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AT&T Customer Service = Oxymoron

Today, the AT&T cell site serving my home went down completely: No Service on both iPhones. It was down for about 4 hours. So much for my consulting work today.

I went online to find out if I could report the outage. After 5 minutes of searching a very badly designed AT&T web site, I found the email contact form. Like most such systems, none of the choices apply (presumably a mandatory design requirement for any large company), so I chose the one that said my iPhone didn’t work. It’s the AT&T network that was the problem, but the inane support system offers no such choice.

When your phone won’t work, call us on your phone!

You can’t make this stuff up. What about online chat or real customer support? Maybe I need a Verizon phone so I can call AT&T when theirs won’t work.

AT&T web site: if the phone doesn’t work, call us to talk about it!

Auto erase user feedback

So in an incredibly naive attempt at getting some kind of support, I thought I’d send an email to AT&T. One gets this lovely toy box to type in.

AT&T web site: typing anything immediately erases it

Except that typing anything into the box immediately erases it (Safari web browser).

Well, expecting a response was a fantasy anyway, so the box is no doubt functioning as designed. Maybe it’s worth patenting.

Later, several pages back, I noticed this little nugget, as in rabbit droppings:
AT&T to 10 million Mac/iPad/iPhone users: get lost!

Someone should let AT&T know that 10 million or so iPhone users run Safari, and that no one runs Internet Explorer on an iPhone or iPad, and next to no-one on a Mac. But they probably know just how much it saves them in support costs to not rock the boat.

Marketing adds the final insult

Adding insult to injury, vice president Terry Stenzel at AT&T sends out puffball letters every so often about how AT&T is improving 3G service. Except that I’m still on the decrepit AT&T Edge network for 7 years now, almost a year after I was informed of the great new AT&T 3G service in my ’hood.


I finally gave in and used my flaky AT&T landline (I didn’t say I wasn’t stubborn). It’s a very poor connection full of static, but a polite and friendly AT&T representative gave me enough information to hope for a 5pm resolution, and service was indeed restored after a 4 hour outage.

Next day

AT&T killed my voice mail password the next day (worked for the past year!). So I had to call AT&T to have it reset. The representative said she took 3-4 calls a day because the system just reset things on its own. I'm not sure that's true in general, but it sure happened to me. But the reset not only reset my password, but nuked my voice mail greeting, so I had to redo that also.

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