Late last December, my husband and I decided to ditch our Verizon plan because we kept having issues. It was like every other month, our bill would either drastically go up or they wouldn’t take the scheduled payment out on time. And of course when they wouldn’t take the scheduled payment out on time, other random things would come out of our bank account and Verizon would come out two weeks later at the most inopportune time. Between the price hiking and unreliable payment service, we were spending entirely too much money on two cell phones. So we decided we needed change.

My husband has a phone through his work, so in reality, we only needed one cell phone. My brilliant plan was to get some type of prepaid phone. It seems like most major networks have their own types of prepaid phones, most at a reasonable price and reasonable monthly plan. Since I was completely done and burnt by Verizon, I ran out and got me a cheap AT&T Go-Phone. It was a $70 phone that requires at least a $45 monthly refill. With the $45, I get unlimited data with the first four GBs being high speed, unlimited texting and calling. For a person who stays at home majority of the time, data isn’t that big of a deal for me and texting is what I do most. So $45 goes a long way. The whole point in having a cell is being able to leave the house and be reachable.

I have had virtually no problems. I wanted to buy a cheap phone to start with because I wanted to see just how reliable AT&T is for the locations I go to most often. So far, no reception issues in just about any part of Rutherford, Cheatham or Davidson counties. There are some shady spots in Ashland City, TN, but no major carriers reach in those spots yet. I have also traveled to parts of Williamson and Bedford counties with no issues. AT&T is branded as one of the major carriers, rated with Verizon.

Even though I was going with the cheapest smartphone I could find with the cheapest available monthly refill, I was also thinking about durability. Turns out, the Samsung Express through AT&T GoPhones is extremely durable. My child has thrown it with a case across the floor at McDonald’s and it survived with no cracks or scratches. My Samsung Galaxy S6 through Verizon was thrown on the floor with no case and was shattered. So far, my little $70 has lasted three months with no damage what so ever. I have also thrown it against the wall with all my might out of sheer anger.

This past week has been a pretty miserable week for me. Someone STOLE my phone number. I know, strange, but it happened. On Tuesday, February 7th, I received a call from my husband on 1:55 p.m. I let him go for whatever reason, and by 2:10 p.m., my phone lost all network. I had ten days left in my billing cycle, perfect reception and had restarted my phone several times. After figuring out how to hook up my landline phone to our modem, I called AT&T’s customer service. Turns out, someone canceled my number.

Not only did someone cancel my number without my knowledge, they also canceled the port with AT&T and registered it with Metro PCS. For about 24 hours, my heart was racing. If someone could steal my number without my knowledge in less than fifteen minutes with the phone in my hand, what else could someone do? I began wracking my brain, just trying to figure out how someone could be that slick, that smooth and somehow do it legally? According to customer service, the only way that someone could do that is if the person had the pin number to the account connected to that phone number. I had been got.

I went back and forth AT&T and Metro PCS for a full 48 hours. I was being thrown between different customer service reps, most of which didn’t speak English and even then, they kept pushing me to the next customer service rep because they had no idea how to get my phone number back. One rep said that there was literally nothing she could do and she could not refund me for the ten days left in my account. Another rep said that I shouldn’t have given out my private information to anyone. And another rep said that he was incredibly sorry, but he would be more than happy to get me a new line, with me paying a full month. Needless to say, I was emotionally and mentally exhausted after talking to at least ten different reps in 48 hours. Total time talking on the phone trying to resolve the issue would amount to somewhere around ten hours.

At the end of 48 hours, I accepted defeat. I was eventually credited for the ten days left in my billing cycle, given a new SIM card and new phone number. The first thing I did was text my old number. I texted a heartfelt message saying that while I didn’t know who they were, I’m sure they’re a nice person and to be anticipating texts for me, seeing as I wasn’t expecting my number to be stolen. They kindly let me know that they didn’t steal the number, but that it was their phone number assigned to them in October. They had gone on a trip somewhere where AT&T didn’t pick up and switched over to Metro PCS. When they came back home, they took their new Metro PCS cell phone and brought their old AT&T number back by using their pin and account.

I was never able to fully register my phone number because it was already registered to someone else. I vaguely remember not being able to edit any info on the account or being able to access it. I figured that somewhere along the line, I had messed up somewhere. Turns out, with me not being able to register it with my info, someone was able to take their number back after not using it for about two months. The fine print says that you have sixty days to do something with your account or you will lose your number. It doesn’t say anything about what happens when someone else gets assigned your number. So somehow, this person gets to take back their phone number that they didn’t use for over two months and I have to get a brand new number. AT&T needs to get on their game and figure out a way to prevent this from happening again. Can you hear me now?