$800 rebate from wireless carrier gets disconnected for Lake County customer

ByMichael Finney and Randall Yip via KGO logo
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
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Surprisingly, the BBB does not consider consumer ratings when giving out its grades to wireless carriers. Instead it looks at such criteria as how a company responds to a complaint.

UPPER LAKE, Calif. (KGO) -- The competition to get new customers to sign up for a wireless plan is fierce, with every major carrier offering some sort of enticement. But what can you do if your new carrier doesn't come through with the promised offer?

Telecommunication companies rank among the most complained about industries to the Better Business Bureau. The consumer ratings of AT&T to the Better Business Bureau are filled with one-star reviews -- the lowest possible grade customers can give a company.

Yet the BBB itself gives the telecommunication giant its best rating, A+.

How is that possible?

Monica Horton is with the Better Business Bureau in North Central Texas, where AT&T is based. "It's just the nature of the business and the type of industry where when your internet or wireless service is disrupted, that's an issue these days and the consumers will complain about it," she said.

Both Verizon and T-Mobile have one-star ratings from consumers as well.

T-Mobile, just as with AT&T, gets a high rating from BBB, a B+.

Verizon is not currently rated while the company is being reevaluated.

The BBB does not consider consumer ratings when giving out its grades.

Instead it looks at such criteria as how a company responds to a complaint.

"The complaints that we send over to AT&T have a 100% response rate. So AT&T is responsive," Horton said.

Robert Young responded to a promotion of an $800 trade-in offer of any eligible old phone.

He signed on to the plan successfully the first week of June.

"AT&T had the better deal on the phones that I was looking for at the time. They had a promotion going. So hey, you know, I wouldn't mind going back to AT&T," Young said.

But in mid-October, he said he had still not received his credit despite spending countless hours speaking with customer service.

"I'm trying to get this worked out. We just weren't getting anywhere," said a frustrated Young.

Horton of the Better Business Bureau has this advice: call the company to negotiate a settlement.

"Outline the issue. Explain what is happening. Include a resolution. Tell the company exactly what they can do to resolve the issue and give them a deadline," she suggested.

Young instead decided he would contact 7 on Your Side. AT&T quickly resolved his issue.

"So I was really impressed with AT&T and really, 7 On Your Side for making it happen," he said.

BBB also suggests when responding to a promotion, make sure all the promises are put in writing and part of the agreement you sign.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case. Due to the high volume of emails we receive, please allow 3-5 business days for a response.

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