12-20-2011 08:45:40 PM
Up until last night I had been a satisfied customer of AT&T for over 7 years. Last night, after all this time, I finally had a need to contact AT&T's customer support and they failed me miserably. Here's what happened.
It all began when I tried to upgrade my iPhone 4 to the iPhone 4S. This is process itself went smoothly enough except I was prompted to enter a shipping address. Hitting the back button on my phone's web browser, I spot the notice that says something like "due to security reasons we can only ship to the billing address on file." I moved from the address AT&T has on file in January, called to change my billing address once before, and because I use paperless billing, I never noticed before that the address was wrong. Now I'll admit here that it was my fault that I didn't see this notice the first time through, but I did what I could think of to correct it. I called the phone number for AT&T's Premier support and spoke with a woman who was difficult to communicate with because she is not a native english speaker. She explains that she cannot change the shipping address of the order. I ask if I can cancel the order instead. She tells me she can do that, she cancels it, and our phone conversation ends. At 5:14 PM pacific time I received an email saying my order was received and 5:33pm PST I get an email saying the order had been cancelled. I figured all was right in the world.
This evening I find that the local Best Buy has iPhone 4S in stock. Still eager to upgrade my phone, I excitedly run to the store as soon as I can after work to get my shiny new phone. When I get there the Best Buy representative checks my upgrade eligibility and finds I am not eligible for the upgrade pricing. Confused, I dial 611 from my wireless phone to speak with customer support. The lady I speak with says that my account showed my contract being renewed today and that's why I am not eligible for the upgrade price. I explain the situation with the upgrade and she says she needs to transfer me to premier so I can cancel my order. I express that I don't understand how that will help since I have called them to cancel my order and received an email confirming the cancellation. She then gets an attitude with me and explains in a rude manner that she would need to hear from premier that the order was cancelled before she could do anything. My email with a confirmation number wasn't good enough. She then transferred me to Premier. This time I speak with a gentleman who is also difficult to communicate with because he is not a native english speaker. He says that the order was actually not cancelled and he puts me on hold to check something. About 15 minutes later he comes back on the line. I'm not sure exactly what he said but what I got out of it is that he can not cancel the order. I have to wait until FedEx attempts delivery, is unable to deliver as addressed, and returns the package to sender before the upgrade can be reversed. I tried to ask for clarification but he had hung up.
After this I call 611 again, explain the situation to the representative that answers, and ask to speak with a supervisor. After holding for a few minutes his supervisor gets on the line. I reiterate my story to him. He explains he can't do anything from his end but he says that he will call Premier to try to resolve the issue. After a few minutes of being on hold he comes back on the line, joins me with the call he had with Premier and then he hangs up. I now find myself on the phone with a woman who's name sounded like Jezelle. I quickly recognize her voice as the very same woman I had dealt with the night before when I tried to cancel the order! Now she tells me that my order has shipped so it cannot be cancelled, but she says she can contact FedEx to see if they can reroute the package to a different address. I explain that that is not what I want. I called to cancel the order before it shipped. I received a confirmation that the order was cancelled before it shipped. I informed Jezelle that I want the order cancelled so I can get my new phone tonight. She replies that she is going to put me on hold while she calls FedEx to try to reroute the package to my new address. Frustrated, I hang up on her.
I ask the Best Buy representative if they have an iPhone 4S for Verizon or Sprint. They have one in stock for Sprint. Now I call 611 for a 3rd time and ask how much my early termination fee will be. While looking up that information for me, the gentleman on the phone asks why I'm interested in canceling my contract early. I explain my ordeal to him. He tells me my fee would be ~$200 and then asks if I'd be willing to hold while he tried to resolve my issue. Trying to be a reasonable person, I agree to let him have a chance. After a brief period on hold he explains that the best he could is try to call FedEx and get them to reroute the package. I decide to hold while he contacts FedEx and use this time to consider if it's really worth $200 to switch carriers. While on hold, my phone dropped the call. At this point, my mind is made up. I've had enough of AT&T, but I'm too late. The Sprint iPhone 4S had sold.
I wasted 2 hours of my life this evening trying to resolve a problem that never would have become an issue if the first Premier rep I spoke with had properly cancelled my order like I asked her. Like she told me she did. Like I have an email confirming she did. AT&T's horrendous customer service cost me 2 hours and I'm still no closer to an iPhone 4S. I am currently away from home on business but as soon as I get back home and I get my hands on a Verizon or Sprint iPhone 4S I will be saying good bye and good riddance to AT&T.
AT&T, this how you lose a loyal customer of 7 years in a couple hours. If you don't fix your customer service process, you will lose many more. AT&T, Rethink Customer Service.
12-20-2011 09:32:22 PM
12-20-2011 09:44:44 PM
7 years and one incident is going to make you switch to sprint? I understand your frustrated but the order process is setup in a way where it is almost impossible to cancel the order if it's already gone through.That's why its always best to make sure your information is updated with every service you have, including wireless, so things like this dont happen.
Believe me, Sprints customer service is horrible and I'm sure you'll be back.
Good luck with your new carrier!
12-21-2011 04:26:25 AM
If it's really impossible to cancel the order just a few minutes after it was placed, that process needs to be fixed. Also, if it is impossible to cancel it then the Premier rep lied to me when she said she cancelled it and sent me a confirmation email. I've checked my email again since then and curiously, 14 hours after my first cancelation confirmation, I received another cancelation confirmation within the same minute that I received email saying the order has shipped. Sounds like it would have been possible to cancel my order but somewhere in the system, something didn't work like it was supposed to. This is the mistake I was expecting AT&T to take responsibility for. The other issues that developed along the way are being unable to speak with a native english speaker with Premier, the first customer service rep I spoke with who was rude to me, the customer service supervisor I spoke with who left the call without ensuring my issue was resolved, the Premier representative that hung up without ensuring I understood what he told me, and the last customer service representative who didn't call back after the call dropped while I was on hold.
And here's an idea, if you can call FedEx and get them to reroute the package, why not allow me to change where the package will be sent when I order the phone in the first place? Or, how about you tell FedEx to redirect the package back its point of origin, cancel my order, and restore my upgrade eligibility?