My recent shopping experience with ATT (I document this for the saga that it is; I don’t live in the story. And the ultimate lesson is this: Go to a store):
On October 1, 2014, because my iPhone 4 is out of memory and the battery is weak, I went online to order an iPhone 6. After calling an ATT representative to double-check that I understood the options I was seeing on the screen, I configured an iPhone 6 the way I want it. I then added 5 accessories, 4 of the ATT USB to lightning cable in purple for $19 each and 1 Zagg Invisishield for the iPhone 6 for $45 since there was a great accessory sale going on.
I got everything in the cart, I entered my credit card, everything ready to go. On the screen, it showed 3 addresses, the Billing address, the Shipping address and the Physical Address of use (where I will be using the equipment the most).
The Billing address had a green check mark, and the physical usage address had a green check “verified”. Nothing I entered the shipping address would work. I was entering the same address as shown on the screen as the verified physical address!
The error kept saying the address I was entering didn’t meet Postal Standards, even though it did!
So, I tried calling, and heard there was nothing that ATT Representative could do (this took an hour); to so they transferred me to E-commerce, and I spent several hours on the phone with a frightening woman who was persistent enough to manage to get the order placed for the phone, but it took hours and there were several disturbing moments when it seemed almost crazy. At one point she started asking me who Emmanuel is…… as if there were some identity theft that had happened. She never did explain that to me and off she went on another tangent.
By the time she is ready to process the order, there no stock left and she told me she wouldn’t place the order since there was no stock. I said that was unacceptable. I didn’t care, put the order in on back-order. By this time I had about 4 or 5 hours invested in this darned order, I wasn’t getting blown off now by this person! That was ridiculous. Back on hold, I went.
After about 6 hours on the phone, she said she had the order placed and she gave me the order number, but the order was JUST for the phone; she is unable to order the accessories, “that’s not her department.” She would have to transfer me back to Customer Care. Bear in mind, Customer Care had told me they can’t place orders……
So, after another ridiculous hold time, I get another ATT Representative. I explain that I wish to order the accessories that I was unable to order via the other woman. He listens to the story; he says there’s a way to by-pass the problem of not being able to have things shipped to a PO Box (why didn’t anyone else say that?) He sent me a text that I then read to him and he told me that now I could order online and have things ship to my PO box. (I have no idea if this is, in fact, true, yet.)
He then said he had canceled the order the woman in E-commerce had placed and he had put an order in for everything, the phone, and the accessories. He started to give me the order number, got about 5 numbers into it, and the line went DEAD.
Normally, my experience in the past is that when something like that happens the ATT rep calls you right back. ATT used to have a fantastic support policy, a representative would call and follow-up if you wanted, or they would on their own call and follow-up.
So, I waited a few minutes, but he never called me back, so I called and went to “Orders and billing” and after another 15 minutes on hold I reached someone, explained what had happened and heard “sorry, our systems are down, you’ll have to call back in an hour or two.” Again, this so different from the kind of customer service ATT used to offer. In the past, if that happened, the Agent would have offered to call ME back!
I abandoned the project for the day. I had spent all day, and probably at least 6 or 7 actual hours of phone time.
The next day I took up the cause again. I logged in and saw that I did in fact still have the original order and there was no 2nd order as the one gentleman had said, nothing that matched the numbers he had given me.
When I looked at order status it says they were waiting for more information. There were 2 phone numbers one in the little”?” and one at the bottom. I called the one in the little “?” and after an hour or so, I wasted my breath explaining my whole situation to the agent, at which point he said, if you need help navigating the website, I can help you, otherwise I’ll have to transfer you. He of any of the people was the least empathetic and just keep saying “all I can do is web navigation.” I landed in Web Navigation by dialing the # in the little ?.
He then transferred me to a different department.
After another hour I connected with someone who told me there was only one order, that the other gentleman would not have been able to “cancel” the order that E-commerce had entered for me, only someone from E-commerce could do that……. he then said I had an email I had to reply to. I looked, found it, and I processed the “Acceptance” that the email I received said I needed to do. I made the bad judgment to believe him when he told me it could take 24 hours for the status to refresh, and I hung up.
