Friday, May 13, 2011

AT&T Wireless vs. AT&T U-verse; Service Faux Pas

Service – Noun or Verb?
It’s not often I vent my personal woes publicly.  Ok, so not as often as I could.  But this is worth the read, my friends, I promise.  Full of drama, angst, and (thankfully) joy and satisfaction.  Let me give you the back story…

…Unhappy with her current internet/television provider, a certain heroine (me) opted to switch her service to the New AT&T U-Verse package.  I don’t fall for commercials saying it’s antiquated (it’s really not – Comcast is using 10-year old data for their commercials) and have had AT&T Wireless for eons – happily.  So I negotiate a new package and U-verse installs my service on May 3rd.  While the tech is here, he gets everything all wired up and tells Funkdubie “your new home phone number is ###-####”.  Funkdubie replies, “Dude, that’s not going to work for me… that’s my cell phone number that you had listed as the contact number to call before you got here.”  Tech says “oops, not my problem, call the U-verse service line” and does the biggest faux pas in the history of the world: PUTS THE CUSTOMER IN THE MIDDLE. 
Funkdubie calls me, I call U-verse, they admit the oops, disconnect the cell number from the house and assign a new one.  I call Wireless and they say “um, we can’t port the number back.  U-verse hasn’t released it”.  To make a woefully long story short (if possible) I spend about 5 hours on the phone between U-verse and Wireless only for U-verse to play stupid and Wireless to tell me they can’t do anything for at least 10 days while they try to get the number released from U-verse (keeping in mind that “this is all AT&T” per the commercials to US).

 U-verse’s call center, for the record, is in the Philippines. 

I wait as 10 days pass with Funkdubie having NO cell phone (my resolution was supposed to be done) only for me to find out the port escalation area hasn’t worked on my account yet (no real fault of their own, my rep was in an accident).  As I’m on hold with Wireless, I get an email notification from U-verse that my new bill has arrived and it’s $459.  Then, the Wireless person gets back on my line and warns me that Wireless assessed me an early termination fee on the line that U-Verse stole… $300 (which would be waived after I talked to the port people). 

My eyes bugged out.

My blood pressure shot up.

They left a message for the port specialist to call me ASAP.

As for the U-verse bill, I had agreed to waived installation and activation fees along with a $160/month package and they are charging me $459 after ONE WEEK?!  I think not.  Pissed as a girl can possibly get, I called U-verse and told them to come and retrieve their equipment, release my effing cell phone number which they messed up, and cancel my service.  (Response?  They can’t help with the cell number cuz it was disconnected, I have to pack up their  equipment and UPS it to them within 10 days or I’m billed for it, and amazingly they had my service shut down within 15 minutes… funny how fast they work on THAT!)
Two hours later, I get a call from Mike, a “port escalation specialist” with Wireless.  He assures me he will be working on my issue till resolution.  I tell him what a bad day I’ve had and my angst (and cancellation) with U-verse.  He says “uh oh.” 

Not what a girl wants to hear. 

Apparently, the ‘quick fix’ was to have U-verse reassign the cell number to my home and then they could port it over within a few days… well, that wasn’t exactly an option now that I cancelled my service.  Fuming, I told Mike I didn’t care anymore and I wanted a new number.   He said “we can do that, but I don’t have the authority to waive the early disconnect fee, but our service area can and then you call me back tomorrow after you make sure that’s what you want to do.”  Mike assures me that in the interim he’s going to try to call U-verse and get them to release the number and, oh, for the record, this is his third escalation this week for this exact problem.

He transfers me, and I get Christy. 

From the start, Christy is nice… empathetic… genuine.  I give her a run down of my version of what happened as she’s reading the novel that has now been written on my account.  Christy takes the time to get permission to waive the “early termination fee” associated with my account and also a $40 reactivation fee.  She repeats to me over and over that she thinks it’s only right because none of this is my fault.  She continues to work and, when we’re at the part where we assign a new number, she says “just to see… let’s try to reassign his original number to him”.   

With nothing short of a ‘wow-ing’ moment, Christy has his phone up and running under the OLD number in 30 minutes.  Now, we’re not sure how much credit Mike gets here, as some may be due – but after 10 days and HOURS on the phone for something I didn’t cause and of being told that there was no fix, Christy fixed it.   (Note: Christy and I were on the phone for no less than 2 hours and she never once waivered in her empathy and determination to see this through.)

That, my friends, is what service means.  Service is NOT a noun that is a job title… it’s a verb – and Christy never once forgot that.  We’re all willing to vent when things go wrong, but so often we don’t tout something when it goes well.  I’ve always been of the opinion that we should give thanks anytime that it is due and, Christy, I owe you one huge effing THANK YOU for making me feel like a human and not an account number. 

(Last note: Yes, I had her transfer me to her supervisor and I bragged with every bit of my vocabulary on how pleased I was with the service she provided and how she, alone, made me feel like my issue was resolved… and not to say that there’s no such thing as a good outsourced call center, but Christy’s call center is located in Colorado – where they understood me, spoke in non-scripted language, and actually tried to resolve my call.  It didn’t hurt that Christy is a huge hockey fan, either; we talked hockey while she was [and still is] working on the technical aspects of the fix from her side.) 

Message to the world: U-Verse may eventually get their service up to speed, and I had zero issues with their product (the actual product) for the week that I had it.  But, as far as service goes, they suck so much donkey dung that it’s beyond comprehension.  They caused the problem and then put the onus on me to fix it.  Furthermore, they didn’t fulfill their contract as they had agreed with my billing.  I will never recommend their service to anyone and am quite pleased I opted to give it a “trial period’ before cancelling my former internet/television provider. 

AT&T Wireless, however, has proven to me over and over again in the service that they have provided (dude – they called ME when I went to Canada and didn’t realize I was using foreign coverage!) that they care about me as a customer and, for that, they will always have my business. 
</end rant>

(later that day: I got a call at 10:30 at night from the director of one division of AT&T Wireless saying he would have the final issues resolved with our number in 36-hours…  SERVICE ROCKS!)

(and since blogger was down last night: today - phone service reinstated fully to Funkdubie's phone by 4 pm.)

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