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AT&T Uverse / terrible customer service

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This is the letter I sent to AT&T Corporate:

This letter is an explanation of why we decided to cancel our installation with AT&T U-verse. The sequence of events that led to this decision would be laughable if they were not true. We are now satisfied Time-Warner customers, and the following explains why.

On March 31st, 2009 at 7:37pm I scheduled installation with AT&T U-Verse for high speed internet, digital phone, and cable TV service. I was initially surprised that the earliest appointment we could get was Sunday, April 12th, 2009, almost two weeks later, but attributed that to your system’s popularity.

On that Sunday, I was visiting relatives in Missouri, so my husband met the technician. After about 20 minutes the technician told my husband that there was no signal at our house and that external work would have to be done in our area in order to complete the installation. Here is where the story gets interesting.

The technician told my husband that someone would call him when the problem was fixed so that we could reschedule the installation. No one called on Monday, so on Tuesday, April 14th, 2009, my husband called AT&T, trying to find out what was going on. He talked to several customer service representatives, none of whom could tell him what was going on with our installation. He was told that someone would call him back and let him know the situation. But, no one called him on Tuesday, or on Wednesday.

I returned to Austin late Wednesday afternoon. When my husband returned from work that day, he announced that he had spent at least two hours that day on the phone with AT&T, trying to get some information. He finally got in touch with someone in the Engineering department who (does this sound familiar?) said that someone would call us back. Are you surprised to find out that no-one returned our call?

Wait, this gets better. On Thursday, April 16th, 2009 I took over the AT&T chase. The first customer service employee I talked to was named Chris. I have to tell you, everyone I talked to tried very hard to help me. They were invariably friendly and personable, but totally ineffective in getting our problem resolved. So, Chris looked at our record. He said that it looked to him like our problem HAD been resolved. This was interesting, since no-one had called to let us know, but never-mind. Chris went ahead and rescheduled our installation. He wanted to reschedule it for Monday, April 20th, but I told him I had a doctor’s appointment that morning. He found what appeared to be an available appointment on Friday morning, April 17th. I told him to go ahead and schedule our installation for Friday, which he assured me that he had done. I also decided at this point to make an appointment with Time Warner as well. If AT&T couldn’t get us installed by Tuesday, April 21st then our business would be going to Time-Warner instead.

Our appointment was supposedly between 8 and 10 am on Friday, April 17th. At 9 am on Friday I called dispatch, just to make sure everything was on schedule. But dispatch had no record of our appointment on Friday! They had us set up for an appointment on Monday morning, in spite of the fact that I had told Chris that would not work.

So, it was back to customer service for me. This time my customer service rep was named Yvonne. Like everyone else she was unfailingly polite and attempted to be helpful. However, she thought putting me on hold was the way to go, which she did as she tried to figure things out. I watched the clock, and I was on hold for a total of 45 minutes with Yvonne, during which time she could not tell if the problem on our line was resolved or not. She finally told me that she was trying to talk to dispatch and engineering and seeing if they could get someone out to our house the following day (Saturday). She PROMISED me that someone would call us back – either her or her manager. Yvonne sounded very sincere, and I think she was, but the system thwarted her too. No one returned my call.

Around 3 o’clock that afternoon I received an automated message from AT&T confirming my appointment for Monday morning April 20th! This flabbergasted me. I suppose AT&T had decided that by golly I was going to have that appointment on Monday morning whether I wanted it or not.

By this time I was feeling a bit fatalistic about it all. Part of me really wanted AT&T to show up Monday morning while I was at the doctor’s, but I went ahead and followed the prompts to speak to an operator. This time I talked to someone named Frank. Frank probably thought I was a bit crazy. The first thing I said was – don’t put me on hold, I’ve been on hold enough today! Frank assured me that he never put anyone on hold, and that he always called people back. I started laughing. I said well okay then, let’s hang up and you call me back. If you call me back you’ll be the first person from AT&T to have actually followed through on that promise!

So we hung up, and lo and behold! Frank DID call me back. I was impressed. I guess if you lower expectations enough through poor service eventually your customers are grateful for whatever slivers of respect they can get!

