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Old 02-13-2013, 09:55 AM   #1
mrpiggy
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Default Late night Hot deal impulsive Internet phone/plan buy question on whether I'm screwed

Now see last post for a year-ish later update!

See my last post for four month update!


So on very early Tuesday morning (I shoulda been sleeping, but couldn't), I got Valentine's special email from AT&T Premier about special prices. I followed the link to the premier site and on going through the ordering process for fun, I noted that at checkout, some phones were hugely discounted and even more amazing, the plans were even better! Being sleepy as hell and not wanting to miss a deal I put in an order for two iphone5's and one LH Optimus. I recieved an email on Tuesday afternoon that all three phones have shipped. Now I'm thinking instead of a INCREDIBLE deal, I might have screwed myself.

Here is what the emailed receipt looks like (sorry about the lousy formatting of the columns): Pay attention to the cost of the phone and more importantly, the "Monthly" and "Total Monthly Charges" for the plans. This is also exactly what it looked like on the website as I did my order verification prior to getting a receipt.

One-Time Charges

Phone/Device

iPhone 5 (16GB White) $199.99
Offer Discount -$130.00
Services & Fees
One-Time Activation Fee $0.00
-------------------------------------
Sub-Total(One-Time) $69.99

One-Time Charges $69.99

Estimated Tax $4.20

Shipping $14.95
Total One-Time Charges $89.14


Monthly Charges
Voice Plan
AT&T Mobile Share(R) with
Unlimited Talk & Text $0.00

Data Plan
AT&T Mobile Share(R) 1GB
with Unlimited Talk & Text $40.00
Service Discount -$8.00
Regular Promotion -$32.00
AT&T Mobile Share(R) Personal
for iPhone on 4G LTE (1) $45.00
Regular Promotion -$45.00
Features
Applications
----------------------------------------
Sub-Total(Monthly) $0.00

Monthly Charges $0.00
Estimated Monthly Tax TBD

Total Monthly Charges $0.00

So basically, the monthly charges for the service plans are at "zero". Is AT&T going to come back at me hard and swiftly or can they be held to the terms of the receipt (Note that the monthly charges on the plan sections of the checkout screens, review order confirmations screens, all include "Monthly Reoccuring Charges" of zero dollars and I do have screen shots. And no I did nothing special on the AT&T Premier corporate sponsorship site. I just picked 3 phones and the exact same three plans and all of them were a cost of zero for the monthly costs.

Last edited by mrpiggy; 03-29-2014 at 07:11 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:23 PM   #2
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Not sure how you're screwed? So you paid 3 x $89.14 (per phone) for 3 phones and the monthly plans are free? PM me the link please.
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
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Scam site?
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:54 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lopri View Post
Not sure how you're screwed? So you paid 3 x $89.14 (per phone) for 3 phones and the monthly plans are free? PM me the link please.
Yah this lol
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Old 02-13-2013, 02:57 PM   #5
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This purchase was done through AT&T Premier corporate website. This is where you go to get employee 20-25% discounts because one works for a large company that has employee deals in place with AT&T. It's a legit AT&T site, but you basically need a corporate email to get there. Looks like there was a "blackberry promotion" for $140ish that their systems accidentally used on other-than-blackberry phone purchases "and" also applied it to the plan prices.. Not that I feel sorry for their mistake, as I'm sure they could give a crap about my financial issues if their bill wasn't paid on time. BTW: They fixed it a few hours after I made my purchases...

I'm mostly worried that I'm screwed because AT&T won't honor the zero dollar plan pricing (which is not normal even on a corporate deal) because of some computer mistake on their part. Like basically they tack on the full plan pricing for the three new phones lines onto my existing account regardless of what my receipt says I paid for.. Not so much I actually expect them to honor two years of free plans, but I don't want some long pain-in-the-ass drawn out fight because they go ahead and charge me the normal plan prices.

In all honesty, I'll let them off without a fight on the zero dollar monthly plans contract breach if they let me keep the phones for what I paid for them! Kinda gotta wait for any other paperwork to arrive with the phones (which should be here today) to see what AT&T's expectations of the agreement are..

Last edited by mrpiggy; 02-13-2013 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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You should probably call and find out for sure while the order is still new. If you're worried about them upholding and just try to wait it out you might end up getting screwed.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:17 PM   #7
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Call and speak to a CSR. Worse case scenario, just return the phones.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:19 PM   #8
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You're probably not going to get 'screwed', however you are not going to make out like a bandit either.

They can't force you to pay full monthly fee for the whole 2-year period while their own receipts say zero, while on the other hand they are not going to let you go away with $80 iPhone 5 and let three lines out of contract completely. It's not going to happen, so just forget about it.

What is very likely to happen is that they will offer you the *real* discounted prices without the typos (I'm guessing the 'regular promotion' part is where it was an error), and if you won't take it then they'll ask for their phones back.

Be ready to fight, although you shouldn't be an ass about it either because you clearly knew that this was a price mistake. However, you should try hard to hold them to it. In the end, any kind of offer with less than regular monthly fees (in addition to the phones themselves, which are a steal) is a reasonable offer to take, imo.

