AT&T – so wrong is every way

On November 23, 2010 I pulled up to my house after a day at the shop.  There was an AT&T truck parked directly in front of my house.
I walked into my house and turned on my television.  It did not work. 
I looked at my modem, my residential gateway.  The broadband light was flashing red.  No sync.  I rebooted.  No success.  I found the tech next door who was doing a new install of Uverse service.  He said my problem had nothing to do with what he was doing. 
I tried to engage in technical discussion with him as I have over two decades of communications experience.  He did not understand the basics.  He would not call anybody for me.  He would not help.  He did say that he would “take a look” IF he had time after his install but he jumped in his truck after his install and drove off without saying a word to me.
My Uverse and Internet is up at the moment but I am not hopeful that it will remain up.  I had talked to the billing department part way through these events about a credit for the month.  They said they could not issue a credit until the issue was resolved.  Reading between that line I would bet what they are saying is they will give me pro-rated credit for the days of lost service.  I already explained to AT&T billing that they sold me and charge me for monthly service not day to day service.

I expect credit for one entire month.  That is what I paid for.  I asked more than one of the folks in AT&T billing if they would accept a pro-rated deal on a new four door car if it only had three doors?  If a burger was served without half of the bun?  I paid for monthly service.

I did not receive what I was sold.  I am not even taking into account my lost time waiting around for multiple service calls, schedules and appointments I had to cancel or alter due to their inability to resolve the issues the first time or the aggravation of dealing with their customer service.  I will accept nothing less than a full month of credit as this is what I deserve.

Since November 23 I have been documenting the events of my problems with AT&T on twitter and facebook.  I had promised a blog entry to some of my friends and this is it.
Most folks reading this are not as old as I am.  They do not recall when the Bell Telephone Company was a company that was looked on with pride as one of the largest and finest companies in the world.
As America grew the Bell Telephone Company went through many changes.  There were splits of the big Bell company.  Pacific Bell, Atlantic Bell, Southern Bell and others. 
As America stumbled with blindness into a world economy where jobs were be outsourced and worker expected more money and more benefits with long term retirement as many did less work and took less pride in their job the level of products and service became the norm at the phone company
At this point the Bell Telephone Company is now known at AT&T. 
Many people may not realize that AT&T stands for American Telephone and Telegraph.  If you want to know what a telegraph is look on wikipedia.
American?  When I called AT&T Customer Service at 1-800-288-2020 I spoke to people in Canada.  I may have spoken to people in other countries as well but when I talked to somebody without an accent I asked him where he was located.  As a side note, his name was John and he played guitar.  He was the only one I spoke to that had any degree of skill in troubleshooting.  All the other folks, over a dozen of them, did nothing more than follow a check list and schedule a service call.  None of them escalated the problem or showed any initiative or empowerment to do anything outside of their script.
Actually, other than the thought of an American company being part of the outsourcing problem in this country and going off tangent I will say that in the end, this American company was the poster child of an example of what is one of the things wrong with America.
I made dozens of calls to the customer service number over almost a week.  None were of ANY value.
Four AT&T customer service representatives are now following me on twitter.  Three did nothing at all.  One send me a direct message and we then talked on the phone.  She said she would escalate the problem.  There was a slight problem with her offer.
My second upcoming service call was a four hour window from 12-4pm and it was now 10am in the morning.  My four hour window was two hours away.  I was trying to get a firm time from dispatch as I had other things to do (working on things to help the homeless of Los Angeles).  I was told by Customer Care (as AT&T calls these folks) that she would have an answer for me in 24 hours.
Zero help. 
I told her that AT&T customer care, customer service, tech support at the 2020 number were all people who did nothing for their salary, took no pride in their work and were nothing of a buffer between an upset and dissatisfied customer and a possible solution to a problem.
I had two premise technicians come to my house.  Both were nice and found outside line problems. 
Two different appointments over a few days were made.  The first “fix” worked from 9pm one night until 8:20am the next morning.  I was on the Internet at 8:00am on that morning and at 8:20 the system went back down with a flashing red broadband light.  This happened yesterday again. 
A second service call for premise created a second service call for line work.  At the moment things are working but this blog entry might be updated if things fail again.  Just because things are working now I am not confident.  It is now the weekend and the traffic patterns are different than during the business week.  There is noise on my line and crosstalk.  Two different problems.
Bottom line; AT&T Customer Care continue to provide the worst level of service and satisfaction that can be found in any industry.  AT&T phone service and tech support at the 2020 service number are just as bad if not worse because they are supposed to have some degree of technical training or knowledge.  With the exception of one person in Canada this was not the case.
I can be found on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us where I documented these events in real time.  I also doucmented them on facebook where I am at www.facebook.com/mylesr  I will post a few of the highlights below.  The main points have been covered above.