The best Frank could do for me by then was an appointment on Tuesday, April 21st between 12 and 2. Time-Warner was looking better all the time, but I let the appointment stand.

Over that weekend my husband and I discussed the situation and finally came to a conclusion. It simply was wrong for us to go ahead and install services from AT&T at this point. AT&T no longer deserved our business and should not be rewarded for the way they had treated us this week.

On Monday I called AT&T one last time to cancel our appointment. This time I talked to someone named Terri. Terri went through the usual litany of how you all were so sorry to lose our business and was there anything they could do to win back our service? I told her that at this point there was nothing they could do to make me change my mind, but if they wanted to give us a month of free mobile phone service to make up for the inconveniences we had suffered, well that would be great. Strangely, Terri did not take me up on my suggestion. She did, however, really, really want to put me on hold. I decided to pass on that, and terminated our call.

I know this is a long letter, but it was a very long week for us. I honestly feel sorry for the many nice people I talked to at your company this week that tried so hard to help me but were stymied at every turn by what appears to be a broken system.

We are now happy and relieved to have all of our services installed by Time-Warner. Rest assured that if anyone asks me which cable/internet/digital phone provider I would recommend, I will be happy to tell them my story.

A copy of this letter will be going to the Austin-American Statesman, the Better Business Bureau of Austin, and to Angie’s List.


