How Our AT&T U-Verse Outage Lasted 5 Days Longer Than It Should Have

Ron has his AT&T U-Verse cable TV, Internet access, and phone lines working now, but only after spending most of the past week fighting with AT&T. He could have had access back on Saturday, the very first day of the outage, but an AT&T rep told him that sending a tech out to him on a Saturday was impossible. It’s not. They shipped a replacement for his malfunctioning gateway out via UPS. It got lost. Ron is frustrated, because he likes U-Verse. When it works.

Dear Board Member:
On Saturday morning, September 10, 2011, I attempted to access the internet via my AT&T U-verse. I was unable to make any connection and after troubleshooting the system I discovered that my entire system was down. The wireless network, phone, voicemail, T.V. and fax, was all down. I attempted to reboot the Gateway, but with negative results. I contacted customer support utilizing my Verizon cell phone only to be left on hold listening to a looped recording telling me that they’re experiencing a high volume of calls.

After approximately (20) twenty minutes, I finally got through to a technician who ran a series of tests over the phone. After approximately another (20) twenty minutes (per my Verizon cell phone timer, the total call time was (38) thirty eight minutes) it was determined that the Gateway had failed and needed to be replaced. The technician was extremely nice and professional, but went on to inform me it’s Saturday and AT&T policy is to ship out another Gateway via UPS and that I should be receiving it sometime Monday or Tuesday of next week.

I attempted to explain to the technician that this was unacceptable and that I run a small business from my home and had planned my weekend around my television and I could not afford to be down that long. I asked if there was a service tech in the area that could deliver the Gateway or an AT&T store I could exchange the Gateway at. The technician informed me that there’s not a service tech available due to the fact that it is Saturday and if there was a service tech available, I would have to pay a $180.00 service call to have a tech bring their Gateway to my house and change it out.

I asked the technician if there would be any financial compensation for my system being down so long and due to the fact that I do pay over $250.00 a month for the bundle of services. The technician transferred my call to a supervisor who politely informed me, “That’s a billing issue” and for me to contact the billing department on the next business day if and when I ever get my phone service back.

It is now Wednesday, September 14, 2011, (5) five days and I still do not have any services. I phoned in again today via my Verizon cell phone to inquire the status of my service. After being passed around through customer service and technical support (per my Verizon cell phone timer, the total call time was (41) forty one minutes) it was determined that the shipped Gateway is lost. After discussing my problem with the level II technician, he finally set up an appointment for a field service technician to arrive at my home sometime between 5pm-9pm tonight. At approximately 7pm the AT&T service tech arrived. He was extremely helpful but he was a little more confused than me. I was not here when he arrived; he dealt directly with my wife. My wife explained to him how long we had been without service and how much our lives had been disrupted. He informed my wife that he works on Saturdays and he could have been here that day. He informed my wife that because it was a Gateway failure that was confirmed over the phone through technical support trouble shooting, there wouldn’t have been a service call out fee. He went on to say it is not AT&T’s policy to hang people out the way this accord. He was here approximately (40) minutes (I’m seeing a pattern here) and wife was extremely satisfied with the field tech.

I’m pissed. I opened my e-mail this morning Thursday, September 15, 2011, only to find
175 messages. A few from AT&T informing me how to install my new gateway and couple asking about my customer service experience. Is that AT&T’s sick joke? The gateway broke. How I’m reading an e-mail about how to install it.

But that’s not what’s got me pissed. My son, who’s a United States Marine on deployment overseas, sent me an e-mail 9/12/11 asking if I watched any of the 911 programs or football games that aired on Sunday and reminding me to stay focused. I think we all know the answer to that question.

This document started as a complaint letter but has now turned into an emotional avoidable drama. I really like the U-verse technology and believe me, I understand things fail. But you’re AT&F***ING T. You would think if anybody in the world could communicate between field techs and office techs it would be AT&T.

What, like with phones? You’d think so, wouldn’t you?