When a Communications Company can’t Communicate

It has been a day of frustrations that really started on Sunday.

I have long lusted after an iPhone.  I know, I am a gadget freak.  I have always been enamored of such “toys.”  My two year contract for my current cell phone expired on Saturday.  I checked the AT&T on-line upgrade options.  I am not allowed to buy on-line.  You see, I have a post office box.  AT&T claims that they will not ship to a P. O. Box “to prevent fraud.”  Huh?  But they also will not ship to an address other than the billing address on my credit card (as they should not.)

I have had my P. O. Box for over twelve years.  I would rather have an item shipped there than to a street address.  Things can be taken from a mail box much more easily than from a box in the post office.  Goodness.

So I made a trip to my local AT&T store.  The young man who waited on me was just delightful.  He was helpful, answered all my questions and reassured me that a 16 gigabyte phone would more than meet my needs.  Some of his answers were not what I hoped, but he was so nice that I didn’t mind.  There were no iPhones in stock.  They expected a shipment this morning and I probably should be at the store when it opened to assure that I could get one.

The only iPhones that they received this morning were special orders.  So it was suggested that I check back with them just after noon to see if they received any more.  I called as suggested.  Or rather, I tried to call.

You see, AT&T stores have an automated answering system.  Now I was calling a brick and mortar store just over the hill from here.  Once I navigated the system, no one was available to answer the phone so I was given to option to return to the first menu or be directed to National Customer Service.  Those were the only two options.  In hindsight, I should have gone to National and asked them if the local store received any 16G iPhones this afternoon.

I tried for more than 20 minutes to connect to the local store with no success.  I finally gave up and drove to the store.  They were very nice and allowed me to vent a little.  They had received a few phones, but they were all 32G phones.  I’m spending more than I should for an iPhone in the first place.  There is no way that I would spend an extra $100 for something that I really do not need.  So I ordered what I want.  (At some point, I actually thought about giving up and getting a Droid.  But then I would be able to get the iHog app.)

After I got home, I decided to try to let AT&T know that their communications protocols were seriously flawed.  First I tried to navigate their web site to report a problem.  None of the choices fit my problem, so whatever I clicked sent me to a video on how to report a problem.  Huh?

I decided to send an email.  I logged into my Cell Phone account, clicked on Contact Us, and clicked on Send Email.  The resulting page said that my session had timed out.  It didn’t take me any longer to do that than it took you to read this paragraph.

By now I was seriously ticked off, so I decided to call.  I did get to talk to a person after another system navigation.  After subjecting the poor person to a bit of a rant (I really tried to be nice) I took the survey about my experience.  There were a couple of times in the survey that none of the options suited my problem.  At the end I was  offered the opportunity to have a customer service rep call me.  I said yes, or rather I punched the number for yes.  It will be interesting to see if they do call and how long it takes them to do so.

I will give them credit for one thing.  At no point in all of the menu navigation did they want me to speak to the automated system.  Those things annoy me so much that I find I get louder and louder as I talk to them.

Whew, <rant over>.


KBeau said...

Sounds a lot like the session I just had with Capital One. The fourth person I spoke to, after entering my credit card number four different times, (I had the same problem with none of the menu items fitting my problem), understood exactly what I wanted to do. I think perhaps it was because she spoke American English. And I told her so--very politely.

BTW, the phone will be worth the wait.

KBeau said...

One more thing. with the iHog app, you'll be able to listen to baseball games while traveling far away from Hog country. Wonder if they'll do the same for football?

Baumbastic said...

Being able to listen to baseball while far from home and away from my PC is one of the main reasons that I want iHog.

Baumbastic said...

Tuesday afternoon: My iPhone arrived at the DFW airport just before 3 p.m. today. It looks like there is a chance I could get it this week!