I will continue this post below with additional information.  At the bottom of this post I will continue to add updates until there is final resolution which means a full month credit issued to me.  I will also track the effort required to receive this credit.  At this point effort has been futile.

Addional material and updates below.

The first premise tech arrives.  This photo and more were sent in real time to twitter and facebook

Even before the premise tech asked to enter the house, which he never needed to do, he found the problem was outside on their lines.  He called their own support to work issues with them.  As a side note, he was on hold for at least 15 minutes before his call was answered.
AT&T not only has a LOT of people that that do nothing for their salary but does not have enough of them?
The tech in the above shots was Brian.  He was well trained and a good fiend tech.  I would have been happy to hire him in my past when I was in the communications business. 
As a side note, EVERY customer service person I talked to on the phone during the course of my problem would have been fired after I heard any of the call recordings of the conversation between myself and customer service.

Shots above are from the first on premise service call.
The two shots above are from the second service call.  Once again, the problem was isolated to a line problem and not in the house.  The first line tech that had “fixed” the problem did NOT fix anything.  Thankfully one does not have to sit and wait at their house for a line tech as long as there is access to the box where the wires enter the premises.
The first line tech did not leave any form of contact information at the house which he was supposed to do.  He did call me on my cell as I was driving.  I tried to call him back but his phone number did not work.
A few of my twitter posts that also went to facebook.  Most recent are at the top.
Four AT&T Customer Care folks are following me on twitter. One of them started to follow me when I starting posting things with @ATT in the tweet. I mentioned that my experience would be posted on my blog. After they saw that over a million folks read my blog three more AT&T Customer Folks began to follow me on twitter.

@ATTCustomerCare @mzmartipants – to be more accurate, ATT customer care has NO impact over anything. They are a buffer and little more.  This was a comment from me to a user that had made a comment about the lack of impact that customer care has on a problem.

@ATTCustomerCare – Line folks have to come out AGAIN as the tech from the other day accomplished nothing. 4 days down, 4 techs so far.

New @ATT motto. Not working? Downgrade! Idiots. Criminals.

They are downgrading my port profile. Reducing level of service @ATT

Last @ATT line tech did nothing.

One more service call from @ATT later today needed

Broken again. @ATT uverse – internet http://twitpic.com/3afjs0

This will be the 2nd line call and 2nd house call @ATT.

One more service call from @ATT is needed.

Problem is on line again. Sat here for NOTHING. @ATT

Problem is on line again! http://twitpic.com/3afhcg
 
Here we go again. http://twitpic.com/3aff5o
 
Call from @ATT tech. 20 min he said to arrive.

Last time it took 2 techs. Fix lasted a few hours @ATT

Automated message system @ATT is sending out messages in error. This added to my concern with my current @ATT problems.   Side note – My second service call was less than an hour away when I received an automated message to my cell phone asking me if my service was restored and would I please call to reschedule my service call.  I was upset to say the least.  The same thing had happened in the past on an initial install.  I called and they said they were sorry, the recordings are going out to everybody but ignore them as it is a problem they are having.  Seems as if their systems are equal to their people.

Rcvd phone msg fm @ATT 10 min ago. Automated message that I need to rechedule my appt. Called ATT. Message was sent in error.

I just spoke to @ATTJenn and she said she would excalate but would have no reply for 24 hours

@ATTJenn – you mention you have my contact number. I still have not had a call from you, or anybody else come to think of it.

Internet and #uverse still down thanks to @att

@ATTJason – you are a manager with customer care? You should be ashamed.

@ATT – that is the least reliable network with the worst customer service in ANY industry or business.

@Jim4 @Indy_Anne – My uverse has been down since 11/23 🙂 – This was in reply to another unhappy AT&T customer.  Many of us started to exchange information on twitter.

They are not ALL worthless @ATT – employee JH767E at 1-800-288-2020 didn’t fix it but was helpful and technically astute which is a first
 
@chrisdancy @attcustomercare – Chris – if you send me the youtube links I will post on my blog IF my
@ATT service is ever restored – Some of the twitter dialogue where folks contacted me with their tales of their own problems.  This fellow has a series of events on youtube.
 
