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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

E.T Can't Phone Home

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for smoke and a blanket.
Recently my handicapped son inadvertently agreed to have his phone carrier switched from AT&T to Tin Can and a String.  I have been trying to get it switched back for the past three days.
I wonder what the record is for being put on hold and/or talking to three nationalities? Right now I am at two hours, dealing with three different accents stretched from one hemisphere to the other.  While on hold, I got some good advice from my friends via the internet  for dealing with phone company employees lacking in communication skills.
Thanks to Don I started my converations with "My name is Jody Worsham. I am calling on behalf of my brain injured son. I am recording this conversation. Please state your name and position in Tin Can and String Communications."  With a couple of repetitions and a few supervisors later (plus about an hour of time) there is no longer a contract with Tin Can and String, no penalties, and we are free to reconnect with AT&T.

Fast forward to 12:30 central standard time and my call to AT&T. First I talk to Chris and explain the situation. He  transfers me to Roxanne who says I must give her my son's social security number which I refuse to do since they already had it from the previous twelve years my son had a phone with AT&T. She then tells me I must pay $100 if I do not supply the social security number. I tell her I wish to speak to their Legal Depart, (thanks Rose for that phrase).   Roxie tells me they don't have one. Ha!  I ask to speak to her supervisor. She puts me on hold (about twenty minutes). She comes back and says there will be no $100 fee and I don't have to give her his social security number. She then tells me the earliest they can activate his phone is eight days from now. I explain that we are traveling, I must be able to call my son to remind him to take medications, drink water, and for him to dial 911 in an emergency. She puts me on hold. No music, no weather report, no indication I have not been disconnected.

Fearing my phone is about to go dead, I try to switch phones and drop it. I call AT&T back. I talk to the same machine, I think. I punch numbers. I talk to Sira Lanka who never heard of Christie or Roxie but transfers me to Navarro. I explain the entire situation again.  I have it down to about 10 concise sentences by now. He can't find my address even though I am sitting at my desk with four AT&T phone bills in front of me for two landlines, three cell phones, and a hot spot sent to the exact address I am giving him. I am put on hold. He is back. I am put on hold. He is back. He finds my address. He has the last four numbers of  my son's social security card.
No I will not give him the rest of the number. It is already in the system from the past twelve years son has had the phone. There is no reason At&T needs a social security number. He puts me on hold. He is back. Never mind, he has the number.

"If he doesn't need the same phone number, the connection can be reinstated in less than eight days."

"Fine." I get the new number.

"The connection can be made in seven days." 

"Unacceptable. It must be done tomorrow. Connect me to your supervisor."

"Hold, please...."
wait wait wait.

"We can make the connection in three days.

"Unacceptable. Connect me to another supervisor."

"Hold, please."

"Hay whoa. How you are ?"

"Frustrated." I repeat concise sentences 1-10, with emphasis and careful enunciation on paragraph two from above, leaving town, need to access son at all times, 911 etc.

"I tok wi dee-patcher. Call you back."

Two hours and thirty-one minutes later the phone rings. A recording  asks "Do you have time for a survey as to how AT&T is doing based on your recent interaction?

I put "it"on hold.

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Wanda said...

You have been living my life again, well, except for the son. But you tell it better than I ever could. Good job.

Jody Worsham said...

took another week but we got it fixed.

Sharon said...

Hasn't technology made customer service so much easier for everyone. I can imagine the call center people are a frustrated as we. You could report them to the Texas Dept. of Consumer Protection because they took a whole week to reconnect for a disabled young man. That's usually run out of the State Attorney General office.