Wednesday, November 30, 2016

AT&T: The Definition of Customer “Service”

If you’ve ever dealt with AT&T, you may have had an experience similar to mine. The definition of “service” here is the one that means “mating”, as in “the stallion serviced the mare”. Just letting you know before you read this.

Let me give you some background: Last September I received a disconnect notice from Uverse. When I called, they said my debit card had expired, so my (automatic) payment request had been returned from my bank. OK. Fair enough. How much was my bill? $139. WOW! My monthly charge is $60. Why so high? Well, I was told, there is the $60 account fee, plus $50 equipment charge, plus a late fee, plus a reconnect fee, plus a $5 convenience  fee for now paying my bill by phone. So I gave them the new expiration date, and paid the outrageous bill.

Thinking this would be the end of that, I settled into complacency, knowing there would be no more problem until 2021, when my debit card expires again.

Today I get a message from AT&T that my internet service has been disconnected again, and I owe $132. WTF? So I call, go through the infinitely long recorded menu, which informs me I just made a $132 payment on November 20, and finally reach a customer “service” representative. 

She explains that, once again, my payment has been “reversed” by my bank, so I owe the $132 again. She also explains that the bill is high because of yada yada (same as in September). She also informs me that the bill for November will not be “posted” until tomorrow (Dec. 1).

“Why did my payment get reversed?”

“We don’t know. I suggest you call your bank.”

So I make the payment, and immediately call the bank. They tell me they have received no request for payment from AT&T in months. So, of course, I call AT&T back.

Recording:  Is this regarding the payment you made today? Do you wish details?


Recording: How can I help you? I can understand complete sentences.

ME: I want to speak to a supervisor.

Recording: I’m sorry.  I don’t understand.


Recording: Is this regarding the payment you made today? Do you wish details?


Recording: I’ll  connect you with someone who can help you with that.

Jay: Hello. My name is Jay. How can I help you?

ME: You can connect me with a supervisor.

Jay:  Can you tell me what this is in regards to?

ME: Yes. My Uverse account.

Jay: Maybe it’s something I can help you with.

ME: I seriously doubt that. Just connect me with a supervisor.

Jay: All our supervisors are busy helping other people.

ME:  I’m not surprised. If all your customers are as pissed off as I am, I’m sure they’re ALL busy and will be for a LONG time!


Jay: Can you tell me the problem, so I can let the supervisor know, as soon as he is available?

ME: Yes. I can. I want to know why I’m paying $132 a month for piss-poor service, that works about half the time, and I have to use my personal hot spot the rest of the time, and why you say my payments are being “reversed”, but can’t tell me why, other than to call my bank, which I have done, and the bank says your payment request never came through the bank in the first place, and why I’m not informed of a payment reversal until you have disconnected, so there is a reconnect fee, PLUS a $5 inconvenience fee for paying my bill over the phone, when I have an agreement to autopay every month. I also want to know why your automated recording tells me I made a payment on November 20, but your live representative tells me I didn't.  I also want to know how to reach you people, when your auto-recording says they don’t understand my complete sentences, after it has just said it DOES understand complete sentences, because I don’t stutter.

Jay: Thank you for that information. What is the phone number associated with this account?

ME: Do you people not have caller ID? My number is 205-999-9999 (I gave him my number)

Jay: Is that 215-998-8892?

ME: NO. It’s NOT.

Jay: Can you tell me slower?

ME: 2-zero-5-9-9-9-9-9-9-9

Jay: Our supervisors are all still busy.

ME: Of course they are!

20 minutes later, I get a supervisor.

John: Thank you for waiting. I hope you’re having a great day!

ME: No. Actually I WAS having a great day until I had to interface with AT&T. It has been steadily downhill since then.

John: Well, I’m gonna make your day great again!

ME: We will see…  (and I tell him the same thing I told Jay).

John did make my day a little better, informing me that the debit card number they have “on file” isn’t mine, nor is it even close to my actual number. No wonder my payment is being “reversed”. So far, so good, until…

John: I’m going to make your day even better. We can bundle your TV, phone…

ME: I’ve already got ONE AT&T service that works half the time, and charges a FORTUNE for that half time. Why in the world would I want to have TV and telephone that also work half the time, and furthermore, that I can’t get help with when I need help, because the customer “service” people don’t know anything, and supervisors are always busy, because customers get so upset that only a supervisor can help them? What y’all apparently need down there are more supervisors. NO. I do NOT want to bundle ANYTHING with AT&T. I wouldn’t have Uverse in the first place if there were any other single service in my area. When there is, rest assured, I will be OFF your books entirely.

John: So I’ve made your day better?

ME: (sigh) Yes. I guess so. Slightly maybe.

John: Thank you for using AT&T.

Customer SERVICE. At its BEST.