By Sagar Dommaraju
Kenneth Voight loves the “Consumer’s Choice” phone plans and his landline so much that he once appeared at a CUB news conference to promote them. So you can imagine how frustrated he was when an AT&T representative suddenly told him that he couldn’t return to the low-cost landline calling plans.
However, with CUB’s help, Kenneth was able to resolve the issue in a matter of days.
“CUB’s service was superior,” said Kenneth, a CUB supporter for 30 years. “CUB has fought many battles with the utility companies on behalf of us and other consumers in Illinois.”
Back in 2014, Kenneth appeared at a CUB news conference as the watchdog group launched a statewide campaign to defeat an attempt by AT&T to end landline phone service and kill the Consumer’s Choice plans.
The no-frills plans, which were created by CUB under a legal settlement with AT&T in 2006, range from about $3 to $20 a month. They are designed to match the way most callers use the phone, and CUB estimates they have saved consumers millions of dollars.
Kenneth, a retired insurance worker from Schaumburg, is a happy Consumer’s Choice plan customer. He contacted AT&T earlier this year to get calls to his landline forwarded to another home while his house underwent renovations.
An AT&T rep told Kenneth he’d need to switch to a different calling plan temporarily in order to have his calls forwarded. Kenneth was OK with that—as long as he could return to Consumer’s Choice.
No problem, AT&T said. However, when he called a month later to tell them the renovations were complete, AT&T sang a different tune. To his surprise, another representative told him he wouldn’t be able to return to the program. Kenneth was left confused.
He tried calling AT&T two more times, without any luck. Finally, he turned to CUB Consumer counselor Sandra Marcelin-Reme, who contacted AT&T about Kenneth’s problem.
The very next day, Kenneth got a call from AT&T explaining that the rep from the day before gave him wrong information. The company apologized and promised he’d be able to return to Consumer’s Choice.
Mr. Voight was happy.
“Thank you very much…I don’t think they might’ve gotten back as soon if you didn’t get involved,” he wrote in an email.