Since my “sucks” posts tend to be popular, and since in my opinion AT&T does in fact suck, I figured I would take this opportunity to explain the latest reason why AT&T sucks.
Not too long ago, the federal government rolled over to AT&T and allowed them to take over Bell South, our local phone service provider in the area. With Bell South, we had 7 years of flawless telephone service. Not a single outage. Now, with AT&T, we have had two outages in the last month or two.
Granted, some outages are unavoidable. Bad weather happens. Today, for example. We had major storms pass through, and our phone service went out. In fact, it is still out. And according to AT&T, it will be repaired sometime between now and 7:00PM tomorrow– more than a full 24 hours from now and a full 28 and a half hours from when we first realized our phone service was out. AT&T claims that the outage was related to two tornadoes in the area, one which was over 15 miles away in Pooler, and one that was out on the islands. Neither touched down, mind you, nor were they even confirmed as having been tornadoes. They were just clouds up in the sky with circular motion. Clearly we all understand how that impacts local phone service.
Anyway, the phones are out and we’re missing calls. My dad is in town and wanted to make dinner arrangements. I missed that call, and so there is no shot that we’ll get in to the restaurant where we wanted to eat. I also missed a call from Jaime, who was at work and needed a ride home. What other calls did I miss? I don’t know, and likely never will, unless the caller decides to call back tomorrow after 7PM.
So I look at my AT&T account online to see how I can activate my call forwarding to forward all home calls to my Skype number. I have something called “Complete Choice,” which basically means I pay an exorbitant rate for my phone service in exchange for every feature they offer with the exception of voicemail. Looking over the features offered, I see that “remote access to call forwarding” is not activated on my account, even though it would cost me nothing to have it activated.
So, I call AT&T.
The first agent I spoke with, someone named Emma Smith (yeah right), was in Argentina. In order to access my records, I needed to give her the last four digits of my social security number. Yes, I had to give private details to an operator in a foreign country, for my privacy. If that isn’t an oxymoronic policy, I don’t know what is. Emma Smith said she enabled the “remote access to call forwarding” on my account, and I would receive the required PIN and access telephone number in the mail within two business days. OK, so obviously that doesn’t help me. The phone will be fixed within that time.
I ask for a supervisor to see if this can be pushed through. She says her supervisor, Mark Nizzo, was in a meeting. That is customer service speak for “I don’t want to transfer you.” I dialed a toll free number, and as a result, I had no problem waiting on hold until the meeting was over. She said he was not available. I asked her if she wished to continue the lie that I believed she had told me, or if she would get a supervisor. She “transferred” me to someone else, and I was disconnected. Good. If all the idiots who work for AT&T in Argentina are as poor of listeners as Emma Smith, and if all the idiot AT&T employees in Argentina continually talked over their customers like Emma Smith, I didn’t want to talk to her supervisor anyway.
I called back. I want to be sure that “remote access to call forwarding” has been enabled on my account. Now I’m talking to some guy who clearly was a native Engish speaker. Now we’re making progress. Or so I thought.
It turns out that the guy I spoke to insisted that “remote access to call forwarding” was a subset of the voicemail package, which it clearly– according to the AT&T website– was not. He kept telling me that all I needed to do was pickup my phone, dial 72#, and follow the instructions. Yeah, I’m sure that is how regular call forwarding works. But, Earth to AT&T, dialing 72# does nothing when you have no freaking dialtone.
So he says he has never heard of the feature I am requesting. I read the product documentation from his own website. He still can’t find it. He puts me on hold, and says he found it. Apparently, he didn’t have access to that feature because I had regular call forwarding enabled on my account. Fine, I don’t care. Just enable it.
He says he is enabling it, and that, again, it would take two business days to get the information I need to use the service that I have been paying for for the better part of a decade. I ask for the number for top tier support, presidential support, executive level support– whatever they call it at AT&T. Every company, particularly a company with over 300,000 employees, has this level of support. It exists for customers like me, who have an unusual circumstance that requires a bending of the asinine corporate policy that is preventing them from offering quality, sane service. He’s never heard of it.
He claims he is enabling the feature because– surprise, surprise, surprise– Emma Smith didn’t enable it. So just a moment ago, I check my account online. It turns out that he did not enable the feature. He instead enabled “selective call forwarding,” which allows me to forward specific callers to a different number. Grr.
So now, I don’t have the feature I requested, I can’t enable it online, and I still don’t have home phone service.
Does AT&T deserve this post? Have they provided “outstanding customer service” as their customer service script offers? I think it’s pretty clear.
As soon as possible, I’ll be canceling my AT&T service. AT&T sucks.