Public Service Announcement: AT&T Uverse Sucks, Stay Away

[UPDATE] 2:

Apparently my solution is to move to Chattanooga.

I actually like Chattanooga a lot. It’s a beautiful river city surrounded by gorgeous mountains. They have an awesome aquarium and a fabulous music festival called Riverbend every June. I could live there. Hell, if it was good enough for Bessie Smith….

I think what frustrates me the most about this whole ordeal is that the actual product itself is very good, probably wonderful. But where these big companies always trip themselves up is on the people stuff. They can handle gears and switches and fiber optics and other technical stuff but dealing with people is something they absolutely fail at. And what this tells me is, feel-good marketing and PR campaigns notwithstanding, they simply do not value people. Not as customers, not as employees. They are not focused on people at all. They are focused on their product, not how it makes its way into the world. But telecom is a very people-centric product. It’s something people interact with in all aspect of their lives. It’s completely integrated into a person’s life. To ignore the people aspect is to miss something fundamental about what it is you do.

Love them or hate them, Apple has always gotten the people aspect of what they do. AT&T has not.

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You’d think in Great Capitalist America we consumers would have more options than just choosing between two soul-sucking, mendacious corporate behemoths for our home technology needs but sadly, in another failure of capitalism, that answer is no.

Mr. Beale and I have spent the past two weeks mired in a labyrinth of corporate incompetence so massive it is astounding that this major American company hasn’t imploded under the weight of its own fail. A few weeks ago we made the (in retrospect) ill-fated decision to switch our tech at the house to AT&Ts Uverse. It was not a decision made lightly: I’ve had very bad experiences with Comcast and other Tech Giants and was reluctant to re-enter that world. But we’ve been spending a ridiculous amount of money on an old-school DSL line that’s so sluggish we can’t even stream Netflix movies while working on a laptop, and YouTube videos chug along like a slow boat to China. Meanwhile we’ve been getting DirectTV, paying a ridiculous amount each month and dealing with weather interruptions, etc. Switching to AT&T would be cheaper, faster, better, etc., or so they said.

Well, I’ll spare you all the gory details but suffice it to say this has been an utter disaster all the way around. We had to have two installers come out — after we were completely blown off on our first appointment, I might add — and half of our phone jacks STILL don’t work. Email has been another disaster, with me finally setting up an account on iMail but not able to send to more than one person at a time. I guess AT&T expects me to send 300 individual messages informing people of my new email address. Does that make sense to anyone? When I posted the question about sending bulk email on the AT&T forums page, I was told to get a free Gmail account.

So the solution to my problem is to not use the service I just spent a lot of money getting. Okie dokie.

Today I called tech support and after getting cut off the first time got switched to two different people where I was told my problem could be solved if I paid an additional $15 a month.

Meanwhile, Mr. Beale has not been able to set up his email account to Outlook Express.

This has been an utter disaster. We will have to try to cancel this service — if they let us out of the indentured servitude that is the AT&T contract. Perhaps they’ll take my first-born son. Maybe a right or left arm.

[UPDATE]:

Let me add, the cherry on top of this Suck Sundae has been the constant requests for me to take their “survey” to “offer my opinion.” No. You do not want my opinion.

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21 Comments

Filed under AT&T, corporate overlords

21 responses to “Public Service Announcement: AT&T Uverse Sucks, Stay Away

  1. WOW….I am not an AT&T fan, but here in Knoxville, what are the choices?? We switched to them from Comcast. (ugh) The speed is not great and I want to ditch the landline…all we get are political robocalls and collection calls for people I never heard of.
    BUT…we are Apple folks, and everything we do is thru Safari and our MAC accounts. No problem……iPad, computer and iPhones are all in sync. Do NOT use Gmail.
    EVERYTHING is a plot, my husband says, to f#$% it up….so we will pay more to “better service.”

    • Yeah pretty sure that is a factor at work here. I find out after the fact that my problem is due to a limit on the # of emails I can send. They don’t tell you that upfront! I’m sure if I paid more I could increase that number, though.

  2. Kathleen O'Neill

    Oh. My. Gosh. Sorry to hear that. As much as I complain about Time Warner I’ve never had to deal with anything even close to that. I thought I read that ATT was purchasing DirectTV and that it was because U-Verse was not what they had hoped profit wise. I can see why. I’ve also heard horror stories about their mobile service. I worked for ATT for many years as employee and contractor. Before divestiture it was a great company.

