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Tharp case still makes me cry

I initially blogged about this case as it unfolded, then re-titled the blog and condensed my comments. As far as I know, nothing has ever ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

AT&T promotes government tax scam

No wonder AT&T deceitfully quoted me a "Grand Total" and made no mention of taxes and surcharges. These exorbitant fees are quietly levied by crooked, cash-strapped state governments, amounts vary from state to state, and it's a matter that neither phone companies nor legislators wanna talk about. From their point of view, it's best if the public can be duped and cowed into "just paying" phone bills without further ado. Sucker 'em in with misleading rate quotes, then tack on exorbitant charges when bill time rolls around. Exorbitant indeed. In my case, the additional charges amounted to about 50 percent of the rate I was promised.

Last thing the culprits want is news headlines that might cause an overtaxed citizenry to reflect on how they're being ripped off. That explains why so-called news media in my area and elsewhere have turned a blind eye to AT&T's outrageous bait and switch marketing ploy, and why the South Carolina Attorney General's Office quickly referred me to the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs, a toothless agency limited to "facilitating a resolution" of disputes with businesses.

My situation doesn't really constitute a "dispute" at all. It constitutes a simple, straightforward case of the marketing ploy known as bait and switch. The reason nothing is being done to stop crooks like AT&T is due to the nature of this corporate-controlled government and a paid-off mainstream media. If I hadn't lucked out and managed to obtain written confirmation of the rate I was promised, I wouldn't have ever attempted to confront the power structure's deceitful effort to soak people for extra revenue. Trying to downplay taxes, surcharges, fees, etc. is bad enough, but when there's no mention of such charges, even in general terms, and a rate is touted in writing as a "Grand Total," it becomes fraud, pure and simple.

It wuzza hoot the way AT&T "mistakenly" overbilled me about $165 when I got my first statement for U-verse, and then gradually - as I complained - lowered the amount down to an additional $17 in an effort to dupe me into thinking "Wow - look how much AT&T has reduced my bill," when in fact, of course, AT&T was increasing my bill from the $34.95 per month I was promised to a whoppin' $52 per month. The absurd ploy was even emblazoned on my account in the form of a graph. Along the way, billing amounts have inexpicably changed several times, raising questions about exactly how AT&T "computes" these additional charges.

AT&T's nauseating degree of gall evidences how utterly corrupt this government - Repukes and Demagogues alike - has become, and how powerless consumers are when confronted with corporate fraud. Likewise for AT&T claiming (I got it in writing in an e-mail) that they "couldn't calculate" the additional charges. Never mind, of course, that they have no problem "calculating" such charges when bill time rolls around. The person I communicated with in their president's office never did get around to offering a reasonable explaintion of the company's glaring misuse of the term "Grand Total," and I wasn't surprised that AT&T balked at my insistence on communicating only by e-mail. Nor was I surprised that the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs tried to persuade me to communicate with AT&T on the phone instead of by e-mail. It was a hoot when AT&T stated (here again, I got it in writing in an e-mail) that they would never include those additional charges as part of a "Grand Total." Standard definitions of terminology aside, AT&T apparently thinks folks should agree to buy their products wihout knowing how much they cost.

Isn't it a shame when government aligns itself with crooked corporations like AT&T, Toyota, GM, etc. ad nauseum in an effort to pump ill-gotten gain into corporate coffers? The "phone-tax and surcharge" scam bears stark similarity to the Homeowners Association (HOA) scam, whereby crooked legislators allow neighborhood gangs to bully homeowners into handing over what amounts to extra taxes.

quit voting over a decade ago, and the fact that elected officials are beholden to crooks like AT&T epitomizes my reasons for refusing to participate in this corporate-controlled sham of an electoral system. It's gotten to the point where we don't even have a free press in this country. Americans are confronted with a pervasively crooked power structure - tyranny is the word - that cannot be remedied at the ballot box.

Update 4/29/2015 - It has now come to light that AT&T's top advertising honcho - Aaron Slator - has been fired, and the company sued, due to a whistleblowing employee exposing racist images she found on Slator's cell phone. Nothin' like pristine, unassailable character when it comes to advertising. Worse yet, racism seems to be a systemic problem within AT&T.

Update 5/3/2015 - check out Time Warner's claim - at least they attach fine-print making vague reference to "additional" charges - of Internet only for $14.99. In South Carolina, that quietly prompts a tax - er I mean "surcharge" - of about 40%, increasing the monthly fee to around $21.00. 

Update 4/9/2015 - Not surprised that South Carolina's Attorney General - the son of Congressman Joe Wilson - is embroiled in controversy over his dismissal of a Special Prosecutor charged with investigating public corruption in the South Carolina legislature. Maybe he should hand the investigation over to the South Carolina Dept. of Consumer Affairs...