09 October 2010

Customer service at its finest

So, I just received a disconnect notice from AT&T, because there's been (in my head) some confusion with my internet bill. Before you get gossipy, I owed a whopping $77, so calm yourself. Anyway, I realize once I get the notice that I really need to settle down and get this figured out -- I got a bill saying I owed this bill, but it was shortly after I'd paid another bill, which I thought was for my current address.

I realize now it was for my former address, which was just across the street; I'm at 5505 now, before I was at 5516. Since I pay all my bills online, I'm not in the habit of remembering all my account numbers, and I'm doing a much better job of trashing bills after I pay them so that I no longer lie to myself by saying I'll be good and shred them (as opposed to being horribly irresponsible and dumping them in a community trash bin).

Last month, I did what thousands of people each day do -- in preparing for a move, I called AT&T to disconnect service from Place A and connect new service at Place B. Easy breezy, unless you're speaking to any moron who works for AT&T.

This is how today's conversation went:

CSR: "AT&T, this is Myra, how can I make your experience wonderful today?

Me: "Hi, Myra -- I need to pay an overdue bill, but I'd first like to get a little clarification on that account. I recently moved and disconnected service at one apartment, then reconnected at my new one, and it seems like I paid several bills all at once. I need to pay this, but I want to first make sure it's for my current apartment, not my old one."

CSR: "Excuse me?"

Me: *confused silence* "Umm... did my phone cut out? How much did you hear?"

CSR: "You wanna pay a bill?"

Me: *sigh* Yes, fine. I need to pay my DSL bill.

Myra connects me to collections and billing

CSR: "This is Pepper, can I get your phone number, please?"

I offer my cell number, which is the only one I have

CSR: "Is this account connected to a home number?"

Me: "Yes, that is my home number. It's my cell phone, but the number I use."

CSR: "Ma'am, is this account connected to a home?"

Me: "I don't... ummm... yes, my home, yes."

In the ensuing silence, I realize what she's actually asking.

Me: "Oh! No, I'm sorry; I don't have home phone service through AT&T, no."

CSR: "Connecting to wireless."

Me: "No, no, I am calling about internet!"


As often as I vow to never, ever, EVER deal with AT&T again, their stupid monopoly prevents that from happening. Well, their monopoly and my insistence on living in 'quaint' apartments and whatnots, which generally translates into old -- which means smaller, more nimble, less dickwad companies generally don't extend service to them. Grrrr.

In a totally unrelated story, I found out while on the East Coast that a person can purchase a train ticket on the Amtrak and/or MARC, which is the commuter line between DC and Maryland. I visited Baltimore for a few hours one day and at the kiosk, the ticket was a very affordable $7. But if I'd boarded the train sans ticket and purchased it from a conductor -- who actually wears that little hat and vest, like the movies -- it would've been $3 more. Get that? They charge you more to actually interact with a person.

Is Amtrak owned by AT&T? That makes about as much sense as hiring a deaf CSR to take my call.

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