Saturday, November 11, 2006

Did you ever think we would get back online? I have internet access at work, but we all know that blogging from work will get you dooced.

We had been talking about getting cable for a few months prior to the wedding. During the run up to the wedding our attention was on those details and not the details of the phone bill. For three months AT&T charged us sixty dollars a month for a service we were supposed to be getting for twenty five. When I called to get it cleared up I was told that it was up to me to know when my contract expired and they weren’t going to credit any of our bills. I was already angry about the overcharge and had been thinking about a switch to cable so I had them disconnect us right then and there. I told the manager that his business practices were costing him loyal customers and that was that.

We ordered cable in the next day or two to be installed the following Monday. Jes sat around all day and they never called or showed up. Late in the afternoon I got an automated call asking me how the installation had gone and I got to provide several negative responses in my evaluation of the non-appointment.

Our friend Erica works for the cable folks and she offered to do a three way call to ensure that dispatch knew there was some weight within the company pushing for this particular install. It was a humorous conversation with me providing the address and availability details and Erica providing the edged anger, “I happen to know they were there on that day even though the dispatch record shows that no one was home. They have a dog that goes crazy if anyone comes near the door and he didn’t bark once.” That’ll teach them.

The following Saturday I stayed home in the morning waiting for the cable guy. He called and told me he was on his way. He showed up. He was nice. He asked if I had a letter from my landlord giving him permission to drill the holes he would need to, to install the cable. I had no such letter and my land lord was in France for the next two weeks. I suppose I could have lied and told him I owned the place, but I’m not very good at that sort of thing. He also told me I would need to buy an additional wireless card for my desktop as he wouldn’t be able to run the line to both the TV room and to the computer room; so much for cable.

I got a letter the next day from AT&T asking me to switch back. It offered three months free and a much lower rate. Essentially it was offing everything I had originally asked them to do for me. I caved and called to set up the install. The dispatcher told me that since I hadn’t actually had the cable installed that I wasn’t technically switching back and she could only give me one month free. However, she could give me ten dollars off all my bills for six months, plus one month free, thus being more in savings then the original offer, if I would sign up for the slightly more expensive high speed connection. Sure.

This past Monday our new phone line and DSL was supposed to be active. The phone went active on Saturday so I thought the internet might be working. We started to get calls from Walgreens telling us that our prescription was ready. Neither of us take anything. I called the help line and got an idiot. I told him my phone number so that he could start working on our account; he read another number back to me. “No,” I said, and I read him our new number off the bill. Again he read a completely different number back to me. Three is a huge number in mythology in part because it takes idiots at least three tries to get information down.

He then put me on hold for a half hour. I gave up and hung up. I called back on my cell phone, trying to get another person to work with and before I could get through, the idiot called me back on our new landline number. He told me that our phone line had not been properly installed and that it was active at two residences: an old-school party line. He said that they couldn’t fix the internet connection until they fixed the phone mix up.

The following day at work I got an email telling me that our phone line was at last sorted out. I couldn’t deal with the internet during the week as I leave for work before six and often don’t get home until after six – thus not matching their business hours. Wednesday I got the same sort of automated “how are we doing” call from AT&T that the cable had made. I rated everything poor as my internet was still not active. How was my service? Non-existent.

Yesterday Jes spent two hours on the phone with another idiot tech who eventually realized that computers were beyond his expertise. He bumped Jes up to tier two tech support. That guy talked her through the DOS shell set up and had us working in no time. He even helped her configure our router, which technically they aren’t supposed to do since it’s not one of theirs.

We’ve had a little breather from both bills and access. We’ve been taught the important lesson that in modern America the consumer is the lap dog of inept monopoly, and we’ve learned to always ask the first idiot we talk to at AT&T to bump as up to tier two tech support.


Post a Comment

<< Home