Imagine an alternate dimension. One where you have phone service, but it isn’t working. You call AT&T your service provider, and their automated response system tells you that you aren’t an AT&T customer, and to call your actual provider. When you call up AT&T to wait for an actual human to sort this out, they call you back… to immediately put you on hold.
What Y. wanted was simple enough: to remain an AT&T U-Verse customer while moving from one apartment to another within the same complex. Somehow, this process took two and a half hours of navigating the customer service maze after someone typed the wrong apartment number on his service order. The individual customer service representatives weren’t the problem. AT&T’s system was.
Angela won a “Wish List” contest from American Express, which let her buy a $100 JetBlue gift card for $70. JetBlue managed to wipe out that $30 savings and any good will Angela might have felt by making her waste 129 minutes trying to redeem the card–and then charging her $15 for the service. At the end of her letter to AmEx and JetBlue, Angela writes, “I don’t know about other AmEx cardholders, but spending almost two hours on hold in order to be able to use something you’ve already paid for is not on my Wish List.”
Filing for unemployment benefits can be an exhausting bureaucratic mess, but it shouldn’t cost you hundreds of dollars. In theory. According to TV station KOB, though, a New Mexico man spent so many hours on hold with the unemployment office that he ran up a $700 cell phone bill.
AT&T loves your money and will not give up that money no matter what, even if it means making you waste nearly an hour of an AT&T employee’s time, which surely must be worth more than three dollars. We guess it’s the principal; as long as AT&T refuses to admit they’ve got problems, the problems don’t exist.
We’re happy for Comcast that it’s a giant company and all, but is it really that impossible to have someone in Connecticut talk on the phone with a Connecticut-based customer about a no-show installation tech who we presume should also be in Connecticut? Maybe that’s the problem—maybe the technician was accidentally outsourced and is presently driving around Mexico or the Antarctic looking for Karah’s address.
Last Friday we posted that a customer in D.C. was on hold with RCN’s tech support for over 7 hours. (And no, she didn’t sit next to the phone that entire time—she periodically checked in to see whether she’d been disconnected, but always heard the same hold music and message.) We received several comments—one from the Senior Director of Operations at RCN—saying that her call had likely been dropped from the system. But Meredith says someone finally did answer her call. Here’s her story and the RCN Director’s version.
Meredith has been on hold with RCN’s tech support line for over seven hours now. She’s put down the phone and keeps doing other things, but whenever she goes back to see if they’ve finally disconnected her, she hears their “please hold” message and music. Apparently RCN doesn’t think you need tech support over the weekend.
VOIP-News has a list of 50 ways to get through to a real, live, not necessarily well-trained CSR on phone systems. We’re posting this not just because their first tip is “Read the Consumerist,” but because there are some really good ideas here, like hitting up EDGAR to search for contact info on public companies.