  3. Eric Taylor

    I am so sorry to hear that. My wife and I switched from Brighthouse to UVerse in Hoover, AL and nothing can be better. Quick response after deciding to go to UVerse, immediate notice of both TV and Internet quality. When the few problems arose, the techs were quick to respond and make corrections w/o charge. W/in 2 weeks the cable was buried in the yard. Been so good in our Hoover neighborhood that many are switching over from Bright House all the time. I wish you had the service we are getting here.
    Eric

    • Do you and your wife use their webmail or do you use an email client like OutlookExpress or iMail? That is where our problem is. We found out, too late, that Uverse really isn’t geared up for working with an email client. They really want you to use webmail, probably so they can force you to look at a bunch of crappy ads, who knows.

      • Eric Taylor

        Not sure what you are asking but we not run a business out of our home. We are retired. We are always on as we are 2 of th3 coordinators of an animal transport group, Alabama Rescue Relay. Using both Firefox and AOL, we are able to reach our volunteer drivers and rescue partners with no problem with our emails. We do not have a land line. UVerse is for TV and internet. I do not get too many unwanted adds. But neither of us need or use either Outlook Express or iMail.

      • So you have an AOL account, then. OK thanks.

  4. I used to work in Regulatory at Verizon–I was one of TWO union employees in an organization of 700+ people–and they all suck,

    AT&T’s depredations are no worse than anyone else’s. Someday the FCC will get miffed that they don’t got no regulatin to do and they’ll decide that Internet services ARE a commodity and necessity. It will be great fun watching the TelcoIntertoobTV fucks squirm in Congressional hearings. Well, I can dream.

    Time Warner is the suck, here, and they’re the ONLY game in town for decent speed. Verizon quit rolling out FIOS about 25 miles south of here and theire DSL is crap.

  5. ThresherK

    A few weeks ago we made the (in retrospect) ill-fated decision to switch our tech at the house to AT&Ts Uverse. It was not a decision made lightly: I’ve had very bad experiences with Comcast

    Ah, the Benny Hill Double Switch rears its ugly head.

    Nationalize, you say? It’s either time make threats for another REA, or we just might put these posters up as an example of what this country used to be able to do when it had its collective shit together.

  6. J R in WV

    Today’s ATT is one of the brand new cell companies who bought the ATT brand for $1.99 after the global ATT we all grew up with blew up into salable individual pieces. I forget the name of the purchaser, but immediately after the purchase went through they renamed themselves ATT and dropped the original name like the hot rock it was.

    They had the lowest customer satisfaction rate in the cell industry, not an industry famed for customer service. Looks like they went downhill after that. Sorry ’bout that!

    We got by with non-contract cell phones for travel purposes, just letting them die after getting back home. At home there is no cell connectivity from any vendor – in order to have cell service the tower would have to be on our property because our home is built in a cove in the hillside.

    But last winter we bit a bullet and bought android phones from Verizon on contract, as well as a swell little gadget that connects to the innertubes via the cell network and provides wireless router service to our laptops and tablets. This gadget is about 2/3 the size of a wireless mouse and really works.

    Not cheap, unlimited phone calls and 4GB of free data plan for 2 adults, who don’t use the phone much, don’t text at all … We do use the phones when one of us goes to town and the other wants to remind errand runner of something we need at home. Also would potentially be useful for flat tire IF you were in town for the flat. WV is inconveniently non-flat for line-of-sight signals.

    Most contracts are back-outable for either 10 or 14 days, like door to door vacumm sales can be bailed out of for that period. Good luck!

    FYI, Satellite service is bad too, we’ve tried both major vendors, they both suck.

  7. Bitter Scribe

    I was forced to use AT&T U-verse when they made everyone in my area upgrade from DSL. I thought of switching to Comcast internet to match my Comcast cable. But then my cable went out! No reason at all, and it was always a “temporary shortage in your region” that was going to be fixed in “the next few hours.” Well, once the next few hours stretched out to a solid week, I was forced to switch to AT&T cable.

    So far so good. It’s more channels, including Showtime, for almost $50 a month less.

    • On the TV end, once we got wired boxes instead of wireless which don’t work in an old house with plaster walls, I was OK. On the plus side, I get BBC World News now, which is great, and I get Al Jazeera America in HD, also great. DirectTV which we had before only has non-HD Al Jazeera for some bizarre reason, and no BBC World News. I love Al Jazeera America, it’s like normal news, no opinion just stuff happening around the world. Imagine that.

      On the downside, I lost my Link TV and FreeSpeech TV, which were the only channels carrying Democracy Now. But for some inexplicable reason I do get the RW Moonie TV network, One America News, which makes Fox News look like MSNBC.

