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  1. #1
    donbmad is offline Junior Member
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    AT&T tresspasses on customer property, rips out wiring, says "we'll do it again"

    State: FL

    UPDATED 7/18/07

    Executive summary
    AT&T trespassed on my property, ripped working telephone wiring out of my home without my permission or knowledge while I was sitting in my bedroom, CS Manager said "we'll do it again" with full knowledge I was recording the call.

    Long version

    My telephone provider is Packet8 (similar to Vonage). I had no phone jacks, so I was plugging a cordless phone directly into their modem. The service was great, but degraded sharply when I walked any distance from the base. So I decided to hire AT&T to install phone jacks in my house.

    I informed them I was not a customer; I simply wanted to pay them to wire a few jacks throughout the house and use other service. They informed me I would have to order service with them. So I directly asked if I had any contractual obligation to keep the service for any length of time; they said no. I then directly asked if I could cancel after the wiring was complete, then simply pay for the work performed (about $400); they said yes.

    After the jacks were operational, I called AT&T to cancel the service, telling the story again. The rep was very nice and immediately removed dial tone as I requested. I then plugged in my modem to one of the jacks, and all phone jacks were working properly with Packet8 dial tone. I had the telephone service I wanted, and AT&T was getting $400 for two hours' work.

    About two hours later, I heard several men talking outside my window, banging on my wall with tools. I walked outside and saw two AT&T vans. Three AT&T techs were ripping out the telephone wiring from my house, without my knowledge or consent. My jacks obviously no longer worked. I was furious.

    I called customer service, and was on the phone over an hour before finally speaking to a supervisor. She responded that it is their practice to rip out any new wiring if the customer does not keep service for at least 60 days(!)... and that if I order service and cancel again, they would come and rip out the wiring again(!)

    From a common sense perspective, I feel AT&T is not only wrong, but also insane. Instead of taking $400 for two hours' work, which I told them I wanted to pay them, they bankrolled three well-paid technicians to undo what could have been productive profitable work -- that is to say, they ripped out working telephone wiring from my home. Just bizarre, vindictive behavior.

    My father is a contractor and electrician (I didn't ask him to do it because I wouldn't ask him to spend several hours in my crawlspace in the dead of Florida summer), and he says AT&T absolutely broke the law. If he wires a home and the customer fails to pay, he would be in huge trouble if he went to their home and ripped out the wiring he installed. In contrast, AT&T ripped out wiring without even having billed me yet. I feel AT&T should be in legal trouble for this practice.

    UPDATE (7/18/07):

    If I may say so: Packet8's customer service is amazing. I explained the situation, asking if they could send out a contractor. They said they did not do wiring. The level 1 CS rep suggested that I hire AT&T again, keep their service for 60 days so that I could keep the wiring, and that they would credit me for two months of Packet8 service so I wouldn't have to pay two phone bills at once. I was floored, but I turned it down; I didn't want to give AT&T a penny after what they did.

    So, I hired a Comcast contractor to repair the wiring at a very reasonable price (< $150 for five jacks). Upon finishing this morning, he said, "someone really butchered those wires down there"... he said someone had cut all the wires at the floors and walls -- meaning they cut my wires in my house, not simply from the junction box. I asked, "Isn't that illegal?" The Comcast contractor who does this for a living said "Yes, because once it's there, it's your wiring." (Yes, Comcast is a "good guy" in the story... which speaks volumes for AT&T).

    Mr. Comcast wrote a statement with his name and contractor number stating what he observed while fixing my wiring. I'm kicking myself a bit for this aggravation because the crawlspace had to have been accessible; I suppose that was my mistake.

