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Bad Customer Service (AT&T sucks)

I long for the day when broadband and cable TV are no longer in the control of semi-monopolies like AT&T, TimeWarner, etc (I think there’s a more accurate economic term for these behemoths, but I can’t be bothered to look it up right now.) I’m not sure that day will ever arrive, because I can’t imagine a likely scenario for that kind of decentralization. My best hope is that Google just buys the whole internet and flips the switch on enormous free WiFi router, in exchange for the right to implant a chip that displays text ads in the bottom corner of our peripheral vision at all times. I could live with that.

Last year, I purchased a phone line and DSL high-speed internet access from AT&T Yahoo. I purchased the phone line only because you cannot get DSL without it, or so they said. First, they tried to install the service only to report that something was wrong with the infrastructure in the neighborhood and there would be a delay. After three more missed dates, they finally installed my service, over a month after originally promised.

During one of the many phone calls I made to the Customer Service department last fall, I convinced a supervisor that I was due some consideration for the run-around and I was given a month of dial-up internet access for free. Several months later, when I took the time to wade through the minutia of my phone bill, I discovered that I had been charged for the dial-up service for that month and was continuing to be charged for it on a monthly basis, despite the fact that my DSL had finally been installed. It took two more phone calls to have it canceled and a credit issued.

Before I left last month, I set out to have my line disconnected and the DSL service canceled. Naturally, you can explore every conceivable option on AT&T’s website to modify your service EXCEPT disconnection. For that, you need to call Customer Service, punch in 12-15 digits, wait on hold, get transferred to Customer Retention and justify your effrontery for attempting to end this dysfunctional relationship. Stating bluntly that you are leaving the country and there is no one you’re leaving behind who would enjoy this wonderful service at least provided a relatively quick end to the interrogation. Having successfully (I thought) achieved my goal, I was given a date during the last week of September when my request would be processed.

Last week, I logged onto the AT&T site, to check the balance of my final bill and see if there was any remaining balance. To be honest I expected a small credit, because of an accidental overpayment before I left. To my surprise, I saw another bill, a week after the termination date that was for close to the amount of my regular monthly service. Upon further examination, I discovered that while AT&T had successfully processed the request to cancel my telephone line I was still being charged for AT&T DSL service. Isn’t that an impossibility? Haven’t we been told, from the dawn of DSL that such access can only be served over a POTS line? Apparently not, for I have found the nirvana of DSL without a phone line. Unfortunately, I’m several thousand miles away and unable to enjoy the spoils of my triumph.

I made an attempt to use the automated chat feature on AT&T’s website to have the matter resolved. “Jane Walker” and her supervisor “Frank Walters”, through the use of carefully crafted, generic text macro responses, informed me that that chat feature was only for technical support and billing matters must be handled via the telephone. They did refer me to a page where you can submit a form with your detailed request related to billing and it will be sent to Customer Service. However, the form requires a valid AT&T telephone number, which I, thanks to the folks at AT&T, NO LONGER HAVE.

I’m sure I’ll eventually get this resolved. I’ll find another form on the website that lets me email someone and after they muddle through the history it will be pretty obvious there is a problem. I’m bound and determined not to call though. I’m not paying international roaming on my cellphone to explain to Customer Service how they messed up. As problems go, it’s so insignificant as to hardly warrant mentioning, but this is a blog, where every problem, no matter how minuscule, deserves its day in the sun.

Probably the most troubling effect of all this is that I have lost access to my Flick’r account. Flick’r was purchased by Yahoo sometime in the past couple of years and they merged their authentication systems, so that I was logging into my Flick’r account with a Yahoo ID. After signing up with AT&T Yahoo last year, in a stunning lack of foresight, I merged my existing Yahoo account, which had access to Flick’r with the account created for DSL. Now, my Yahoo DSL account has gone AWOL, refusing to recognize my password and trying to pretend like it never existed. The recovery tools to create a new password will not accept my authentication data to send me a new one. I think what is really happening is that AT&T Customer Retention is testing me, to find out if I REALLY left the country or not. Maybe if I just call them from an international phone number they’ll give in and admit that I don’t have any use for their service finally. Maybe.


14 Responses

  1. Have never heard anything good about AT&T.

    You might try posting on http://www.measuredup.com – it’s a consumer website where people can share experiences with businesses in their area. You might save folks a lot of trouble by sharing this one.

