AT&T Customers Being Taken Over By AllTel

I just recently found out my husband's cell phone which was AT&T here in TX Collin County area was switched over to Alltel without notification.

We received a $1100 phone bill. All calls including local was charged for roaming at .99 a minute. Do you have any contact info on who we can contact about this? We have tried calling the number on the bill to no avail. No one will discuss it. They will not transfer you to a manager or someone higher up they state no one is available.

We have contacted Alltel; the account number is not valid with Alltel. They show no records of my husband being an AllTel customer and have stated the charges are excessive.

AT&T or Cingular is unwilling stating it is an Alltel problem. If you have any contact info of someone we can contact would appreciate it. Otherwise we just will not pay the bill. It will go to collections.

We would rather not hurt our credit. But if that is what it takes we will.

This is a total nightmare. Imagine last month's bill was from AT&T for $49.00, the next month we receive a bill for $1100.00 from AllTel. Thanks,

Donna Eakins

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: What you describe is a typical thing since AT&T Wireless went out of business. Much of it went to Cingular (for example, my AT&T Free to Go prepaid wound up with Cingular) but I understand other accounts went wherever. I do not know what the logic was behind that. Can AT&T tell you _why_ the account was sold to Alltel, and _why_ no advance notice was given? I know that Cingular 'customer care' is now outsourced to India and _those people_ know absolutely nothing about anything. My (former) AT&T Wireless (now Cingular Wireless) account was totally screwed up; The 'customer care' people (now located in India) know nothing except how to ask for your credit card number and how to say 'no refunds given'. India (my generic name for 'customer care') even denied I could have any service at all since 'Cingular has no service in area 620' (southeast Kansas). I told them my service was out of Wichita, KS area 316 and the dumbos even told me 'when you get back to Wichita your phone will start working again.

Please make a note of this address:

Cingular Wireless/AT&T Free2Go Attention: Management person Post Office Box 68056 Anaheim Hills, CA 92807

They have no phones there; no email nor fax, or so they claimed when the India 'customer care' people refused to give me any number to call. You may wish to write to that address also. I wrote a letter to them around July 1 demanding the return of the $20 prepayment they ripped off from me. July 18 I got an answer from them giving the usual 'no refunds on prepaid service' line. I wrote them back and said maybe usually no refunds, but in this case _you will make a refund_ or you will get sued in Small Claims Court. The Montgomery County courthouse is five blocks up the street from my home, and as luck would have it, there is a local agent here in town I can give the legal service to. So its no skin off my nose either way. Even their agreement with me did not make any provision for _fraud_. I am waiting now for an answer to that second letter. That post office box seems to go to something called 'Cingular Wireless/AT&T Free2Go' correspondence unit. I'll put something here depending on what response I get back. The first letter back from them was a boiler plate response, not even signed with any name at all; that is why my second letter was to 'Attention Management Person'.

In your case my suggestion would be _make copies of all paperwork Alltel sent you (the invoice for $1100 I assume) showing whatever account number was assigned to you -- the number Alltel now claims they do not recognize as an account of theirs -- and ask what is the meaning of the thing. Send it registered mail. Tell them to find the proper department for your letter. Ask them if it is true your cell phone account was sold to (or transferred to) Alltel, and if so why was no notification given to customers? I assume in Collin County, Texas there is a _local cellular tower_ and you were paying local rates (not roaming rates) prior to this fiasco. If so, then you still should be paying local rates. Offer to send them a check for whatever your usual bill should be. And _do not worry_ about the very unlikely event your credit will be harmed any. Frankly put, that just sounds like a collection bluff. Obviously, document all the paperwork and keep copies of it. If Alltel wishes to change the terms of the contract mid-stream, you have a perfect right to get out of any contract. Please stay in touch and let us know how this is resolved. You may wish to send copies of this file to the Alltel corporate office also, which is in Little Rock, Arkansas I think. PAT]

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Donna Eakins
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