    I am going to file a complaint with the Public Services Commission and the State Attorney's Office; I will also send a letter to the corporate office as some have suggested. Thanks to everyone who helped and read.
    Last edited by donbmad; 07-18-2007 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Update on 7/18/07
  2. #2
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    you would have to look into any contract you entered with AT&T. What they did could be within such a contract.
  3. #3
    donbmad is offline Junior Member
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    There was a service agreement: [url]https://www.bellsouth.com/rnr/html/ServiceAgreement.html[/url]

    After reading through, there is nothing in the agreement that comes close to implying they will rip out wiring if I cancel service within a certain window.
    Last edited by donbmad; 07-14-2007 at 12:02 AM.
  4. #4
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    That seems to be for the service itself only. What about a work order or such to allow them to install the wiring?

    Typically, once something such as this is installed, the provider cannot remove it, even if you failed to pay for it. Without knowing what other contracts you may have entered to cause the wiring installation, I can;t really explain how or why they would take such action as to remove the wiring.
  5. #5
    donbmad is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justalayman View Post
    Typically, once something such as this is installed, the provider cannot remove it, even if you failed to pay for it. Without knowing what other contracts you may have entered to cause the wiring installation, I can;t really explain how or why they would take such action as to remove the wiring.
    That's what I thought... here's the "Work Order" (copied from a PDF)

    Thank You For Your Order

    Order Summary
    [LIST][*]Selected Telephone Number: xxxxxxxxxx[*]Local and/or long distance activation, and/or phone outlet installation: 07/16/2007 (note: was changed to 7/11/2007)[/LIST]
    Your installation date will be confirmed via e-mail. If your requested date is not available the next available date will be assigned. A phone number will be provided in your confirmation e-mail if you need to change your installation date.

    [LIST][*]Credit Inquiry Consent: Yes[*]Deposit Required: No[*]Deposit Amount: $0.00[*]Deposit Option: None[/LIST]

    [LIST][*]Basic Residential Phone Line $13.37[/LIST]

    [LIST][*]Phone Outlets Installation Charge - 5 Wall Phone Outlet $342.00[*]Line Connection Charge $46.00[*]Total Local Service Charges $388.00 [*]Total monthly charges: $20.71
    [*]Apply activation charges to my next billing statement[/LIST]
    Long Distance

    [LIST][*]BellSouth® Dollar Value plan $1.00[*]No Plan, BellSouth International Long Distance $0.00[*]Carrier Cost Recovery Fee $0.99[*]Local Toll Service Provider: BELLSOUTH LONG DISTANCE[*]Long Distance Service Provider: BELLSOUTH LONG DISTANCE[*]Total Long Distance Charges $1.99[/LIST]
    There are no terms or conditions relevant to them stating a right to rip wiring out of my home in the work order. Like I said, this is a head scratcher to me. AT&T said this is their official policy. The technicians that ripped out the wring acted if this what happened to me wasn't all that rare.
  6. #6
    andrewman327 is offline Junior Member
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    Thumbs up Your strongly worded letter

    I am a 21 year old college student/accounts receivable director. I will gladly help you out with anything that does not require a lawyer; e-mail me at Breza(at)gwu.edu if you want more help. Here is an example of a letter that you can send. It is based off of the US government's excellent reference. Send it in a large envelope with signature confirmation, regardless of the price. Someone at AT&T will sign for it, either a random secretary or the mail room guy. USPS will then e-mail you an official form that you can include in follow-up correspondence and in a possible future lawsuit.

    Here is a vital fact: CORPORATIONS HATE LAWSUITS!!! They will go out of their way to settle cases quickly. Court costs add up quickly and bad press from a lost suit hurts much more than the monetary compensation. Be specific and realistic about what you want and make it clear that you are not looking to negotiate. You might just get a response in the form of a check in the mail if you are extremely lucky.

    Now onto the letter itself:

    Dear Mr./Ms.:

    I wish to complain about the destructive actions committed by employees of your company that occurred on DATE. INSERT FIRST POST HERE BUT MAKE IT PRETTIER SOUNDING. On or around TIME, X AT&T employees entered my property without even attempting to alert me to their presence, let alone requesting permission. They proceeded to forcibly remove certain utilities from my house, causing MONEY worth of damages.

