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Tuesday, April 17, 2012


You've all heard the expression that begins with "the best laid plans..."  Well, I had what I thought was a great plan, but it sure didn't work out too well.

I'm sure most of you are seeing rising bundled services for phone, internet and television.  I recently decided to unbundle our service at our summer home in Connecticut.  Unfortunately in Southeastern CT, there aren't a lot of options.  You can use Comcast (which is what we've been using) or you can switch to AT&T or SBC.  Comcast is the only one with the so-called triple-play since AT&T and SBC don't do TV service.

AT&T is a good old household name, so I chose them to switch the phone and internet service to.  Mind you, this was not because there was anything wrong with our very reliable Comcast service, it was simply a financial decision.  After numerous phone calls I realized that I could save hundreds of dollars every year!  Why wouldn't I want that!?

About a month ago, I spend endless time on the phone and switched over the phone and internet service.  My friend and I proceeded to install the AT&T high speed internet service following the instructions provided.  Included with the new modem/router were three plug in filters.  The instructions were very clear and we installed one of the filters on a phone line that wasn't directly hooked up to the modem or my computer.  Everything looked good and worked great, for about an hour.

I was talking to my husband on the phone in New Jersey when there was a loud sizzling static sound on the phone, a popping sound coming from my computer and my house alarm went off.  For a minute I thought the house blew up!  I immediately called AT&T from my cell phone and didn't get too much advice, so I unplugged the modem and computer completely and went back to New Jersey.

Here I am, a month later, ready to tackle the problem with renewed vigor.....HA!  I arranged beforehand to have an AT&T technician come to the house last Thursday to find out what was going wrong.  He showed up as scheduled and proceeded to put a whole-house filter in the basement, telling me that the three filters that were mailed to me were nothing but junk and never work.  Interesting.  "All set", he said when he packed up to leave.  I tried to give him back the three plug in filters (definitely pieces of equipment I had never seen before and didn't want) and he told me to throw them away since that's all he would do with them anyway!!!  This might be one of the reasons that the prices of all of these services are going up; let's just throw equipment away!

He left and everything was fine for about an hour at most and then I had no internet again, but the phones worked fine.  I called AT&T on Thursday evening and the representative who answered the phone said she could see that we were "dropped" 14 times in just a couple of hours.  I could have told her that since the only way to get on to the internet was to unplug the equipment totally, reboot my computer, wait 15 seconds, plug everything back in and start all over.  All the pretty little flashing lights on the modem came on green, signalling that it was good to go.  Signed back on to Google and maybe five minutes later, POOF, the internet service light turned red.

I called AT&T again and the rep said that there were problems with the line and it would be fixed by Friday morning.  Okay, one night  was doable, my husband and I could spend time talking to each other for a change, all good.  Friday morning rolled around and same thing, intermittent short-term internet service.  I called back and another rep told me that I'd get a recorded message telling me that everything was fine within five or six hours on Friday, which would have been in the late afternoon.  What do you think happened?  You're phone call and no message and no internet.

So I called back again on Friday evening and I think I reached someone in Guam.  I was told that they were aware of the problem and that I shouldn't be so impatient, I'd get a call back.  HAHA!  Not!  Amazingly, AT&T customer service is not open in the evenings or on Saturday or Sunday.   Nice that they get the weekends off, isn't it?

First thing Monday morning, I called Comcast and begged them to take me back!  And quickly, please!  They were wonderful.  They waived the reinstallation fee and had a technician here today to set everything up.  Of course we wound up with a temporary phone number for five to seven days, while Comcast wrestles our original number back from AT&T's clutches, but we can live with that.  What we do have is internet service.....glorious wonderful internet service!  I can even finally load a book onto my Kindle again without having to drive to the local Starbucks and I can finally blog again, so I'm a happy camper.  My husband can check his office email, too.  Wonderful!

I'm not going to tell AT&T that I'm switching back until I get my original phone number back, so that will be our secret.  Sad that such a once-prestigious company is so unreliable.  My advice to you is to be careful when you're looking for savings on these's not as easy as it looks and it's really hard work!

1 comment:

  1. Hope it works this time. Yours is the opposite experience to those I've had.

    Usually, Comcast tempts customers with lower rates and better-packaged services. But when they show up, their technicians have incomplete or erroneous work orders which leave both them and the caretaker (me) guessing about what is to be done. Usually, it takes two or three return visits to straighten this out.

    Yesterday, I had to call them. A couple of months ago a wire blew off of my house. I asked an ATT technician, working in the neighborhood, to look at it. All he could say was that it was not ATT's equipment. Fine. So I eventually called Comcast.

    Mind you, a wire's been dangling for about two months. I've got it wrapped around my front railing to keep it off the street. The end which is hanging isn't even my end . . . it broke off at the pole end. I have a three family building. I don't have cable t.v., my second floor tenant doesn't have cable t.v., and the first floor apartment has been vacant for about nine years.

    After talking with Comcast, we determined that the service used to belong to a former first floor tenant. Since there's no one in the building who is unable to watch dumb-fuck Dancing with the Stars on their widescreen, the best service appointment they'd give me was May fourth, two and a half weeks away. The fact that the wire has been hanging for about two months doesn't seem to matter; their technicians, whose trucks I see cruising this street all the time, never got curious on their own or stopped to investigate. You'd think that once, maybe, one of them might say, "Hey, I wonder if that's our wire that's down? Why don't I stop and take care of it if it is?"

    Guess they're too busy playing with their $400 smart phones or itching to watch pro sports on their own widescreens. Welcome to techno-toy addicted America. for now, I'll stick with AT&T.