ATandT Apologizes After Customer Service Incident

AT&T's PR machine goes into damage control mode after reports that it warned an unsatisfied customer of legal action after he e-mailed the company CEO twice.

The network carrier with exclusive access to Apple's iPhone might consider taking a page out of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' playbook and respond to customer inquiries with more poise. Technology blog Engadget reported now-former AT&T customer Giorgio Galante received a warning call from an AT&T representative after Galante sent two e-mails to company CEO Randall Stephenson. An AT&T representative identified only as "Brent" warned legal action might be taken if Galante sent another e-mail.
The first of the two e-mails requested an upgrade eligibility date for Galante's iPhone, while the second voiced displeasure with AT&T's recent decision to change its data rates. In the second e-mail, Galante considers moving to Sprint's Evo 4G network and thanks AT&T for making his decision easier. Galante received a call after the second e-mail was sent, warning a "cease-and-desist letter may be sent to you" if he continued to e-mail the CEO.
"So in the end, I'm definitely switching to the HTC Evo, and canceling my iPhone & iPad 3G AT&T services - I don't want to give my money to a company that is bothered by its customers, and threatens them legally to prove it," Galante wrote on his blog, "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish." The report of the incident soon made its way to mainstream media news outlets such as CNN, Forbes and USA Today.
AT&T later apologized by way of a company statement. "We're working with him today to address his questions and concerns. This is not the way we want to treat customers. From Facebook to significant customer service channels, AT&T strives to provide our customers with easy ways to have their questions addressed."
In a blog post Friday morning, Galante ruminated on the apology he received from a senior vice president of public relations. "After reflecting on AT&T's earlier apology, I can't help but feel that they were forced into apologizing by all the media attention, and I really wish that Mr. Stephenson would have made the phone call. In my mind it reflects on how insulated he is from his customers," Galante wrote. "All in all, it's clear that Mr. Stephenson's mail filtering staff needs some additional training on dealing with customers."