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AT&T doesn't want to hear your ideas

Talk to my lawyer, please

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Customer feedback is supposed to be the backbone of any good business, unless you happen to be a mega-corporation with a legal department that doesn't care much what you think. AT&T customer Alfred Valrie of Los Angeles found this out when he decided to email AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson with a few suggestions on how to better serve DSL customers. The end result was a letter from AT&T's legal department telling Valrie to not-so-politely never do that again, according to a report today from The Los Angeles Times.

After tracking down Stephenson's email online, Valrie fired off an email suggesting AT&T offer DSL customers unlimited data and some type of low-cost text messaging plan with the sign-off "your lifelong customer." Stephenson forwarded the email to AT&T's legal department, which responded in robotic fashion, telling Valrie that the company does not appreciate suggestions. "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," wrote Thomas Restaino, AT&T's chief intellectual property counsel, in an email obtained by The Los Angeles Times. "Therefore, we respectfully decline to consider your suggestion."

AT&T is apparently worried about customers threatening legal action

According to spokesperson Georgia Taylor, AT&T wants to avoid future lawsuits from customers who suggested new features or products and later threaten to sue AT&T for having stolen the idea. "It's to protect ourselves," Taylor told The Los Angeles Times. AT&T does have a lawyer-approved method for customers to supply feedback, such as on the phone with a support specialist or online with one of the company’s carefully crafted forms. Just next time don't email the CEO.