Why should I give AT&T my business? What a clusterf*ck

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by puma1552, Oct 11, 2011.

  1. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    I agonized over whether to go with Verizon or AT&T for the pair of 4S phones for my wife and I. I wanted Verizon, as I've had them in the past and had no problems and they were dead reliable coverage-wise, but I got talked out of them because of their crappy slow network and the limited speed/features of the Verizon network.

    So I put in an order with AT&T for my phones. Did it through their own website at the onset of the preorders, since Apple's site wasn't working.

    I had no issues on my end putting in the order on AT&T's site.

    The next day I received an email that said my account had been flagged for identity verification. There was no reason for this, and when I called it was a big fiasco/hassle of people having no clue what to do. I had to actually read the email they sent me to the first two people, who had no clue what to do. I then got transferred a couple more times before I finally got through to someone who had a clue. The kicker was, they asked me no identity verification questions that would actually separate me from a scammer, because they only asked me my SSN and birthday, two things that were entered into the order form to begin with, in other words, something a scammer already had. But whatever, I got that taken care of after 1.5 hours on the phone with all the transfers, ineptitude, and holds.

    Fast forward a couple days, and I get my confirmation email, with my new numbers assigned. I look at the numbers, and realize they are not local, and I don't recognize the area code. I google the area code, and the numbers provided are actually for the US Virgin Islands, but I live in MN. Wondering what the hell, I call them again. I explain that I want local area codes, and that I somehow got these numbers. After being bounced around 5-6 times, holding each time, and explaining the problem each time, it comes out that not only did they assign me long distance numbers, but they were actually another customer's active numbers tied to someone else's active AT&T account. A couple more transfers and they finally tell me I am getting new phone numbers with proper MN area codes. Time lost: almost another 2 hours.

    I asked then if I could get some kind of bloody confirmation number, confirmation email, some type of documentation showing the number change. The lady tells me that her department isn't authorized to send email. WTF??? So I asked if I could get a confirmation number. They don't do confirmation numbers either. WTF??? So I ask for anything they can give me, and they say they can't give me anything, just that I have to wait to receive the shipped email when the phone goes out. WTF?? So at that point I was like ok, fine, whatever, I guess I'll play the wait and see game and turn on the phone and see what the phone number is when I get it.

    Fast forward to yesterday. I get another confirmation email. Pleasantly surprised, I open it up expecting to see my new phone numbers in an otherwise identical email to the first confirmation email. Nope. Instead, it's the same **** with the Virgin Islands phone numbers, the ones I just supposedly had spent 2 hours fixing. I didn't have the energy to call yesterday. While most people are up in arms about shipping dates, etc., I just want to know that I have correct phone numbers that aren't tied in with anyone else's bill or account.

    So today I decide that instead of sitting on the phone, I'll go the online chat route and ask one simple question: What phone numbers are on the account? If they are the new ones, then problem solved, and if they are the old ones, I'll go through that hassle again. So I go online to chat, that guy was worthless. Can't tell me anything, can't help me, can't even tell me what ****ing phone numbers are attached to my own account/order number. Tells me to call.

    So I called again. Again, I explained my story about the numbers, not sure if anyone actually even understands the problem, and then get placed on hold so I can wait to explain it to someone else again. After 27 minutes, they disconnected me.

    Virtually fuming at this point.

    I called back again, and did the same ol' crap, several transfers, several explanations, several times waiting on hold. I finally get through to a lady who can actually look up my account and see that they did not actually change my phone numbers, as they said they would, but rather that they had just put a note in the computer denoting the new numbers. So she ultimately tells me that they cannot and will not change my phone number until I have the phone in my hand, and call them back AGAIN and then go through the whole process again.

    So at the end of it, I still don't have my problem fixed, and I'm gonna be out a LOT of time on Friday trying to fix that problem on launch day, and at the end of the day I have no idea if I'll be tied to someone else's account or not.

    Why shouldn't I cancel my order entirely? AT&T thus far has proven largely incompetent, disconnected, and inefficient. Everything on my end went fine with the order, so how can they have this many problems (and problems of this kind), especially in year 5 of the iPhone? I can understand some issues/technical difficulties, but the sheer level of ineptitude that I have encountered with them really makes me wonder why the hell I should give them $150 a month.
  2. Codepiink, Oct 11, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011

    Codepiink macrumors regular

    Jun 24, 2010
    Westchester County, NY
    Just wow... I mean I have been dealing with their BS for the last year with horrible reception issues and what not, in addition to being lied to about when it is going to be fixed, but this is just on a whole different level. I can relate to your frustrations bc I've had to deal with it one too many times. I hope the situation works out for you on Friday. You're best bet is to just go into an AT&T store so they can resolve it. Let them deal with the headache of having to call customer service in-store if they cannot fix it at their terminals. They are soo lazy it's not even funny.
  3. Theod0re macrumors member

    Jul 18, 2009
    I picked AT&T's network for the better 3G network (despite spotty coverage, it's good enough imo).

