Sunday, August 5, 2007

AT&T Family Share(?) Plan

Why would a phone company (AT&T) have a "Family Talk" plan where different people with different phone numbers can share the same account but then limit said people to having only one name assigned to all those numbers? This makes absolutely no sense to me. Isn't it obvious that if I subscribe to the "Family Share" plan I'm going to have more than one person using the "shared" plan? Both the words "FJust a doodle - no significance here...amily" and "Share" lend themselves to the concept of more than one person and were probably carefully chosen by Cingular marketing personnel. (Aside - Ever notice that people who work for a major corporation are never "people" but always "personnel" - perhaps that's part of the problem.)

I know they know who I am. Every month when I get the bill it is meticulously broken out between Mrs. Polarshark and the Polarshark himself.

History: Mrs. and I signed up for the (then) Cingular Family Share plan about two years ago. Because I moved over from Sprint, her name became the primary name on our "Family Share" plan account. Everything was fine for the first six months but then someone informed me that suddenly my name on the Caller ID had switched to "Mrs. Polarshark." (*A) Confused, I called the always(rarely) helpful Cingular customer support line and was summarily informed that only the account holder's name could show up on the Caller ID. I patiently (more or less) explained that my Caller ID had been fine until recently and could I kindly speak to a supervisor. After a half-hour or so on the phone I was transferred somewhere else and magically, the gods of cell service were somehow appeased and my nomenclature was miraculously restored... for a time.

Sometime earlier this year when Cingular became "Cingular is the new AT&T," I lost it again - my name that is. Suddenly I was hearing (more than usual) snickers as people answered my phone calls. (Go to *A above and substitute "Cingular is the new AT&T" for Cingular.)

This time, after getting the run-around, I was informed that they can fix my name but that any changes to our account will, without notice, transform me back into my wife, for Caller ID purposes. Fine... whatever... just fix my name. So now, having made exactly no changes to my account, I have once again become my wife on my phone and it just seems ridiculous. Who, in their limited wisdom, figured that they would give multiple numbers to multiple people but that all of these people would wish to share a single name? And the sadder thing is that there is no way to get this information to "Cingular is the new AT&T" because their company is obviously too big to care that I don't want to be known as Mrs. Polarshark.

I am just about to the point where I'm going to make one more name change on my cell phone service. But this time, I'll probably change the name on the faceplate of the phone along with the name on the Caller ID.

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