My home phone and DSL service is through AT&T. Because I was an AT&T customer in my PCOR due to their merger with SBC, and because I was technically still under a DSL contract when I moved here, I had to continue to use AT&T or face an over $200 early termination fee. Fine, whatever, I’ll continue with AT&T here in Philly. I wasn’t too concerned, as my service with them in various previous cities had been pretty good. I hadn’t had a whole lot of problems, other than the usual complaints about things like international long distance costing too much (what else is new). But the switch over was not smooth. I should have seen this as a warning about what kind of service I was in store for from AT&T out here. The two regional service areas told me different things, my service got screwed up, and it took multiple phone calls over the course of several days just to get my service set up correctly, i.e. the way it was written on my contract and in all my account information. For some reason, there was a disconnect between what I was paying for versus what I was getting. And ironically it was the regional service provider back in my PCOR that was able to fix the problem, or at least communicate with the AT&T people out here to get it fixed.
Alas, that was not the last of my problems with them out here. I have had various problems with AT&T over the past year. Static on my line. Intermittent connections. DSL issues. You can read about them here and here. Why haven’t I switched, you ask? Well, that damn contract thing again. With DSL you sign up for a service contract, usually for a minimum of one year. Mine somehow morphed from a one year to a two year contract when I moved out here. So until August 2008 I am still under contract for DSL service. But my problems haven’t been limited to just my DSL. I’ve also had issues with the general phone line. I’ve made countless calls to report problems with my service. And for awhile I thought things had been resolved and the problems fixed.
I was wrong. So very very wrong. And I have two issues with them now, one an old problem, and one where they screwed things up with my service plan yet again.
It’s raining today. For months I had issues with massive amounts of static on my line every time it rained. Literally every single time it rained. And they tried to tell me it was a problem with the wiring in my walls. Yeah, sure, um, NOT. And every time I had to call twice: once to report the problem of the static on my general phone line, and then call back again to report the fact that the static caused my DSL signal to become intermittent (i.e. no internet connection). After a multitude of angry phone calls from me, they finally sent a technician out to the house to look at the connection between the house and the incoming lines sometime this past summer, almost a year after I first reported the problem. And the problem appeared to have been fixed by the technician. We had rain storms for days. One that even exposed that slow leak. But I had no problems with my phone service or my DSL.
Again, and I admit it, I was WRONG. It hasn’t actually been fixed, I was apparently just lucky for a few months. I had to call this morning and report static on my line yet again. The static was so bad I could barely hear the prompts from the automated system on the other end. I called before I left for work, around 7am. No, I have no idea when the problem started, as I was asleep until 5:30ish. But it’s raining, so presumably it started sometime after the rain started in the middle of the night. And of course my DSL signal is intermittent so I have no internet access AGAIN. They’re sending another technician to see what’s going on at the connection between the house and incoming lines. Sometime today or tomorrow before 7pm. Fabulous.
But this is not my only problem. I called on Nov. 14th to change my basic phone service (not my DSL, just the phone, which has no contract) to a simpler plan. I had done my research, I knew exactly what I wanted, but for some reason the system wouldn’t let me do it myself online. So I called. And spent a good half hour on the phone repeating myself and refusing other offers. Only to be told at the end that their computers were down for maintenance/upgrade and once they got it in the system it would take 7 to 10 days to process the switch. Great. So I proceeded to track my order online. My order was put into the system on Nov. 19th. It was processed on Nov. 21st. My order was for a basic phone line package with two features: CallerID and call forwarding. And I was keeping my voice mail (which they charge for…who charges for voice mail in this day and age?? but that’s another rant). I made it abundantly clear to the technician that I did NOT want call waiting. I loathe call waiting. Hate it with a passion. She asked me three times and all three times I said no. And when she read my order back to me, she read it to me correctly: NO call waiting, just CallerID and call forwarding, with basic phone service.
But guess what? AT&T screwed up my order. Yup. They f*cked up my service yet again. Somewhere between that phone conversation and the entering of the order into the computer, or between the order in the computer and completion of the order, CallerID got replaced by call waiting. So I haven’t had CallerID since before Thanksgiving. And what’s worse, they charged me to make the service plan changes. Yup. I paid them to screw up my phone service. I am so beyond pissed right now. This evening I have to make yet another phone call to have them fix it (i.e. get rid of call waiting and turn CallerID back on) and have them refund me the service charge for the change. Because I’m not paying for their mistake. And I will be a pain in their rear until they refund me my money and fix the problem. Or until they release me from my contract so I can go someplace else with my business. Because this is unbelievable. How is it possible for them to screw up the same problems over and over and never fix them?? What the f*ck am I paying them so much money for each month?? I just can’t stand it.
How one company can be so beyond incompetent as to do EVERYTHING wrong with a customer all at once I have no idea. And then try and blame it on the customer. How they survive and keep such a lion’s share of the market is beyond me.