Phone companies still suck

So my wife has a phone number from when she lived in South Carolina.  This causes problems when people are expecting her to call her from Madison and instead they go “who the heck is calling me from South Carolina”?

So I set out to fix this with our wireless provider AT&T.  For those of you who use AT&T I bet you’re already cringing.

I started out by searching online and logging in to our wireless portal.  I learned that they will charge you to change phone numbers but if you have moved from one region to another that they will change your number to a local provider for free.   Ok sounds good.  But there was one issue I wanted to deal with.  My wife has had this number for at least 5 years and I knew it would take some time to notify all her contacts that she was changing phone numbers.  So I thought “Hey they must offer some 3 month forwarding service or something from an old line right?”  I thought wrong.

I was told that the minute that the number was switched she would no longer receive calls from her old number and that anyone trying to call her would get a disconnected message.  So this is my rant.  AT&T WHY THE HELL DO YOU NOT OFFER A SERVICE TO DEAL WITH THIS?  (Sorry for all caps.  I rarely use them for emphasis but this seems like an appropriate place).  I mean really, I would have been more than happy to pay for an additional forwarding service for a few months to make it simple.

Fine, OK, so how to get around this.  I told the representative what I was trying to do and we came up with a solution of getting a cheap secondary phone for a few months with a new Madison number.  When the phone arrived I would activate the new number, call AT&T, and switch the new number to her IPhone and put her old number on the cheapy phone.  That way she could start using the new number for outgoing calls yet still receive incoming calls on her old phone until she informed everyone of her new number.  Not a perfect solution but workable.

The phone arrived last night as we were headed out to dinner so I left it until this morning.  They sent me some crappy LG phone with a horrible UI which actually saved me.  I had to call in and activate the phone but every time I needed to type in a number on the key pad the LG phone had locked me out so I ended up with an actual human operator.  This would turn out to be lucky for me.  She told me I needed to activate the agreement for the phone and hooked me up with some automated recording which notified me I was signing up for a 2 year contract.  At this point I’m telling her “Whoa whoa whoa that wasn’t what I wanted”.

I explained what I was trying to do and how the original sales guy somehow decided to sucker me into a 2 year contract.  She explained to me that anytime you get a phone provided by them that there was a 2 year contract involved, and that if I didn’t want the contract I’d have to go buy a phone and then activate that phone on the new line.

So now I have to send back the phone on my dime to get a credit for this crappy phone.  I also have to head out to a local store to buy another phone so that I can then hook that up to the new line.  It really shouldn’t be this hard.


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