When I moved to Chicago almost 4 years ago I setup AT&T DSL.
Toward the end of last year I upgraded the Mac Mini hooked up to my TV to the newer server model and decided I needed a static IP address. However AT&T’s pricing for such options were not great and I found I was able to get a better deal elsewhere. Even so, I decided to hold off.
I decided around the same time to disconnect my landline phone. AT&T offered a “dry loop” option so I moved to it to lower my rates. However, doing so raised my internet rates but not my total bill (since phone cost was removed). Soon after, I started getting hounded via email to combine my wireless service with my internet service or they would raise my rates again. I looked into this and learned that the discount I received from my employer on my wireless service would be removed so I opted not to. Still I received pseudo-threatening emails to do so.
Then the last straw came when I learned about the new DSL terms and conditions introducing data caps and other customer hostile tactics. I contacted a new provider, had them set up and called on Saturday to attempt to cancel my service. The setup took all day Friday and once I was up and running I saw it was past business hours so I would call AT&T in the morning to cancel.
However, it seems AT&T’s billing department was not open on Saturday. So I called customer support, they let me know they were unable to cancel my account on the weekend but gave me a direct line to call and do so on Monday. He ends the call with “Thank you for calling AT&T where you are a valued customer.”
If their customers are so valued, why is the billings department only open weekdays from 8-5? Most people have Monday to Friday jobs during those hours, making it very hard to call to straighten out a billing issue if necessary. Doesn’t seem like AT&T values my time. Luckily I had today (Thursday) off and I gave them a ring. Here is what followed.
The first rep answers the phone doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is confused when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and then tells me she needs to transfer me to billing.
The second rep picks up doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is confused when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and then tells me she needs to transfer me because she’s in Texas.
The third rep picks up actually gives me her name, asks for my phone number understands when I tell her I have a dry loop. Asks for my account number, which I give her and asks what I need. I tell her I’d like to cancel, she tells me she needs to transfer me. I tell her this will be my third transfer and I keep being told that I’m being directed to the right person. She apologizes thoroughly and promises this will be my last transfer, gives me a new direct line to call incase I get disconnected.
The fourth rep picks up doesn’t give me her name, asks for my phone number and is annoyed when I tell her I have a dry loop, I give her my account number. Asks for the rate I paid on my last bill and is annoyed when I don’t know. She asks again. I tell her I get paperless billing and I am unsure of the exact amount.
She then, angrily tells me she cannot allow me to pay over the phone if I don’t have more information about my account and that i’ll have to call back with the right information. I thank her for my help and tell her I wasn’t calling to pay a bill, that I’m calling to cancel my account. She is stunned and gets quiet for a moment before asking why I am canceling. I tell her I got a better rate somewhere else and the service has already been installed. She then tells me she needs to transfer me. I then tell her that the last rep promised this was my final transfer and that she was the fourth person I’ve talked to and I was assured she could handle my problem. She then half sincerely apologizes and stays on the line until I am to my next rep.
The fifth rep picks up, her name is Vanessa, she asks me what she can do to make me a satisfied customer today. I tell her that I’m sorry and there is nothing she can do as I have decided to switch and I am calling to cancel my service. She asks why, I tell her I got a better rate through another provider with a heavy discount. She says she understands, “especially in this economy” and asks if they’ve already set it up. I tell her they have. She then goes ahead and cancels my account and asks if there is anything else I need today. I ask her what I am to do with my worthless DSL modem. She tells me I own it.
Each person simply passed the buck, rarely could they be bothered to try and get things right. Sure I was trying to cancel and they had no chance of keeping me but the way this was handled exemplifies the kind of “service” AT&T offers. Rarely was I treated like a human, I was passed around like a piece of garbage that no one knew where to dispose of. I don’t feel like I was very valued at all, but hey, now I’ve got a worthless DSL modem to throw out, thanks AT&T!