Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Service Subject To The Limitations of Our Enterprise Software

I really think this is the new disclaimer that should be added to the already overlong click-through agreements and signature pages for consumer products. It seems more and more these days, companies are making offers they cannot actually deliver upon.

Take AT&T, everyone's favorite whipping boy lately (along with Apple). Sure, you can have a family plan with two phones on it. But not if they are from different parts of the country. Verizon and T-Mobile have no such problem, but at AT&T, it seems, if you're not in the same region, you cannot have two phones on the same family plan.

Being on a family plan would save me $30 per month for two and about $60 per month for three of us and $90 per month for a family of four iPhone users on unlimited plans. One of my phones, however, is from a different region so I'm required by AT&T to have a different account. That cuts me out of $30 per month in savings every month, $330 per year and $660 over the life of a two year iPhone contract.

You won't find this limitation anywhere in AT&T's documentation, it's something you only find out when you go to port the numbers in at the time of activation, after you've ordered the phone. AT&T just says they can't do it.

In defense of AT&T, I can say that their customer service reps have done a terrific job, within the limitations of their systems. I've been impressed with the courtesy and professionalism of their staff, as well as their efforts to make things work. Lots of supervisors have gotten on the line and tried to figure things out. An AT&T rep even got on the phone with me to call Apple to try to resolve a separate deliver issue. Not because I complained, but because reps were going up the chain of command trying to resolve problems.

So far, no resolution, however. So, in the meantime, maybe companies should start disclaiming liability in the event their enterprise software can't cut it.

So much fine print, so little time

Image from Flickr - SunDazed - cc.

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