Wednesday, July 02, 2008

AT&T, how to I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

O AT&T, how do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.

In 1999 you were Pacific Bell. You had no DSL in Mountain View. You took four weeks to set up a phone line in my apartment. You claimed that because the previous renter had some other service, turned on somewhere outside the apartment, it was not your responsibility. You sent a signal to the corner of Middlefield and Shoreline, but couldn't get it all the way to me.

I moved to San Francisco in 2000. I found a great little DSL provider called Telocity. Installation was a breeze. I was hooked up when the router arrived. Service was rock solid. Far better than my friends with Comcast over in Berkeley. Home phone? Well, I didn't care. I recently changed to the *old* AT&T Wireless service, best coverage in the Bay Area. Life was golden.

Then Telocity was bought by DirectTV. The service change was seamless. Life was ... okay ... I missed the friendly people at Telocity.

Then DirectTV DSL was bought by SBC, the name you went by for those few years. I went two weeks without DSL during that merger, and you set me up with a Yahoo! dial-in account during the interim. What you didn't tell me was that legally, the Yahoo! dial-in service couldn't be provided by the same company (despite the marketing proclaiming SBC/Yahoo! service), so you screwed up my accounts and charged me several months of both dial-up and DSL coverage. It took me weeks and multiple phone calls to three different companies to sort out that mess. Oh, yeah, and when my equipment arrived nothing worked, and there were no instructions. When I called you *again* for that, you said I had to register once the box arrived and then it would take a day or two to receive service. Two days later I had DSL. A day after that I got my welcome letter explaining how to register my new account when my equipment arrived. Everything you did during that service change was ass backwards.

Meanwhile, the old AT&T Wireless was bought by Cingular. Fantastic coverage. I now had rollover minutes! Life was still good with my cell phone.

In 2004 I moved to Campbell. I transferred my DSL service. The transfer was okay -- you certainly had learned a few things about providing DSL -- but a year later every Monday at about 8am for the better part of two months I had no network at home. Most nights around 2am all my connections were severed. Every time I called support you tried to blame my home router or my modem, both of which were fine. Once I went out to Frys and bought a new DSL modem, and by the time I got back six other people had called in and you finally had critical mass to claim that there was a DSL outage in my area. On at least four occasions you botched handling outages in my neighborhood. With two adults frequently working from home, this service was unacceptable. DSL had never been so sketchy, and your tech support had never been so shady.

I now have Comcast and have not had a single internet outage in the two years. Yay, eliminate this inept company named SBC from my life.

Once I thought I was clear, you changed your name from SBC to AT&T and you bought my nice wireless carrier, Cingular. And you started sending me marketing SMS messages. And you went from one-year to two-year service contracts. And you really stretched out the length of time I had to have a phone before I qualified for an upgrade. And somehow you managed to become the only carrier of the iPhone. Which I have to have, because I'm a nerd like that.

And today, as my last (nice!) phone sits dead on my dresser, victim of a fall into a beer mug (don't ask), and I'm chugging along with my wife's old beater Motorolla phone which has already screwed up my Mac Address Book thanks to a terribly buggy sync handler on the phone, and I get excited about changing my plan to a shiny new iPhone 3G when it hits the street next week ...

... and you double the price of the iPhone on those of us who bought something other than an iPhone last year and aren't eligible for an upgrade yet.

O AT&T I so despise thee. You really suck.

No comments: