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Broadband Geek
Broadband Geek - Making ADSL and Broadband simple. We have DSL modem info and ISP information.
Broadband Geek - Making ADSL and Broadband simple. We have DSL modem info and ISP information.

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An AT&T Sad Situation

On January 28th, I realized that the internet service my wife recently ordered wasn't going to work. The problem? We didn’t have a phone line running to our house, as we haven’t had a need for a land-line for the past 6 years. Somewhere along the line, the telephone line must have come down in a storm. I never noticed it until now, and I have no idea where the line went, but it’s gone. 

The following is an accurate minute by minute log of the time I spent to get it reinstalled to my house by AT&T

10 Minutes 800.288.2020 I called this number and spoke with Chris. He finds that I need to talk to DSL tech, and transfers me to 877.722.3755.

12 Minutes 877.722.3755 I spoke / held with Melissa before she finally says I need to speak to a different division, and transfers me to 888.611.4466.

14 Minutes 888.611.4466 I speak with Wanda. Wanda sets up a ticket (******94) to get a service tech to the house today to hook up the line. I think to myself - Today? Nice!

2 Minutes 815.236.1335 service tech Ed calls me and says that he can’t hook up the drop line. He sees it wrapped around the telephone pole across the parking lot, but “It’s just a phone line”. Ed tells me that there’s a separate line for DSL that I need to have hooked up, and that I’ll need to be home to meet with the tech to have that done. He tells me to call 866.583.2494 to set that up. I thank Ed for coming out.

6 Minutes 866.583.2494 I speak with Chris. He seems helpful, but this is just a trick. He puts me on hold, and a few minutes later, someone else picks up the line from “a completely different division”. They suggest I hang up and call Chris back. I follow this advice, and place a second call to 866.583.2494.

25 Minutes 866.583.2494 “There’s no Chris here, hang on a second.” I hold. Then Bill picks up. Bill is helpful. He calls numbers for me. He calls a “provision group” – no help. He calls a “service office” – no help. He calls “somebody else” – no help, and then another “somebody else” – I assume the latest somebody else was also of no help because Bill gets back on the line and says “Oh my God, I don’t know how we make any money. We’re a phone company and can’t handle our own internal calls! I’m either getting the wrong phone number, or a bad code. And when the code is “good” I enter it, and half the time it’s busy!” I tell Bill “I hear ya.” Bill hangs in there, but seems to hit his limit at 25 minutes, when he transfers me to Melissa. He says, “Melissa is who you need, she will help you out.” Melissa is at 800.727.2273. I thank Bill for his time.

3 Minutes: 800.727.2273 Melissa doesn’t last 4 minutes. She “helps me out” by telling me … … wait for it… … “I need a different division.” Great. She transfers me before I can get the number she is transferring me too… she does say “It is my goal to satisfy you.” Before passing me along.

5 Minutes I speak with Joyce. After 5 minutes, she politely tells me, “Let me get you someone. I’ll make sure they can take the order for you.” I hold before she gets back on the line telling me I need to go to a different division. She gives me 800.288.2020 (the same number I called 77 hold minutes ago). I tell her I already called this number. She apologizes for the “confusion”. Before transferring me she says “Thank you for your call, and for choosing AT&T.” I tell her she’s welcome – and hold.

16 Minutes 800.288.2020 I hold for 15 minutes before Mark picks up. After explaining the situation to Mark (I’m getting good at this point, I can summarize my situation in about 10 seconds) Mark says “You need a service tech.” I think: That’s what they tell me! He says “Let me put you on hold and I’ll figure out the best way to get a service tech out to do an install.” I hold.

6 Minutes: Mark gets back on the line and says that I need to talk to the AT&T Tech Office Support. He verifies my info and he tells me he’s going to call their general number, but will stay on the line with me, “so I wouldn’t need to talk to a bunch of different people”. I tell him I know what he means, and thank him for his time. The general number he is calling is 877.722.3755. He puts me on hold… 

9 Minutes Mark gets back on the line; “Thanks for holding Mr. Doeringsfeld. I have a quick question; do you have an interface box?” I tell him that I don’t know what an interface box is, but suspect that I don’t. I tell him I come to this conclusion because the old phone line went into the second floor of the house, and ended up in the basement attached to an old outdated copper patch panel. He tells me he’s going to get a tech on the other line and explain the type of service hook up that we need. He says that there’s a separate DSL line that needs to be added, but there will be a charge. I don’t care about the charge, as I’m now starting to feel optimistic. So I hold…