  2. I moved to a new address last month and asked ATT to transfer my phone number to my new address. After moving, ATT claimed they had to give me a temporary number and proceeded to charge me for it and then charge me for CHANGING the temporary number to my old existing number. I’m not paying for something I didn’t ask for. I did NOT ask for the temporary number nor did I ask for a number change. I simply asked them to TRANSFER my existing number to a new address.

    That’s the first problem. The second problem is with the quad package I ordered. I ordered landline service, wireless cellphone service, dishnetwork tv, and DSL for about $180 a month. So far, ATT has billed me separately for the landline service and a whopping $343 for cellphone service that doesn’t even work half the time!!

    The third problem is that ATT is preventing my ISP from giving me the SAME EXACT DSL service I had before I ordered the quad package. After telling me I would have to pay a $100 deposit to get DSL, ATT cancelled the DSL part of the quad package and reduced it to a triad package so that I could continue with my ISP’s DSL service. But my isp says that ATT refuses to let them give me the DSL service I had before I moved. (My isp orders DSL through ATT.) ATT told my ISP that DSL wasn’t in my area even though I moved just two blocks away. I called ATT to ask why, and they said DSL is available in my area, that i don’t have to pay a $100 deposit anymore, and that they put in an order for me. I believe this violates FCC Rules since they are preventing my ISP from giving me service that i had and want to continue to use.

    I am not paying this outrageous bill. They’re charging me a month in advance for things I DON’T have, CAN’T use, and apparently CAN’T have.

    Whoever heard of a $343 cellphone bill?? I only had it since July 12th or something??

  3. same stuff over here, att has shitty customer service

  4. ATT SUCKS!!!! – I had an appointment to get U-Verse installed with DSL (or so I thought). I scheduled the appointment over three weeks ago, and ATT even called and left a voice mail confirming the date and time range of the appointment. I thought all is going great, I should have known better. My appointment window was supposed to be between 12:00 – 2:00. It’s now 2:55 and I’ve since found out that there is no appointment scheduled today. If this is not bad enough, they said I was supposed to call and confirm the appointment, and since I didn’t that’s why nobody is at my house!! I told them I had the voice mail from ATT confirming the appointment, and that I shouldn’t have to call and confirm something that’s already been confirmed!!!

    I just hope it’s better than Comcast once it’s finally hooked up.

    Sad bassman in Katy, TX

  5. My AT&T DSL has been down for a week now. I opened a trouble ticket and was told they would send someone out but they nevert a me did. I tried calling the repair center but keep getting a recorded message that they have a high call volume and to try again later or some other day. I am cancelling the service which breaks at least twice a year since I had it.

  6. I will make it part of my normal routine to let everyone know just how bad AT&T customer support is. This is a company with the absolute WORST customer service in the service industry. In particular AT&T wireless. If it were not for the iPhone, there would be no AT&T wireless. The iPhone is a wonderful phone (actually one of the best), but to have to rely on the AT&T network and have to deal with their customer support, they couldn’t give them away to have me join. Once a resolution reaches their highest department, “The Office of the President”, be ready to bow. Nowhere will you meet such a condescending group of elitists. Unprofessional does not even start to describe the treatment you will receive. On TWO different occasions, a valid representative from AT&T quoted us a price on the iPhone only to have it turned down by their “Office of the President”. In particular Lakita Gilmore from the OOTP, appears to take her job very personally. I’m guess with AT&T, the customer is never correct AND once Lakita Gilmore makes her decision, not even the President of AT&T has a word to say.

  7. I have found that AT&T customer service reps make up new lies every time I call. I canceled both home phone and DSL service. After a month of calls with service reps assuring me that I would get a prorated credit for the internet service, since I canceled two days into my billing cycle, they told me today that they don’t prorate internet service. The supervisor could not point me to that information, she “just knows that it’s true.” I guess that should be good enough. I looked through my Terms of Service and it does not say any such thing. The supervisor would also not give me any contact information for anyone in charge of this operation. Their behavior is really despicable. If anyone can recommend a company that aren’t incompetent and/or liars, I would like to hear it. I am considering canceling my cel phone service because I hate AT&T so much.

  8. My experience with AT&T is one of the worst encounters I’ve had when dealing with a service provider.
    I have their 1.5mbps dsl service at work which is something that I use for light browsing for making online orders and for entertainment. For a few months I noticed that my bill was around $40 higher, but I just thought it was from long distance and didn’t pay much attention. Then I started to get calls from AT&T.

