Late last week, I started experiencing some connection difficulties through my AT&T U-verse internet package, something the rep at the time assured me would be easy to fix. We scheduled an appointment for sometime between 4 and 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 27, with a promise to call about an hour before arriving to allow me to get home for the technician.
I should have known things wouldn’t end well when the tech, Nathan, called at 1:30 p.m. to say he’s on his way.
As I explained that he was quite premature in our scheduled time, he said the problem likely existed in a cable outside so it’s doubtful he’d even need to access my house. Sounds great, I told him. Check it out, and call me with any questions.
Around 3, he left a message saying the problem was fixed in the cable and that he’d leave a note in my mailbox.
At the time, I was willing to overlook that federal offense, seeing how I didn’t have to be home between the broad hours of 4-8. By the time I got home, though, it was clear that wasn’t the only personal space that had been invaded.
I received an email from AT&T alerting me to a request for a password change to my online account, which struck me as rather odd considering I hadn’t made such a request. I called customer service, and as I was on the phone, I realized there might be a connection between Nathan’s earlier visit and the password request. I explained the visit, and after some research, the rep told me that Nathan had indeed changed a password to access my account in order to downgrade my service.
Oh, and I had authorized exactly none of this.
So, I call Nathan, who answers all chipper and gleeful, just like a man who had no idea he’d violated my privacy. I asked if he changed my password. He confirmed that he had because of BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. In fairness, the reason was because my home was too far from Some Technical Jargon, thus preventing me from getting the internet speed I was currently paying for each month. As nice of that is of him, it’s simply not his business to do anything to my account without my express authorization. I told Nathan our conversation was over, he was to never work at my house again, nor was he to ever monkey with my account for any reason whatsoever.
I then called his boss, who didn’t answer, so I left an urgent message.
He never called back.
I again tried AT&T’s customer service, only to be told by one person that I could, in fact, access the faster service, while another person sided with Nathan and said I could not.
Clearly, AT&T has it together on this.
Frustrated with a lack of anything resembling competency, I opted for the online chat options. The transcript, edited only to remove personal information, is as follows:
AT&T product specialists are happy to assist you with your questions. Click below to begin your live text chat.
Info: Hello and welcome to AT&T, my name is Kathy S. I’d be happy to assist you in setting up services. To get started, please provide me with the complete address where you would like to connect service.
Kathy S.: Hello, how may I assist you today?
Kevin: I’m wanting to find out what U-Verse internet options are available at XXXXXX, XXXXX.
Kathy S.: I see in your survey that you currently subscribe to AT&T services. Thank you for being a valued AT&T customer and for providing me with your address.
Kathy S.: I can help you check the availability of U-verse Internet service at your address, Kevin!
Kathy S.: To clarify, will you be moving your U-verse service to this address?
Kevin: No, I’m currently at this address and need to know what is available
Kevin: i need to know the speed options
Kathy S.: Sure thing! At your address, AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet is offered in the following speed tiers: • Pro – download speed: up to 3.0Mbps/up to 1Mbps upload speed • Elite – download speed: Up to 6.0Mbps/ up to 1Mbps upload speed • Basic – download speed: Up to 768Kbps/ up to 384Kbps upload speed • Express – download speed: Up to 1.5Mbps/ up to 384Kbps upload speed
Kevin: so, to be clear, the Elite service IS available?
Kathy S.: Yes, we do offer Elite Internet at this address.
Kathy S.: Would you like a price quote for Elite Internet?
Kevin: Well, see, I currently have the Elite. However, a technician came out today and said it’s NOT available and therefore downgraded my account. Without my authorization, I might add
Kathy S.: Thank you for being a valued U-verse customer! My chat group does not have access to your account information or the ability to access your records. We have a special team who can assist you online. May I transfer this chat to an agent who can best assist you?
Kevin: I’m about to actually cancel the account because of changes that were made to my account without my permission.
Kevin: What can be done to change my mind?
Kathy S.: We have a team that has access to your account and can give you possible options. Would you mind holding while I transfer you to them?
Kathy S.: Thank you for chatting with me, please hold.
Please wait while I transfer you to an operator at AT&T Support.
You are now chatting with ‘Matt K’ at AT&T Support.
Matt K: Hi, I’m sorry for any delay in reaching me. I see that you have been speaking to another representative. Please allow me a moment to review your previous conversation and I will be happy to assist you further.
