When AT&T Schedules An Install, It's More Like A Suggestion

David is trying to get AT&T DSL-only installed, but the techs keep missing the appointment or show up without the tools to complete the job. See, the problem comes down to a simple difference in definitions. What you think of as “scheduled appointment,” they think of as “suggestion,” a snippet of melody for them to jazz riff off if they please. And if they don’t feel like it, they’ll go eat a sandwich and come back another day. Or not.

David writes:

Just thought I would share my story from this week with at&t dsl only installation. Ordered it online sunday, modem and self install kit arrived on wednesday which I set up with no trouble but had to wait till 8pm for my account activation. After 8 I set everything up and got a red line indicating no internet connection to the dsl modem. I called their help desk and since everything else was closed all I could do was call back tomorrow. First thing thursday morning I called and arranged to have a technician come out on saturday, sometime between 8am to 8pm to see whats wrong. I called again a few hours later and learned they had a cancelation and could move my service visit to friday, also 8am to 8pm.

Nothing big so far but it was all downhill from here. No one showed up or called on friday so I called around nine and learned the tech just got busy and didn’t make it to my house which means he would be by saturday morning between 8-12 as an “escalated” house call. Next day he again never showed up, also no call, so I called around 1pm saturday to and found out he was too busy and wouldn’t be at my house at all saturday. The supervisor on the phone also didn’t sound like this was anything unusual to tell to a customer and simply wanted to know when I would like to reschedule. When I got angry he put in some kind of help ticket to other managers. One did call me back about twenty minutes later and promises a tech would come to my house before the end of the day. Sure enough no one showed up, no phone call.

I called around 7:30pm to confirm what I already figured, tech had already gone home he wasn’t coming. Most everything was closed on sunday so I was pretty certain I was going to have no internet all weekend and nothing really I could do about it at this point. On sunday things looked up when the tech finally showed up somewhat unexpected around 9am. I was at work at the time but learned later that the cable at&t is running to our house is around thirty years old and needs to be replaced. The tech who showed up apparently didn’t bring much of anything with him so he of course has to reschedule. I’m set up now for Wednesday between 12 and 4 pm and I don’t really have much hope of him showing up.

What is so shocking about all this has really been the response from the rest of at&t, or more like the complete lack of response. I’ve talked to a half a dozen operaters and dispatchers as well as 4 supervisors. None of them seemed all that shocked what was happening and actually seemed to be getting annoyed I was bothering them with this. Even though everyone promised to follow up and call me back to make sure everything is taken care of, so far exactly one person has called. She called saturday afternoon around five, I had never spoken to her before and she didn’t seem to have any clue what was going on. When I pointed out how annoyed I was getting she very quickly got off the line and never again spoke to me. So here I am just waiting to see what happens, maybe someday they will actually finish my install.