TORRINGTON – There are potential landline phone and potential cell phone scams targeting Goshen County residents, namely, older residents which community members should be aware of; one involving landlines with Centurylink and the other involving cellular phone service with an AT&T contractor at the Sam’s Club in Cheyenne.
The first issue involves AT&T contractors at the Sam’s Club in Cheyenne. Community members and Town Council members in LaGrange alerted the Telegram to some deceptive practices contractors at this location engage in.
The Telegram reached out to both Sam’s Club and AT&T to get additional information and to provide consumers in Goshen County with ways to protect themselves. Sam’s Club did not return requests for comment, however, AT&T offered this statement via a spokesperson: “To suggest that a customer service representative offering someone a new device is “a scam” is not only wrong, it is absurd and, quite frankly, offensive. Our goal is to provide our customers with exceptional service and we ask our vendors to do the same. We do not target customers based on anything other than their desire for the latest technology.”
Adding: “We want our customers to be satisfied with their purchases and if they are not they can return them within 14 days.”
The AT&T service representative in Cheyenne, who wish to remain anonymous due to fear of losing their job, notified the Telegram that they were aware of the deceptive practices of contractors at the Sam’s Club AT&T location and have been working with corporate to either remove the location or staff it with authorized AT&T employees.
The service representative did not know what stage of investigation or change corporate was in but did say AT&T has a contract with Sam’s Club’s around the nation to be the cell phone provider via contractors in its locations.
The Telegram attempted to contact the contractor AT&T uses inside the Cheyenne Sam’s Club; the contractor did not provide a comment and referred the newspaper to AT&T for further comment.
However, a search on the AT&T Community Forum website indicates this is an ongoing issue with hundreds of other cell phone consumers in regards to how AT&T contractors operate in Sam’s Club’s nationwide. In response, AT&T advised Sam’s Club customers who have had issues with their service and complaints to call 1-(855) 972-0089, a line specifically designed for Sam’s Club AT&T customers to get their service sorted out.
The contractors attempt to sway warehouse goers to switch to AT&T, or if they already have AT&T service they need to upgrade for various reasons. The reason given by the LaGrange Town Council members, who were nearly scammed, was “outdated technology” in their phones.
According to the Telegram’s sources, the “offer sounded reasonable, but also a little too good to be true,” Mike Meysenburg and his wife explained.
LaGrange community member who was with the Meysenburg’s and helped them, Robin Boyd, noticed the AT&T contractors at the Sam’s Club were only targeting older consumers with the “dated technology” ploy, so she called Sam’s Club herself.
Ultimately, the Meysenburg spent several days and hours on the phone with AT&T to cancel their service and resume their Verizon service.
Three additional Goshen County residents advised the Telegram of same and similar concerns regarding the AT&T contractor inside the Cheyenne Sam’s Club, all three asked to remain unidentified, but stated two of them lived in Ft. Laramie and one lived in Huntley.
Several Goshen County residents called and wrote to the Telegram regarding their Centurylink landline phone service.
Resident Ed Wiand said his mother, Charlotte Wiand, 99, who is blind had began having issues with her CenturyLink landline starting July 10 and it took him nearly two weeks before the issue was resolved.
“I called and called, I asked them if there was an issue with her device or connection, but I got nowhere,” Wiand said. “Eventually, I ended up calling the Wyoming Public Service Commission, and within hours her service was fixed, so I’m not sure what the actual issue was.”
The Telegram reached out to the Wyoming Public Service Commission to see what details could be provided to residents experiencing the same and/or similar issue with their local CenturyLink landline services, but the agency did not return requests for information.
A spokesperson from CenturyLink who did not identify themselves at the national headquarters in Monroe, Louisiana, directed the newspaper to a series of press releases from parent company Lumen Technologies, suggesting that disruptions in services nationwide had to do with the sale of roughly half of its assets from Apollo Global Management in August 2021.
A search of Wyoming Public Service Commissions website indicates Quest doing business as Centurylink, has a number of contract filings for construction, maintenance and upkeep of several local products, including landline phones pursuant to the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, revised 2020.
According to information from dockets with the Wyoming Public Service Commission’s website, Quest, also known as CenturyLink locally, is in the process of upgrading, changing contractors, buying and selling of leases and contracts and overall changes to services provided. The dockets also indicated that a number of other customers in Goshen County have requested formal hearings concerning the service provided by the phone company; including an elderly couple in Lusk and retiree’s in Yoder as well as Veteran.
The Wyoming Public Service Commission told the Telegram during its first attempt to contact the agency that they are aware of such issues, concerns and are working with consumers who are experiencing poor service; those residents are encouraged to call (307) 777-7427 to speak to an agency representative to get their issues resolved.