Wednesday, April 17, 2013

An Open Letter to AT&T

Good afternoon, 

I am writing to you today to express my complete and utter frustration with your customer care staff. I’ve been dealing with them for the past several days, on what should have been a very simple task. Instead I have spent over 6 hours on the phone – either on hold, being transferred to another department or trying to explain what I needed. I was transferred countless times, dealt with rude customer care staff and somehow throughout this process apparently had my cellphone number disconnected without my consent. I am beyond frustrated and disappointed in AT&T at the moment. I have been a customer for over a decade and have never had the trouble I have had in the past 5 days.

Please, let me start at the beginning. I am the owner of a shared family plan that consists of 4 phones. My father recently passed away, when I went into the store to cancel his account, I was told I would have to pay a cancellation fee because the line was still under contract. 

After discussing the matter with my mother, it was decided that we would port our landline to the now unused cellphone number and leave it on the plan. I know others who have done completed this action and it seemed like a very simple process. This was apparently my first wrong assumption. 

I called AT&T customer care on Saturday to speak with a representative who assured it me it was a simple process and could indeed be done. The plan was to port the landline number and replace the cellphone number. The woman was very kind and explained the process. She informed me I would need to contact AT&T U-verse to “split” the landline from the DSL, because the DSL still needs to remain connected. This is where the trouble started. I was disconnected from the number the kind woman gave me. From there I spoke to no less than 7 different people who were all eager to transfer me to the department of their choice. I was bounced around to several different departments, none of them the right one, before I was finally transferred to a Spanish speaking agent who couldn’t comprehend what I was saying and vice versa. The line was disconnected and I had spent 4 hours on the phone.

I attempted to call back on Sunday with similar results. I only had a few hours to waste that day though. I attempted again on Monday and after being on hold for over an hour, finally spoke with someone who assured me she could help. Again, she was very friendly and told me she would take care of things. She explained that the separation of the landline and DSL would be done on Wednesday and on that date I could call the wireless number and let them know the number would be ready to port over. 

This morning I received a call on the landline from a gentleman who said he would be handling the dry-loop reinstallation of the DSL and it would only take a few minutes. I then proceeded to call the wireless group to let them know the landline number was ready to be ported over. I was then transferred to two different departments and on hold, again. I then reached someone in the porting department who took all of the information including account numbers, the landline number  and the cellphone number it was to replace on the plan . I was on hold for several minutes while she verified the information, she stated she was on the phone with the DSL gentleman, and they were working to make sure everything was correct before informing me that someone would call me in a few hours to make sure the transition had gone smoothly. 

A few hours later, I sent a text message from my phone only to have that person inform me my number was now the landline. When I returned to work, I had a voicemail from someone stating that the switch had occurred and everything was in working order. Only it wasn’t. The landline number was now going to the incorrect cell phone number instead of the number I had given no less than 5 people in the ATT customer service pool. This woman was kind enough to leave her direct number, so I was able to call and speak with her. I informed her that the landline number had gone to the wrong cell number; she told me she would quickly get to working on correcting the mistake. That’s where I currently am. Waiting for the cellphone number I’ve had for years,  to be returned to me and the landline number to be switched over to replace the other phone on my plan

I hope you can understand my frustrations. Because all of the services were under the AT&T umbrella, I should have only had to make 1, maybe 2 phone calls and it certainly should not have taken as many hours as it has. I should not have had my number dismissed and still be waiting to see if its available. There should be call logs and comments on my account documenting all of this, I certainly spoke to enough people along the way. I should not have had to go around and around to different departments and speak with dozens of different customer care people. 

I hope that you can take a few minutes to look into this situation because if it’s happening to me, it’s happening to several other people as well. Customers shouldn’t get the run around when trying to make changes or updates to their plan. Customers shouldn’t have to worry about losing their cellphone numbers when workers make mistakes and don’t want to take responsibility for their actions. Porting a landline to an existing cellphone already on a family plan should not be this difficult. If this is how loyal customers get treated, perhaps more focus should be paid to training and customer service. 

In the future I will be very wary of dealing with customer service. I will certainly start investigating my options, as well as letting friends and family know about this situation. 

If my proper number is not restored and the rest of the issues with AT&T not addressed, I will be contacting the Attorney General and the FCC to address this matter. 

An angry customer