5 Minutes Mark gets back on the line; “Okay, what I found out, is that you need a proper technician to come to your home. Unfortunately, because this is considered a new hookup, there will be a charge $199, and he’ll hook up the new line, get you an interface box, and get you set up on the internet.” I ask if he’s going to hook everything up, and he says that the charge will include the service line to the house, the drop to the basement to the interface box and all the programming I’ll need to get started. He says he’s going to get with 877.722.3755 to set up the service date. I thank Mark for his time.

7 Minutes 877.722.3755.  Mark gets back on the line and says that the service hook up is going to be Feb 4th, from 8am to 8pm. I’ll need to be there to let the tech in. He also tells me that we may get a bill for service dating from today 1/28. He tells me to call 877.722.3755 when the bill comes and have them adjust the start date from 1/28 to 2/4. I ask if the $199 will be added to our first bill, and he tells me that it will. I thank Mark for his time again and hang up – 120 hold minutes later. 

DSL Install Day - 2/4

Today is the install day. I took the day off from work in order to be home from 8am to 8pm. I decide to play it safe and call 877.722.3755 to verify that the tech is going to be out today. 

70 Minutes 877.722.3755. I talk with Neamiah. After putting me on hold for a half hour – twice, he tells me that he was speaking with Telco. Evidently they show that the service tech called me yesterday, and I didn’t answer. I never got this call. They tell Neamiah that the service tech should have called me a 2nd time, but for some reason didn’t. Either way, they canceled the install. Then Neamiah tells me that I didn’t need to be home for the install anyhow, and he doesn’t know who told me that. I tell him Mark did. He doesn’t know who Mark is. Evidently Neamiah rescheduled my install to occur “tomorrow or the next day”. Then he says, “You didn’t need a jack installed in your house or anything, did you?” I say “Yes, I do.” – silence. I tell Neamiah to give me the order number he set the install up on. He gives me ******30501. I ask him what number I should call to speak to someone that will be able to get into this order, so I can switch the install date, and change what needs to be done when the tech gets to the house. He gives me the Telco number 877.722.3755 and tells me to ask for the DSL Dept. I thank Neamiah for his time, and call Telco to change my service call to what was supposed to be getting done today, on the day I took off from work anyway.

4 Minutes 877.722.3755. I speak to a guy named Chris, he doesn’t recognize the order number I was just given. I try to explain what has been happening, and he tells me that “We do telephone line installs… you need DSL.” Then he gives me a number to call that can “help me out”. 888.611.4466. I explain to Chris that I already called this number. He apologizes, but tells me to try again, he’s sure they will be able to finish this up for me.

20 Minutes 888.611.4466. I speak to Anna. She asks for the same information that everyone else asks for. I give her the story, and she seems very sympathetic about my situation, but, she has “limited” screens to check order numbers, and puts me on hold. She gets someone on her other line that tells her my account was set up as a “customer install”, and that I need to get it changed to a tech install. I explain that I understand that it needs to be a tech install, and that it was supposed to be set up as such already, and remind her about the missing line to my house that I just told her about. Anna apologizes, but tells me I need to “start” with internal customer service to get this changed. She transfers me to customer service after saying “Thanks for choosing AT&T.”

10 Minutes I speak with Jessie in customer service. Same thing, I try to explain how everything has led up to this point. She’s confused, apologizes, and tells me I need to talk to High Speed Install at 888.443.2430. I tell her that I already have an install set up, and I don’t want to set up another install for fear of having to deal with being double billed, among other things. She tells me that they will be able to look at everything on my account, and be able to open all the tickets and installs. She transfers me to this line, and says “Thanks for choosing AT&T.”

12 Minutes 888.443.2430. I speak to Idah. She sounds concerned, but tells me I need to talk to repair. I explain that I have already spoken with them, and she tells me that now that she has the “C order number”, repair will be able to help. She gets repair on the other line, but tells me she “can’t hold with me for 5 minutes”, and connects me directly. The repair department phone number is 888.611.4466 

13 Minutes 888.611.4466. I speak with Jaycee. Jaycee is helpful. She shows that a tech is scheduled to show up at my house tomorrow (2/5). However, my account doesn't show a “full install”. I tell her I need to have it changed to a full install. Jaycee says she can get that done, and puts me on hold to call the DSL dept to have the order changed. She gets back on the line and tells me that Kenny with the DSL dept is going to finish up the order change. I thank Jaycee for her time.

