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AT&T and My Worst Day This Year

This past Tuesday was, hands down, my worst day this year. Almost everything went wrong that day, but describing it all would take more time than I can afford, so I want to just mention the role AT&T played in my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.


First, my AT&T 8525, which has been a great cell phone and pocketpc for two years, acted up one time too many. I couldn't tell whether there was a hardware problem or whether the layers of software I have added to the device were mucking it up, but I was getting tired of not being able to make a call, resetting the PPC, and then getting stuck on the sign in page. So, I finally made the decision to upgrade to the new HTC FUZE.

I drove downtown to the local AT&T store and told the salesperson what I wanted. The first shock was that he told me the phone was $400, because I had seen it on line for $200-250. Turned out that $50 of the price was for a memory card that I did not need, so not including it reduced the price to $350. I still wasn't happy with the price, but I wanted the phone so I agreed to it.

I was using my wife's line to get the upgrade price because one of my kids who lost his phone had already used my line to get the upgrade price on another phone. Clicking through the forms on his computer screen, the salesman gave me another surprise. He alleged that doing the upgrade this way would necessitate a new sim card for my wife's phone and that they would have to deactivate her phone until the sim card was replaced.

This was too much bullshit for me. I told him that I might come back later. Instead, I logged on to the AT&T Web site to see if I could order a new phone from them directly on line. To my initial delight, it seemed that I could, and that the phone would only be $250. So I ordered.

Then the real nightmares began. First, a confirmation email said that there was a problem with my order and that I would have to call AT&T. I did, and the guy said that my credit card company declined the purchase. He tried once more for me and got the same result. So I hung up and called my credit card company. An automated responder asked me whether the AT&T transaction was legitimate. I confirmed that it was and then called AT&T back. I went though the story with another agent, who spent about 10 minutes trying to get the order to go through. At the end, she said, "Okay, I think it went through." That did not sound encouraging, but what else could I do?

The next day (Wednesday), I went to a Web page to check the status of my order. It gave me a message that there was a problem with my order and that I needed to call AT&T. So I did, and explained to a third agent the whole story so far. She looked at the records and determined that the second agent had gone through every step to fix the order except the last step, but that she could help me finish the order now. But it would take about 10 minutes. Whatever. At the end of the process, she suggested I refresh the Web page to check the status. I did, and there was no longer an error message. Instead, it said the order was being processed. Later, I got an email notice indicating my phone should arrive by FedEx on Friday. Finally, I thought.

Then, another surprise on Thursday: A FedEx package containing my new phone! I thought my luck had finally changed. I got my phone up and running, reinstalled my previous software, synced with my laptop, and was on top of the world. I do love this phone.

Then, yet another surprise on Friday: A second box from FedEx--obviously another phone. I decided to do nothing, not even open the box, until the next day to see if my credit card was charged a second time.

This morning I checked, and--of course--there was a second billing for the second phone. Today I have tried to call AT&T four times, working through the system that asks me to type in the order number, etc., etc., only to get a message that they are having technical difficulties and that I should call back later. Of course AT&T has telephone difficulties, it is not as if they are experts on telephones or anything. Oh, wait.

So here I am, with an extra, brand-new HTC phone and a $250 charge on my credit card that I cannot get reversed because AT&T telephone system is broken. WTF.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
queenlyzard
Apr. 18th, 2009 04:36 am (UTC)
cell phone companies are made of evil.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )