Did you know that if you email T-Mobile's John Legere you can actually get a reply from the CEO's staff or even John himself? This is decidedly not the case with AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson. In the latest PR blunder for the carrier, a customer who emailed Stephenson with a few suggestions was shut down by AT&T's chief intellectual property counsel. Yes, AT&T lawyer'd their own customer for sending an email.
I know what you're thinking. This guy must have sent some sort of threatening or douchey email. Well, you'd be wrong. Alfred Valrie actually likes AT&T and subscribes to home phone, wireless, internet, and satellite TV from the company. This is what he sent Stephenson.
Hi. I have two suggestions. Please do not contact me in regards to these. These are suggestions. Allow unlimited data for DSL customers, particularly those in neighborhoods not serviced by U-verse. Bring back text messaging plans like 1,000 Messages for $10 or create a new plan like 500 Messages for $7.
Your lifelong customer, Alfred Valrie
He even calls himself a lifelong customer. This is literally the best email Randall Stephenson could ever hope to get from a customer. Despite clearly saying he was only making a suggestion and didn't need anyone to get back to him, AT&T passed his email off to its chief intellectual property counsel Thomas A. Restaino. The response was, thanks but... "AT&T has a policy of not entertaining unsolicited offers to adopt, analyze, develop, license or purchase third-party intellectual property ... from members of the general public."
So to recap, a loyal AT&T customer sends the CEO an email to suggest some changes. Whether or not that's a good way to effect change is up for debate, but it's certainly no legal threat. Still, AT&T has a lawyer send a letter asking him not to do that anymore. This is just profoundly tone deaf—you can't keep customers if you don't listen to them. According to AT&T, this is just what they do when someone makes a suggestion. They don't want anyone to think AT&T is "stealing" their ideas.
Makes you wonder what John Legere would do in this situation.
— John Legere (@JohnLegere) October 13, 2015
Oh... T-Mobile is having a field day with this.
- LA Times