13 Minutes DSL 877.870.9582.  I speak with Kenny for 13 minutes. I explain that I need a drop line attached to the house, have an interface box installed, and have a jack installed on the inside of the house. Kenny tells me that he can get that done. He tells me that the drop line install is free of charge. He asks if we can set this up for Thursday. I ask if we can set it up on a Saturday. He tells me that he has Saturday February 14th available. I tell him that will work fine. Kenny sets up an “a.m. install, from 8am to 12am”. I ask for the order number, and he tells me that he just “modified the existing ******30501 order. I thank him for his time, and hang up – another 142 hold minutes and one burned vacation day off work later.  

2/13 - Day Before Install Day

1 Minute 815.236.1335 My wife gets a call today from an AT&T tech. He is at the house this morning to do our install. Good thing he’s a day early, and we’re both at work. I get the installers phone number (815.236.1335) from my wife and call him. It rings 6 times and I hear a recording, “I’m sorry, but the person you have called has a voice mail box that has not been set up yet. Goodbye.” Nice.

10 Minutes 877.870.9582 Iris says “I don’t see order number ******30501 on your account, you need to talk to the provisioning department. I tell Iris that I spoke to the provisioning department many times before, and have had no luck dealing with them. I ask her to please not transfer me unless they can get into order number ******30501. After holding 10 minutes, I am cut off.

18 Minutes 877.870.9582 I call back. This time I speak with Kevin. “I’ll put you across to the “Orders Department, they’ll probably be able to help you.” I hold 10 Minutes. “Please wait.” Is repeated every 30 seconds. I hear “Please wait.” 20 times before Kevin picks back up. He tells me that he spoke with the orders dept, and that the order has been completed. I tell him I’m skeptical because 1) The tech was supposed to show up tomorrow. 2) The line needs to be connected to the back of my house and the back of my house is closed in by a 6 foot privacy fence with locking gates. And 3) I not only needed the line hooked up to the house, I also needed a jack installed on the inside of my house. Keven has an eastern Indian accent and tells me “Mr. Basil, there is nothing to worry, the order is completed.” I ask how the order is completed when I need a jack installed in the interior of my house, and nobody was home to let the tech in to do this. He tells me “Nothing to worry. Provision says the order is completed 2/14.” I tell him that today is 2/13, and ask how can it be completed tomorrow already? Silence. Kevin then says, “You go home and check line. Everything working now.” I tell Kevin I hope somebody is still coming out tomorrow. He says “It is completed.” Right. Okay Kevin. I tell him I’ll be calling them back when I get home. He says “Thank you for choosing AT&T, I hope you have nice day.”

I get home and can hardly believe it - there’s a drop line attached to the back of my house. I think, right on Kevin! I can only guess the tech used a ladder to get over my fence and into my back yard. I see that he wired the new line into an old box on the side of my house, which upon opening, I can see there are new guts and an open female jack in there. I decide if the tech doesn't show up tomorrow, I’ll be able to run my own line into my house from this open jack without much difficulty.

2/14 Scheduled Install Day

The tech didn’t call or show up this morning. So I continue as planned and run the line from the outside to the inside of my house myself. This is accomplished by buying 20' of Cat5E cable, drilling a couple of holes and installing an internal jack in my basement without much difficulty.

All added up, I spent the following amount of time, effort and money “dealing” with AT&T on this...
291 minutes on hold, 8 hours of vacation time, and 90 minutes of my own labor, plus supplies.

I refused to pay the $199 hook up fee, and sent the directing manager this transcript you just read. I didn’t receive an acknowledgement back, but the $199 fee was removed from my following months bill.

In conclusion, what’s really unfortunate about this whole thing is that we have a hand full of companies to choose internet service from in the Chicago area - and everyone I know has the same disposition towards the customer "service" they receive from their selected internet provider as I do about mine. Truly a sad situation.

#internetprovider   #betterbusiness   #betterbusinessbureau   #badday   #atandt  

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