    With that said, I would do everything possible to avoid their customer service. I've never talked to bigger idiots in my life, and I really don't even want to know what their hiring process is for these people. I udnerstand for you it was 99% AT&T's issue, but either way I'd never order anything off their site and am SUPER glad I went through Apple.com to pre-order my iPhone because they saved my ass where AT&T screwed me over.
  4. ZAiPhone macrumors member

    Feb 1, 2011
    Why buy from AT&T??? I gave up on their BS a long time ago. They are my carrier my retailer is Apple. No hassles ordering from Apple.com.
  5. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Oct 9, 2006
    I would say screw calling them. Go to an AT&T store and have them fix it. They can at least call the right people and skip the holding crap.
  6. David R macrumors 6502

    Nov 10, 2003
    Orlando, FL
    The way you were treated is ridiculous.

    Customer service on Friday will be a mess too, so good luck with that...

    My only suggestion at this point, and you probably won't be able to do this in time, is that if you can get a FAN discount for AT&T through your employer, do it. It automatically upgrades your account to some sort of business/enterprise account. Customer service gets magically better. The person who answers your call owns the problem, if they can't fix the problem on the spot, they will write down the phone number, research the issue and you call you back within 24-48 hours. And yes, they do call back.

    It shouldn't be necessary to go through these steps to get basic customer service for something you paid for, but I noticed the difference once I signed up for the discount. I pay less and get better service.
  7. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    Yeeup. That's why we're activating my wife's 4S on Verizon. I'll be following suit when my contract expires.

    Screw AT&T and their shoddy network.
  8. ECUpirate44 macrumors 603


    Mar 22, 2010
    I wouldn't even bother with them. I'd return them both and go with Verizon. All carriers suck, but Verizon sucks the least.
  9. tigres macrumors 68040


    Aug 31, 2007
    Land of the Free-Waiting for Term Limits
    Call. Ask for cancelations.

    Get a manager on the phone.
    Then tell them to graciously to stick it.

    Get a confirmation number, call your CC company and cancel the charge.

    Go back to verizon, I have been there and until you get authioty on the phone, you'll get nowhere.
  10. Hook'Em2006 macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2009
    Plano, TX
    I have been with ATT for 8 years now and have never received bad CS. I dread the day I need to call them for some issue like this. Most of the time if I have some weird issue, I either go to the online chat agent, or go to the actual store and have everything fixed.

    I hope the fix your problems.
  11. puma1552 thread starter macrumors 601

    Nov 20, 2008
    It's like on one hand I want to tell them to shove it and just refuse delivery (assuming I even get the phones on Friday after this since they can't even tell me when I'll get the phones now), but on the other hand it's like geez, for how much time I have into it now it would really suck to give up on it at this point...it doesn't help that the only way I could get a phone on Friday through Verizon is to camp out in front of the store overnight, which isn't going to happen. :|

    The biggest worry with this isn't the hassle now, but wondering if my account/bill/credit rating is going to be mixed up/tied to this other guy, who for all I know is a delinquent.
  12. PNutts macrumors 601


    Jul 24, 2008
    Pacific Northwest, US
    What harm is there following their instructions and waiting until you have your phone and call? I know it's rough to be in your situation but it's a glitch and over 200,000 people served makes the system bend.
  13. rkahl macrumors 65816

    Jul 29, 2010
    I don't care about customer service. I never have a reason to call AT&T.
  14. i4Collin macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I would NEVER use their phone help. On Friday, drive to your local AT&T store and get this sorted out. Tell them about your wait and your several phone calls, and maybe they'll throw in some sort of bonus or incentive.
  15. i4Collin macrumors regular

    Apr 4, 2011
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

    I would NEVER use their phone service. On Friday, drive to your local AT&T store and get this sorted out. Tell them about your wait and your several phone calls, and maybe they'll throw in some sort of bonus or incentive.
  16. bossxii macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    Kansas City
    Sounds like you have had some interesting times with CS. Hopefully they take care you quickly, but we all know that is not going to happen on a day they upgrade 200k accounts. Expect havoc. Anything less than that and you will be lucky.

    As for AT&T and reception, speed etc... 13 years and I've left and come back twice in the past couple of years to try Sprint (Evo 4g) and Verizon (Thunderbolt). Everyone will have a different experience depending where they live. Here in Kansas City AT&T has the fastest 3G speeds hands down. I don't remember having a dropped call and never have really had any issues with CS calls.

    Verizon here is pretty rock solid but they have yet to bring LTE to town (which I read is coming in Nov) and while they have good coverage, 3G speed blows and I use the ability to talk and use data/maps etc... enough to know I won't have a carrier without it.

    I talk to people all over the country and I know AT&T has some issues, but lucky for me I get great coverage, great data speeds and a great phone (iPhone 4) to go with it.

