Never Use AT&T GoPhone. Ever
As you may have noticed on the About page, I am temporarily living in Germany. Right now I’m in the US for the holidays, though, and decided to buy a pay-as-you-go plan to keep in touch with my friends. I ended up getting an AT&T GoPhone for $4.99 with the promise I could pay $0.10 per minute and add plans for data and texting. Because I rarely call but use text and data quite a bit, I planned to add a 1000-text plan for $9.99 and 100MB for $15. Not the best prices, but I’m only here for two weeks and this was the best deal I could find. Sounds easy enough, right? Wrong. The AT&T GoPhone service turned out to be one of the biggest scams I have ever come across. Here’s why.
1. You can only add credit amounts of $15, $25, $50, $75 and $100 to your account. Lower levels of credit expire in 30 days if you don’t use them and all credit is non-refundable. So buying a GoPhone and using it for occasional calling will always end up costing you at least $15 a month, even if you only use a few minutes. AT&T automatically extends all your credit if you add new money, but what’s the point of putting money in a piggy bank you can never open?
2. AT&T did not provide the agreed-upon service stated in our contract. After adding a $15 credit “for use only with GoPhone Pay As You Go wireless service,” AT&T would not let me use this credit towards a text or data plan. Instead I had to add these options to my cart and pay for them separately– the credit I added seems to only be for the $0.10 minutes and pay-as-you go texting/data rates, not the optional plans. Nowhere did AT&T explain this, and throughout the process AT&T’s website and my GoPhone documentation gave the impression that credit could be used with any wireless service. Thanks for stealing my money.
3. Maybe if I called AT&T they could sort this out? I called the service number listed in my GoPhone documentation to try. After spending twenty minutes dialing through various menus, I finally got a hold of Robin, who promptly stated she would need to transfer me. This is fine, except she transferred me to the same menu I spent all that time navigating before.
The customer service line for the GoPhone seems to be almost entirely self-serve. There is no option to talk to a real person– I had to say, “Speak with someone” to the virtual voice to get a real person. Every option you press leads to another option. AT&T simply doesn’t want to tak to me.
Could the right person fix this for me? Sure, but I shouldn’t have to spend hours on the phone dialing through menus with only the possibility of a solution. I’m willing to work with AT&T to sort this out and did my part as a customer by calling. However, AT&T was unwilling to work with me.
Is there any hope I can get a refund given AT&T’s breach of contract? Remember, AT&T stated that the $15 credit I added was good for wireless services, meaning I should have been able to use it for texting and data plans. Instead of hassling with them to get my $15 back, I decided to write this blog post instead. Don’t buy a GoPhone. You’ll just be throwing money into a pile of quick sand. Other services from companies like Cricket, Verizon and T-Mobile appear more expensive up-front, but I doubt they would take my money and then provide no service as AT&T did.