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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