How mobile provider A1 pulls the money out of your pocket...

Some time ago I received a short message on my mobile where I was offered to extend my binding to A1 (my mobile provider) for another period and receive some credits for that. At that time I did as I was told in the message and answered with "Yes" via SMS.

Last month I got the bill from A1 with a ridiculous amount of payment and immediately called the call center. There I was told that my contract was canceled because I didn't extend it back when I was notified. The lady on the other side of the phone said, that I had received a notification that my contract was exceeding via short message on my phone and that I didn't respond to that. So my old contract was converted into a standard contract. When I responded to the lady that I indeed did answer the SMS to extend my contract she replied that I either had to call into the callcenter for that or send a response by mail, not by SMS.

After a bit of back and forward between the callcenter agent and me I became stressed out and agreed to add some options to my new contract and lower my costs. It was impossible to return to my old contract as it had already been canceled and a new similar offer is limited by customer age (youth tariff) so this was also ruled out for me.

What still bugs me is, that I opted out of receiving account-critical notifications from my provider via electronic communication and still my contract change was only announced via SMS. Also, the conversion of my contract was not stated anywhere and if I didn't have a look at the payment amount on my bill I wouldn't have noticed.

The call center agent was quite friendly and can't be blamed for how its employer treats customers which are not part of the majority customer base where cash margins are already quite slim so that it has to try everything to press money out of the minority of customers with nonstandard conditions. I'm still with A1 because I doubt that the other providers will treat customers differently. After all it's the same market with the same conditions for those companies...

Lesson learned: If you receive any notification about your account from your provider, even if you have told him NOT to notify you over this channel, call the callcenter and check back.

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