Tuesday, May 27, 2008
I Fought the Death Star and Survived.
Not that one, I'm no Luke Skywalker. This one.We have been long time customers of ATT Mobility, and Cingular before that and BellSouth Mobility before that all the way back to $1200, 15 pound under the seat analog car phones. I always had a positive impression of their customer service, until now.
For the last few months I've been looking to upgrade my cell phone. It is a very old one but it worked and I don't use it that much anyway. In fact we have over 4,000 rollover minutes. Recently my phone has started shutting down in mid call, not dropping the call completely shutting down. My search became more urgent.
In an effort to make my life simple I made getting a new phone complicated. You see the two of us divide our time between three cars and three residences and a significant amount of out of town travel. She has a tendency to forget to charge her phone leaving her out of communication while she is on the road or traveling.
All of this leads to problems selecting a new phone. I tried a lavender Razr on her.
It came in lots of colors. It was too cute. It was expensive and all of Her friends had Razrs.
Next I located the Plum LG CU515.
It was different, professional, cheap and I could get a black on . Problem solved.
If only it was that easy. I went online to order the upgrades, just like I did last time around.
NOLUCK. As a business account I had to use the "new" "special" ATT business website.
OK. Maybe I'll get some better pricing. I went there but couldn't get my account login to work. It seems I needed a special master agreement to use the ATT business wireless site.
NO LUCK. I had to agree to all sorts of draconian rules to get to see if I was going to get a discount. I read the fine print, bills were my personal responsibility and I didn't get discounts unless I had 5 phones. I only have two and a wireless Internet thing.
I decided to spend Saturday going to an ATT store in the burbs.
NO LUCK. The kid in the store wouldn't sell the phone without a data contract I didn't need didn't want nor that he could explain. He also insisted on telling me the phone didn't come in black. But as I was leaving he did mention it came in charcoal. At least she actually got to see the plum phone in person. It is darker and cooler than the pictures.
I decided I'd just call. Surely we could find a person at the 8o0 number who knew how to accomplish the simple task of signing up two long time customers for two more years.
NO LUCK. We were back to signing some kind of agreement and going through the website I had been through and decided wasn't worth the effort.
I was ready to go to almost any other carrier, dump all of my rollover minutes and potential for future bundles since I have phone and Internet service through ATT. I called several other carriers and found out they were as stupid as ATT.
Finally I remembered that my fairly recent purchase of an Sierra Wireless Aircard for the ATT wireless network was reasonably painless. I decided to risk going back to the their downtown ATT wireless store in Place St. Charles.
I walked in and a much too cheerful young woman asked if she could help. I said - "Probably not, I'm willing to bet you can't do what I want to do." She said she could so I told her, "All I want to do is upgrade two off contract phones to LG CU515's. One black and one plum." She said "I can do that". I said, "We'll see".
It took an hour, two coworkers and a couple of trips to the back but I walked out of there with two new phones, properly configured and working.
Jesus H. Christ. Why are big companies so stupid, or is it just New Orleans?