Phone Phun Part One

no clueI call AT&T U-Verse on Friday morning to say my modem is functioning erratically and I need a new one. AT&T asks me to unplug and replug it, at which point if fails entirely.

You evil bastards you. Now will you overnight me a new modem?

Actually, no, they won’t. They will send a tech out to look things over. He will arrive between 4-8 PM today (Friday). Until then, sit on your thumbs and play chopsticks on your prostate.

The first service tech from AT&T arrives at 5 PM and quickly determines he can’t do anything because the problem isn’t in the modem, it’s out there under the earth or up in the sky somewhere. “I’ll put in this ticket now,” he says. “These guys work ‘round the clock. If you’re not back up by 11 tonight, text me.” And he gives me contact numbers for himself and his supervisor.

You can predict this, right? No service by 11, and neither he nor his supervisor respond to text messages or voice mails. Here — you can try them yourself!

Ali 754 260 8470
Juan 954 253 7241

I call AT&T again on Saturday morning — long frustrating process — and complain bitterly about lack of service and poor customer handling. Long story short — tech will arrive between 4-8 PM, and given their astounding poor response, they’ll take $30 off my next bill.

Saturday evening Tim shows up with a new modem that doesn’t solve the problem. He goes out to his truck and returns with a second unit, and damn — we’re back on-line. He says if there’s any other problems call or text him (not AT&T), and provides me with a number. Same supervisor, too (Juan).

On Monday morning the modem abruptly fails, this time taking the house line with it which is mysterious because they’re not supposed to be linked. I send a text to Tim. No response. I sent a text to Juan. No response.

Here — you try Tim: 305 331 6944. Try him often, at various hours. Let me know how you make out.

I give Tim an hour to return my message, then I call AT&T Customer Service again. But something odd happens as I’m punching buttons to get past the infernal automated crap with which AT&T tortures its customers — I get a live person at AT&T phone repair, who is efficient, polite, and both gives me a better phone number for U-Verse and connects me. Amazing, yes?

The agent isn’t terribly interested in my tale of woe, and says that the problem I’m currently experiencing is actually system-wide. There’s “an outage.”

When I ask when the outage occurred, she tells me Sunday morning. When I point out that my service was fine Sunday right up to this morning, which suggests to me that my problem isn’t the same problem as the alleged “outage,” she tells me that Florida is a big state (really!) and lucky me if I still had service while others were impacted negatively.

So I ask her how I, sitting in my darkened quiet house, will be able to determine when the outage is resolved if in fact the problem is really my modem after all (or in addition). How can I tell? She doesn’t want to answer this, and hangs up on me.

I promptly call back, using my newly provided number, and speak to another agent to whom I promptly complain how somebody in her office had rudely disconnected me. She immediately wraps herself in corporate apologetic attire as she is trained to do, reviews the account, makes sympathetic clucking noises, and confirms that there’s a system-wide outage that may require 24 hours to repair. To my query about discovering when the outage is fixed and service restored, she asks me to confirm a number to which a text message bearing the news can be sent.

That’s not rocket surgery, is it? Although, as I point out, it would save AT&T time and money, and their customers a lot of ag, if they were pro-active about this, and when problems occur send texts to customers not to panic and start calling because they’re already on it and will advise as soon as the issue is resolved. I guess that is rocket surgery, because I’ve presented this radical concept to these very people for years (and quite often — like every time there’s a problem and the same damn scenario unfolds) and it has yet to catch on.

att-uverse-att-screw-u-verseI also tell her about the techs who provide contact information but refuse to respond to calls or texts. I note the irony of an international communications company whose employees demonstrate apathy, if not hostility, regarding communications with customers. I tell her I’d really and truly like to speak directly to somebody who can convey this message and inspire adjustments, and she asks me to give her the names and numbers of the 3 employees which I’m delighted to do.

If you believe anything will come of this, you need to join Dorothy and Toto on their next journey.

By nightfall, service is restored to both land line and internet (although they’re not related) but just for fun I call U-Verse again and ask for a status report. “Still outages in your area,” they tell me. “We hope to have you up and running in no more than 12 hours.” ATT, whom I call next, says a service repairman will be out at house some time Tuesday. I don’t tell either company that everything is working again.

There’s a whole ‘nother layer to this shit-pie that I’ll serve next time.

Oh, and that text message I was promised when service is restored? Still waiting for that.

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3 Responses to Phone Phun Part One

  1. Mister E says:

    Why do you even bother with a land-line any more?

  2. Hugh Bris says:

    I just called Juan and got right through. I ordered a pizza.

  3. Pingback: Lock & Lull | Obalesque

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