AT&T Is Firing Me As A Customer Even Though I Want to Pay Them $480 in 2013

I’ve been an AT&T customer since march of 2010 when I first switched from Verizon to get an iPhone. I’ve paid AT&T at least $1500 for my personal cell phone over the past two and a half years and would like to keep doing so. If you include my business accounts I’ve had with them, I’ve paid them over $4500. I’ve always paid on time. I’ve been a model customer. I want to pay AT&T at least $480 in 2013. But AT&T doesn’t want my business anymore. They can only cancel my service.

Here’s the problem: I pay AT&T $80 per month when I am in the US. Whenever I travel abroad, I put my phone service on “vacation suspend” mode with AT&T at a cost of $10 per month. Vacation Suspend means that my phone is not active, but I keep my phone number. When I come back to the US I reactive my plan and I go back to paying full price. I’ve been doing this since November 2010 when I first went to Chile. Here’s my payment history from AT&T:

  • March 2010 to Nov 2010 – $80/month
  • December 2010 to May 2011 – $10/month
  • May 2011 to September 2011 – $80/month
  • September 2011 to December  2011 – $10/month
  • January 2012 – $80/month
  • February 2012 to November 2012 $10/month
  • November 2012-January 2013 $80/month

I’ve had 17.5 months at full price and 17.5 months on the vacation suspend reduced mode for a total of: $1400+175=$1575. AT&T refuses to let me go back on vacation suspend again.

In August 2012, AT&T started charging me full price again because the representative told me that they have a company policy that you can only be on vacation suspend for 180 days in a row. When I called back, he happily put me back on vacation suspend for another three months. When I came back to Chile this month and wanted to go back on vacation suspend, the rep told me it was impossible. The system only lets them put me on vacation suspend one time every 12 months. I talked to a supervisor. Same deal. I talked to their twitter support. Everyone understood my predicament and said they’d love to be able to help me, but they only thing they could help me do was cancel my account.

They claimed that this has been their policy for years. I know, looking at my account history, that it’s not. I’ve been on vacation suspend multiple times in a single 12 month period and for more than 180 days in a year with no problems. This policy is either a recent change to get rid of customers like me or the customer service reps are now lying to me.

I want to keep my plan because it’s convenient. When I go back to the US I get to keep my number and have a functioning phone with a change of SIM cards and one phone call. There’s only two reasons I can think of why AT&T wants to get ride of me: First, AT&T wants to fire me because that I have a grandfathered in unlimited data plan for $30. AT&T no longer offers unlimited data. Second, they are a big company that doesn’t make exceptions and will just let revenue walk out the door.

I’m still hoping for common sense to prevail from AT&T, but if it doesn’t shortly, I will cancel my plan and AT&T will lose at least $480 this year and thousands of dollars in the future.


  • If that’s their policy, then it is…you are not entitled…get over it

    • Yes, it’s their policy, but it’s a dumb policy. I’m not entitled to their service, but I am entitled to call them dumb for not taking my money when i’d happily pay them. In the end it worked out better, I pay nothing while I’m abroad and get a chip for $40 unlimited when I get there.

      • hey nathan thanks for the article. working with a company in startup chile. also have att and looking at options to keep number when i come back. did you port your number over to simple mobile? how are they as a carrier when you are back stateside?

        also any recommendations for SIM card carriers in Chile?


        • you should try to see if ATT has vacation mode still. my problem was that i couldnt do vacation mode for more than 6 moths in a 18 month period. if thats not an option anymore, you can port it to simple mobile or similar and then port it back to whatever carrier you want later.

    • I found this article while researching AT&T expat options, and just like here, they won’t do anything to accommodate this situation. Just wanna kick you off their unlimited plan. Fuck AT&T and fuck you and your smug attitude, I’ll just port the number onto another carrier’s prepaid to keep the number

      • I’ve been using Simple Mobile to keep my number and then reup when I get to the US. I don’t watch videos on my phone, so 1 gig of data per month is plenty.

      • AT&T’s pricing and policies are ridiculous, but someone (who seemingly should know about business) getting fussy about any company not breaking policy for them is ridiculous as well. Just because you can pay them for it, doesn’t mean they are dumb for not taking the money. Being able to pay your bill doesn’t make you entitled to anything at all.

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