Monday, January 21, 2008

AT&T Sucks!!!

I just spent this great holiday morning which honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the phone screaming at AT&T about my wireless service. Or, I should say lack of service over the past two days. I am still dumbfounded over this situation.
For whatever reason they suspected possible tampering with my account, the fraud department was alerted, and they suspended my account. This happened on Saturday. I only know this because their customer service department was closed and I was forced to metro out to the nearest store still open after 6pm. The store personnel could do nothing for me but give me a number to call on Monday. First of all, if a fraud issue was suspected, shouldn't the customer be notified before the phone gets suspended?! Second of all, what cell phone company's customer service department is NOT open 24 hours?! Apparently, AT&T's customer service line is only open until 8:30pm Monday-Friday, closes at 5:30pm on Saturday and is closed on Sunday! That is absurd.
So, as I am told this morning, suspending an account when fraud is suspected is their policy and supposedly they make every effort to contact the customer. The customer service agent claimed that someone called me but I hung up. Ah, so that was the garbled, computer-generated voice message I got on Saturday that sounded like a telemarketing call. That is NOT an effort at calling the customer! Ok, sorry for all the exclamation points but what City Girl can go without a phone all weekend? And I recently switched cell phone companies but now I'm starting to regret it. The resolution? A $120 credit and an apology. Whatever! If you were unable to reach City Girl DC this weekend, I encourage you to complain to AT&T by calling: 1-800-331-0500.

Enough with the bitching. I will be celebrating my civil rights by starting the night at Duffy's which offers 10 beers for $1 each every Monday from 4 to 11:30pm. Ok, these are not high quality craft brews being offered: Schlitz, Genesee, Milwaukee's Best, Busch, Natty Light, Natty Boh, Schaefer. There's just something about cheap beer in a can that makes me feel good. Reminds me of all my factory working uncles. Cheers and happy MLK Day!

2106 Vermont Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001
(202) 265-3413

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E :) said...

Sounds like they suck almost as much as T-Mobile... Almost.

Sorry you had that experience. What a pain in the ass.

CityGirl said...

Hey E, funny you say that because I had T-Mobile and yes they did suck too!

nutmeg96 said...

I hated AT&T and switched to Verizon. Now I regret it. Because Verizon doesn't work IN MY HOUSE (although it worked fine during the 30-day trial), I missed the birth of my niece. I freaked out on Verizon and then they offered me a new phone and a new 2-year contract. NO THANKS. I am counting the days until the end of my contract. It can't come soon enough.

CityGirl said...

Nutmeg96- that is so awful that you missed the birth of your niece! I was lucky to be at the hospital when my sister had both of her daughters. These cell phone companies ALL seem to suck!!!

Ph said...

CityGirl, I could bitch for hours about AT&T, however, I think that most people could bitch for hours about their phone company (I'm not sure that anyone likes them).

My major complaint is that my father is the name on all of the bills. Now, unfortunately he past away about 4 and a half years ago. Ever since then I've been trying to get the bills changed to my name, since I pay for it and they have no problem taking my money. But customer service won't do it (even with a death certificate). I've actually been on the phone with them, given them my ssn to which they responded that it was the wrong ssn for the account. I immediately gave them my father's name and his ssn as my own and they had no problem helping me with my call.

They're worried about switching the names to the wrong person yet they have no problem when I change my answer and am clearly the wrong person...yea, AT&T is special...

CityGirl said...

Ph, that sounds ridiculous! Even with all of that documentaion they wouldn't even change the name on the account? Yes, AT&T is truly special!

Rayo said...

Have you ever felt like your relationship with Cingular...excuse me, "The NEW ATT!" is like a love-hate relationship? I've been with them for years and every time that my term is over, I swear I'm going to move to Verizon or T-Mobile, but then they always have a way of bringing me back in...

I confess I'm in an unhealthy relationship with my wireless provider.

City Girl DC said...

rayo- I did have a love-hate relationship with t-mobile until I finally let go. now I'm dealing with AT&T. I'm hoping the relationship won't continue to be dysfunctional!

Rayo said...

I guess you can never win with these phone companies. ATT seems to be the lesser evil though.

Anonymous said...

yeah. I've been finding over charges on my bill - $1 here and a $1 there. It adds up. Then AT&T has to send my complaint to "research" and it takes a month to get reimbursed. I wonder how much $$ this company makes by dinging users a couple of dollars/month per account.

even THIS blogger with the trade mag that covers the telecom industry is FED UP. She lambasted AT&T.

Anonymous said...

Is "the NEW AT&T" the only cell company that charges for incoming text messages? My friends are text crazy. I had like 150 incoming messages last month - and I pay for all of them! What, now I have to tell my friends to stop texting me for frivolous things...because I get charged 0.15 for them to text: ok.

I was on the older AT&T network (I was forced to upgrade to the new network after being without a contract for over 3 years) and I was never charged for incoming text messages. (Although they did give me a great "minutes" package but still charged me for the forced upgrade!)

AT&T is making a killing on these things! That's disgusting!

Anonymous said...

My wife had AT&T for like 5 years.
She lost her Phone and they refused to help her get a new phone even if she agreed to extend her contract. And she had 8 months left on 2 year contract They told her that, she needs to pay a regular phone price. Which is way higher then unlocked phone you can buy from ebay. She was using avarage of like 150 minutes amonth. They already made a killing from her. So she canceled the conract and paid the $175 cancelation fee. She now has T-mobile prepaid plan. Already 3 months passed and $100 worth of minutes are not even half.
I am waiting to finish my conract too and never ever will be a customer for AT&T.

Jason said...

