I cancelled our AT&T lines yesterday. At least I think I did. We tried to cancel our phone lines ahead of time while in the U.S. You know, just end the contract at the end of the next billing period. Thought it would be neat and easy. AT&T didn’t agree. They had never heard of such a thing. OK. So we waited till we got here to cancel the phones. We didn’t want to be completely without phones in case of emergency and I wasn’t so sure I could get the phones unlocked if we weren’t AT&T customers, but now we have phones that work in Panama. Time to cancel the AT&T service.

I sign on to AT&T’s website and try to remember all the codes and passwords required to get to my account. I have something wrong, so I hit the chat button and write that I want to cancel my account. It takes three transfers to different customer reps who keep trying to convince me not to leave AT&T until I get someone who really understands — We have left the United States. AT&T does not offer service in the country we are in. I do not want to hear another sales pitch. I am not going to buy what you do not sell.

Eventually, all I had to do was give them the phone numbers I wanted cancelled. I can’t pay my bill without a password and a security code, but apparently, I can cancel all our numbers without having to give my name or any other info other than the phone numbers? Hmmmm.

And I’m supposed to check my account in 14 days to see if I owe money or if there will be a refund. By the language in the chat, I either overpaid or underpaid by $199. I tried several times and several different ways of asking, but I’m still unclear on that.

But I can get this information by dialing 611 on my AT&T phone in 14 days. Ummm. Didn’t I just cancel the phone?

This is the company that when we first got U-verse service for the TV we had to let the bill get to the shutoff stage before they would let us pay it. When U-verse was installed, the tech set up the online billing but neglected to give us the four-digit code needed to pay bills online. Customer service couldn’t give us the four-digit code because that would threaten the security of the account. And since we didn’t get physical bills, we had no way of actually paying AT&T for our U-verse service. But if you get to the shutoff stage, they do let you pay the bill. You see our troublesome cycle?

The cycle was broken when a good-hearted scofflaw of a rep took pity on us. He couldn’t tell us the code, but he let us “change” the code! I’m sure he broke company rules, and I hope he wasn’t fired for helping us.

After a little over an hour and half of internet chat, I think I can sign on to my AT&T account online via my email address, not former phone number, to wrap this up in a little under two weeks. Of course, then I have to figure out how to pay them or get the refund…

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