Matt K: I’ll be right with you.
Matt K: Thank you so much for waiting.
Matt K: Hello Kevin, I do understand that you have a concern with the speed since Elite is available in your area, however the technician downgraded with out your authorization. Is that correct?
Kevin: That is correct
Kevin: The information I’m provided is that my connection is “far from the server.”
Kevin: However, this has NEVER been brought to my attention before, nor have I had any problems.
Matt K: Thank you for confirming.
Matt K: I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.
Kevin: 2. The change was done without my authorization.
Kevin: 3. He changed my password without my authorization.
Kevin: So, at this point, I’m going to cancel my service unless ATT gives me a good reason to stay.
Matt K: We really value your business with us.
Matt K: I am sorry to hear that you want to cancel the service since some changes have been made with out your authorization.
Matt K: If I relate to myself, I can understand the importance of the issues you’ve and we ‘re here to fix the issue for you.
Kevin: In what ways? I’ve been at this for an hour on the phone already, and frankly, I’m through
Matt K: I am really sorry for the trouble you’d. First let me check the speed available in your address as well the details.
Matt K: I can also help you with reset the password for you since you’ve a concern with the password change with out your authorization.
Matt K: In order to protect your private information, please provide the passcode on your U-verse account. This is a (blanK)-digit numeric passcode that you established for account security.
Matt K: Perfect!
Matt K: I am checking the details for you.
Matt K: Thank you so much for waiting and I really appreciate your patience.
Matt K: I see that Elite 6mbps speed is available in your address, however, the changes has been made and the technician downgraded to 3mbps.
Matt K: We do apologize for the mistakes from our part that made you unhappy. We are committed to our valued customers like you and are taking immediate corrective steps to regain your confidence in us.
Matt K: I’ll upgrade your Internet speed to 6mbps as well pass the information to our higher department regarding the technician done with out your autherization.
Matt K: *authorization
Matt K: I always make sure my customers are aware of their options and also check to see if they are getting the right value for what they are paying.
Matt K: I will also help you with reset the password for you. Since you’ve a concern with password changes made by the technician.
Matt K: Is that okay for you?
Kevin: I don’t need help with the password
Kevin: i can do that
Kevin: but right now, there’s no need because i plan on leaving
Kevin: TimeWarner has an internet package for the 3 mbps speed of $35/month.
Kevin: Can that be matched?
Matt K: I do understand that you’ve a concern with the price and you’ve got a better deal from another provider.
Matt K: We value your business with us and we do not want to miss you from our U verse family.
Matt K: So that I can get the same speed of 6mbps as help you with the price concern.
Matt K: We have a dedicated customer relation department and I can help you with your request to get the assistance from our higher department.
Kevin: How long will this take? I need to leave.
Kevin: I just need a yes/no at this point
Matt K: yes, we can definitely help you with this.
Kevin: What will my monthly price be?
Matt K: I can assure that our higher department will not let you go for the price concern.
Kevin: So when will i be notified of the new price? I absolutely have to go now.
Matt K: Currently you’ve 3 mbps with a monthly charge of $46.00 and I’ve upgraded with the same monthly charge.
Kevin: The technician says the 6 isn’t available, which is part of the problem in the first place.
Matt K: I see that it’s available in your address and I’ve upgraded.
Matt K: If you’ve any concern with the speed, I can connect you to our technical department.
Kevin: I literally just got off the phone with an ATT tech who says that information is incorrect.
Kevin: Just forget it.
Kevin: I’m tired of the runaround.
Kevin: I’ve not been given one consistently honest answer this entire day from ATT, and that’s disturbing.
Kevin: I’ll go to TimeWarner for the $35.
Matt K: If I relate to myself, I can understand the irritation.
Kevin: I’m now finished with this chat.
Matt K: I can get the price for you with the higher speed.
Matt K: We do not want to loose a loyal customer.
Kevin: I don’t know how many times I can tell you this, BUT THE HIGHER SPEED IS NOT AVAILABLE
Kevin: that is the problem that started all this
Kevin: it’s why i had to make the call
Kevin: i’ve talked with no less than four techs today
Matt K: I do understand that, Please I request you to check the speed after 30 minutes.
Matt K: If you do not get the speed of 6mbps let us know.
