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ATT Customer Service:  No, you haven't resolved my issue
My home internet connection is down, again.  It won't work.  Little red and green blinky lights on the modem, just like last week.  They had assured me that everything was fine and working then, so this week's outage was, of course, a complete surprise.   Last week was a total customer service cluster fuck.   Three phone calls to three different departments and here's what I learned. 
 If you open a service ticket for static on the line and one for a jacked up DSL connection, ATT won't address the DSL issue until the line ticket clears.   So, if they run a line test and everything is okay but they keep the line ticket open 'just in case', guess what?  You'll never get your DSL ticket worked on because the line ticket shows as 'open' in the system.  

But they only tell you that when you call back to ask why no one's been out to the house to check the DSL.

I know...who knew.   You'd think that's the kind of thing a customer service agent would tell you in the interest of good customer service, but what do I know?  I'm just the customer.  In a way, I feel sorry for that poor script-reading jackoff who took my call.  When ATT calls to find out how they did I'm going to destroy that poor bastard.

Which brings us to last night.  The DSL is down again.  Understand that my job requires a working knowledge of internet connectivity, modems, phone jacks and other cabling basics.  I can't punch down a phone line, but I can pick the tools out of a lineup. I know enough to turn everything off, check the cables, turn everything back on, try different filters on the line, change cables, check the power cords, go outside the house and plug into the d-mark and see if there's static on the line, etc. etc. etc.

Only then do I call ATT customer service because navigating the prompts, while not difficult, is a pain in the ass.

"I'm sorry, I do not recognize 'anal rape'.  Would you like to speak with billing."

And so it goes.

Last night I called ATT DSL customer service, waded through the prompts, stared at my modem, told the ATT voice that my problem wasn't resolved thinking that that would connect me to an agent.  Instead, the system did something unexpected.  It told me to hang up, reset my modem, restart my PC, and check my cables and see if that worked.  If not, then I was free to call back within the next 24 hours, good bye.

Since I've had enough experience NOT to fall for that, I said 'AGENT' (Yes, I said it in all caps)  and was promptly connected to 'Rob' who sounded every bit like an extra from 'Outsourced'.   I've been to Indian restaurants, what I heard in the background was exactly what I hear from the kitchen of the New Delhi Deli. 

Which is to say that out of our 15 minute conversation, all I could only understand were the words 'Rob', 'ATT' and...and...that was it.


(On a side note, I wish the customer service agents in these overseas call centers would use their real names instead of Western names.   We all know our calls are being routed somewhere foreign, just call yourself 'Gupta' or 'Sanjay' or whatever your name really is.   I find it insulting  when someone tells me they're 'Bob' from 'Meesheeegan', yet can't name the city they're from!!  Guess what?  The 'Middle' isn't a town, Bob.  What a way to build trust with your customers.  Lie to them from the start.  I'm sure a consultant told ATT that their customers would be more accepting if we heard Western names when we reached one of these overseas call centers. Not me.  Whenever 'Sally' comes on the line, and I know she's not in Wichita, all kinds of quasi-racist shit comes to mind and I'm LESS receptive.  It doesn't help that I've wasted 10 minutes of my life navigating ATT's voice-prompts, which I'm pretty sure are some kind of leftover Nazi machination.   If ATT is worried about backlash from moving the call center to Calcutta, don't move it start with!  Now, man up and put Rajeev back on the line!)

So I plow my way through this conversational death march to the end, and as we're about to place the service order, Rob asks me if I have any other problems, I say yes, the line is static-y to which he happily responds.

'Oh!  Static on the line!!  That is most probably your problem!!  Let me connect you with the line department to solve your issue.'

And puts me on hold.

The next voice is tired and female and stuck somewhere in the midwest.   She tests the line and tells me that everything is fine.  She suggests I wait a while, then check to see if the problem clears.  If it hasn't, she says I can call DSL support in the morning.  They'll be more than happy to schedule something for tomorrow.

It's now about 11pm.  I've been on the phone for 45 minutes.  I wait 10 minutes and  check my modem.   The lights are still blinking.   These fuckers are worthless.

Day 2:  Same as before.  I slog though the prompts, route back to India, play another 45 minutes of  'Blinky the Modem', and then FINALLY get to place my service call.  

'Will you be home between 8-12?'

'No.  I have a job.  But if the tech can call my contact number when they're in route, I'll get home to meet them."

'Well, sir.  We don't do that.'

And then I exploded.  I went NUCLEAR!  You see, I deal with ATT and service techs and repairmen all the time through work.   No one, not even ATT, has had a problem calling me when they were on their way.

'Excuse me?  Did you just say you didn't do that?  Are you sure?  You did it last week when I called on this very same issue.  You did it two weeks ago for my work...on a SATURDAY!  When did you change the policy?  Yesterday?  Did ATT finally decide that customers no longer fit into the long range business plan?  Do you figure if the customer service experience is REALLY awful, we'll all go to the internet to solve our problems?  Let me see, why didn't I do it this time....Oh yes, BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE THE INTERNET TO GO TO!!!  IT'S BROKE!!! '

And that's when I got transferred to the scheduling department, which is apparently somewhere in Mexico.  

So. In short, I'll be expecting my call from the good people at ATT tomorrow sometime between 8-12. 

If not, I guess I'll be calling TimeWarner tomorrow between 12:01 and 4.

Follow up:

My DSL has been repaired.  It took several visits and a call from the LOCAL dispatch office to get it done.  They only called because no one was home to meet the service tech, twice.   Something both I and Nostradamus predicted would happen without a heads up phone call to the homeowner.

Long and the short of it, I'm way at the end of the line so my DSL errors out.  To fix it, it has been suggested that I :

1 - Downgrade to a lower class of products which might be more stable, so basically cut my connection speed in half, but have it work twice as long.

2 - Upgrade to U-Verse.   The tech says it'd be no problem.  The Cabinet (connections) is not that far from my house.  I get mailings for it every other month, so I looked into it online this afternoon...  and found out that ATT can't find my house.

Posted in: Gonzo

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