My Charlie Brown moment
Posted by keithosaunders on April 4, 2011
When it comes to the little guy dealing with large corporations the deck is stacked. My recent escapade switching from the DISH network to ATT Uverse has me feeling like a class A sap. Of course I have no one to blame but myself, but this is a small consolation.
Two months ago I was solicited at my door by a sweet, middle-American-looking woman and her young acolyte, to accept a phone-cable-internet bundle from ATT Uverse. Since we were in need of a land line here in Albany, California — our cell reception here is terrible — and the DISH Network is an awful satellite provider, I allowed these seemingly benign ladies into my kitchen. There they remained, for the next hour setting us up with the dream package of phone, cable, and high-speed internet.
We were concerned about having to pay a penalty to DISH for early cancellation of service. “Let me call them for you,” our salesman cooed, “perhaps we can work out an arrangement.”
She phoned the DISH network, and after a few minutes she informed us that there would indeed be a penalty of $300, but that ATT would send us a coupon for $250 to offset the bulk of the expense. That’s a cracker jack deal for me — I signed on the dotted line.
Our services, after some scheduling snafus, were installed, and then the fun began. When I phoned the DISH network to cancel our service, they said they had never heard of my friendly neighborhood Uverse rep. They did, however want their $300, and they would send a box for me to pack the satellite equipment in, for which I would pay for the postage.
What about the dish on the roof? “Sir, if you want us to send a technician to disassemble the DISH we will have to charge you for a service call.”
When I phoned ATT, they too had never heard from my rep. as well as the aforementioned coupon. I had her name on the invoice, but they were unimpressed and told me in curt tones that there was nothing they could do.
I had fallen for the old bait and switch. Corporations give us the illusion that we are shrewd consumers for opting for bundled packages when in fact, we, the consumers, are mere dupes in a high-tech shell game. It would take a doctorate in calculus to decipher and break down these bills. Who knows how much money we are spending? All we know is that it’s excessive, and that customer service is limited at best.
I realize that I am the one who is at fault for being so gullible. I fancy myself a savvy ex-New Yorker — as someone who has been around the block a few times. Who am I kidding? I’m just Charlie Brown to their Lucy.