I recently wrote about my dislike of electronic or eBills. This morning, I learned customer support calls aren’t much better. I reaffirmed this when I received my AT&T eBill and noticed that the charges on the bill were three times the normal amount. So once again, I had to click the link in the email, look up my user name and password, and log in to the company’s web site.
Even more of a treat, I had to enter my location and fill out a security profile before I was let into the site. After finding my bill summary and eventually the billing detail, I noticed that I had been charged for my long-distance plan four times, once for each month dating back to last October.
Sometimes Picking Up the Phone Still Works Best
I decided not to waste any time and immediately picked up the phone to make yet another one of those dreaded customer support calls. But there were three phone numbers on my online bill. I picked what I thought was the best one and proceeded to get buried in an onslaught of “press 1 for this, press 2 for this”. I even tried just pressing zero at one point but was told that zero was not a valid selection.
After going down the wrong “press this for that” path two times and eventually working my way back to the main menu, I finally heard the glorious “press 0 to speak to a customer service representative.” Finally, a human.
After explaining my situation, I was told that my current charge for last month was thirteen dollars and some change. Yes, I explained, but why was I charged that amount four times, dating back to October? The woman I was speaking with said that she could only see the current charge and that I would have to speak to the billing department to verify whether I had already paid for the past few months. I thought I was talking to the billing department?!?!
Ummm… About Those Extra Charges?
Next, she told me that I was paying too much for long-distance and that I should switch to a new plan. Apparently my current plan became a dinosaur five minutes after I signed up for it. After listening to her convincing argument, I actually did switch plans at which point she asked me if she had answered all of my questions. I told her no, she hadn’t since the reason I placed the customer support call was to find out why I had so many months’ worth of charges on my bill. She told me I needed to talk to the AT&T division that handles the local charges on my bill and transferred me to that number.
Once the new customer support call number rang through, I had to speak my phone number and reason for calling to a computer which I absolutely despise. Then finally another human who informed me that I should have called the number for Indiana. I would have I explained if I knew what number that was and besides, I continued, I was transferred to this number by another AT&T customer service representative.
So my journey continued with yet another transfer at which time I had to key in on my phone which state I was calling in regards to. Then, another human. I once again explained my dilemma and the new customer service representative told me that she could not help me because I was asking about long-distance charges and that I should call the number for long-distance service or she could transfer me. I told her that I had already called that number and that’s how I ended up with her.
To her credit, the woman apologized along with a song and dance story about how my old local company used to be SBC, and now it is AT&T and they are still ironing out the kinks of merging the AT&T local with the AT&T long distance. At this point, I gave up and figured I would just pay the bill and be done with it. Unfortunately for me, the customer service representative was in no hurry to end our phone conversation.
A Painful End to My Call
“Before we end our call, I’d like to tell you about our high-speed Internet service.” My response: a polite no thank you. “Are you sure? You get a great bundled rate?” My response: a polite no thank you. “Do you have high-speed Internet service now?” My response: Yes. “You should consider.”. I cut her off, irritated at this point, and explained to her that I am very technical in these matters and I realize their service is much cheaper than mine but also ten times as slow. I thought my irritation would cause her to give up. Wrong again.
SEE ALSO: Do I Need a Faster Internet Connection?
“What about your digital television?” I’ll spare you the two minutes she hit me with trying to convert me to their television plan.
“Well sir, what about your AT&T wireless. You should switch your cell phones to AT&T Wireless”. This time I thought I had her. I told her I use an iPhone and my service is already with AT&T Wireless. Nope. “Well, can you tell me the names of your friends that you would like to switch to AT&T Wireless?”
40 minutes of my life I will never get back. And I still have to pay the entire bill.