CtConsumerComplaint: AT&T Fixes Complaints When Pressure Is Applied

For almost a year Christine Palm tried to pressure AT&T to fix her 90-year-old’s mother’s telephone service so that it actually records calls she misses and have the land-line work consistently.

Palm of Hartford, is not some shy clueless person. She is the communications director at the Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. She made numerous calls to AT&T, even asked a friend who happens to do legal work for the company to help, all to no avail.

“Basically, her voice mail has been faulty ever since she moved into a retirement community last August and the phone company insisted she get a new number. The service is consistently on the fritz. (Works for a day, then crashes; works for a week, then crashes, etc.) I have asked the company over and over to remove the voicemail altogether, seeing as how they can’t seem to fix it. (I have a paper trail that would choke a horse.),” she wrote me.

Palm eventually purchased a separate answering machine, but “unfortunately, have to set the ringer at just 4 rings in order to intercept the call before it goes into the black hole of the faulty AT&T voicemail. I have finally trained my 90-year-old mother NOT to dash to the phone to grab it before the machine kicks in. Consequently, she misses calls even while she’s home.”

I sent Palm’s complaint along with two others I received in the past few weeks to AT&T’s Public Relations Director Kate MacKinnon, who seems to have a lot of pull in the giant company which has a poor customer relations record in Connecticut.

Within days, Palm’s issues and the issues of the other two people – which will be described below – were solved.

It turns out that the telephone was programmed to forward calls to another number if the line was busy or it was not answered by the fifth ring. By removing the “indicator” (whatever that is), any calls Palm’s mother misses will go into her answering service.

And she – like the other two – even got apologies – from AT&T.

John Parsons of Old Lyme was the second person with an issue with AT&T. Parsons manages the New Concord Green, a 48-unit condo complex in Norwich.

Last September an AT&T crew arrived at the condo complex without permission and without notification, dug a three foot deep 10 foot diameter pit and deposited a large green utility box next to the pit.

“And then they left, leaving the job unfinished and a potentially dangerous, not to mention, unsightly mess on the otherwise well groomed property. I should add that they managed to kill a shrub by digging it up during the process,” Parsons wrote me.

He said that he called AT&T in October and November, complained and was told that his issue would be sent to the correct department. A technician did come out after the second call but nothing was done.

“Last month, at this point completely frustrated, I called yet again- as well as sent a certified letter with pictures requesting that this dangerous situation be rectified and the property damage restored,” he wrote me, adding that “At this point- the pit remains, the dead bush remains, and the unused utility box sits on the side of the pit- yet no one from SNET/SBC seems particularly interested in completing the project and cleaning up the mess.”

Within days of sending his email to MacKinnon, the project was completed and the grounds were left in pristine condition, Parsons told me.

Sheryl Berube of East Haven had a different problem. The AT&T technician who installed their U-Verse system failed to follow her instructions to separate her husband’s telephone system from U-Verse and fried his computer.

She is receiving a credit after MacKinnon got involved.

Just in the past few days MacKinnon got in touch with me after reading a complaint from a disgruntled Simsbury resident left on www.ctwatchdog.com about how some web sites download slower than others.

Now why can’t AT&T customer service people be as helpful as MacKinnon is? But then I guess there would not be a need for consumer advocates.

Until that happens – don’t hold your breath – if you have a real serious issue that AT&T refuses to deal with, and its legitimate, email me and I will send it to MacKinnon.


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15 Comments on "CtConsumerComplaint: AT&T Fixes Complaints When Pressure Is Applied"

  1. Just sayin | June 18, 2011 at 8:55 pm |

    Why can’t you just publish her e-mail and people with a problem can deal directly with her? This is what irks me with these big monopolies. If SHE can resolve the problem, WHY can’t the “regular customer service” people do the SAME or at least ESCALATE the problem for the customer to a higher up? Is it too much trouble for them or is it because they are in Kalamazoo somewhere and have NO idea where CT is? ATT does have a pretty lousy service record for sure.

    How I miss good old SNET! If you had a problem with SNET, they were at your door BEFORE you even hung up the phone! With ATT, it’s- your problem will be resolved a week from today by 5 PM! VERY sad!

    • Please understand that the technicians and service reps are only following company policies. They put your trouble request into the system and it automatically assigns a comit date and time based on the companies guidlines. Field techs are unable to see or do anything without a repair ticket until they are dispatched on it (which by the way is one at a time). They never know where their next job is going to be. Also the company has taken away the availability of the technician to call in a trouble report for the customer if they find a tech at their neighbors house they have to call it in and be put in line versus being able to fix the customer right then and there.
      The company claims customer service when all they are worried about is how are our employees jerking us around and how do we get more money from our customers. ATT is nothing more than an overgrown monopoly that operates like a communistic dictatorship.

