AT&T: Customer support horrors

This morning, I just wasted two hours of my life trying to deal with a bill with AT&T. I am a work-at-home employee, and my company has a contract with AT&T so that when I deal 1-700-xxx-xxxx, I can reach the internal corporate phone network. In addition, long distance calls on my home office line are billed to the company at the pre-negotiated corporate rates. I also had a (long-dormant) AT&T long distance account, dating from before I started working at this company. Starting at the beginning of the year, that account grew a $18 monthly fee. When I tried to make it go away, the AT&T consumer side of the house said that according to Verizon, that was because I had my long distance service through AT&T. Which was true, in a sense — AT&T was providing my service, but through a corporate account. But the consumer side of AT&T didn’t understand that, and were in my opinion, willfully ignorant.

Several phone calls later, I got the 1-800 number for the AT&T corporate side of the house, and those folks said they couldn’t look at consumer/personal AT&T accounts, and implied it was my fault that I had both accounts on the line. (This took over an hour while the support person tried multiple things, all of which was not helpful at all.)

I finally googled for AT&T CEO’s office, and found a number on the web site that claimed to be the AT&T CEO’s office. It had long since been directed to a help center, but after I told my tale, I was quickly transferred to an executive customer support person, who was able to fix the problem in ten minutes.

The only questions remaining are:

1) Why can’t the different parts of AT&T talk to one another?

2) Will this problem really be solved, or will I see another bill in a month or two and have to spend more time dealing with this mess all over again?

3) When will VOIP services put AT&T long distance out of its misery? (Given the absolute frustration of this morning, this can’t happen soon enough.)

4) Will AT&T compensate me for two hours of frustration and of my life that I will never get back. (Not bloody likely.)

One thing is for certain, it will be a long, long, LONG time before I will ever voluntarily choose AT&T to provide service for just about anything. Even an iPhone wouldn’t be enough inducement….