As some may have noticed chads.homelinux.org went down for most of Friday. I had called AT&T at around 10:00pm to figure out what was going on as I had power-cycled my router and DSL modem, restarted my machine, and anything else they’d expect me to do before I called.
At first I had given them the benefit of the doubt and assumed that I just forgot the password for my modem, so I just called for a password reset. So I tried dialing the 1-800 number for Internet Services only to get a recording stating that the Account Management center was closed. I was sitting there going “WTF?! I thought they were 24 hours?”.
So I called all 5 numbers that appeared on the bill and finally 1 hour and 20 minutes later after going through menu option hell, I FINALLY got ahold of a human only to be told that I’ll have to call the Internet Services number (the one that was “closed”). I got to a human after choosing the wrong option – something along the lines of “if your business line is down and you need to schedule repair, chose this option”. After explaining to them that I tried calling the Internet Services number, they had told me that they’ve been having problems with the recordings over there telling people that they’re closed and routing them to the wrong area. Yeah, I was completely impressed that the phone company can’t get their own internal phone services to work correctly. I was then told that it might be noise in my line and blah blah blah…I fell asleep listening to the bullshit excuses that they’re scripted to say. After that, I was then told that I’ll just need to keep trying to call Internet Services and they just must be at lunch…they should be back shortly from any break they might have been taking and will answer my call soon.
Okay…so which is it? Are their internal phones broke, or do they just not have anyone cover the phones during lunch? Either way, it screams of incompetence on the company’s part. That must be “the new AT&T” quality service shining through. It’s good to know that once you’re a monopoly you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want, but I digress.
So I called again two hours later at around midnight only to go through the same menu option hell as before. At this point, I’m starting to get a little irritated. I’m a student in college who takes online courses – what if I had a final exam due during this time frame? Am I supposed to suffer because of AT&T’s incompetence? Once again, the person on the other end of the line told me that I’m going to have to call the Internet Services number to “get my problem resolved in an efficient manner”. Great. Corporate speak. Just what I want to hear at a time like this. Perhaps you can assist me in drilling down into the matter by creating an opportunity of value added sales and better service by thinking outside the nine dots? GAH!
So I get frustrated and go to bed.
I wake up this morning and start the process over thinking that maybe, just maybe, they’ll start accepting calls for DSL problems now. No such luck. Same garbage as before. Finally, I call the wrong number again so I can talk to a human again. I got ahold of a guy who not only connected me to a human in their Internet Services area, but told me how to get around the annoying fact that I kept getting a recording* (explaination coming up). So at this point I’m starting to gain just a little more confidence in AT&T – just a little.
After explaining to the guy in the Internet Services department that I power-cycled everything and that he should just reset my password and we can start from there, he goes “Whoa! I figured out what the problem is – it’s not the line, it’s corporate telling me that services have been cut due to non-payment”. WTF?!?!
After thanking him, I called the billing area only to get a recording telling me what my payment is and when it’s due. Wonderful, they told me what my normal payment is every month (as if I didn’t know) and that it’s due in a week. Great. I then purposely called the wrong number again to get a human to speak with and asked what was going on. I had explained to them that I was told by a recording that my next payment isn’t due until May 5th and it’s April 29th so what gives? I was told that it was likely a system error and that they’ve been experiencing these errors once in a while. Apparently the shutdown notices are somewhat automated and this one was only “getting ready just in case” a shutdown would be required in a week. So this also tells me that if they don’t get their payment and if they don’t process it by the due date, they’ll shut you down the next day AND it’s all planned out regardless of if you’ve paid on time every month for the last 10 years or not. Nice. Then just to make sure they go a little further and piss me off a little more, I was told “though this was a mistake, please be sure that payment is made by May 5th, otherwise, the connection could be removed again”. So great – you fucked up, but you want to make sure that I make my payment on time regardless of my payment history…”because we wouldn’t want anything to happen to your connection…now would we?”. Nice mob tactic you got there.
So the last thing they tell me is that my connection will be up in somewhere between 4 and 24 hours. Oh now I’m really really impressed. You’re giving yourselves a window of 20 hours to get your mistake on my account taken care of? How generous of you.
So here I sit. Waiting for my connection to be re-established because they screwed up. Now that I think about it, I should probably call them when my connection is re-established and ask them exactly how they’re going to compensate me for my trouble of not having an internet connection during final exams. Not only that, but all of the scholarships I applied for are to be delivered to my own mail server. Chances are they won’t give a shit nor will they give me any sort of compensation – after all, they’re as close to you can get to becoming a monopoly as you can get, so why would they care? What are you going to do, switch phone companies?
And that’s the “new” AT&T.
*To get around the recordings, I was told to just keep hitting the # key which eventually just kicks you over to a human.
[connection down from 11:20am Friday until 10:00pm Saturday]