Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Love (?) AT&T

Well, that was an exercise in extreme patience and almost futility.
I just spent over an hour on the line with AT&T trying to straighten out something I should have taken care of over a year ago.
Yes, that's right, a year ago.
Back shortly after we moved into the new apartment, Gak and I got new phones. I forget the whole story, but for whatever reason we couldn't transfer Gak's old number to a new phone. Something having to do with the AT&T/Cingular merger. Anyhow, we were able to keep mine (thankfully!), but this whole thing required us to close out the old account and open up a new one with my number and Gak's new number. No big deal. My bills have been automatically billed to the credit card. I noticed two bills each month from AT&T, but as the company was paying, I kept saying "I'll take care of this next week." Well, next week finally came. (I'm truly embarrassed at how long this took me...)
What really prompted this is Gak's phone started acting up yesterday (it's better today) and I figured I should probably get all this straightened out.
I called the 800 number given to me online on my account. I even got to talk to a real, live human being pretty quickly. It all went downhill after that.
Once I got through to him that my number is actually on two accounts he transferred me to his manager because he couldn't find the second account. I then had to repeat the entire story to the new guy. He did find the second account, but it was on the "old" billing system. He then transferred me to some chicky who talked too fast who was on the "old" system because he could only access the "new" system. So, yet again I have to try and explain everything. She muddles her way through for a bit and then transfers me to another woman. Well, it turns out that this woman was also on the "new" system. I almost didn't find that out in time. I almost accidentally got Gak's new number canceled! Eeep! He would not have appreciated that.
Well, she transfers me to another woman. Yes, that's right, this is person number 5 that I've talked to. She quickly figures out she can't help me. I'm trying very hard not to loose my cool at this point. I mean, I worked customer support for power plants for 4.5 years and have been traveling with the wonderful airlines for the last 3. I know a lot of these problems aren't their faults, they can only do what their systems tell or let them.
I have to remind myself of this several times.
This woman was nice enough to stay on the line with me while she connects me to person number 6. Person number 6 makes sure she understands what's going on and I double check to make sure she's talking about the right account. By now all kinds of numbers are getting mixed up in my head and I can't read my own writing any more. (Not like it's that great to begin with...) I'm pretty sure it was this 6th person that was finally able to cancel my old account.
This whole adventure took over an hour.
It's a good thing I'm not overly busy at work.
Of course, I hang up the phone and about 5 seconds later Gak calls to tell me he's still at work and to pick him up there. I relay the outline of the adventure and he just groans.
All this because we need to get Gak a new phone soon.
And from what I've heard, AT&T has slightly above average customer service for the cell companies. At least everyone I dealt with was polite and I'm pretty sure were native English speakers. (Hey, I have nothing against someone in India or elsewhere being support, if I can understand them, and they can understand me. They've got people just as bright, if not brighter, than people here... I don't care who helps me, but I shouldn't have to ask them to repeat themselves 10 times to understand they told me to reboot the computer.)
Well, I'm going to get a few emails sent out and turn off my brain and go home.
Peace to all and may your phone bills be simple, and your customer service needs few.

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