By now I am complacent about the accessories, who cares anymore…… while on hold I had tried to shop for them on my own, but now they were out of stock, they don’t even appear on the website anymore. Just one more way the ATT company is trying to make people crazy I suspect. Seriously, who does that? Make the product disappear when it’s out of stock. It’s just out of stock ~ either allow people to back order it or doesn’t allow them to order, let them put it on a wish list. But to make it simply vanish from the offering ~ in my case it just adds to the surreal, unpleasant encounter.
Meanwhile later, the website did update, and now it said there was still a problem with the Order and that I needed to call. I called the number at the bottom of the screen. The person I finally got to explained that the billing address has to match the shipping address. Specifically, the shipping address must be the SAME address of the credit card.
At which point I told them they need to get their business OUT OF ALASKA if they aren’t going to learn how we live up here. We get our mail, our billing addresses are most often, even in the largest city, PO Boxes. They either need to ship to PO Boxes or they need to override the system and allow different billing and shipping addresses on the Credit Card.
In any case, after another 2 hours, this representative informed me that they had fixed it, and the order would ship, sometime between 11/12 and 11/21.
While on hold I had pounded around on the ATT website trying to find a way to file a complaint; I made a tweet to ATT and received a reply with a phone # to call.
I asked who I could speak to file a complaint with. Just to document this entire chaotic and unreasonable experience.
After an hour on hold, that would be someone else, and she transferred me.
The next person said oh, we don’t take complaints over the phone. You have to do that online. OK, I say, where?
So then she and I spent some time (another hour) banging around on the website looking for the reported “email address” or complaint form. The only thing either of us could find was a page about Arbitration and Dispute Resolution. I wasn’t interested in that, I just want to COMPLAIN!!!!
I’ve been an ATT customer most of my life and I’m 60! This is a horrible state of affairs. ATT has never been like this. I feel it is my duty to try to get someone’s attention. I don’t want to stop being a customer, but when the nearest Store is OVER 120 MILES AWAY, the only way I can get new equipment is normally to order it. What will I do the next time? I can’t go through an experience like this and no one should have to!
Well, after another hour, we discovered, oh, well, they took that off the web. They don’t even post a physical address a physical address. If you look up “File a Complaint” there actually IS NO MENTION OR INSTRUCTION FOR DOING SO!!!! There is just discussion of Arbitration and Dispute Resolution.
On the same page on their site: http://www.att.com/esupport/article.jsp?sid=47114&cv=820#fbid=T78_eKO1dmC it says:
For customers in Alaska: If you’re not satisfied with the way your complaint was handled, you may contact the Regulatory Commission of Alaska at 800.390.2782 or 907.276.6222.
I finally resort, on Friday, after having invested at least 8 -10 hours of phone time in quest of my iPhone 6 on the phone with ATT, to calling the Regulatory Commission to see if there is someone there that can listen to this insane story and pass it on to people who might care.
I leave a message in a very nice sounding gentleman’s voice mail. He returns my call in the afternoon, and unfortunately, the Regulatory Commission only handles Home (Land) Lines in Alaska. To file a complaint on a wireless issue in Alaska about ATT, I would need to call the FCC.
He kindly gave me the phone number, which I wrote on a napkin and have now thrown away. 😦
So, I will see what the force of social media will do with this blog post instead. I never bothered with ATT’s Facebook page. I will admit the Twitter folks are especially responsive, and sympathetic, but lack any real power and were not all that helpful since the phone number was bum, but they did tweet me a physical address to write to. It’s completely different from the address that the last agent on the phone gave me in so that just raises more questions.
I’m not going to take my time and resources to print 2 sets of this out and mail it to the 2 locations on the “off-chance” someone might open and read it.
I am curious if I’ll see any response to my answers to their 3 question text quiz, following up.
On October 1st I was able to put the phone in my cart and almost got out the door with it…..now I have to wait until mid-November instead. Great service to a loyal and longtime customer. Not.
You may be wondering if this wasn’t all a sign to get me to switch to some other service provider .. but really there is no other acceptable solution. So rock on I had to.