Hey AT&T, I want my voice mail back!

Photo of author

By Christopher Elliott

Aylin Gaughan’s attempt to upgrade to a new iPhone fails, but that’s not the worst of it. Her voice mails are now missing. Can AT&T get them back?

Question

I visited an AT&T store to upgrade to a new iPhone recently. A sales representative told me that they could transfer the data and to come back in a couple of hours. Two hours later, he asked me for another hour, and subsequently, for one more.

Four hours later, he told me that I had chosen a phone that only holds 16 MB and that my previous iPhone held 32. He suggested that I pick out a phone with a larger memory. I asked for my old phone back.

The next day, I started receiving birthday voice mails and noticed that several voice mails were no longer on the phone. I went back to the store and was told they would eventually “sync up.” That didn’t happen.

I spoke with the sales representative’s supervisor a couple of days later and he said that he would get back to me. He never did. I spent countless hours with AT&T, Apple, and Asurion, which insured my mobile device, with no luck.

I wrote AT&T several letters, and received a call from an AT&T representative, who asked me what I would like. He also told me that I am not getting my voice mails back. Their best offer is one month’s credit.

The voice mails that were deleted are part of litigation. I never authorized anyone to delete any information. One month credit seems really disproportionate to the frustrations that I am now left with. Can you help me? — Aylin Gaughan, New York

Answer

You attempted to transfer your voicemails from a 32 MB phone to a 16 MB phone, and then back again, resulting in the loss of some of your voicemails. Regrettably, they are permanently gone. I reached out to AT&T, and they confirmed that the voicemails cannot be restored.

Insured Nomads helps you get travel insurance for as low as $2.88 per day, and options to add trip cancellation, global legal assistance, car rental cover and adventure sports. Award-winning plans. Exceptional service. Digital policy card to store with to your boarding pass and loyalty programs in your Apple/Google Wallet, in-app emergency button, lounge access for registered delayed flights and so much more than just medical. It’s peace of mind to reduce the uncertainty and travel with confidence short term for leisure and even longer for remote work, or your cruise and safari excursions. TrustPilot reviewed ”Excellent.” Read more and get covered.

This is a strange case with lots of teachable moments. First, make sure your new phone has at least the same amount of memory as your old phone, if not more. I just upgraded my AT&T iPhone to a 128 GB model. (I put everything on my phone.)

Second, you might consider a cloud-based phone number like Google Voice. You can access your messages from anywhere and they don’t have to be transferred from one device to another, since they live in the cloud. I also use Google Voice, and apart from the comedically inaccurate transcription service, I have no complaints. (Related: Her final AT&T bill is much too high. Where’s her refund?)

AT&T doubled its offer

You might have had more luck by sending a brief, polite email to one of these AT&T executive contacts. But something tells me even they wouldn’t have been able bring back those lost messages. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problems.)

I’m truly sorry for your loss. There are any number of applications that allow you to record your voice mails and back them up for safekeeping. Since you’re in the middle of a lawsuit, you should definitely consider making copies of important voice mails.

I contacted AT&T on your behalf. It doubled its offer from one month’s credit to two, as long as you sign up for a two-year contract.

Photo of author

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in São Paulo.

Related Posts