Here at Hit Coffee, we spend a fair amount of time complaining about when we’re done wrong by corporate America. Every now and again it’s worth pointing out when a company does right.

I’ve been thinking about getting a data plan on my phone. It’s helpful to be able to check my email and whatnot when I’m out and about. It’s liberating, in a sense, because it means that I can be out knowing that I don’t have any email waiting for me. This is particularly helpful as we’ve been out and about a lot, driving to Shoshona and Arapaho and flying back to Delosa. But it’s also an expense. I put aside the money for it while I was employed, but was reluctant to pull the trigger.

What I decided to do was go a month on pay-as-you-go. I figured that this would probably cost more than the $30/mo of the plan, but I figured there was also a decent chance it might cost less since I don’t really use it all that often. Well, I was wrong. Even with my relatively light usage, we got a bill for a whopping $160. When I was thinking it might cost more, I was thinking in the ballpark of $50. I was vaguely aware that this was a dumb plan and that I could have

Anyhow, when I talked to AT&T and explained my situation, they were extremely cool about it. They said that if I were to sign up for the data plan, they’d scotch the $160 bill. I don’t mean that they would apply future data plans to the $160, but that they would eliminate it entirely. So theoretically, a month from now I can cancel my data plan and they wouldn’t turn around and charge me the balance.

That’s an extremely cool thing to do. I realize that they have their reasons, customer retention and all that, but that doesn’t often stop these companies from taking advantage of the situation. Particularly in industries, like the cell phone industry, where there is limited competition.

I have been considering switching away (and may still do so) in the future (the subject of another post), but to the extent that this was an effort at customer retention, it was successful. AT&T has a reputation just one step less bad than Sprint’s, and I got burned by an AT&T/Cingular affiliate in Deseret, but they really did right by me here.

Of course, my unlimited data plan may end up being short-lived anyway. If we move to a place where they have poor coverage, I don’t feel quite so indebted as to pay them $30 for something I can’t access. But even so, hats off to AT&T.

Category: Market

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