Kevin: so i’m saving a whopping $5/month. wow. please, ATT, do not be so generous
Kevin: your service technician changed my account without my permission
Kevin: he tried to change my password without my permission
Kevin: and you offer me a lousy $5 savings?
Matt K: I do understand that.
Kevin: then you will understand that i’m finished.
Matt K: I can also help you with a credit of $10.00 for your current bill.
Kevin: i would rather get the $35/month service at TimeWarner
Matt K: As well get the better promotion to lower your future bill.
Kevin: i have to go. at this point, it’s either $35/month or nothing
Matt K: Before taking any decision, I request you to talk with our higher department to get more promotion to lower the bill.
Kevin: i don’t have time for that
Kevin: I. Have. To. Go.
Kevin: someone from the “higher department” is welcome to call me after 6:30 p.m.
Kevin: my number is with my account.
Matt K: FOr better assistance let me transfer you to my manger for getting the promotion.
Kevin: Can you not follow me?
Kevin: I HAVE TO (expletive deleted) LEAVE (note: I actually typed “expletive deleted” in the chat)
Kevin: I cannot be on here any longer
Please wait while I transfer the chat to Ryan K.
You are now chatting with Ryan K.
Kevin: jesus h and a handbag
Kevin: i have to leave
Kevin: I suggest you read through the message and then call me after 6:30 p.m.
Kevin: do you understand?
Ryan K: Hello Kevin.
Ryan K: As we are from the chat department we don’t have the access to call from our office.
Kevin: then yes or no: will you honor the $35/month?
Kevin: i need the answer asafp
Kevin: i’ve death with ATT stooges far too long this afternoon thanks to a technician who changed things (including my password) without my authorization.
Ryan K: I am really sorry I will not be able to get you service for $35 plus taxes.
Kevin: OK. I am really not sorry that I will be leaving to a company that will not violate my personal information.
Kevin: Thanks for wasting a significant chunk of my afternoon for nothing.
Kevin: This ranks among the worst customer service I’ve experienced.
Ryan K: I am really sorry you feel that way.
Kevin: You allowed a technician to change my account and my password yet the best you can do to try to make it better is $5/month.
Kevin: That’s laughable.
Ryan K: If I had an option, then I would have done that.
Kevin: You would have done what?
Kevin: Taken the whopping $5/month?
Kevin: Right now, knowing I’m leaving and am beyond angry, what is the absolute best ATT can do to both apologize for this outrageous violation of personal space from the technician and to make it right with a monthly savings?
Ryan K: Thank you for waiting. I’ll be with you in just a moment.
Ryan K: Kevin, monthly charges that we bill are based on the charges approved by FCC. As I am from the billing department I don’t have the access to add any other offers on your account to lower the monthly charges.
Kevin: So i waited all this time for nothing?
Kevin: please see the earlier conversation: Great communication, fast payment. StrotherK’s Comics is a fan!
Kevin: Matt K: Before taking any decision, I request you to talk with our higher department to get more promotion to lower the bill. Kevin: i don’t have time for that Kevin: I. Have. To. Go. Kevin: someone from the “higher department” is welcome to call me after 6:30 p.m. Kevin: my number is with my account. Matt K: FOr better assistance let me transfer you to my manger for getting the promotion.
Kevin: i take it you aren’t the “higher department”
Ryan K: Kevin, if would like to check on the option to lower the charges I would request you to contact the customer relations department. They only have the access to add any offers on your account to lower the monthly charges.
Kevin: i’ve wasted enough time on this tonight. you have been useless and a complete and total waste of time.
Kevin: THEN WHY IN THE HOLY EFF WAS I TRANSFERRED TO YOU?
Kevin: you all are a bunch of incompetent nincompoops.
At this point, because poor customer service is something I can only tolerate to an extent, I ended the chat. It’s worth noting that four hours later, none of my phone calls to the regional office have been returned, and multiple phone calls to the corporate customer service end as soon as the rep, after listening to my complaint, says “So to make sure I understand, you are concerned because you can’t access your email?” No, not even in the slightest.
I’m currently mulling all my options, including giving AT&T (and Nathan’s boss) a reasonable chance to apologize and/or make things right. In the meantime, if you’re an AT&T customer, keep a close eye on your accounts if you have a technician visit. And if it’s Nathan who shows up, I highly recommend you telling him to leave immediately.