Lynn Nill


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A  23rd of Apr, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
service providers are limited in the Leander area, It's sudden idiots or At&T Neither one of them are worth a damn, the techs lie about the service and after its hooked up it does, nt work, AT&T internet (high speed) is ONE MAJOR JOKE!! Usually you can wait up to 30 minutes just to get it started and then you get a message that "not responding" That can last all day, and we don't get any billing credit for no service when they send out their bills. AT&T needs to stick with PHONE Svc, and nothing else, I wonder if AT&T U-Verse will be any better WHEN it becomes available in our area, We DO NOT recommend AT&T for any internet svc at this time.
A  29th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
Dear Lynn,
Be so very glad your experience ended as it did! Be happier still that you decided NOT to install it at all! Our story, like yours, seems almost laughable, if it weren't so infuriating!
We had ATT Uverse installed on March 11 - 6 hours out of my work day on that day. I was also told that "further outside work" would need done, etc, etc and that we wouldn't have a landline for up to 2 weeks, but that it was Time Warner's fault, as they "refused to release" our number (a lie I discovered later). After our trial week with ATT, the service was okay, so I called Time Warner to cancel with them. In my discussion with the TW tech, I discovered our landline was never "ported" by ATT, and so began my journey into ATT customer service HELL, a journey that has continued more than 2 months now. Along the way, I learned our bill would be nearly twiced what we were promised! Ultimately, after 4 hours on hold with ATT on Mar 17th, I decided to cancel ATT on Mar 18th, shipping our equipment back that same day. I was assured by a customer service MANAGER that we would NEVER receive a bill.
April 18th a bill arrives for $22.53 for the 7 days of service. I called ATT customer HELL again. Again, I'm told it would be taken care of, credited to my account, and again, I would not receive another bill.
All the while, we were getting calls daily from ATT about switching and mailers too!
On May 18th, I received a second bill! This one for $342.53! ATT was charging me for the equipment they claimed I didn't return and for the 7 days of service! I had returned the equipment via UPS, at a local store I frequently do business with, and had the tracking information for the shipment. I gave all of that information 3 times to ATT - via phone, via fax and via mail. I have yet to receive a credit - my balance is now $320.00 - for the equipment and taxes. (I was able to finally get the $22.53 credited)When I call customer HELL, I get the same sweet crap they're always serving - "we're taking care of it." I have to tell you all - slam the door when an ATT rep comes to your home, hang up the phone when they call, and trash their mailers. Tell all of your family and friends not to sign up, not to believe the lies! We need to expose this company for what it is and stop this from happening to millions across the country!
A  29th of May, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I suggest you do what we did - write a letter and send it to your local newspaper, to the CEO and District manager for AT&T Uverse, to Angie's List (worth the membership fee) and the BBB for your area. We DID get their attention after that and did get some compensation. They have a lot of work to do before they are an even remotely viable alternative for cable-internet-landline service, IMHO.
A  24th of Jun, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I cannot stand AT&T. Do not sign up for combined billing if you do get them, as a matter of fact do not sign up with them at all. They have messed our account up so many times it is unreal. We have even had our cell phones shut off as a result of it. We canceled because I had to move and they sent us a $933.00 bill. They said we did not pay the full amount and needed to cough up the money. After we got our cell phone acount straight we thought the nightmare was over, boy were we wrong. AT&T sent us to collections because they claim we did not send them the equipment. We sent the equipment in long ago and we do not even have the tracking information any more. I will dispute their claims on my credit report but, as a consumer, if they say you owe them money than you owe them money. What can you do?
N  16th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
lol, ... make that col :( ... this is so typical of AT&T and the Telcom industry in general aka former Bell Companies. I worked at Cingular/AT&T Wireless for three months, of living hell. After having suffered horrible indignity, the *attitude* you get from these ### that work at AT&T then makes sense. Basically, the people that work there do NOT like one another to say the least. There is absolutely NO cooperation between groups and employees for absolutely no concept for working together on anything even between one another within in their own groups. Calling it a hostel work environment puts it mildly. Civil War, minus the civil more appropriately describes the environment in which these people operate and thrive. If you think being a customer sucks, be glad you've never worked there. I loved the way the place the most obnoxious militant losers hired in security positions in order to fill EOE quotas. These ###s wield their new found power and live to harass everyone on their way in to their jobs by treating everyone other than *their friends* as terrorists. Think ghetto homeless meets airport security worker and you'll understand how a typical day begins at the Telcos. These ###s are then promoted, again to fill EOE quotas, to their infamous positions as customer dis-service aggravationists. AT&T deserves NO CUSTOMERS!
N  16th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
On another note ... while working at Cingular in a BA/IT position with authorized access to their database, I decided to check to make sure that everyone's SSN numbers were NOT visible via SQL query to the general internal IT population. I'm guessing you would not be surprised to learn that they were in fact NOT masked as they should have been and were visible to anyone with read only SQL access to the transaction database system, of which contract employees from ALL OVER THE GLOBE have access to, including mine from an old account. How heart warming it was to have found this out. While in a department staff meeting I mentioned the SSN visibility issue and received a gasp of astonishment by various PMs who had absolutely no clue what was going on at the data/application level. The solution was for me to add this to my plate to make sure it got resolved. Mind you my monthly calendar was completely booked, I was only a temp contract employee who had been there all of three weeks. AT&T is a completely broken organization. It will be fun seeing Goliath fall flat on it's face, which should be in the very near future.
N  16th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
OK, one last gripe from an unlimited vault of endless horror stories which all sound the same ... however, the only thing AT&T is affective and efficient at is reporting people to collection agencies!! They're responsible for the only bad mark I have on my credit history stemming from my son's cell phone on my account, which he canceled after the contract ended. Once again, EOE ghetto workers from airport security and collection agencies who staff AT&Ts customer dis-service departments could not solve the issue but was real affective and efficient at reporting it to a collection agencies! They're nothing but AT&THOLES!
D  29th of Jul, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
You know I read all these bad things about AT&T and how the customer service is bad, but you know who gets the sh it end of the deal the installers. I install U-verse and if we cannot get sinc at the prem or there is a high cap at youre home that is out of our hands. We do what we are trained to do. We schedule for an MST to come out and fix you're lines. Or we call for I&R to come out and replace the drop. After we put that ticket in they are supposed to contact customer service to reschedule you're install. I agree that there deffinatley needs to be another way of doing these rescheduled appointments. I can say that out of 1000 customers who got U-verse only 300 had to cancel due to problems with the lines or to far from the bbox. Other then that they love it. Just because customer service is screwed up you really should give U-verse a chance. I have installed U-verse into many many homes and all of my customers love the service. It May be a pain in the butt to deal with customer service, but after U-verse is installed I have rarely had any customer say they do not like the service. So before you go bashing at&t you really should think twice before you go bashing something you have never tried. One more thing if the tech has been out to you're home get there business card then you can call them directly. Would save you the headache of calling customer service.