    ATT: “Hello, would you like to upgrade your service to 6.0mbps free for charge for the next 3 months?”
    ME: “No thank you”
    ATT: “6.0mbps can do wonders for your business”
    ME: “No thank you, I’m sorry but I’m busy right now, have a nice day!”
    ATT: “Sir could you verify one more time that you do want the upgrad…”
    *CLICK* (I hang up)

    They called my business literally twice a day for 2 weeks and the calls got more and more annoying and aggressive to the point where I stopped being polite.

    Then I got an email…

    ATT: This is your confirmation email stating that you have upgraded to the 6.0mbps service. Blah blah blah…
    (Then in fine print: “regular charges do apply when the promotional 3 months have passed please call customer service if you wish to opt out of our promotion)

    I look at my old bills to make sure they didn’t pull other bullshit tricks out of their asses, and I notice why my bill was higher the past few months. They had upgraded me to 3.0 from 1.5 without my consent nor any notifications. I called them to confront this and the first representative was very polite.

    REP1: “I’m seeing that the upgrade to the 3.0 happened back in August, I apologize about that sir, let me transfer you to our dsl department and they’ll adjust your account and refund the overcharges”

    ME: “Thank you very much, I appreciate it.”

    REP2: “Hello, blah blah blah, how can I help you? Oh, I need to transfer you to *inaudible*

    REP3: “Hello, how can I assist you?”

    ME: “My internet service was upgraded without my consent, and I’ve been billed for it”

    REP3: “Sir you are not being billed for the 6.0”

    ME: “Yes, but my service was upgraded from 1.5 to 3.0”

    REP3: “No, you have always been on the 3.0”

    ME: “No, I’ve been on 1.5 since forever”

    REP3: “I’m not seeing it”

    ME: “Can I talk to your supervisor?”

    *CLICK* I get hung up on…

    Their customer service is abysmal and they will do sneaky things to steal money from you.
    You should stay away from signing a contract with them if possible.

    By the way, I’ve done speed tests multiple times after I got my 6.0 “free upgrade” and my download speed has never exceeded 2.0mbps… which is the same as when I was using my 1.5…

    Yeah AT&T is a sham

  9. I recently purchased an Ipad from At&T and tried to exchange it 2 days over the 14day return policy because I learned of the new Ipad, all I wanted to do was exchange and they refused. When I contact Apple they couldn’t believe they wouldn’t exchange the Ipad. they said if I would have purchased it from they they would have had no problem with returning it, same thing with Best buy, so why is At&T being so greedy, I am very disappointed with AT&T and will never purchase another item from the, I will blog on every website and tell every one I come in contact with how ridicules and unfair they are
    I officially hate AT& T

  10. I am scared by Att. Now I give up the bad idea of switching to their service

  11. AT&T has HANDS DOWN the absolute WORST “customer service” I have EVER experienced anywhere or from anyone in my 42 years of life. We tried to change our phone service back to our original plan after trying U-verse (sucks) and have now been without any phone service at all for 4 days. If it were not for my T-mobile cell phone, we would be cut off from telecommunication completely. Myself and my mother, who I am helping with this issue, have spent a combined 4 hours (thats about an hour a day) being told by CSR’s that they dont know why we dont have service, and cant help us. They transfer us 6-8 times per call before we get too frustrated and give up. NOBODY that works there knows ANYTHING, nobody cares about the problem we are having, and nobody makes an actual effort to fix the problem. Comcast will be coming out Next Monday to hook us up with their service. I’ve heard bad things about Comcast customer service, too, but maybe at least we will have phone service. I typed this post while on indefinite hold with AT&T . Seems they just dont give a damn about their customers, and their CSR’s are the most inept, worthless idiots I’ve ever had the displeasure of talking to. STAY AWAY FROM AT&T ! ! !! !

  12. Yahoo does suck, today I cant get the comments section on any of the news stories. I tried to get help from yahoo and they wanted $38 to tell me why it isnt showing.

  13. I have been having problems with AT&T for the past month. I have been awaiting a credit due me and have been on the phone for over 8 hrs. over three days and still dont have my credit, which they admit and understand that I am due. Billing keeps telling me I have to call tec support and tec support keeps telling me I need to speak to billing. I have concluded that AT&T sucks! They are a bunch of idiot, who the hell really works over there? I think that quality of service does not exist at this company!

  14. fraud alert at&t will robbed you drop them fast.

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