“Valued” or Why I cancelled my AT&T internet exemplified by trying to cancel

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!

2 thoughts on ““Valued” or Why I cancelled my AT&T internet exemplified by trying to cancel

  1. You’re not alone here. This happens every time I call AT&T with an issue. I told my woes to a friend, and he said the same happened to him as well. Not once have I had a call to AT&T and not been transfered. I was once transferred 8 times, then disconnected. In fact, every time I have to call AT&T there’s some sort of problem with the line. You’d think a phone company would have a decent line. It seems like nothing gets solved for me unless I literally scream at them and ask for a manager 20 times. Then they know I mean business?

    I called once to pay my bill with the automated service, but it wasn’t working. The rep I was directed to asked me in the beginning of the call if he could use my information to try and sell me things later. (He sugar coated it, but that’s what he was asking.) I said no, I went on to pay my bill. And guess what happened at the end of the call? Yep, a sales pitch. Not to mention after every sentence the rep had to say something like “I do appreciate that information, Miss Kleiman.” or “Thank you very much Miss Kleiman.” “I’m very happy to assist you today with that issue Miss Kleiman.” Enough already!

    I could go on more, but I won’t (: I feel your pain!

  2. Customers are never valued until they leave the company. We had Cablevision as a television provider for the past 20 years. When the country went digital we lost television in the rooms that didn’t have boxes. We contacted cablevision to get more boxes but they said that we needed to pay $10 per box. And only the person whose name was on the account could pick up the boxes and confirm that order charge (My mother) Now, we were paying $80 a month, and we were only receiving 40 basic stations (We weren’t getting IO, but apparently we were paying IO prices and had an IO box, but more on that in a minute), so, we switched fully over to verizon (who we already had for internet and telephone) We upgraded the system, and we got a HUGE reduction in our bill for having the triple play. The very next day after cancelling cablevision, we had solicitors and reps coming to our door essentially begging for us to come back, they wanted to offer us the full triple play plan, they wanted to pay for the verizon cancellation fee, I mean the works, but the gods honest truth is it was too little too late, and I told the reps that. They asked why did we chose verizon and to simply put it, I told them we were tired of the run around we were getting, paying top tier prices for 40 something stations, the rep said according to his records we should have had near 120+ stations, I told him we didn’t, he said that when they switched boxes, and increased their fees, something must have went wrong and that we should have called. I told him that when we did call, they only would talk to the person whose name was on the bill. Had it been my fathers name I could have lied, since it was my mothers, who is technically challenged and doesn’t know how to work dvd player, she wasnt going to make that phone call. Verizon was simple, easy to operate, I have never had a problem with their customer service outside of the initial set up of their services, and I am happy with them overall, they may cost a little more the cablevision, but I have yet to really get the run around with them like we had gotten with cablevision. Anyway, I found it laughable that cablevision only wanted to keep us as customers and fix our problems AFTER we dropped them. Thats the way it is everywhere. And dealing with faceless nameless reps from ANY company over the phone is awful, they are trained to simply yes you to death half the time until they deem you happy and satisfied or until someone with real authority can fix your problem.

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