Make sure to update this thread with the result and don't leave us hanging
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Last edited by cronos; 02-13-2013 at 03:24 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 03:42 PM   #9
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Here's where I hope to make out with the phones (tell me if I'm wrong). I figure they will tell me that their computers made a mistake and I shouldn't have gotten the deal. My argument will be that the receipts (and other confirmation e-mails) I have and the screen shots I took of the purchase are a legally binding sales contract since they sent me the phone, charged my credit card the amount on the receipt, and made no effort to immediately contact me before I activated the phones; so if they want to "raise" the plan pricing from "zero", then they have to follow "their" service agreement rules and give me written notice, and then I have option to terminate the contract (and keep the phones).

As per their service agreement:

1.3 Can AT&T Change My Terms And Rates?
We may change any terms, conditions, rates, fees, expenses, or charges regarding your Services at any time. We will provide you with notice of material changes (other than changes to governmental fees, proportional charges for governmental mandates, roaming rates or administrative charges) either in your monthly bill or separately. You understand and agree that State and Federal Universal Service Fees and other governmentally imposed fees, whether or not assessed directly upon you, may be increased based upon the government's or our calculations.

IF WE INCREASE THE PRICE OF ANY OF THE SERVICES TO WHICH YOU SUBSCRIBE, BEYOND THE LIMITS SET FORTH IN YOUR CUSTOMER SERVICE SUMMARY, OR IF WE MATERIALLY DECREASE THE GEOGRAPHICAL AREA IN WHICH YOUR AIRTIME RATE APPLIES (OTHER THAN A TEMPORARY DECREASE FOR REPAIRS OR MAINTENANCE), WE'LL DISCLOSE THE CHANGE AT LEAST ONE BILLING CYCLE IN ADVANCE (EITHER THROUGH A NOTICE WITH YOUR BILL, A TEXT MESSAGE TO YOUR DEVICE, OR OTHERWISE), AND YOU MAY TERMINATE THIS AGREEMENT WITHOUT PAYING AN EARLY TERMINATION FEE OR RETURNING OR PAYING FOR ANY PROMOTIONAL ITEMS, PROVIDED YOUR NOTICE OF TERMINATION IS DELIVERED TO US WITHIN THIRTY (30) DAYS AFTER THE FIRST BILL REFLECTING THE CHANGE.

Last edited by mrpiggy; 02-13-2013 at 03:48 PM.
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Old 02-13-2013, 04:48 PM   #10
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Yup, that was part of the agreement that let me out of their (Cingular back then) contract without ETF. If you notice the last sentence though, you'll see that they require a 'one billing cycle' period to request a termination without ETF so you're going to have to pay the first monthly bill no matter what. A contract termination with AT&T before the first 30 days is treated as an 'annulment', and you'll have to return the phones.

Good luck.
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Old 06-23-2013, 03:04 PM   #11
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Necro post update!

I won! FU AT&T! Took it all the way through arbitration.

AT&T has to give me $85 in credits x 3 = $255 (which makes the account $0.00 per month) every month for the duration of the two year contract for the three lines. They also have to pay every penny I paid in to keep the accounts in good standing from the day I signed the contract to the period I won the arbitration case. They also have to pay me back $200 for initiating arbitration fees and $40 for legal document mailing fees.

And best of all! I did NOT have any non-disclosure provisions in the ruling. Means I can show anything I want to on how the arbitration and rules work should I wish to!

It was all quite painless (beyond paying the $85/month for three lines while arbitration was taking place).

I might go into great detail on how I won later. But for right now, I'm going to keep the document pics and details offline and see what my silence on how to win is worth to AT&T. Currently you can't seem to find anything on the Internet about anyone actually winning AT&T arbitration nor any steps or procedures about what actually takes place. I'm gonna see if there are any deals to be had with AT&T in keeping it this way (yes, I'm going to try and take further advantage .

Last edited by mrpiggy; 06-23-2013 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:28 PM   #12
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I would suggest that you enjoy the fruits of your labors, and press on. Just keep in mind that arbitration is exactly what it is. Just because you were favorably ruled on, doesn't mean the same for the next person in a similar circumstance. Also keep in mind that it is entirely possible for AT&T at some point in the future to see today's post in particular your first and last lines.
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Old 06-23-2013, 04:40 PM   #13
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Great news! Thanks for the update

It looks like you do get to make out like a bandit, although it took you quite a bit of effort and persistence (and money as well, it looks like, although you did get it back).

As above, I suggest you enjoy your winning and quit while you're ahead. No need to complicate things after that huge of a win with such great effort just because you couldn't help yourself to push more luck.
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Old 06-23-2013, 11:50 PM   #14
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Let me just say that when you purchase a 2 year contract through AT&T's website, it's a lot different than say buying a TV through Best Buy's website. A retail item purchase could be denied because of website pricing mistake and then refunded back to you before delivering. However the multi-year plan purchases through the AT&T website or through a dealer store is a enforceable service "contract"; not just a regular purchase. Whatever that is presented on the initial contract offer (whether a programming mistake or not) cannot be simply changed after the fact unless both parties agree to it; hence why you must go through about 3 checkout screens all saying the same thing with every price and detail listed. If the tables were turned, you can bet your ass AT&T would enforce their contract upon me!

