Incredible AT&T chat transcript with terrible customer support specialist

I had the same a month ago when I wanted to cancel TV service with Charter/Spectrum.


That is terrible advice. Not paying a bill does not make that bill go away, it just means you owe the bill plus late charges and collection fees and …

If you think AT&T will stop billing you because you stopped paying and they’ll just disappear, well, I have news for you. They won’t. You’ll not only still owe it but you’ll tank your credit as a bonus.


The customer was using the chat assistant feature, though, they hadn’t called in, so I think it might be an actual transcript.
I’ve had really good luck recently using the chat assistants. They start as a bot then hand me over to a person and so far so good. I hope I didn’t just jinx it!


A local ISP is offering fiber in our neighborhood next month; 5+X the speed for 30% less than Spectrum. I can’t wait to call them and tell them to take a flying leap. Service at our new home has been fine, but oh my god, the last two locations were utter nightmares that took years to unravel. Transferred service from one location to the next and got two bills for a year plus and they could/would do nothing to unravel it except shutting off service for “non payment”. Finally had to cancel both, dispute the excess billing and set up a whole new account.


I called Virgin Media (UK) to cancel my broadband last September - contract was about to expire, monthly cost would double, and I was moving out in a few months. Spoke first to one of their operators for 10 mins and she confirmed lots of details, then passed me to ‘retentions’.

The retentions guy read through all the notes, and said “wow, you’ve been with us for 29 years, I’m keen to see what we can do to keep you as a customer”.
So I told him I was moving to Japan for at least a year. His response: “Ah. I suppose even if I offered you a 90% discount that wouldn’t help”
Amazing what they can do for you in a pinch…

Near the end of the call, he said ‘Japan sounds interesting… would you mind if I asked what you were going there to do?’. Had a nice chat for another 5 mins. Best Virgin Media interaction I ever had!



I do not think this word means what you think it means. If anything, I think this is typical to above average for what I’d go in expecting. Where are the five instances of of being randomly transferred to a new agent because the current one doesn’t want to (or doesn’t know how to) deal with it or doesn’t want to have a too-long interaction mess up their statistics? Of being disconnected and having to wait in the queue for an agent again?

Last year I spent more than 12 hrs over 4 days on the phone and through online chat with AT&T trying to buy 2 new phones for existing lines, when the online order system kept causing problems. The last 2 hrs were spent repeating my billing info multiple times, and them reading me the same disclosures each time, because they kept making mistakes entering it, but were not allowed to repeat it back to me.

Two years before that I got a phone that would not let me check my voicemail unless I actually dialed my own number and entered my password. I gave up when that became a Mexican standoff of finger pointing between calling customer service, getting “escalated” to teams that only got back to me from an email address I couldn’t respond to (telling me to go in person to an AT&T store), and being told at the store to call customer service. (The person at the store did correctly tell me what the problem was, but that did not enable me to get anyone to fix it).


I’m not suggesting you fail to pay your current bill. I’m suggesting you remove their ability to bill you in the future, which will cause them to cancel your service. Any prior outstanding balance is still your problem, and not part of what I’m talking about.

Oh, if only it were that simple…


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You are advising people to destroy their credit. Don’t do that.


It does work because I’ve done it. Not with a phone company, but with another company (I don’t remember which at this point) who made it difficult to cancel a recurring subscription.

There was no debt to come after me for because the moment they were unable to bill my card on file they simply canceled my subscription. My prior bill had already been paid in full when they successfully charged my real card the prior month.

Theoretically this should work just fine with any company that bills you prior to providing services, e.g. bills you on the 1st of the month for that month’s worth of services. If they bill you in arrears, well, that’s a different issue in the sense that you still owe them for prior services provided, but you can still use this method to prevent them from continuing to bill you for future service.

For the love of Zeus, check the terms of your contract. If the contract says that failure to maintain a valid payment method will result in termination of the contract, then fine. If the contract says that you will continue to incur charges until you actively do X to cancel your account, then that’s what will happen.


That is not how it works with a vendor like AT&T. Your paying them with a credit card is just satisfying an obligation, they can also mail you a paper bill and you can pay that with a check or online payment. The credit card information is not the contract. You must cancel the contract prior to stopping paying the ongoing obligation created with that contract.

I promise your experience with another type of vendor is not applicable here.


I had a similar experience with Verizon. After over an hour the agent finally said he’d remove the extra listing fee and we were all set. The extra listing fee continues to this day and I don’t want to go thru that experience again. Verizon won.


Oh, you sweet summer child!


This wasn’t a phone conversation. It was one of those chat boxes, so a transcript is generated as you type back and forth. At one point the customer mentions that they are now typing during a work meeting. The agent may have been copy/pasting directly to the chat.


Your technique might work with some businesses that use a subscription model for a relatively low-cost regularly delivered product or service, like a magazine subscription, a prepared food delivery service, or an app that charges an annual fee. It might even work with prepaid mobile phone service, although it’s ALWAYS better to formally cancel something rather than just having your next payment fail.

But you absolutely, positively should NOT try this with a business like a post-paid mobile phone or internet provider or fitness center where you have an actual contract that has specific rules about cancelation. They WILL continue sending you bills (and adding on late fees and whatnot) and will eventually send you to collections and report your account as delinquent to the credit agencies.


Yeah—if it wasn’t a bot, they were almost certainly prewritten answers. It sounds like every customer service chat window I’ve used.


It worked for me with Verizon.

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