@roserot @joe_hollywood Even at the height of the BP oil disaster the #1 spot for bad service was firmly held by ATT @ATTCarolyn – my reply to some folks talking about AT&T customer service in general.

@HighTechDad @attcustomercare – a trouble ticket means nothing. I have had three of them since 11/23 and two techs. I am documenting – reply to somebody who thought having a trouble ticket meant something

@dougjoe @ATTCustomerCare – 20 hours of problems with ATT. You are at the back of the line! I am doucmenting my own adventure on twitter – Dialogue on twitter with somebody who thought that their problem had been going on a long time.

Lots of messages from @ATTCarolyn saying she will help folks. I have not seen anybody thank her yet 4 help and has not helped me yet either – One of my replies to a mobile alert. I had mobile alerts being sent to my phone to keep an eye on some AT&T Customer Care people who were pretending to help or be concerned.  It turns out that they did nothing and were little more than a buffer or stalling tactic.

My @ATT uverse and internet are still down. Phone call their 2020 help line folks promised NEVER came.  One of many expected calls from people who said they would call me back.

Recorded shows on Uverse do not play back if network connectivity is lost on @ATT Just hangs in black. Keep your VHS? No thanks to @ATT !

Employee jm398m @ATT was of no help.

Employee ms531y @ATT was of no help at all this am

Employee rc176t @ATT was just now of no help at all

Prior to the above three people – Four @ATT people at 800-288-2020 no help today.

When @ATT fixes something it does not stay fixed.

Wednesday fix by @ATT lasted less than a few hours. Down again.

Dozens of people involved. Only 1 helped but not a solid fix @ATT

Hey @ATT change my port profile back to last nights config!

Internet and tv down again until sunday. Thanks @ATT

My @ATT worked last night and this AM but just died now.

I will be writing up my @ATT experience of the last two days in the next few days in a blog post.

@ATTCarolyn – I will let you know how things go once I get back home and see if problem is resolved as 1st tech assured.

The answer was … No. Still waiting for things to be fixed by second tech. I was “assured” it would happen today.  This was in response to Carolyn.
 
@ATT – one more reason the USA cannot compete in a global economy? One of the largest companies who offer no value or service for the $$$

In a half dozen phone calls to @ATT 1-800-288-2020 customer service number today nobody was of ANY help. All referred me elsewhere.

Even at the height of the BP oil disaster @ATT still took a back seat to @BP in regard to public opinion.

@ATT – 1st tech assured me that by the time I get home this evening my Uverse and Internet will be back up. I am doubtful

@ATT – first tech gone. He called 2nd tech. He assured me that I did not have to be home as problem is outside.

@ATT still down. Second tech called to come out by first

@ATT does not consider install next door yesterday caused my problem. Fools.

@Att does not to listen to tech advice from my two decades of comm exp.

ATT one reason America cannot compete in a global market.

@ATT talked to 5 people so far today. Zero help.

@ATT – worst in any industry.

I think I made some point with some of the twitter posts above.  There is a lot more dialogue on facebook where many people were adding their own commentary to my posts which went from twitter to facebook in real time.

In conclusion; is AT&T a company that embodies all of the worst that American labor, enterprise and industry has become?   Do their people do an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay?  Do they take pride in their craft?  Do they show any signs of creativity or initiative or are they just “calling it in” each day?
Again, ask yourself; is AT&T a company that embodies all of the worst that American labor, enterprise and industry has become?  Each of you may ponder that if you wish. 

Continuing updates:

11/28/10

@ATTCustomerCare – 5,974 reads since yesterday on my ATT blog entry and I continue to document so please reply on my credit issue.

@myles111us @ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – I want confirmation that I will see a full credit on my next bill.
4 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – as I said, what I need now is a full credit. I already paid my Nov bill in full the other day.
4 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – Uverse is no longer needed – unless service fails yet again – it is working at the moment
6 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – I have personally observed that you DO NOT know what is going on MANY times during this issue.
6 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html is my blog post url
8 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – but I do expect a full credit. My logic is in my blog post.
8 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – please don’t let them take it down again as it is working at the moment.
9 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – service is up at the moment but that has been the case multiple times in the last few days.
9 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – at this point I just want my service to stay up and a full month credit on my bill.
10 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare @ATTJason @ATT – not surprised to see you have no idea what is going on.
11 minutes ago

@ATTCustomerCare – Molly, who is customer care west if you are customer care east?
12 minutes ago

@ATTJason – You are manager in the Pacific? That is probably my area and I heard zero from you.
19 minutes ago

@ATTJason – I see your last contact with a customer was four days ago. You think you are on top of problems? @ATT @ATTCustomerCare
20 minutes ago

11/29/10

Any word on my credit? @ATTCustomerCare @ATTJenn @ATT – http://la-economy.blogspot.com/2010/11/at-so-wrong-is-every-way.html

Direct twitter message back from them:  ATTCustomerCare ATTJenn will be in shortly. She is working on your issue and will follow up accordingly. Thanks for your patience!