A  14th of Sep, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I wish I had read these complaints before we went through the Exact same thing with ATTT Uverse. Once we finally got it installed I have to say they could ( or would not) run the router to the place we keep our desktop computer-so it runs wireless ( we keep having to unplug the wireless modem and plug it back in for lack of signal) My son keeps losing his signal on his XBox which is just down the hallway. As if this isn't enough-my billing was supposed to be $119 for TV and internet combine ( which is high compared to others but was supposed to be much better) When I signed up I was to get the fiberoptics-but I got copper instead ( but no break on the price). I signed up for FREE installation and $200 cash back with NO contract. Good thing. I just got my first bill today and it was double what they quoted. Of course you never get through to a live person with ATT for customer service either. We are going back to Dish Network! ATT SUCKS!!!
A  9th of Dec, 2009 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
My husband came across your article and thought I had written it, our experience was very similar to yours. ATT also needed to do work outside, the technician spent over 5 hours at our house, could not get us connected. In addition, and this was the most painful issue, ATT failed to port our phone number from TWC, and so they gave us a temporary number, they failed I believe a total of 4 times, each time we had to wait 5 days, no way around it they said, it took over a month for us to get service, we spent HOURS on hold, got hung up on numerous times, got put through to the wrong department, again and again to finally complete the loop by ending up with the same department we had gotten through initially (like 45 min earlier !)... It went on and on so many times, we figured we spent several business days on the phone with AT&T.

When they finally got us connected, the service was not what we ordered, the on-demand we wanted for our daughter (which was the main reason we had selected ATT U-verse) was no longer available on the U-Verse we had ordered. First I was told it was due to network difficulties, the on-demand was temporarilt malfunctioning, wait 3-4 days they said, I did and then was told the cartoons were just no longer available unless we upgraded - i.e. pay more money each month. It felt like bait and switch ! We got a free upgrade for a few months.

I have to admit, each time we got credits, but really what we wanted was to receive the service we had ordered and pay our bill accordingly. After ATT successfully ported our home number, they kept charging us for 2 lines for approx. 4 months, I had to call them every month and go over the whole thing, "please dont charge me for an additional line I never ordered and you imposed on us as a temporary fix".

Another sore point : we ordered our service on the internet, got free installation, but of course got charged for it. The customer service agent stated they dont know of internet offers and have no way of checking ! It was a hassle, their personnel should have knowledge of ATT offers...VERY BASIC

I think our first bill was something like $200 higher than it should have been, there were so many mistakes I felt dizzy.

Even if everyone tried to help us, the business processes were simply not in place, they couldn't get it right because it wasn't set up right. We -the customer- paid the price, spent so much time on the phone, mostly on hold, that I am sure if we charged ATT for our time, they would owe us a good chunk of money !
A  8th of Jan, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
We also signed up for the Uverse bundle of phone, internet and cable...bad ideal. They kept applying our bills to our original AT&T phone bill, than disconnecting our service for down payment which required a $45.00 reconnection fee for EACH service! They kept telling us that it was our fault even though it was paid on the bill that was sent! Finally we threw in the towel and cancelled! The next day we took the equipment to the local UPS office to ship back. Thank goodness we kept the tracking forms because a month later they send us a bill for over $900.00!! After hours on the Phone with AT&T, they finally tell us everything is cleared. Only to be sent a letter from a Collection agency the next month! After two calls, where they actually tracked the shipment themselves through UPS, they even found that the bill was an error and told us that they were clearing it on their end and would remove it from the credit record. So by now, its been two months and we thought everything was set, we open the mail and low and behold there sits a letter from a NEW collection agency for over $900.00...what next?
N  13th of May, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes

i called in on an problem about certain charges was billed on my statement and i called and spoked t o terry,
she said since your phone has been checked it was o.k. you are responsible for all the calls, i told her i didn't make the call to boston, i'm the only one that live here. (reply) still its from your phone (.66 charges) i ask her what can you do for me, (her reply) the call was made from your phone. i was angry and told her i want to talk to her surperviser, (reply) she would say the same thing, we are all trained to do what surpose to do ! i told her i'll will close my phone ( her reply) we have to charged you ten dollars more for hsi express. i called back ask to speak to a surperviser and they told me it will take 24 hrs. to get back to me. now, its 5-13-10 and the time i have call in was 5-6-10, is this customer service !!


