The tweets below will speak for themselves but suffice it to say, I am officially at war with AT&T. I have been a customer of theirs so long that I can’t even remember if it was 2004 or 2005 that I switched to them, and in October of 2008, I bought my first iphone on an unlimited data plan, meaning a flat monthly fee for unlimited internet access. They have been throttling my internet and not loading the page while I watch the spinning wheel indefinitely for several years; from time to time, I would call and complain and they would lie to me and say it was just that time of the day when service might be slower and make excuses, etc, ad nauseum.
And the FCC knew they were lying too. Which is why, back in June, the FCC fined AT&T to the tune of $100 MILLION for being so full of shit. And as you will soon read in my tweets below, AT&T at first forced their customer service reps to respond to any customer who brought that up with a party line: AT&T is contesting the fines. In July, they even claimed that their actions caused no harm to any customers and that the big bad government was violating their 1st Amendment rights (HA HA HA HA HA HA!) by forcing them to disclose that they actually do throttle data. Then apparently, in September, someone with a law degree thought better of their original idiocy-based strategy/argument and decided they would simply update their website with a disclosure that data really isn’t unlimited and by the way the new threshold is 22 GB. Prior to the FCC intervening, AT&T was throttling anything over 5GB – to put it in perspective, I use about 7 GB a month. And if you’re wondering, “What? Unlimited data?? Sign me up!” I’m sorry to say that they stopped offering this plan; I am considered “grandfathered in” – I know this because every time I have gone into the store to get a new phone, the salesreps tell me to hold on to that plan for dear life because no one else is getting that good of a deal (then I tell them it doesn’t matter how good it seems if in reality, AT&T throttles my data; and then they reluctantly admit that I have a point without admitting that AT&T is throttling).
BUT THEY ARE STILL THROTTLING. THEY ARE STILL THROTTLING MY DATA AFTER 5GB.
So here’s the deal, AT&T, every time you do this, I’m going to tweet it and add that tweet to this page. And I’m going to tweet this blog post every night. And soon it will be the first result in any google search for why you are so terrible. (The only good thing about AT&T is that all their customer service rep call centers are in the US, unlike Comcast’s, whose business model is predicated on good living wage jobs getting outsourced overseas.)
Now let’s go back to June of this year. On June 28, I learned about the FCC putting the federal smack down and tweeted my gleeful reaction. Then on June 30, AT&T sent me a text survey asking me how likely I would be to recommend them to family and friends. My response was a link to the Tweet of Glee. See below.
Now this may have pissed someone off because the next day my service was like molasses. Even when they throttled me, I could still tweet and my new email would load, I just couldn’t search the internet. But that day, July 1, my email wouldn’t refresh and I couldn’t access any websites using safari either. So I called tech support and read the rep the WaPo headline about the $100 mill over the phone to her, basically saying, the government said you can’t do this to me so, hey, I know, why don’t you stop:
I also told her I’d be tweeting our WHOLE conversation, everything she said to me. So what did AT&T do? Completely cut my service off. Instantly. No twitter. No email. No internet. So I run with the phone in my hand on speaker to the laptop in my kitchen. AT&T probably thought I was out and about or at work and wouldn’t be able to do anything about not having access to twitter on my phone. Watch what happens:
Now this all went down two months before AT&T made the wise decision to update their policy and stop having their reps parrot the party line about “disputing the FCC’s fines” but they are still throttling. And how this all came to a head – me finally pissed off enough to write this blogpost – was when I was trying to google a phone number the day before yesterday and not being able to get any search results because of throttling. This was not an emergency, but it really put it into perspective for me, the gall of that kind of greed: there I was in an unpleasant part of town, needing google, and needing it right now. The reason I have stayed with AT&T all these years is because their range is greatest, meaning, I can be in an elevator and have reception, or in a basement. When everyone else has no bars, I still have at least one. To me it’s a matter of safety, but if they’re going to throttle my access to the internet anyway, range becomes more and more of a moot point. So I called customer service and the rep I spoke to was literally silent to me on the other end of the phone when I asked for a supervisor. He actually wouldn’t transfer me until I told him I needed his name and that I would be tweeting everything he said to me. He then gave me his name and finally transferred me to not-a-supervisor who then said she’d have a real supervisor call me back in ten minutes. No one ever did.
Here’s how that conversation went:
Then later that night was the straw that broke the camel’s back. And this kind of throttling is just reprehensible, plain and simple. AT&T, how dare you. How fucking dare you. You don’t know what kind of situations people are in or where they need to go or how fast they need to leave. FUCK YOU. Fuck you.
And what if there’d been no wifi open around me? Jesus!
So how does this end? For starters, look for a video of me calling the FCC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the near future to find out what action I can take next. AT&T, you trolled me. And if you think you can troll me without consequence, think again. Every time you violate our agreement that you will provide me unlimited data in exchange for my money, I will tweet it. And I will then add it to this blog post. And I’ll be tweeting this blog post every single day.