28 November 2009

10 Reasons Why AT&T Sucks

. . . I am posting a slimmed-down version of my notes from my runaround with the evil corporation known as AT&T. I have numbered the AT&T reps I have spoken with since this fiasco started and there are 10.

Earlier this week, AT&T slammed my internet connection. That's right, they slammed it. They took it over by force and without permission. If this is not illegal it should be.

(Background: AT&T bought out Ameritech same years ago. Actually they bought out SCB which bought out Ameritech. Ameritech and SBC were both Baby Bells: companies created by the gubmint-mandated breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly. Ameritech supplied my phone service, then SCB, then AT&T.)

(Further: The minute AT&T got hold of my phone line, my phone bill nearly doubled. Also, calls to AT&T for any purpose: service, billing, adding features, etc, no matter what number or department you call, all go to the same phone maze. There is no chance of getting help on anything without being at least 20 minutes on the phone and going through multiple departments. But this is probably true for most giant corporations.)

The Saga Begins

November 23, 2009

10:50am, I called my internet service provider to find out why my connection was down. The tech support guy explained that a lot of their DSL (high-speed internet) customers lost their connection. What happened was that ATT simply took over all the DSL connections without warning. He also mentioned that ATT had recently tripled the price they were charging to companies who used ATT hardware to supply customers with DSL connections to the internet. He was certain that I would no longer be able to get DSL from their company in the near future.

11:03am, I called ATT's standard customer service number
800-244-4444 to ask what kind of DSL they offer -- I was not planning on using them but just interested to know what kind of pricing they offered -- got to a live person at 11:06am, Becky (#1), who asked what my "business" phone number was, said she's in the business office, tried to sell me a business DSL line. I asked whether residential or business was cheaper, had to ask twice, she was not able to answer, finally she said I currently pay $46/mo for residential phone, business would be $35/mo.

Becky then quoted DSL at $30/mo with a guaranteed speed of 3meg and said it's a "forever" rate, and that I would also get a free business listing in their phone book and other free services.

She further explained that ATT will charge me $62 for a new modem (router), but then fully rebate the cost by sending me a check, and charge me $12 for shipping, said there's no rebate on that, and that it will take 2 business days to set everything up. I promised to make sure Becky got the commission if I decided to take their DSL. Call ended 11:17am.

November 25, 2009

1:19pm, I received a robot call from ATT announcing that my new DSL is now in place, it is up and running, and I should call 877-722-3755 if I need tech support.

1:20pm, I still have no internet connection. I waited to see if it would come up but it did not.

1:32pm, I phoned the number the robot gave me, 877-722-3755, and ended up in the same phone maze as always. My requests for "internet tech support" were ignored and the maze dumped me into the billing dept.

1:34pm, phone maze put me on hold.

1:39pm, Valerie (#2) from customer accounts looked me up, said my number was residential, I told her I had a DSL problem, she transferred me.

1:43pm, Jessica (#3) answered, India accent, she kept saying "sorry for the inconvenience," asked for my name, phone, billing address, told me that her records show that an order for my phone number for DSL was placed for me on November 18, with an activation date of November 23, and that for future reference I should call the orders dept 877-722-3755 extension 288. She then transferred me to the orders dept to find out who placed the order.

1:48pm, got to Dana (#4) in the orders dept, she confirmed my name and said that one P****** is the name on the order. She also was able to find that K**** was the name of the ATT agent that P****** spoke to. I have never heard of either of these people.

I said that I had promised the commission to Becky. She said there is no way Becky could get this commission since K****'s name was already on the order. Not only is ATT screwing their customers, they're screwing their own employees.

Dana could not find a November 18 date on my order but said that her info shows that my connection should be up and running. It is not.

Looking further, Dana found a note on my order sating that "the DS3" went down. She admitted she did not know what that was but kept insisting ATT does not hijack people.

Dana then said she had to have a service leader (floor manager) look over my order because she doesn't understand the note. She said it could even be a typo. My DSL got hijacked due to a typo? That's a good one.