Just got the above via twitter. This is in regard to a credit for my AT&T Uverse and Internet being down for five days where it took dozens of conversations to the help line (which resoloved nothing) twitter messages (which resolved nothing) two premise service calls and two line service calls over the period of four days where I had to reschedule appointments where I was helping the homeless of Los Angeles.

Direct message sent back from me in response:  I will be waiting. I expect credit as I described in my ATT blog entry.

ATTJenn I’m following up with our U-Verse team regarding your request for a full credit. Are you still able to be reached at 818.xxx.xxxx ?
myles111us 1-818-xxx-xxxx is my only contact number but at my shop during the day the AT&T cell reception is very poor. After 6pm the number OK

ATTJenn Thanks, Myles. I passed along that information, and our U-verse team will contact you as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience. -Jenn

11/30/10

No word from anybody at ATT about my credit @ @ @ 

ATTJenn Your request was given to our U-Verse team. They will contact you as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

myles111us I will count the days until I hear something. I do not expect prompt service even though this has been explained to many regarding credit

12/1/10

No word back from AT&T as of 11am this morning.  Left word with all of the folks again via twitter. 

I received a reply – same thing – no help:

ATTCustomerCare @myles111us @ATT @ATTCustomerCare @ATTJenn continues to work on your concerns. We appreciate your continued patience

My reply:  @ATTCustomerCare – Continue to work on my concerns? A simple credit? This is not rocket science!

2:10pm PST – I just tried to call back the executive offices of AT&T at 1-888-958-3030.  Maria or Malita or somebody with a name like that left me a message asking me to call her back.  I called back.  She is not available.  I was routed to voicemail.  What a surprise?  I then followed the vocie message prompts to get to an operator.  There was no operator available either and was routed to their voice mail for the operator. 

Before you ask … yes, the call was made during their recorded “normal business hours”.

I had taked to AT&T Customer care and told them that my cell reception at the shop was useless.  Also an ATT product as a side note.  I requested that what I was requesting was a month credit and all I was asking for was an phone text or message telling me this was going to be done and when I could expect the credit. 

So far, ATT has not done one single thing that I have requested even though I have had numerous pieces of information from them telling me they were on top of things and asked me to “please be patient”.

ATTJenn Our U-Verse team needs to speak to you by phone. They’ll contact you tonight after 6pm.

The above was sent to me by ATTJenn.  I had received a call from ATT Executive offices earlier asking me to contact them.  They left me a number (noted below).  I called the number and started the ride in their automated call system.  I entered the extension number I was given was directed to the voice mail of who had contacted me initially.  I left a message.  No reply.  I tried to call the operator at the ATT executive office number I was given.  It also went directly to voice mail.

I sent some messages back to ATTJenn

ATTJenn I just tried to call them again three minutes ago. Nothing but voicemail. I will be on the subway at 6pm so I would like to talk now

ATTJenn Please send me a number that will really connect to somebody other than 1-888-958-3030 x5995

ATTJenn I am available now. I have been waiting on ATT folks continually at this point.

ATTJenn Perhaps you can just message me here with an answer to this question: Am I going to receive a credit and if so, when?

ATTJenn ATT has all the info it should need in your records and in my blog post which documents things event by event 

ATTJenn I am leaving the shop shortly. You may text me at the 9904 number with a viable contact number at AT&T exec offices. 

