AT&T AutoPay Is “Jumpy”

May have thought I was a Security Risk


ATTREThinkCorporations call me names like cranky consumer and pain-in-the system. AT&T may have added security risk.


Last week AT&T sent me a threatening letter because AT&T’s AutoPay was “unable to obtain Credit Card Payment Authorization.” The letter said pay up if I want service to stay up. Unsigned with no return address, it left out which of my 3 AT&T accounts and/or 3 phone numbers was involved.  


AT&T offshore and onshore Customer Service operators were as bewildered and befuddled as I was. Some of the offshore ones disconnected—offshore/outsource centers tend to do that after 15 minutes—and others could not figure it out. Explanations varied from the possibility of the letter being a fraud attempt to AutoPay’s tendency to get “jumpy” and drop customers.


The AT&T solution for a consumer being dropped by AutoPay is to send the consumer down the time-gobbling, yellow brick road to DIY “re-enrollment.” I gave AT&T a different choice: Either re-enroll me or lose me, plus compensation for my time needed to first listen to recorded messages  before connection with under-trained customer service operators.


Results so far: Today AT&T did some rethinking and quickly restored the AutoPay account. It tried a $10 credit for time and trouble…Stay tuned, consumerist fans.


Consumer Takeaway: If you ask AT&T offshore/outsource customer service operators for their names and locations after you disclose yours, they refuse, citing “security” concerns.  Pressed, they claim incidents of customers attacking centers. Actually, that’s not hard to imagine: A consumer, crazed by AT&T threatening letters, returns his phone, first attaching it to a rock thrown at an AT&T building. Don’t do that. Stay cool, real cool. But collect for your time.




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One Response to “AT&T AutoPay Is “Jumpy””

  1. Bob Reynolds January 5, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    I had the same experience using individual bank pay with Universe. Acct showed as paid but on last due date threatening letter. Tried Universe Customer Service and they claimed
    returned must be for insufficient funds but had no ability to confirm reason for return.
    Call my bank. I did so and they told me no record of returning anything to AT&T (bal at time of billing 4 figures). Wrote billing and payment twice demanding an explanation. Would not reply so I switched to paper pay. I had been using the same payment method (bank acct) for years with telephone without a problem.

    Recently I switched both accts to auto pay. The first one, telephone, shows paid (see above) but is not on my acct so I anticipate that there is another screwup.

    AT&T recently sent out a letter stating that for any bank return regardless of
    the reason there will be a chage and service will be terminated immediately.

    When I had to switch my internet service and tele from one address to another they falsely told me I could not get “regular” DSL I had to get “Universe” at a higher price
    (Universe as near as I can tell is just a speedier DSL).

    They eventually made adjustments and apologized.

    Their CS reps will hang up or as one told me, “I’ve spent enough time on this, bye”

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