    • It’s all about money. Order takers on the front end take all the orders they can, saying whatever to get the sale. To save costs, they’ve cut back on their install people and technicians. So they don’t have enough people to adequately handle the mass of complaints / problems that come in from customers. So how do you handle those complaints and still not spend any more money? You push them off as long as you can. So every day they can delay something is a day they’ve won and only the MOST important things get resolved and they hope that most customers will just get tired and forget about it. Why do you think their phone hold times are so long and their support people act like they don’t know anything and stories have to be repeated 4, 5, 6 times?

  2. That was before affirmative action and incompetent workers.

    • Just sayin | June 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm |

      ALSO before ATT pulled hundreds/thousands of workers OUT of CT! This horrendous service needs to be addressed by the Attorney General’s office.

  3. I have had similar problems for two years since switching to ATT. I’ve complained many many times and recently gave up. I get tired of calling. The customer service folks on the line insist the problem is in my home, and the techs that come out insist the problem lies with the outside lines. There is no communication between the two. The funny thing is, when I used my only other option for service in my neighborhood, I never had this problem. I would switch back but the other service charges a 5x as much for the same service. I am very frustrated with them and disappointed with the continually poor service.

  4. What many fail to understand is that the customer service you deal with directly in most cases are the same highly competent caring workers who were employed by SNET in the ‘good ole days’ of service. But the company itself has changed. Due to movement of many departments to other areas in and out of the country the chain of which to get issues resolved is broken. Ms. MacKinnon probably has a phone number or two of which the customer service rep on the phone is not priveledged to. So feel free to bash the company, but please take it easy on those who answer your calls. They are simply trying to do their jobs in the way the company have advised and given them the tools to do.

  5. I had so much trouble with AT&T. When I returned form Naples, Fl., A.T.&T could not fix the problems with my computer. Promises, promises and promises and thousands of phone calls.
    So, I switched to Comcast. I was ready for a nervous breakdown.
    And, I am a consumer advocate. If you don’t have a heart attack, they will give you one.
    If my phone goes, I will switch to Comcast.

  6. About three weeks ago ,my internet went out, Att sent a tech to my house and he ran a line on the ground from my pole, my internet still didnt work, after several calls they sent another tech ,he said the only porblem was a card in the box in my neighbors yard, he replaced it, my phone and telephone worked, then about 6 days later another tech came and burried the cable from my neighbors yard where the box is , my internet and phone worked for a half of day, then my phone completely quit, my internet comes and goes ,mostly goes.Since then i have talked to numerous people, i have names and ids, i have been pasted over to person after person, and lied to twice about getting someone to my house, i called back today monday to find out why no one had came to my house , they were suppose to be at my house between 8 am and 1200 pm , the manger that i talked to said that the request to repair my house monday had been denied, and that the computer said it would be tuesday july 12th, my alarm does not work for my house because it cant call any one, if any one could help me i would be truly thankful. Dell Bass Georgia/USA

  7. I live in the country and for years att has been telling me that they need to put our phone line deeper so it won’t be dug up by the road graders, so far nothing, nothing, nothing, the line is not buried to correct specs, I asked customer service for the administrative or complaint dept, she transferred me, lost call, again i called lost call, so i looked up complaint dept, no one available to take your call,
    att say the value me as a customer I don’t think so, I think i am discriminated against for living in the country and they’re not being enough people on my little country road for them to mess with, and since 2002 i keep hearing in 2 months we will dsl out there still waiting now i am told maybe a year or so,

  8. melisa holt | August 9, 2012 at 10:38 am |

    Hello, Been wanting some advice and help. I had att&t for a long time. We bought a house from my sister feb 20th 2012 and we moved in march 1 2012. She had dsl from att&t well i have been having trouble since then, to get it hooked up. See they send techs and engineers out but they go to the wrong location. We have our own pole. They keep telling us no no no.No SLOTS AVAIALBE, BUT, WE DO NOT NEED A SLOT. any ways what iam needing my sister tried to turn it on in her name again and we get switched to differant departments, we get told what we want to hear just to be hung up on, i was told to pay a 100.00 deposit i did, and still no internet. Also my hundred dollars is still not been refunded. What do i do? thanks melissa

  9. These complaints in the article are bullshit. First off, a technician cannot separate uverse from pots they were lineshared together when the service was ordered and “fried a computer”…. How? Second AT&T places their boxes on easements, i.e. they don’t need permission. Lastly websites downloading slower than others is not an AT&T problem. AT&T provides an Internet connection it is not responsible for the download speed of every single website on the Internet.

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