Case Study - AT&T Customer Relationship Management

Time-line of Events

April 20th, 2006 - I apply for SBC Yahoo Internet, which
includes a sweetheart deal that will last for 12 months. Included in
the terms & conditions is an early termination fee of $99 is

April 21st, 2006 - The service is connected

April 13th, 2007 (approx) - I contact AT&T (had since
re-acquired SBC) to disconnect phone & internet service, due to my
imminent move to a new apartment. Disconnection is booked for April
14th. No mention from AT&T call center staff of early
termination fee

April 18th, 2007 - AT&T issue me a a bill. It is for
$17.22 and is clearly marked "FINAL".

May 16th, 2007 - AT&T issue me another bill. This one is
marked "REVISED FINAL BILL", and contains a $99 charge for "EARLY

May 25th, 2007 - I contact AT&T and ask for an explanation.
They explain the early termination fee. I ask if I can get my service
re-connected. I am told that no, I can not get it re-connected as it
has been more than 30 days since it was disconnected. I ask if there
is any way this situation can be rectified - suggest that I could
reconnect if a credit was made to cover the early termination fee.
There is no flexibility available to the person I was speaking to,
though they did empathize with my situation.


June 26th, 2007 - I send a check to AT&T for the $99, but include a request for an enclosed copy of this blog entry to be forwarded to their customer service department.

July 27th, 2007 - AT&T send a check for $99 back to me, refunding the early termination fee.


So, initially I was disappointed, but ultimately I am happy with AT&T. I could never say that they were not in the right, but I would still suggest that they could give more latitude to the people who work in their call centers.

It would also be wise to advise customers of the pending early termination fee at the earliest opportunity.

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