Sunday, August 07, 2011

AT&T Can Suck It!

In general we've been happy with our U-Verse service compared to when we had Comcast when we lived in the loft. That all changed about six weeks ago when they "upgraded" the system and changed the UI. I can't tell you how many times a week while trying to access our DVR or search for something in the system we get a "DVR is working" message. The words "try back later" are also a frequent guest on our screen. It drives me completely effing batty. It's not like we've got the cheapo cable either. We pretty much pay for everything. AT&T makes A LOT of money off us each year.

Last night I hit my breaking point with them. Or rather, last night was the beginning of me hitting my breaking point.

Alan's out of town visiting friends. I'm an insomniac. These two things pair well together for chick flick marathons. Last night after finishing up Letters to Juliet (it could be better, it could be worse) I decided to pay for a movie and rented Just Go With It with Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston. It was cute, I was enjoying it, and then all of a sudden I get this message: "Temporarily Unable to Play Program." My head about exploded (yes, I have anger management issues).

I waited a few minutes and tried again. Same thing. Waited some more and tried again. No dice.

Knowing that I was going to be up for awhile longer I tried to watch Country Strong for free On Demand. Same error message. It didn't even start playing.

I went back to try to watch Just Go With It. Nada.

So instead of I watched an episode of Secrets from a Stylist and then went to bed. (Emily Henderson is my absolute favorite Design Star ever. None of those other winners come close to bringing what she does to a tv show. I cannot stand David Bromstad, btw, or that Antonio creature.)

Fast forward to today ...

After finishing up Stage 2 of my painting project in the basement I decided to finish watching my movie. SAME DAMN ERROR MESSAGE. I tried logging in to AT&T's Ask Charlie service. What a joke. The stupid system couldn't understand any of the questions I tried asking. When I put in "On Demand doesn't work" it came back with "do you want to cancel your service?" Don't tempt me Charlie. You're walking a fine line.

So that I tried the online chat system. Another complete and utter fail. It kept directing me to bill pay. Um, I'm pretty sure that's not the problem seeing as how we regularly pay you effers $335/month (voice, internet, cable & wireless).

Then I called customer service and had to go through an automated phone tree that gave me a twitch. I'm serious. By the time it routed me to a live person my left eye was twitching. At one point I asked, "why are you so stupid?" and it said, "I'm having trouble understanding your questions. Please hold for a customer service representative." Nice. I'd only been asking for a live person for the last five minutes.

This live person wasn't much better. Their English was so heavily accented that I had to keep saying, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that?" They'd repeat it and I'd be no closer to understanding what they had said. It was terrible. I've grown up in California pretty much my entire life and I've always lived in a multicultural city and until recently I've never had a problem not being able to understand a single word someone said. If I'm having trouble I can usually pick up a couple of words to give me context but in this case the person was talking so close to their mouth piece that they're accent was made all the more unintelligible. After about ten minutes of him asking me questions about what my problem was he told me he was putting me on hold to check their servers. He came back and said that everything was fine on their end and he'd be transferring me to technical support. You mean that's not who I'd been talking to??? I said "technical support" on all the prompts at the beginning of the call.

The technical support person came on and again, I couldn't understand him. He asked me to explain the problem I was experiencing - again - and kept asking me to walk him through exactly what I did so that he could try to recreate the problem. I don't know what is so hard to understand about "I bought a movie from your On Demand system. I was watching it and then while it was playing it came up with an error message and then stopped playing. Twelve hours later I'm still getting the same message." He wanted to know how I accessed On Demand. I don't know how to explain any more easily than I did that I used their UI to get to the On Demand feature and then scrolled down "Just in" movies. He put me on hold for about ten minutes. Then he came back and asked me some questions I couldn't understand and I kept saying, "I'm sorry, can you repeat that? I can't understand what you're saying."

Finally he told me that he didn't know what my problem was and that I should "check back in a couple of days to make sure it's working." Um, I'm sorry what? I should just wait a couple of days on a one-day movie rental to see if your system decides to start working? I asked him that. He said yes. I lost it. I told him that this was completely unacceptable and the entire customer support experience from start to finish had been appalling and that his suggestion was the exact wrong thing to say to someone that was fed up with the service already. I asked to speak to someone in billing. They don't work on Sunday. I need to call back tomorrow. I told him to put in my file that he told me - and I quote - "check back in a couple of days." He said he'd noted all of my problems in my file. I asked him to note his response to my problem in the file. He said since there was no solution that he couldn't put anything. I told him to put his recommendation as a note in my file so that when I called billing tomorrow they could see exactly why I was going to threaten to cancel my service. He told me he did, but I doubt it.

So now when Alan gets home we need to have a serious conversation about switching over to Xfinity. This was by far the worst customer service I've experienced in YEARS and I just can't imagine continuing to give them good money after bad service. I'm done. DONE, DONE, DONE.


  1. I totally feel your pain on this one.  What is the deal with customer service anymore?  Of the many companies I come into contact with I can only think of 2 or maybe 3 that have left any sort of long lasting positive impression.  WHY don't companies understand their lack of customer service is DRIVING AWAY what may otherwise be loyal customers???

  2. Bizzletop4:17 PM

    I think these mega-companies see any type of customer support as an un-necessary cost -- so they try to automate it, ship it overseas, etcetera -- however, in the end, they are shooting themselves in the foot.  Too many bean-counters running the company, then quality goes way down.  Really sad.


Leave your thoughts ....