1:57pm, Dana came back, said floor support doesn't know what's going on, she is going to ask the provisioning dept. Says it could be an order that got attached to my account incorrectly.

2:00pm, Dana says she can't undo it, all she can do is to disconnect my DSL. I asked if she could determine where this order came from. She said she had to ask her supervisor for help, back on hold.

2:04pm, Dana said they have no way of knowing if the order came from my current ISP or not, but insisted it would be illegal for ATT to just switch me over without my knowledge. Back on hold.

2:07pm, Dana says two companies in Michigan are going out of business, and maybe my current ISP is one of them? She wouldn't give me their names, of course, so how would I be expected to know? She then decided to send me over to tech support anyway since ATT is now my carrier. For future reference she gave me the number for tech support 800-650-2865. She was quite pleasant and apologized many times.

2:16pm, Dana transferred me to tech support.

2:18pm, Peter (#5) came to phone, asked what kind of modem and operating system I have, asked me how many lights on my modem were lit, then he told me to load a webpage. I explained to him that my connection was down and I can't load any webpages. He asked me to load it anyway. Nothing happened of course. He asked about modem lights again, asked about the DSL light, I told him my modem has no such light. He asked if my modem has 4 or 5 lights. It has 6 lights. I told him the WAN light was not lit, back on hold.

2:24pm, Peter said I have a modem-router, not a modem. He has to send me to "Support Plus" to assist me with my "registration." He still doesn't grasp that my connection is down.

2:27, Brian (#6) answered the phone. He asked me if a line test has been done. For future reference he gave me 800-288-2020 for DSL tech support. Said he would transfer me to someone who can do a line test.

2:29pm, I got dumped into the middle of a phone maze in which the voice read back a phone number to me which was not my number and then asked if it were my number. I said "No." Then I said "DSL tech support" into the phone but that did not work. The voice said, "We're sorry, your call was unable to be completed, please hang up and dial the toll free number again" and hung up on me.

2:32pm, I called back, using the new number I had just been given, 800-288-2020, but got the same phone maze as before. Again the maze refused to send me to tech support and dumped me into the billing dept. Brandy (#7), answered. I told her I had been cut off from tech support, she transferred me to 877-722-3755.

2:35pm, Nick (#8), India accent, came to the phone, he "apologized for the inconvenience," confirmed my modem model number, asked where I got the modem, I told him got it from Ameritech as a matter of fact, and that Ameritech was bought out by ATT. He said the model number is no longer supported. I explained the entire mess and asked if we could attack the problem of my DSL connection being down, then asked for a line test, he said he can't do it, not trained on it, has to transfer me to "Support Plus."

2:42pm, back on hold, same phone maze again. Phone maze tells me the dept I'm going to is a fee-based service, then gave me only two options: use the fee-based phone support or have a tech come to my house.

2:44pm, Prince (#9, not sure that is the right name) answered, asked for my modem model number, which I gave her. She then said she is the 3rd level of support, separate from ATT, and fee based. I tell her the whole story and ask for a line test. She would not run a line test unless I paid a fee. I explained that it's not funny they hijack my line then try to get a fee out of me to fix it, and asked her to transfer me back. Back on hold.

2:50pm, Michelle (#10) answered, I did not tell her the whole story, just asked for a line test. This is now the 10th person I have talked to and the 4th person I've talked to since I was told I needed a line test. She said she could to a line test, asked my phone, name, router model number, how many lights are lit, etc. She explained that some older models don't have a component that allows ATT to reprogram them remotely. She did a line test, no problem found, then ran a sync test, nothing wrong. She then had me access my modem and change the registration info using a temporary name.

3:07pm, by golly, the connection is up and running again.

3:19pm, Michelle had me download and install some new software, set me up with a new email address, call ended 3:26pm. On the phone over two hours.

4:00pm, my email doesn't work.

At this point I was too angry and disgusted to make any fresh attempt to get it fixed.

I will post more on this BS as it happens.


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