am again assured a check will be issued, but please wait 4 weeks and call again if I don't receive it. This is beginning to sound like a broken record.

On January 19, 2007, I call again. I'm persistent and I don't like that they aren't living up to their advertised promises. I talk to Greg. I explain that we signed up for DSL almost 1 year ago and still had not received our rebate. (This is where you wish you had tape recorded the two previous phone calls so you could play them for this guy and save yourself a lot of breath.) I told Greg that I was beginning to believe that this whole rebate deal was a scam and a fraud by SBC. He assured me it was not. He must have gotten tired of talking to me because he gave me a phone number for customer care and told me to talk to billing services. So I called that number and talked to Tony. I had to go through the whole history all over again. (Where's that tape recorder when you need it?) He assured me that a rebate check would be sent to me within 2-4 weeks.

Four weeks later, no check has arrived. It is now over a year since I had originally mailed the rebate form. Sheesh! Talk about poor customer service! I am really not happy that we haven't received our promised rebate. I've done everything I was supposed to but they won't pay up. What to do... I Googled the web to find out if I was the only one having this problem. I wasn't, there are many, many unhappy people still waiting for rebates. I expect a lot of them gave up. Isn't that what they want you to do so they don't have to pay up? But I'm not giving up. I mulled over my options. There definitely was no sense calling back the rebate hotline. All you get is excuses, promises, and nothing happens.

On February 21, 2007, I filed an online complaint about SBC's rebate program with the Indiana Attorney General's office, Consumer Protection Division. I promptly received a reply. The letter said that even though they had no jurisdiction against SBC, they were forwarding a copy of my complaint to SBC requesting a response. They would attempt to mediate a resolution. I'm impressed. They're trying to do something. SBC would surely take seriously a letter from the Indiana Attorney General's office.

Now it's March 12, 2007. The phone rings and it's AT&T's corporate office calling! Woo-hoo! Kerry tells me they are not happy I am having this problem with the rebate. He's read the form from the Indiana Attorney General's office. He's even followed the link to Business Week I supplied with tons of posts by unsatisified SBC customers who have not received rebates dating back several years. He tells me they want to make it right. He offers me a free month of DSL service plus a credit for the rebate on our April bill. I'll take that, thank you. He also assured me that they will be looking into why the fulfillment service (who is handling the rebates) is not sending out rebate checks. I hope this shakes loose rebate checks for everyone who sent in a DSL rebate form and never received a rebate check.

Success? I hope so, but I'll be a believer when I see the April bill with the promised credits on it. I had sense enough to ask for his phone number in case this doesn't come through. I'll be calling him back if that happens. And I still have a few tricks up my sleeve if that doesn't work. LOL!

UPDATE 3/24/07 - Our April AT&T bill shows almost $100.00 in credits--the rebate plus a credit for one month free. We won't owe them anything for awhile. In this case, persistence did pay off big!


Sarah said...

Good for you! I would have totally forgotten about it.

Sonya said...

Oh my, I am trying to remeber if we ever received our rebate. Your persistence may have helped us.
Thank you. Love the Easter Egg covers!