AT&T takes NON-customer service to a whole new level.


According to an article on RocketMedia:  A recent Nielsen poll shows us the ways that consumers are influenced to choose one brand over another is changing. Out of the people polled, 70% expressed they trust what other consumers post online.

While word of mouth has always been valued, it can be fleeting. Today, online reviews follow the word of mouth model, but are more public – and permanent. Thus, their impact has become quite powerful.

According to a “Socialnomics” video on YouTube:  93% of  Marketers use social media for business. 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, while only 14% trust advertisements.

What does this mean and why am I sharing?  Because I hope this “review” reaches enough people that AT&T takes a little hit, a punch to the jaw, so to speak.

On Monday of this week, I attempted to reach AT&T to see if the internet was down in my area because we could not get online.  It literally took me 52 minutes to get a live person on the phone.  By that time I had already cursed at the automated attendant who kept thanking me for my patience, and decided at that point that I was done with bad customer service from this company.  I did finally speak to a very robotic customer service representative who told me to unplug my modem and plug it back in.  Really?  She asked if I had a security system on my home.  Huh?  She continued asking me questions that had absolutely nothing to do with my problem.  By the end of the 45 minute conversation (yes, that’s an hour and 37 minute call), she agreed that sending me a new modem was the solution.  She said it would take 3-5 business days.  What??  I informed her, for the third or fourth time, that I work from home and  3-5 business days was unacceptable.  She quickly agreed to send the modem overnight.

Let me back up a moment.  During her random question assault, she was asking about my other AT&T services.  I mentioned my home phone, business phone, cell phones and of course, internet.  She started asking about my business account and I immediately told her not to worry about that.  Why, you ask?  Because about 4 years ago, when I simply added a business line to a separate jack in my office, the yahoo I spoke to when putting the order in somehow flipped my residential internet account to a business account.  I did not request this.  It caused my internet to go down and it didn’t get fixed for OVER a week.  Yes, they took me out of business for an entire week.  They did their best to make up for it by crediting my account with all kinds of money to cover 2 future bills.  Great, but it should not have happened to begin with.

So flash forward to my AT&T robot asking about my business account.  I told her “don’t worry about my business account, don’t touch my business account, don’t even think about my business account because it has nothing to do with my internet being down due to a fried modem.”  I did not want her getting the two accounts crossed in any way.

Okay – so the new modem is sent overnight, as promised, although it doesn’t arrive until 7:00 pm (now two days with no internet).  I immediately notice that the two boxes I receive are addressed to “IntelliTalent Management Consulting”, which is my business name.  Uh Oh!  Looks like robot lady did me wrong.  I open the boxes and what does the disc say?  “Business DSL Installation”.  Lovely.  Let’s call AT&T again and see why they would send me a business DSL for a residential internet account.  Remember, I told robot lady not to worry about my business account because they screwed it up before?  She was obviously a very good listener.

Now it’s Tuesday, I call AT&T (800-288-2020) and within about 15 minutes I speak to “Keisha”.  I explain my concern and tell her that I don’t think I am suppose to have a business modem.  She snarkily says, “What makes you think it’s a business modem?” To which I reply, “Just guessing here, but since the disc is clearly labeled “Business DSL Installation” and it was sent to my business name and not me, the residential account holder, I’m assuming it’s a business modem.”  BAM – I get put on hold.   She eventually jumps back on the line and says, “They sent you the wrong modem, please hold while I try to sort this out.”  BAM – back on hold.   Still holding……still holding……still holding…….FINALLY she jumps back on and says, “I’m going to transfer you to technical support so that they can walk you through the issue.”   WAIT!!!!!!  Nope – she transfers me before I can stop her.  My bonding time with Keisha, including her two sentences and my hold time, is now at 37 minutes.

Now I’m holding for tech support. “Ahmed” greets me, though he sounds like he’s speaking through a tin can.  I politely ask him four times in a row to speak up, which he never does.  Anyway….I start from the beginning of my saga with Ahmed, explaining that I have the wrong modem, blah, blah, blah.  I don’t really need tech support at this point, I need a new modem.  He agrees and tells me he is going to transfer me to billing.  Billing???  He explains that only billing has access to how my account is set up and can inform me whether or not my internet is residential or business.  What???  It’s residential!!!  Before he transfers me he kindly gives me the number, in case I get disconnected.  Wait for it……800-288-2020.  Yep – that’s where I’m headed.  Maybe I’ll get robot lady from Monday or Keisha from 15 minutes ago??  Yippee!!!!  Back where I started.  My time with Ahmed was indeed 15 minutes.  So far I’m 52 minutes in and still absolutely nowhere.

Now comes the fun part.  I am put on hold for a solid 42 minutes before anyone picks up the phone.  No kidding – 42 minutes on hold.  That, plus the 52 minutes I’ve already spent = 1 hour and 34 minutes.


Someone finally picks up the damn phone and I am good and mad by now.  I start allllllllll over, explaining the situation from the beginning through gritted teeth.  They put me hold, pick up and ask a ridiculous question, put me back on hold, pick up and ask another ridiculous question, put me hold and so on.  Finally the (non) customer service rep tells me that I did, in fact, receive the wrong modem (holy cow…really?) and that they will be sending a residential modem right away.  “Right away?” I say.  “3-5 business days” the rep replies.  WHOA.  “I can’t wait 3-5 business days to receive the modem.  Can’t you send it overnight, like you did with the one I have?” I say.  “No ma’am.”  That’s it, just no.  So I say, “Sooooo, you can send the WRONG modem overnight, but can’t send the RIGHT modem overnight – even though it was YOUR error to begin with?”  She simply replies, “No ma’am.  The supervisor tried to override it but couldn’t.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?”   Anything “else” you can help me with??  What exactly have you helped me with today?  She then informs me that they will email me a return label for my wrong modem and I snap.  “LADY – I DO NOT HAVE INTERNET.  HOW WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO RETRIEVE THE EMAIL AND PRINT IT?????”    “Oh yea” she says, “We will mail it to you.”

There you have it.  I will not have the new modem until either Friday or Monday.  Thanks for nothing AT&T.  Oh – before I forget.  My total time during that last call was a solid….

1 HOUR and 55 minutes.  Yes folks, almost 2 hours.

Luckily for me I have a mobile internet card from work that has allowed me to get online, at least somewhat.  Everything is painfully slow, the screen often just freezes, it’s better than nothing, but it’s a challenge.  It is frustrating beyond belief and I am getting behind in emails and missing deadlines because I can’t work on projects or documents.  I have a pretty significant presentation to give next week at our corporate office, but Powerpoint is so slow using this card, that I haven’t had the patience to finish the presentation.

I am moving by the end of the year and when I do, I will discontinue all of my services with AT&T.  This includes my home phone, internet, business phones and several cell phones.  I can only hope that those of you reading this do the same – if for no other reason but to make me feel better 🙂

Take that, AT&T.

One response »

  1. Tammy,
    I feel your pain, and know how frustrating it is. These companies need to be held accountable for the customer service they lack in giving us….. I too had similar problems not with AT&T but with Direct TV nearly identical but with DVR Recievers, couldn’t watch TV for 2 weeks. I cancelled them, and now they call nearly ever day to ask me what they can do to get me back. NOTHING!!! & WHEN HELL FREZZES OVER. I told them, if you would have treated me better when I WAS your customer then I would not have left…. Stick to your guns! Throw them to the curb…… Tell Everyone!! Thank you for sharing. Good Luck! and for the Record I went with Dish Network and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!!!!! Shame on you AT&T, clearly their bottom line is more important than good customer service!!!

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