    So to answer your question... if AT&T has good coverage in your area, you will be pleased with the speed and feature you get with GSM service. If you don't, then you would be wise to switch to whatever carrier does as nothing will piss you off more then dropped calls and lack of data coverage once you own a smartphone capable of using it.
  17. hushmartin macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2009
    I've been on Att for the last two years. I have had fantastic customer service... right up until this launch. This launch has been an utter terror. I couldn't order through Apple, I mean NO WAY, NO HOW. It wasn't happening. I tried for 3 hours. Long story short(er), I ended up having to order from att at 10 am. I have no new info on my order status, and I couldn't order applecare+ when I preordered. So, I call them on Saturday to ask about applecare+. No one knows crap. I call apple. No one knows crap. I call apple 3 more times: they tell me I have to go to an apple store (it's 3hrs away), they tell me that's the only way. Next they tell me to call att. I call att, they know crap. I call and get a manager. They tell me that the Att corporate stores will be able to sell it to me on launch day. No going to apple store 3 hrs away. I call Apple, get a supervisor, ask the same thing, get the same answer. I called it good after that.

    I've worked very large call centers before, I even worked at T-mobile a lot of years ago. It is extremely hard for them to get all the CSRs trained up on everything, much less at the drop of a hat. Apple's crazed need for secrecy is what causes these messes. The CSRs don't know anything until Apple makes a public announcement! Then they are all supposed to be completely trained on everything in under a week, all while they have to keep doing their regular customer service work! Its not like they can shut down for a training session.

    So, the basic idea here is: Don't judge a company on their customer service during a product launch where hundreds of thousands of customers are going to be trying to get the product all at the *same exact time*. Of COURSE it's going to be a cluster****. Blame Apple and their obsession with secrecy and how they try to make a huge impact, all at once. It's brilliant-- but it has a cost.
  18. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Not going to happen.

    The best rule of thumb with AT&T is to never try to be proactive. Wait till you have the phone and then call.

    For example, when I ordered my phone as an upgrade I was not offered an option to keep my current texting plan. Only the $20 unlimited plan. So I put the unlimited in my cart but at check out it was not there. I placed the order without any texting.

    Now, I could call and try to fix but they are not set up to help people with future problems. So, I am waiting till I have the phone. I may even try "Text Now" to see if works well, then they will loose the texting portion of my business.


    All of the issues with pre-ordering from AT&T are fully vetted with each launch and since you have been a member since 2009 you have more than likely read similar threads before the 4S. AT&T never gets it right, and frankly they just dont care about it.

    I went online at 3:00 AM EST. AT&T was not taking orders and Apples could not accept them for AT&T as they could not verify account information because AT&T was offline.

    It was not till about 530AM that AT&T seem to be operational. Same thing every year.
  19. JoJoCal19 macrumors 65816


    Jun 25, 2007
    Jacksonville, FL
    The ramblings about Verizon's slow network are overrated. Yes on paper it's slower than molasses compared to AT&T but I've had both recently and I can tell you that pages in Safari load almost as fast on my Verizon iPhone 4 as they did when I had the AT&T iPhone 4 last year. Yes Speedtest showed AT&T doubled or tripled up the speeds compared to Verizon but the actual difference when surfing the net or most downloading were negligible. Anything that you really need to do on the go works just as fast and as well on Verizon data as it will on AT&T, with the exception of streaming video or downloading really huge files.

    I decided to stay with Verizon because their coverage and customer service trump AT&T.

    And while your cluster is a big one, you should have went through what I did when I returned my AT&T iPhone 4. Long story short AT&T's customer service dept is responsible for determining ETF fees and charging accordingly. They were trying to charge me the ETF fee inside of my rightful return window even though the iPhone had already been returned to Apple and refunded. Since I'm a Premier customer, it ended up with their Premier dept reps calling CS to have them take off the ETF fee (Premier is unable to do so, CS has to) and after CS refusing, Premier was basically calling their own regular CS reps idiots. It took MANY phone calls, letters, etc just to get them to finally remove the freakin ETF. Never again AT&T.
  20. Tarzanman macrumors 65816

    Jul 16, 2010
    ...and people wonder why I am absolutely against AT&T buying T-mobile.

    T-mobile freakin rocks. Especially in Atlanta
  21. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    You definitely had a frustrating and unnecessarily complicated experience. Focusing on the question in your subject line, "Why should I give AT&T my business?":

    There's no question that this past week is the BUSIEST that AT&T has ever had, and you should not assume that your experiences will always be this bad. As a couple other people suggested, maybe stop in your local AT&T store to straighten things out (tip: Don't do it this Friday).

    If you live in an area where AT&T has good coverage, the operating experience with an iPhone is night and day better compared to Verizon or Sprint. In my small town of 2,500 people, in rural Ozark NW Arkansas, I get performance on AT&T that is more than double the speed of Verizon (Sprint doesn't cover here at all). Fortunately I haven't experienced the kind of problem you have, but even if I did - switching to Verizon would be like cutting off my nose to spite my face.

    So why give AT&T your business? Because the alternatives are worse. You only speak to Customer Service rarely, and you can choose those opportunities. You have to live with the signal and speed every time you use your phone.

    Obviously this is not universally true, in some areas AT&T's coverage is poor compared to Verizon/Sprint, and AT&T is not a viable option. I'm assuming that you don't fall into that circumstance or you wouldn't have already started down this path.

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