    To resolve this problem I would like you to do two things: refund the (specific amount) I paid AT&T for services rendered, and pay the standard cost of labor for the repair work that had to be done as a result of your company's damage (I don't care that it was your dad, ask for the money anyway). INSERT WHATEVER ELSE YOU WANT HERE ALONG WITH A TOTAL SUM.

    When I first learned of this problem, I contacted ____ (CSR name if given and date of the call) at your company, and was told INSERT BAD STUFF OF CHOICE HERE. I believe that this response is unfair because your company entered my property without my permission and maliciously damaged my house. I would like a written statement explaining your company's position and what you will do about my complaint.

    I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible to resolve this problem. If I do not hear from you before August 1st, I will contact the BBB, FCC, and state Attorney General. I will also consider my legal alternatives.

    Sincerely,

    Me

    Enclosures: Copies of bills for absolutely everything you have had done. Have your father write a formal invoice for you too. If you LEGALLY recorded something then feel free to include a CD.
  7. #7
    andrewman327 is offline Junior Member
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    Now I'm not being as nice

    After my "Send a strongly worded letter" post, I got to thinking about just how wrong this is. It may be too late to do this since you already destroyed the physical evidence but you should consider calling the police and pressing charges on the AT&T employees for trespassing and malicious destruction of property. That'll get their attention really fast.

    If you decide to call the police your next call should be to the local media. TV stations and newspapers may want you to file a police report before they'll profile you on their program/page.
  8. #8
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    So here is the big question;

    how has this injured you. The may have removed the wiring (whether it be legal or not) but they also apparently are not charging you for the work.

    Your simple solution, unless you want to chase AT&T for some personal reason, would be to have a private contractor come out and install you telecom wiring as you desire and be done with it.

    I doubt you will force AT&T to rewire the house and I doubt you will find a gold mine is pursuing this line of action.

    The most sensible action would be to hire some other company to specifically install the network wiring and get over the entire deal.

    If you want to pursue a complaint against AT&T, I would suggest your states regulatory commission. Most states have one and the phone company falls under their area of concern.

    Other than that, I don;t think you are going to get anywhere and it becomes a waste of time.
  9. #9
    donbmad is offline Junior Member
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    andrewman,

    Thanks so much; I really appreciate your help. Just FYI, the police referred me to the State Attorney's Office. I will call them on Monday.

    I will use your letter (very well-written, by the way), alert the local media and see if they're interested in covering the story.

    I don't have pictures, but I have a legally recorded phone call with an AT&T CS manager acknowledging they did it, and that they "would do it again", five non-functional jacks and a phone box outside my house with frayed wires.
  10. #10
    donbmad is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by justalayman View Post
    So here is the big question;
    I doubt you will force AT&T to rewire the house and I doubt you will find a gold mine is pursuing this line of action.
    I'm really not looking for money... I'm not really "damaged" I guess, other than losing a day of work. I just want them to perform the service and use some common sense. Too much to ask for a telephone company I guess.

    The most sensible action would be to hire some other company to specifically install the network wiring and get over the entire deal.
    I'd normally agree with you; AT&T said to call an electrician. And in reality, my immediate reaction was to call about a dozen electricians in my area. The problem is, the conversations all went like this:

    Me: Do you install telephone wiring in homes?
    Them: No, we don't.
    Me: Can you refer me to someone who does?
    Them: I'm not sure anyone does that except AT&T.
    Me: I already tried them...

