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My Life as a Blog: AT&T 3—My Phone Call from the Office of AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson

My Life as a Blog: AT&T 3—My Phone Call from the Office of AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson

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This week I received a call from Nina Barnett, in the office of Randall L. Stephenson, the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of AT&T Inc.

At no point in our conversation did Nina broach the subject of my anti-AT&T blog post going viral or my being invited by the FCC to speak at a press conference on “Bill Shock” in Washington, D.C.

She offered me a 50 percent refund on my bill and made it clear it was that or nothing. So I took it.

But, as I had her on the phone, I took the opportunity to ask her about the AT&T “My Wireless” iPhone application:

Me: The iPhone app can’t possibly work in real time—as we know, you don’t pick up this information until later. It can’t work in real time.

Nina: Right. And that is correct. So with you being advised that it would, that was actually misinformation and that will be addressed as well.

I then elaborated about how it wasn’t just that I was “advised” by an operator that it would work, the application itself indicated that it would work.

Nina: Right. That is correct, and again that’s something that I’m glad you did bring to our attention because customers are being advised wrong and we want to go ahead and address that, and make sure that no one else is provided with that misinformation.

So here we have someone from the office of the the Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President of AT&T Inc. stating that they have put out a product that they know doesn’t work, something that deliberately deceives and consequently increases profits for them. In my dictionary, that’s called fraud. They can’t claim they don’t know about it because someone at the highest level of the company told me on tape that they did.

Nina, who was very nice, says that they’re going to address it, which I suppose they think it will make it all fine. Except that they won’t give me a full refund and they won’t offer any refund at all to people who don’t know how to create an outcry on the Web.

Incidentally, in addition to being the head of AT&T, Randall L. Stephenson is a National Executive Board member of the Boy Scouts of America and Chairman of the BSA’s 100th Anniversary Celebration. As per Wikipedia, the Boy Scouts of America’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to inculcate typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship and outdoors skills through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics and hiking.

Is there a merit badge for hiking up prices?

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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