Can somebody just text or tweet me as I asked to confirm a credit for a month will be issued on my next bill? @ATTJenn @ATTCustomerCare

At this point I am still waiting to hear something.  I do not understand why they cannot just tell me, in a text or voice mail or in twitter, IF I will receive a credit for all of the nonsense they put me through, the delays, the two premise techs, the two line techs and the total lack of help in dozens of calls to their 1-800-288-2020 help number.  Why do they need to talk to me?  It is all documented here.  My logic for a month of credit is documented here.  What is there to discuss?  I do not need to hear reasons on why these problems happened.  I do not need to hear that the policy is … or … if you read your contract.  I pay for monthly service.  Not only did I NOT receive the service I paid for but I lost many hours interacting with people who did nothing for me, lost hours waiting for technical folks who could not fix the problems without calling other technical folks.  I even lost time waiting while the premise technicians were on hold with ATT waiting for support from them.  Pro-rated refund?  Would they accept a pro-rated price on a freezer than only cooled down to 50 degrees?  A four door car with only three doors which opened?
I entered into a relationship with AT&T in good faith.  This turned out to be a one way street.
This is not the way to run a business and is one more example of why America cannot compete in many markets anymore.

Six o’clock has come and gone. @ATT was supposed to call me at 6:00. They did not call as I was told they would.

12/2/10

I never received my call last night as @ATT promised. @ATTJenn @ATTCustomerCare Issue is still unresolved.

I received a call from ATT at about 10am while I was shopping.  They are going to issue a credit.  They said they would send me notification.  I will post notification when I receive it here in the blog post and will let folks know when the credit is applied.

Myles Rose is the founder of Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting which provides support services and training for touring bands and individuals as well as blueprinting services.   You may contact me from the link.  My direct contact information is provided as well as links to two of the Internet forums where I answer technical questions.  You may also ask questions in any post in this blog by using the comment application on each post.
When I am not doing something related to music I do what I can to support the homeless of Los Angeles either directly on the streets at night or through my good friends at Union Rescue Mission.
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About laeconomy

The two main activities in my life: Helping the hungry in the late hours of the night and helping guitar players sound better one amp at a time. I always try to remember that in order to do good one has to take action and actually do something. I was born and raised in Los Angeles. I have watched the city and Southern California change for well over half a century. I can be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/mylesr or on twitter at www.twitter.com/myles111us or on my own Guitar Amplifier Blueprinting website at www.mylesrose.com
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5 Responses to AT&T – so wrong is every way

  1. Voicemail says:

    >AT&T lately is getting bad testimonials from various subscribers.

  2. >I wonder if, like some of the big financial companies, the gov't will think that "AT&T is too big to allow to fail"? People vote with their dollars and it seems to me that you might just want to switch services altogether and start fresh with a company that has better customer service.-Richard

  3. Michelle says:

    I cancelled early with AT&T, fully expecting to pay the ETF. To my surprise, I was told I would have to pay the entire last month of service, although I was only a few days into the billing cycle. I don’t see how these companies (specifically speaking of AT&T, but am aware there are many, many, more just like them) can get away with what they do. We don’t have the right to use a full month of service and only pay partial, so why do they have the right to collect a full month of service and only provide partial. I am not paying them the last “full” month of service as a matter of principal. I’m sick of big corporate America stomping on the little guy..I refuse to say “uncle” and if they turn it over to a collection agency, I’ll gladly have my day in court because I don’t recall ever agreeing to those terms. They can say what they want, but if they change their policy to include such a material change, it needs to be BIG BOLD and PUT DIRECTLY IN MY FACE and not slid under a rock like a worm.

  4. Michelle says:

    additional information…..I was with “Cingular/At&t for 10+ years altogether, so you’d think they would have valued my loyalty somewhat and maybe left the “door open” in case I ever wanted to return….but they basically shoved me out the door, slammed it in my face, locked it and threw away the key (actually I threw away the key). Not very smart business practice. Don’t they know that people switch wireless companies like they change underwear and that possibly some day they might want to try them again? Guess not!

  5. Vinay says:

    My home in Florida had a similar outage and similar customer service experience. Interestingly enough the service was out Nov 23rd to Dec 2nd, just like everyone in LA. No TV, No Internet, nothing. Most importantly, no one cares. Sounds like the outage was much bigger than the line problem that my local techs lead us to believe, and AT&T was not very forthcoming with information. When we spoke with the tech, he said everyone in the neighborhood was affected including COMCAST, but that was a pure fabrication. Here’s my biggest beef…There is no outage hotline, customer service telephone number has no way to report, other than waiting for everyone else. AT&T needs to understand that when the service is down, we should not be expected to 30 minutes on-hold to report an outage. Completely unacceptable from my perspective especially since we have elderly parents that live in the house. I for one am going back to COMCAST, in my opinion they are worth the extra money I paid.

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