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My Life as a Blog: AT&T 2—Phone Call from Roger Goldblatt of the FCC

My Life as a Blog: AT&T 2—Phone Call from Roger Goldblatt of the FCC

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Some interesting developments since my last post.

I was contacted yesterday by Roger Goldblatt of the FCC, who asked to take part in a press conference in Washington next Wednesday and speak about “Bill Shock.” (There’s more information about the FCC event at the bottom of this post.) I don’t think I’ll be able to go, but it’s fascinating—or scary?—that my blog got into the hands of the FCC within days, don’t you think? I think it’s most likely because Andrew Sullivan linked it. I hope that I will be able to contribute to the FCC’s effort in some way. There should be laws against phone companies selling a few cents of data for thousands of dollars.

I haven’t been near my computer lately so I wasn’t able to approve a lot of comments about my first post. Apparently this was ALL MY FAULT. I could have found out all the info on the Internet. The fact that AT&T lied to me on tape is fine. The fact that they only sell a maximum of 200MB of data in their international plan—nowhere near enough to have met my needs—that’s all fine. Granted, my needs were very specific and few people would have my specific data requirements. And if I had only been able to work in rooms that had WiFi my bill would have been much lower. But it would still have been outrageous.

Apparently if a multi-billion dollar corporation wants to sell two cents of data for hundreds of dollars, that is peachy. Let the buyer beware and do a lot of browsing. Or stay home.

That same day I received a phone call from AT&T, just as I was sitting down to lunch with a client. The operator informed me that he was going to shut down my phone service that instant if I didn’t pay my bill immediately. I said that was impossible, as I wasn’t anywhere near my computer. He also said I had to pay the bill I hadn’t received yet in advance or he would turn off my phone service. I said I’d pay everything that night. He wanted to know what time and how I would pay and how long it would take for the transfer to kick in, etc. I thought to myself, okay, maybe I had forgotten the due date and, as I had to pay this bill anyway, I would do it tonight. When I got home I discovered that my bill was due on October 11th, five days away. Why was I being threatened with instantaneous loss of service for a bill that wasn’t due yet? Not to mention a bill I hadn’t even received yet?

AT&T confirmed that this call did come from them. They had the name of the operator who called me at that time. Of course his report on the call differed completely from mine.

Am I paranoid or did this threatening phone call come because of the way my blog post has been tearing through the Internet?

Reid Rosefelt is a veteran film publicist based in New York City. He has promoted hundreds of films, for such diverse moviemakers as Jim Jarmusch, Pedro Almodóvar, Errol Morris, Ang Lee and Werner Herzog. His personal clients have included The Sundance Institute, IFC and HBO Films, as well as Harvey Keitel, Ally Sheedy and the late Adrienne Shelly.  His production publicity credits include Desperately Seeking Susan, The Godfather: Part III and, most recently, Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire. His blog can be found at http://my-life-as-a-blog.com/.

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