      I miss my Democracy Now. But yes, everyone needs to remind me about how “liberal TV is not commercially viable” because access isn’t an issue, oh no. /sarcam

  8. themadkansan

    …Probably the =one= bright spot in this blasted hellscape I live in is the internet access; regional telco/ISP decided they’d had enough shit from the bastards who owned the existing copper/cable nets, and got a government loan to roll out an =entirely new= fiber network across their service area.

    The only problems I’ve had since we switched to them from the local cableco morons in April of last year have been when the power goes out and kills the firewall PC. They offer the whole package, too – DTV, HD, phone, and ‘net.

  9. My suympathies for your problem. When we moved upstairs — as part of a weird series of deals that wound up first with us (and my brother-in-law) owning the house, then selling it to the Rabbi next door when my b-I-law moved to NC and using half of our share of the proceeds to pay ten years rent for the upstairs apartment that had been David’s — we had to move because the new owners redid our old apartment for their parents use — they were too old to make the stairs — we kept Verizon FiOS for our Internet, but we had never switched from DirecTV so we kept both. And that was a choice I am very glad of, despite the extra cost and my wife’s worries about long-term budgeting.

    In all the eight to ten years we had DirecTV — we got it after a year of my wife having to listen to the Yankees on radio because Cablevision and YES were fighting, and even though the fight was finally settled two days after we switched, we had already decided we’d never switch back — I don’t think we have lost a hundred hours to weather problems, if that. It is very rare that we lose service, maybe there is something about our location, but it seems to take a MAJOR downpour before we get the ‘service lost’ ,messages, and that and the price are the only downsides. (Okay, except for not getting AJHD, but I can live with that rather than lose FreeSpeech TV and Gay USA — aka the ‘Ann and Andy Show’ — that is a necessity. And thanks for reminding me we get Link, I have to see if they still have their World Music Show I didn’t have time for.)

    But the difference is Customer Service. I have the cable tech service phone on speed dial, but I’ve almost never had to use DirecTV’s help, and when I have, they actually know what they were doing and get things fixed. They are both friendly and helpful, again, I can think of only two exceptions in ten years — one installer who went nuts, not only told us he ‘had been doing this for eight years and knew better than us what to do’ — he didn’t — but when we complained, told his bosses the same thing — that he knew better than they did — and then walked off the job and quit, and one rude customer service guy.

    Meanwhile, Verizon’s CS Dept. is so bad that my wife won’t let me near the phone when we have a complaint. My temper has shortened as I’ve aged, and the odds are that one session with them and I’d blow up and we’d need to find a new place for Internet.

    But I’ve never even heard of UVerse or whatever, but I’ll stick with what has worked, which, for me, has been DirecTV.

    • That has been my experience with DirectTV as well. We’ve had more weather outages than you, however. They don’t usually last too long but it can be annoying at times. However we’ve had issues with the DVRs (had to have two replaced) along with other headaches, minor things, nothing a deal breaker. You always get a human and they’re always really pleasant to deal with. They’re here in the U.S. not outsourced to Taiwan or the Philippines. There’s a cultural understanding. They don’t just have to read off the damn script.

      However, AT&T and DirectTV have “merged.” So I’m afraid that the sucky AT&T customer service experience may eventually infect DirectTV.

      Anyway, Nashville is on the list to get Google Fiber in the next year or two. We’d always wanted that but just couldn’t hold out, my old DSL service was just way too slow. So perhaps we’ll switch when the time comes.

  10. greennotGreen

    SB, I live in south Nashville and have been very happy with my Uverse and ATT service with one caveat: when my wireless went out for the second time, I was advised to buy my own USB network adapter because the ones they provide are junk. It was $40, and it’s worked ever since. I don’t have a land line, and I was already using Gmail, so I can’t speak to those issues.

  11. Jim in Memphis

    I have been on Uverse here in Memphis for several years. We have had no problems with the service. Installation was very smooth and the TV service was pretty nice while we had it. We decided to cancel TV since most of what we watch was on Netflix anyway and there were no problems cancelling the service. Now we have internet and phone through them and I can’t think of any problems. The internet is fast enough to allow two people to watch netflix at the same time while several other computers are browsing the internet. With 4 laptops and a home PC all connected everything seems to run just fine. We never used their email system since we have maintained an old MSN email account from way back.

  12. “My temper has shortened as I’ve aged, and the odds are that one session with them and I’d blow up and we’d need to find a new place for Internet.”

    Trust me on this, Sir; they give not one shit about anything but collecting the fees. My experience both as a directory assistance operator and a longtime dissatisfied consumer is that you can call them every name in the book and they’ll wince and say:

    “Gosh, I’m sorry that your experience has been less than excellent. Let me see if I can help you with that. By the way, you may, if you like, make a payment now and we will only charge you $5.00 to process it!”

    Not paying them will REALLY get their attention.