sherman lee
281 juana ave #205
san leandro, ca 94577
A  7th of Oct, 2010 by 
Agree Disagree +1 Votes
AT&T and Uverse in particular are customer service hell. I had their service two years agao and cancelled it when I moved out of state. I returned a modem/gateway and TV boxes to them by their return shipping UPS label and boxes. Then I began to recieve bills for missing equipment...six months later. I called customer un-service and got the run around. I gave them the shipping numbers and they said they would look into it, blah, blah blah... No further communications after that, so I figured it was solved. Six months after that collections agencies start calling about an AT&T bill... By this time I had moved from an apartment and purchased a home in my new city and could no longer find the file of paperwork with the shipping information. I'm still dealing with these idiots and am so mad I can't even begin to explain.

Funny enough I have a friend who had the exact same experience with them but did luckily manage to have the tracking information for AT&T...and had to send it to them - keep in mind that this is a return on THEIR shipping account and they have no records of anything nor can any service rep look it up.

Never do business with AT&T or Uverse they are a customer service hell.
N  1st of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I called AT&T Uverse tonight, and I waited on hold for quite some time, which is ridiculous in the first place. I spoke to a very, very rude customer service representative named Farah (6/30/11 @9:30pm). She asked me some questions to validate my account, and although I answered the question right, she would not let me order HBO because it was my 3rd answer. I can't even imagine what kind of idiot put a policy in place that would prevent a customer from SPENDING MORE MONEY???? I asked her to speak to a supervisor, but instead, she transferred me back into the queue. If I did not have a contract, I would absolutely cancel my account. If you are interested in a company that pays minimum wage and hires people that nobody else will hire, AT&T is your company. company with the clients?
N  1st of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Maybe the idiots AT & T didn't hire work for Cricket! Where is the consumer protection in this USA??? Bought off???? It's disgusting, especially in this economy where every dollar counts...we are continually victimized and no one is listening!!!
A  1st of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
I was going to call AT&T to get rid of Cricket...now I think I'll just go buy a set of Walkie-Talkies and forget it!!
A  1st of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
Maybe the idiots AT & T didn't hire work for Cricket! Where is the consumer protection in this US??? It's disgusting, especially in this economy where every dollar counts...we are continually victimized and no one is listening!!!
A  1st of Jul, 2011 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
This is why we all have to unite and fight back. If all the victims gathered their over charges and compiled them into a single figure we could have a nice class action law suit against these guys. The way I see it these guys are screwing everyone, why should we have to over pay on services. This is absurd it is like going to a store and seeing that something is 20% off on the label but then when you get to the register you to buy it you find out you have to pay full price. The only difference in the analogy is that at a store, you can leave the product and walk away. With service providers you have to pay a cancellation fee. This is none sense, we all should file our complaints with the consumer rights lawyers on Scam Book. They are suing BidRack right now, it looks like 500 (and growing) people might actually see their refund.

Check out this article: http://www.scambook.com/blog/2011/06/bidrack-class-action-lawsuit-filed/

Consumer protection is up to the consumer, the way I see it. If you don't do anything about it, it will keep happening. If you take action and fight back, you might win, you might lose. If the consumer wins, they will find a new way to scam us. If the consumer loses, they keep doing it. It is a never ending cycle, this is why websites like https://www.complaintsboard.com and scambook.com exist.
A  8th of May, 2012 by 
Agree Disagree 0 Votes
AT&T has enormous Customer Service problems. Reps are limited in their ability to handle a problem, or send it up the chain of command.
AT&T expects the customer to resolve their own problem and do all the legwork. Hours of holding, being disconnected, transferred, questioned repeatedly over the same information, etc...are problems that lead to extreme frustration on the part of the consumer.

I'm contacting the BBB in my area, and am so frustrated with this company that I'm calling to cancel my service.

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