Basically, the initial contract offered misapplied promotional credits so that the monthly rate would be $0.00 per month. It also misapplied the same promotion to the initial phone costs. I never debated that it wasn't a mistake, only that it doesn't matter how/why the contract terms were in my favor, just that they were in my favor and AT&T is obligated to fulfill the contract as was presented to me and agreed by AT&T by acceptng payment.

"Because" I was diligent and made screenshots of the initial cart and checkout screens up and including to the point I paid on my credit card, and kept the e-mail receipts which also said $0.00 after credits, there was nothing for AT&T to win on as they accepted payment (which means they accepted the contract terms) on the original "contract"; not the garbage they sent later with the 1st bill that did not have the promised "credits" on. Yes they tried to give me the runaround like crazy for three months, but once it went to arbitration, they had no legs to stand on since I had "screenshots" of the original contractual terms offered by the website. I could not influence the application of these mistaken credits (in fact I could not, "not" have them applied at the time) so there was no trickery on my part. Sure I knew it was a mistake, but as a customer I am under no obligation to not take advantage and allow AT&T to fix their website programming. As I also kept the account payments up to date and in good standing, they could not use any Service Agreement legal trickery to cancel them.

By law, these type of contracts, even if they are abundantly unfair to one side or the other, are still legitimate and enforceable. It's just that it's usually in the big corporation's favor. The website was AT&T's lawful agent in providing their contractual obligation, so they had to abide by the proven-by-me-with-screenshots original contract even though that agent was not working to AT&T's favor at the time.

They had so little standing, that AT&T legal actually offered me everything I asked for right "before" arbitration. However their save-face offer included an obligation of signing an NDA. I told them to stuff their NDA and went to arbitration where I got the same, but without any NDA obligation. What's the point of winning if I can't spike the ball and do a public victory dance!?

The funny thing is that I originally offered to allow "AT&T" to terminate the contracts and just let me keep the phones at the discounted price, which was all I really wanted in the first place. The higher-up customer service people were such arrogant pricks in accusing me of wrongdoing that I said FU, I'll see you in arbitration. AT&T could have got off with losing a few hundred on the phones. Instead they now have to pay several thousands (not just to me, but to the arbitration company) and not counting their in-house legal fees. The "judge/arbitrator" (who happened to be a former state Attorney General) agreed with my screenshot evidence that AT&T could not just change the original contract terms just because it was a mistake and not in their favor.

I would probably have lost without my original screen shots though. Without that type of evidence, it is simply my word against theirs.
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Old 06-24-2013, 07:50 AM   #15
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Wow, so you took advantage of someone's mistake. Beware of Karma.
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Old 06-24-2013, 08:03 AM   #16
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Does this mean you're getting paid to use the phone? Sweet
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:30 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkmitch View Post
Wow, so you took advantage of someone's mistake. Beware of Karma.
this is karma, coming back to bite AT&T for being an evil corporation
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Old 06-24-2013, 10:34 AM   #18
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I wonder if somebody got fired over this.
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Old 03-29-2014, 07:45 PM   #19
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So, thought I'd update after about a year since AT&T website screwed up..

Well, as I mentioned after about 4 months, I won the arbitration for 2 iPhone 5's (about $90 each) and a LG Optimus G (free) and three lines of service that are credited $85-ish dollars per month. They sent me a check for all the accounts the full amounts I had paid into them to keep them active during arbitration and made attempt credit each of the lines the $85ish dollars (essentially free lines) every month.

You could tell that there billing system was NOT designed to do this as the credits were obviously input by hand and were $15 here, $20 there on different billing entries to sometimes total the proper amount and sometimes not.. Well more often than not the credits were incorrect and I would pay the difference; like $8 out of my wallet a month. I let this go for about 3 months before I contacted customer service (through both online chat and over telephone). Of course, apparently being the only individual who has gone against AT&T and won inarbitration, the customer service people were clueless and powerless to fix the continual billing issue of "credits" being applied to a line so that it became a zero amount per month, and accused me of some trickery, even after I emailed them the Arbitrator's official decision/award...

Well, an official letter sent with the threat of a second arbitration, to simply enforce the initial arbitration win, got very quick results from very high up in the legal departments for obvious reasons!

Still rocking three free lines a year later with proper billing credits! Got them for another year.. Funny thing is they barely get used as they are my kid's phones and lines. They have no one to call really as the oldest is only 11. I have paid fully into my regular 2-line family plan forever, and continue to do so. As I have mentioned in the past, I never really cared about the three free lines, it's only when AT&T tried to treat me poorly because their website was stupid, that I pushed back and got the whole kit and caboodle.

Have not gotten any bad karma from the entire episode as far as I know..
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