How I got AT&T to drop my U-Verse late fee

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How I saved money on my AT&T U-Verse late fee
Image Credit: Craig Johnson
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If you’re an AT&T customer, you know that the company can be merciless when you get behind on a payment. I recently signed up for AT&T U-Verse and forgot to pay my first bill. Instead of absorbing a late fee, I was able to get it wiped clean. Here’s how I did it.

Here’s how I got AT&T to drop my U-Verse late fee

First of all, if you sign up for AT&T, there are some incentives you should be aware of that can ease the initial impact on your wallet.

They don’t advertise this, but you can get a $100 credit if they’ve botched your installation, bill payment or service in any way. An employee told me that AT&T gives the $100 credit away so much, it’s pretty much standard.

I was in a pinch because AT&T messed up my bill when I canceled DirecTV. It took me a couple of hours (not fun) to get it all straightened out, so when I decided to stick with AT&T and not sign up with a competitor, they offered me free installation as well as the $100 credit to offset the first two months of my U-Verse service.

Of course, I took it, but instead of simply crediting my bill for $100, AT&T supposedly sent me a rewards card. Well, I never got it (and if I did, I didn’t notice it).

RELATED: Here’s an ingenious way to save money on your cable bill

Nevertheless, my bill was due after 30 days and somehow I was thinking that I’d gotten that $100 credit. So of course, they promptly suspended my new account for nonpayment. Not only that, but they tacked on a $35 late fee. My total bill came to $119. Ouch!

Many customers are so busy that they will just hand over the late fee to commence with online shopping and surfing the web, but there are some of us that don’t part with our hard-earned money so easily.

I had to contact customer service and decided to do so via chat. Here’s how it went.

After going back and forth, I explained to “Jean” that I never got my $100 credit, which she says was supposed to be sent via a Visa rewards card. Jean was able to track the $100 credit and she offered to process the claim that I never received it. I was getting somewhere.

Because AT&T reps are trained to upsell you on so many products, I had to be sure that Jean would do what she could to get my bill down. I asked her if she could apply the $100 credit right then and there. I also told her that this was turning into a rough day. But Jean had an idea….

So now, I was being offered the $100 credit again. The only thing is, that still wouldn’t turn my home internet service back on. What I needed to do then is find a way to get that $119 bill down. I asked Jean if there’s anything more she can do. Jean came back with this….

Jean did me a solid by shaving that $35 late fee off my bill. So now instead of $119, I owed $84. I still didn’t feel like I should have had to pay anything at all but, hey, I needed my home internet service restored. Besides, I didn’t want things to linger and my credit to be affected.

I paid the $84 and am currently awaiting the $100 credit on the rewards card, which will expire in six months.

So, here are my 2 big takeways: When asking for accommodations from companies like this, there are gripes and then there are legitimate concerns. I think my issue fell under the latter, so the customer service rep was able to work with me.

  • Don’t be rude: It also helped that I was firm, but never resorted to insults or sarcasm. It doesn’t go over well, especially via chat. They are charged with being professional, so you should be, too.
  • Ask for help: If you don’t actually ask for help with the bill, literally asking for discounts, a reduction or forgiveness, customer reps are not necessarily apt to offer it. Be vocal about what you want or need. It just may happen.

So there’s at least one way to get your late fee back. Here’s more on how to dispute your cable bill.

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Craig Johnson is a conscious money-saver who still reads paperback books and listens to vinyl. He likes to write about how technology is making things easier and more affordable — but also sometimes more dangerous — for the modern consumer. You can reach Craig at [email protected]
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