Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Awful Terrible & Troublesome (AT&T)

After a prolonged absence, I'm back, baby.

AT&T kept yanking our chains about our internet connection and pulled off one unprofessional move after another. Blogging without it was impossible (I refuse to blog at work, and going online at the library or other wifi spot makes me feel as if I need to do more important things, which I did), but fear not, I still wrote despite the downtime. I'll post up what I have over the next few days.

In the meantime, however, I'm going to post a letter that I'm sending to the Better Business Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission, the Fixer at the Sun-Times, and perhaps some people at AT&T (Ahem, Mister Stephenson? Yes, I found your email address). Yes, this is venting session, but after a week of bad service, it's very much warranted.


Hello, I had fine service with other companies (Comcast, RCN) before we changed to AT&T two years ago for cost and service availability issues. We requested to modify our AT&T services, but instead we were been without promised internet services for seven days straight. Having no service is fine, but customer service had repeatedly issued false promises and shady practices.

This is my experience with Comcast and RCN compared to AT&T's customer service:
-Unlike AT&T, most connection problems were solved remotely
-Unlike AT&T, service would be restored within customer service's promised time (which usually took 5 minutes)
-Unlike AT&T, should a technician come by, he/she would always stay until service resumed
-Unlike AT&T, no problem lasted beyond a day (we are now on day 4, going into day 5)
-Unlike AT&T, customer service email addresses were readily available online
-Unlike AT&T, customer service extended beyond the regular business day, for at least six days a week.
-Unlike AT&T, both Comcast and RCN only had to send one technician to handle problems both inside and outside the house

Additionally, AT&T's screen announcing that there is a problem with our connection says that there are technical service agents available to speak on the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The technician, at around 3pm on August 6, said service would be restored by 8pm. Obviously that didn't happen, and when we called the number given to us, the recorded voice said the tech assistance offices were closed for the night. This was the very same number the screen told us to call, the screen that said agents would be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even the text designed to reassure customers is a blatant lie. One customer service rep assured my sister that the problem was with their central office, not our local service. Another customer service rep told my sister the opposite. Which is it?

Lastly, even looking for contact email for AT&T customer service reps is much more complicated than it needs to be. Posting it only seems to escape company grasp. AT&T is supposedly a communications company, but there are no agents available by phone (again, the supposed 24 hours, 7 days promise) and email addresses are hidden.

On Monday, August 10, the second technician came by (if you'll recall, after the first technician on Friday assured us that we would have service again). This second technician this time spent a half hour to talk to us and look over the problem. He deduced that representative over the phone had issued us a fake phone number that did not exist anywhere, which is why we were having a problem for so long. Nowhere was this noted in any system, no one was notified, and worse yet, even the technician seemed baffled as to this representative's actions. Sadly, we have little way in tracking down who this representative was and why he/she messed our account so badly.

AT&T is sorely inefficient and frankly, this kind of "customer service" is unacceptable. I will also ask for a refund or discount to compensate for the time without service, since clearly we are not using them. Additionally, being without service would be fine had AT&T's customer service dept. and technicians not falsely raising our hopes and repeatedly give us empty promises and deadlines. At the very least, honesty is needed. At the very worst, a complete overhaul in service protocol from top to bottom will be required.

Sincerely Irate,


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