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Small business owner struggles with cell phone service

Posted at 1:46 PM, Oct 23, 2023

TULSA, Okla. — Changing anything about your cell phone service can, at times, be a challenge. Many folks can certainly relate to that.

Especially one Tulsa area small business owner who was out thousands of dollars.

He thought he connected to a great deal.

Brendan McKnight was looking to upgrade four cell phones for his small construction company.

“They had me hook, line and sinker.”

Brendan says he had service with AT&T for years and, over the phone, was offered $4,000 of trade-in value for those devices.

“I really felt everything was great and was very excited.”

Brendan says he spent two and a half hours on that phone call, verifying and reverifying, confirming and reconfirming every aspect of the deal the AT&T representative offered.

“Once she notified me, she sent me to the supervisor who said whatever deal you made with her is good, we’ll sign off on that. So I, in good faith, thought everything was great.”

Soon, though, it seemed as if a wrecking ball hit Brendan’s plan to upgrade his construction company’s phones when he turned in his old ones at an AT&T store and talked to a manager.

“They informed me the phones were only worth $2300.”

Instead of the $4,000 trade-in value, Brendan says he was promised on that long, detailed phone call.

“It was a recorded call, so they should be able to check that. He said that’s too bad. That’s not the deal we have.”

So Brendan says he decided to return those new phones immediately, making sure he kept the receipt for the return.

But Brendan’s issues didn’t end there.

“They continued to charge me for the phones, and this has been going on for six months.”

Charges of more than $300 every month for service on those four new lines he never used.

All the while, Brendan was still using and paying for his original AT&T service.

“It’s extremely frustrating, and what compounds it is every time I call in an 800 number, I have to start over and tell the same story over to someone brand new.”

Then, he finally received a bill for $4,600.

During those 60 hours of calls with AT&T, Brendan says, he was told they hadn’t received those returned phones in time, and he still needed to pay for the new service he agreed to.

“I talked to a supervisor, he said that’s how it is. You’re stuck in it now.”

As Brendan told us his story, he feared his original service would be cut off because of those past-due bills, which he was disputing without success.

So, 2 News contacted AT&T.

It took some time, but Brendan says the charges for those new phones he returned were reversed.

And he got a refund of a thousand dollars for that new service he never used.

AT&T told us, “This was not an acceptable customer experience, and it did not meet our standards of customer service. We have corrected the customer’s account and apologized to him for the inconvenience.”

“I can’t imagine how many other people go through something like this, and anxiety and stress,” Brendan told us.

That’s why he wanted to tell his story.

Remember, he owns a small business, so in a way, he can relate to what happened to him… but only so far.

“As a business owner, I understand things happen, like I could have a sub tell a customer something that didn’t quite work out. But I will make sure we work to resolve that situation.”

Another frustration, Brendan says, is that AT&T reps on the phone say they can’t give you any offers they make in writing, not even an email or text.

They say they can notate the customer’s account, but there’s no way for a customer to verify that information.

“We’re really at their mercy,” Brendan tells us.

In the end, Brendan canceled his service and took his business to another company.

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