    So, that is the issue... I guess that means I'll live without working phone jacks... not the worst thing in the world, but rather silly, since I live in a developed country and am willing to pay for the service. I suppose I just like to stamp out stupidity when I see it. I will send a letter to AT&T, contact the State Attorney's office and will keep updating this if anyone is interested.
  11. #11
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    [url]http://tampa-st-petersburg.homeconnections.com/task.Telephone-Jacks-and-Wiring-Install.39780.html[/url]
    3Com Latin America
    701 Nw 62nd Ave Ste 490, Miami, FL 33126, (305) 461-8400
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    A -1 American Cabling, Inc.
    6600 NW 27th Ave., # W107, Miami, FL 33147, (305) 691-0200
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Able Integrated Systems
    271 Crossway Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32305, (850) 877-3282
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Abracadabra Projector Rental
    5025 S Orange Av, Orlando, FL 32809, (407) 924-2658
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Aci Atlantic Computer Innovations
    2330 S Nova Rd Ste B, Daytona Beach, FL 32119, (386) 254-8999
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Alarm & Communication Systems Inc
    4301 W South Ave, Tampa, FL 33614, (813) 873-1851
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Network Communications Corporation
    212 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34601, (352) 796-5692
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Network Appliance
    1000 W Mcnab Rd, Pompano Beach, FL 33069, (954) 942-4023
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Network Orange Inc
    6353 W Rogers Cir Ste 4, Boca Raton, FL 33487, (561) 999-1299
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Newcel Communications Corp
    212 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34601, (352) 796-5692
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Niled Inc
    3034 Mercury Rd S, Jacksonville, FL 32207, (904) 737-2701
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Soltec Communications
    2560 Sw 122nd Ct, Miami, FL 33125, (305) 485-1900
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    South Florida Telephone & Data Inc
    2925 SW 22nd Av, Delray Beach, FL 33445, (561) 330-9118
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Uplink Data Inc
    Winter Park, FL 32789, (407) 677-9525
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    USA Teleport Inc
    16555 Nw 13th Ave, Miami, FL 33169, (305) 628-0288
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    USA Teleport, Inc.
    16555 NW 13 Avenue, Miami, FL 33169, (305) 650-9505
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Veytec Inc
    4707 140th Ave N Ste 215, Clearwater, FL 33762, (727) 524-1672
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Weston Trawick, Inc.
    5392 Tower Rd, Tallahassee, FL 32303, (850) 514-0003
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Atlantic Computer Innovations
    2330 S Nova Rd, South Daytona, FL 32119, (386) 304-7100
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Structured Cabling Solutions
    1777 NW 79th Av, Doral, FL 33147, (305) 477-4882
    I don't know where in Fla you are so here are a few companies that apparently install telecom lines. If dad is an electrician, I find it totally unbeleivable he could not give you somebodies number that installs such.

    Now, in your last post, you do say you have yuor jacks and NID (ask dad if you do not know what this is). Any line running to that NID from the outside are the property of the telephone service supplier. You would own the NID and the lines in your house.

    So, what is actually there and what was removed. I can actually tell you how to install anything you need to do with a bit of explanation if you really simply want the interior wiring. You aren;t getting "to the pole" unless you are a customer of a service provider though.
  12. #12
    kingnacho is offline Junior Member
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    Junction Box

    Did they rip the wires out of the house or only cut them at the junction box?

    I ask because AT&T owns the junction box, not you. If they simply cut the wires at the junction box then they are completely within their rights. As you are nolonger a customer they aren't going to let you use their junction box.

    if the wires are still there, just frayed, then you could hire somebody to install a private junction box that you own, and terminate the wires there.
  13. #13
    justalayman is offline Senior Member
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    kingnacho could be correct about ownership of the NID altthough in my area, it becomes the property of the homeowner once it is installed on the house.
  14. #14
    Blue Meanie is offline Senior Member
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    Just thought I would mention that there has been over 11,000 hit on this thread in 24 hours. I don't think I have ever seen that before!!
  15. #15
    kingnacho is offline Junior Member
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    County Regulation

    Ownership of the box is probably going to be county-by-county or however the phone company is regulation in your area.

    The group you should be calling for questions about this is your Public Services Commission.

    Each state should have a government body that can tell you what the rules are, and are not. Based on you conversation with AT&T, they probably know what their rights are.

    Here is the URL for that group: [url]http://www.psc.state.fl.us/[/url]

    They even have an online form where you can file a complaint regarding your phone company.

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