You: "AT&T = Evil Empire" AT&T CSR: "No Problem, Have A Great Day!"

Rhett was trying to order $10 DSL for his mom when he got the fabled “$10 DSL Runaround.”

Rhett writes:

My mother recently moved to a new home and was trying to decide which provider she should choose to provide internet service. I told her that because of AT&T’s recent merger, they had to provide $10 DSL to new subscribers. I warned her it would be a little difficult because despite the low price offer, AT&T often tries to get people to pay more. She called them this afternoon and they told her that she was eligible for the offer, but should would have to sign up for it online. My mother brought up the point that she was not able to get online, and in fact, that was the reason she was calling them in the first place. The rep basically told her that was her problem.

Of course my mom calls me and and I offer to sign her up from my computer. It wouldn’t seem to be a problem, except the AT&T site is intentionally obfuscated to hide the low price. After about 10 minutes of searching I finally discover the link to the low price eligibility quiz, that in turn takes you to the low price offer page. From there I find that in order to actually receive the offer, I must give AT&T permission to share my mothers information with other segments of AT&T’s operations an/or business partners. Also to be eligible, I have to sign my mother up for automatic billing and purchase a DSL modem from AT&T for $49.99.

During this screen, an AT&T rep decided to send me an instant message offering to answer any questions I might have (see attached). Even after finally agreeing to all the terms, it takes me another few minutes to bounce around the site to find a way to check out. After dodging numerous upgrade offers and opting out of spam and telemarketer calls, I am finally allowed to enter all the credit card information in.

At that point it seems like I am finally done, but after all the tricks they have pulled so far, I double check everything to make sure. Something seems wrong so I go back to the verification form to finally submit and finalize an order for about $65 (modem and shipping), and $10 a month when the service is actually activated. At this point I received a mysterious error from the website and I had just about had enough. I started the process again, and fortunately, the second time through I was able to finalize the order.

I know others troubles with AT&T have been extensively documented, so the problems I experienced aren’t exactly news. However, the IM rep did give a curious response after I called her corporation an evil empire. (see above)

PREVIOUSLY: AT&T Swears $10 DSL Is Available, But Only If You Don’t Follow Their Directions
AT&T CEO: $10 DSL “Not A Product That Our Customers Have Clamored For”
AT&T Giving Consumers The Runaround Over Secret $10 DSL

Comments

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  1. snazz says:

    im guessing dennise was responding to your previous line … but the timing was priceless!

  2. Cowboys_fan says:

    That’s exactly what I woulda’ said too! What do you expect from the rep, whom you are asking for help, to do when you attack the company signing their check? Also, the previous “thanks anyways” statement is an invitation to end the convo anyways. I don’t get it. They got the service they wanted, the rep answered their questions, where’s the issue!?

  3. boandmichele says:

    @Cowboys_fan: we understand that, its just the humor in the timing.

    and the saying of what we all want to say.

  4. mindshadow says:

    I tried to order $10 DSL for my mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law. My mother-in-law’s DSL order went flawlessly.. it showed the modem as $0 and by Friday we had a box from AT&T.

    When I tried to order my grandmother-in-law’s $10 DSL it showed the modem as $70.

  5. kiloman says:

    Hey Consumerist, how about posting instructions on how to find the $10 DSL? I couldn’t find it from AT&T’s web site. I had to Google articles about “$100 ATT DSL”, and then from there one of them described the procedure, which didn’t work. But it DID give the text in the link to the $10 eligibility survey. So then I went back to Google and searched for “DSL at even a lower price”. The first result gave me a link to ATT’s site, where I found the link to [swot.sbc.com] .

  6. BlueModred says:

    The reason for the rebate is because the modem is made by Siemens FOR AT&T. This means that when you send in the rebates, its for records purposes so that ATT can get reimbursed by Siemens.

    PITA< but that’s how all the MIR’s are…

  7. Isn’t this a violation of the rules set forth in their merger by the Federal Trade Commision? Lawsuit and fine time maybe?

  8. rooben says:

    [swot.sbc.com]

    Just got that from AT&T text chat….

  9. TKWarrior says:

    @Papa Midnight: If the modem is indeed free after the MIR, I couldn’t see how this would be in any violation. But they are betting on people not sending it in, just like with any other MIR offers.

    If anything, they should be fined for making the process so difficult to get the service:
    “She called them this afternoon and they told her that she was eligible for the offer, but should would have to sign up for it online.”

    WTF?

  10. ckolony says:

    I just tried to order $10 DSL, not because I actually want it, but because I keep hearing that no one seems to be able to get it. After I few menus I got the following message:

    “This promotion is available to business customers only. If you are a residential customer, please call our residential customer service center at 1-877-722-3755 Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm PT to find out about the great residential offers we have available for you.”

    Scumbags. Anyone who gets the run-around on this should call their state’s Attorney General’s office and ask to talk to the consumer affairs or antitrust department.

  11. Trick says:

    The $49.99 rebate is for all services… it was that way when it was Pacific Bell… sometimes they had offers for free DSL modems without rebate or with rebate.

    10 minutes to find the offer, a few minutes here and a few minutes there to check out seems pretty reasonable.

    AT&T is evil and I hate having them as my Cell phone service (I was with Cingular) but really, if the whole process even took 20 minutes… is it really that bad?

  12. lil_spastic says:

    AT&T is contractually bound to provide $10/month DSL for customers in a 22-state region as part of its takeover of Bell South.

    [www.bellsouth.com]

  13. jacques says:

    I ordered the Dry loop dsl. Got a new account number and everything. My stuff was supposed to be turned off on tuesday (since apparently it takes 3 days without internet access). When it wasn’t turned off, I called back. Turns out the order didn’t go in, and the new account number was bogus.

  14. asherchang says:

    maybe it was just a lag in response? i mean, the AT&T=Evil Empire comment was right after a “thanks”

  15. floofy says:

    The service is only 10 bucks! I’d gladly send in a mir to get my service for that price! What does he want, everything for free? Oh, yeah I guess he does

  16. Starfury says:

    I just switched from Comcast cable ($43/mo) to ATT DSL ($35/mo, elite package.) The modem cost $12 for shipping and there is a $50 rebate on the price of the modem. Since I switched from cable I also get 3 months free service. I figure that’s about $200 for the first year. After installing and running speed tests the DSL was actually faster uploading and downloading compared to cable.

    Next step: Dumping Comcast and going to satellite. Not sure which one to use, Dish or DirecTV.

  17. shifuimam says:

    I tried to just downgrade from the $20/rate to the $15/mo slow-as-shit service…

    After an hour on the phone with AT&T, being bounced around to multiple places (including the support center for an entirely different region of the US than where I live), I finally hung up, called again, and told the first support monkey who answered to put me through to Tier 2.

    My first bill with the new rate showed the hidden $10/mo plan. I have no idea how I swung that, but I’m not complaining…