August 21, 2008

ATT You Have The Wrong Number

I’m on hold with AT&T – for the last 50 minutes! For the 10th time! Ahhh for the simple days before someone invented the on-hold message, “Thank-you for continuing to hold. Your call is very important to us. A representative will be with you shortly”.

I’m thinking that if someone came up with how-to learn a new language while waiting, or certification in CPR or a refund on the monthly bill for every minute one had to wait, there would be far less exasperated people running late the rest of the day.

It started with a letter from AT&T informing us that as a “special reward for your loyalty” we could get a great price if we would bundle our numerous communication devices we have through them. With up to $200 CASH BACK. And, this one wasn’t just for new customers!

The first time I called and miracle of miracles, there was no delay. I discovered the reason we don’t have the best “bundle” is because some of the services are in my name (cell-phones and wireless internet) and the others are in Jim’s name (landline phone and land-line internet). Of course they won’t ‘bundle” these without one of us giving up our name and letting all the services be in one name. That was three days ago and numerous 800-numbers ago!

Of course, they won’t just switch them over without speaking directly to Jim who is at work and not in a position to wait on hold for hours at a time. They finally agreed (three-days ago) to call him at work and get his okay while I was on the line. I waited until they came back on line and said Jim told them he couldn’t make an outside call. What? He didn’t need to call anyone! And, he knew I was going to be working on this, so why the confusion?

I hung up (from my ‘almost to the finish-line’ call) and placed a call to Jim at work. Yeah, slightly irritated. “So, why did you tell AT&T you couldn’t make an outside call? I was THIS CLOSE to getting the special offer!”

“My phone hasn’t rang in hours. I’ve been sitting here putting a report together. I haven’t talked to anyone,” he replied in his usual calm matter-of-fact voice.

As I said, that happened three days ago. I didn’t have any more time on my day off to spend on this foolishness.

This morning (my next day off) I started again. Pulling out the notes from three days ago. I called the last number that had been given to me. The guy pleasantly said he hoped he could help me, but alas, it wasn’t in his job description. He transferred me to yet another number - which is where I’m getting older by the minute as I wait.

YES! YES! She finally answers after over an hour wait.

PAUSE while I talk to this lady whose name I can’t pronounce.

I’m BACK… Miss Sparkles has informed me that she is very sorry but this request is “too complicated”.

“I have some responsibility, but you need advanced responsibility,” Miss Sparkles explains as she promises to be quick as she forwards me to yet another number. But before she clicks off, I scream (almost). “No wait! What number are you transferring me to? I want to make sure it’s on my list of places I’ve already been rejected.”

I quickly review my notes. 1-877-722-3755. 1-800-288-2020. 1-800-660-2626. 1-866-266-1292. 1-866-671-8016. 1-866-722-7500. 1-888-274-9056. 1-800-331-0500. 1-866-378-0041.

The number 1-888-274-9056 is a new one, but she assures me that if I want her to wait on the line, she will explain to this department what I need so there will be no confusion.

“Please tell me the words I should say in case we get cut off,” I beg and she repeats what she read to me earlier. I also give her our home phone number in case we get lost from each other and she can call me back.

“Tell them you need to make a change name of responsibility and after that you want all services combined with that bill,” she instructs clearly.

Guess what. The number rings and I hear a recording. “For Ohio, press 4”. I wait a moment in the silence that follows. “Are you still there?” I ask quietly.


So I press 4 for Ohio.

At least I’m not listening to a monotone voice assuring me that my call is important to them for hours this time. The gentleman who answers cheers my mind because he sounds like someone who knows what he’s doing.

I explain in the professional AT&T language what I need. Guess again! While polite and apologetic for my acute discomfort and frustration, says he cannot help me until my husband gives permission to put some services into his name.

“Is he there?” Mr. Politeness asks.

“No he works 5-days a week and he can’t stay at home just to be on hold for AT&T” I respond with a shaky voice that is close to tears. “They tried to call him the other day, but called the wrong number. Can you call and get his permission while I wait?”

He says HE can’t do that. “I’m sorry you’ve been bounced around like this. I don’t know why they didn’t give you the right number. You need to call 1-800-660-1000.”

“You know what. Just forget it. I’m not calling another fricken number. I’ll pay $50 a month more just to be rid of AT&T fools who have no idea how to assist a “loyal customer”. I don’t even want your “special reward”.

At that, Mr. Charming reached into his customer satisfaction bag of tricks and offered to send a letter that my husband could sign.

“Just follow the simple instructions and we’ll take care of this for you. We’ll fix this as soon as we get the letter. I’m sorry you are so upset. Is there anything else we can do for you?” he asks calmly and gentlemanly (from his cheat-sheet.).

“Anything else? You haven’t done anything yet. No thank-you. Just send the letter.”

Speaking of letters………. We haven’t gotten our IRS incentive check yet……….

Take Care on the Journey,




Anonymous said...

Linda- sounds like my phone calls with health insurance/providers! You forgot my favorite tactic though- "May I speak with YOUR manager?" I always ask that over and over again- until I get someone with enough clout to do something! I sure hope you get your discount after all of that!! -Buffy

Katy said...

Yikes, that sounds really really frustrating! I'm sorry you had to go through that.
I got a "special" offer lately for loyal customers of Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I've been a subscriber for years and they offered me a year's subscription for $28. I looked through the newest magazine and look there, a year's subscription for $4 less! I waited a while and soon there was an ad for $24 for MS Living AND Everyday Foods. I'm very glad I didn't buy the first offer that came my way!
Maybe if you hold out you'll get a better offer with less headaches. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

I am a business in Canada and AT&T keeps transfering there calls to us. When i called At&T it took me an hour to get through to someone and they HUNG up on me. I could not believe it. I tried back and the same lady hung up on me again. VERY BAD SERVICE!