I had what was then Cingular (Now AT&T) From August 2006 to December 2006. EVERY CALL AND I MEAN EVERY CALL dropped within 30 sec to 2 min of the call connecting (if it even got that far) because I would get "Network Busy" or "Call Failed" messages most of the time. If the call did stay connected for more then a few seconds, the call quality was so bad that I could not understand a word the person was saying, and would have to hang up. And I had 4-5 bars in most places. I also had a serious problem with receiving text message and voicemail notifications. They would sometimes take hours, or even days, and when most text messages finally arrived they were blank. I did some research and switched to US CELLULAR (a regional wireless carrier in my area) which has been voted #1 for call quality and reliability (fewest dropped calls, no static etc) 5 times in a row by JDPower, and have had excellent service. The calls are so clear, that people tell me that it sounds as if I’m calling from a landline. I have only had two dropped calls, and those were the result of me failing to register my phone with the new cell towers. Ever since I’ve learned to do that, I have NEVER had a call drop or break-up. I have also NEVER found a no service area. My phone even works great in my basement. You all might want to visit to determine what carrier is best in your area. I Guarantee you the result won't be AT&T!

EarthWords said...

Timeline of AT&T service horrors:

Dec 2008: bought a Blackberry curve at an AT&T store. Although it worked well otherwise, it quickly began to have trouble syncing to Outlook. Immediately after syncing, I would get a message saying "Blackberry desktop manager has encountered a problem and needs to close. Sorry for the inconvenicne."

April 2008: Desktop Manager starting closing BEFORE syncing. I called AT&T.

Awful automated attendant (A.A.) with a non-stop and repetitive peppy sales pitch, which you can't get around, it seems. I tried. Long wait. Finally got through to someone, who tried to figure out how to help me and eventually transferred me back to the A.A. to wait for tech support. The person I eventually reached was able to get Blackberry to sync after quite a lot of effort.

May 2008: Same problem started again.

August 2008: Crashing before synching. Called AT&T, waited through the A.A. Reached one person, who tried way too long to figure out the problem before giving up and sending me to the A.A. Tech support worked with me for several HOURS over several calls, and still couldn't fix it. Eventually they told me I could get an exchange and transferred me (back to A.A. again) to warrantee service. They said I could either drive (20-30 minutes min each way, depending on traffic; no public transit option) to a "device support center" or exchange it by phone, but it seemed that I would have to go through a lot of tech stuff with the replacement that I didn't understand, so I went for the drive.

Nice people there, but I had to repeat everything (after a 25-minute wait). Then THEY had to call warrantee support to get authorization to exchange the phone, even though this had allegedly been authorized when I was on the phone to AT&T.

And get this, the device support guys there have to wait through the A.A. too! Talk about being tortured by your job.

So they gave me a replacement Blackberry, I went home, connected it to my computer, and –guess what—same story. Called my buddy at device support and he said I should be able to get a over-the-phone exchange for a different phone, but I didn't trust myself not to go ballistic calling them, so I drove back out to the center and we called together. Took 45 minutes this time, finally got someone who had to transfer us, and then that person had to transfer us, until we reached warrantee support, where we had wanted to be to begin with. After another 10 minutes of explanation, they agreed that I could exchange the phone at no additional cost and gave me three options. I chose a Samsung Blackjack II.

I got the phone next day. Seemed to work well, but—oh dear—didn't hold a charge at all. Would turn itself off within less than a day, after being fully charged, saying "battery critically low," but the battery icon was showing full up.

Sept 4, 2008: On my way somewhere else (sortof on my way) I stopped in at a bright orange AT&T store to get them to replace the battery. "Oh, we can't do that, we're not a corporate store." How would I know that? I wouldn't, looks no different from the "corporate" store about 2 miles further away.

Sept 5, 2008: Drove to the "corporate" AT&T store, explained the problem. Person took battery out and reinserted it to get it to turn on, said "The phone's bad, it's not your battery," (b/c the battery indicator showed full), and said, "Oh, we can't replace it, you have to go to the DEVICE SUPPORT CENTER for that." In other words, they just sell crap phones, we don't do anything weird like SUPPORT them. Or I could call my buddy the A.A. again.

So that's what I did. Went home, did some meditation to prepare, and dialed. Waited with A.A. for about 5 minutes, got to a very nice woman who, of course, couldn't help me and transferred me back to A.A. to wait for warrantee support.

Now get this: The warrantee support guy's headset wasn't working, so every time he started to say anything it would break up in severe static. I found myself yelling, why don't you call me back on a different line or something? And he said, 'No, I can't call out. You have to call back." I hung up and started this diary of disasters.

All I want now is to cancel the contract for a smartphone (StupidPhone might be a better name), but for all this clear incompetence, AT&T will still penalize me for leaving early. I might do it anyway, nothing is worth this much stress.

Anonymous said...

Corporate America has been screwing us and enjoying for years.

ATT epitomizes Corporate America.

Larry Streeter said...

For the 2nd time, my Samsung Blackjack II has died while travelling on business. We're talking dead, this thing won't even boot. The first time it happened I escalated all the way to the Office of the President. Resolution? They gave me the same phone again. Now here I am in another city completely disconnected from my family, my employees, email, calendar, etc. I've left multiple messages for the gentleman I worked with before only to have no return call.

I know what the answer will be when (and if) they ever call back. "Oh, you're phone has to fail 3 times before we would consider replacing it". Well you know what AT&T, the conference I'm speaking at on Tuesday is all about Driving a Positive Customer Experience and how in turn, that drives customer loyalty. Unless I hear from them before 2:15pm on Tuesday, Jan 26th, AT&T Wireless will be featured prominently in my speech as a classic example of how to do everything wrong! I'm sure that some of the 800 people I'll be speaking to will be influenced by the story I have to tell!