Friday, July 18, 2003

Roaming blog.

Today I had some fun with a letter to my wireless provider, AT&T. I got the phone at the beginning of this year, to be ready for the baby's arrival. Since then, I use it occasionally, and while we were in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, I called a couple of 800 numbers, seeking some consumer information unrelated to my wireless service. How thoughtless of me, how old-fashioned, believing an 800 number is toll-free.

"To Whom It May Concern:
"I had heard of the concept of roaming charges, but thanks to AT&T I now have first-hand experience.

"Two calls from Wisconsin to 800 numbers: $2.76 each!
(Refer to my latest invoice, dated 7/9/03, p. 4)

"Of course, this must be an industry standard, so you have to charge it. I have paid it. But if you have any interest in keeping me as a long-term customer after our contract expires on Dec. 31, 2003, you might consider a credit of $5.52 to this account. And I promise to roam no more. Just a thought."

AT&T may actually credit me the amount. They would be wise to, because I will switch if they don't. Every now and then, I send a letter like this, protesting some outrageous fee, often associated with a credit card -- $25 for missing the due date by one day, for instance. Another time I hit my checking-account bank with a letter for hitting me with a large fee for being 50ยข short of the minimum for all of two days. It usually works. Over the years, for the cost of postage -- a few dollars -- I might have had $100 or so credited to various accounts. Not a bad investment.


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