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This space holds helpful information that Dr. Hain has discovered by trial and error. Perhaps if enough of us do this, searches on these devices or companies will bring up more relevant information.

ATT Home Telephone and DSL service

In Chicago, there are not a lot of choices for your internet provider. Basically either ATT or Comcast. After finding that Comcast cheats on their internet bandwidth, we switched to ATT.  ATT's internet works much better (costs the same), but one is forced by ATT to get home telephone as part of the package.

ATT plays tricks too - - we found our internet cut off a few days ago, and called ATT (on our t-mobile cell-phone) to see what was up. They told us that we had run up a huge international phone bill. After some talking to the representative (who had a strong accent), we determined that they had been charging us $6/minute for calls to a foreign country. We said to them -- we have never heard of anyone charging $6/minute. We are used to about 6 cents/minute -- a 100 fold difference.

The ATT representative told us that, in essence, that because we had not elected a "plan" (we had the consumer choice), we were getting billed $6/minute.

Then I told the ATT representative that our internet bill was paid up in full, according to an invoice I had in front of me. She then told me that it didn't matter that we had paid our internet bill, they had pulled everything because we hadn't paid their $6/minute charges.

What seems to have happened here is that ATT sets up traps for new customers.  As ATT and Comcast are basically the only games in town, they have monopoly power.

ATT's customer service is painful. One calls, is tortured with an automated system, that often ends up saying "this office is closed". After succeeding in getting put on hold, I was then tortured with an advertisement for something, and then hung up on. The third time, I was told that waiting times were "unusually long", and then after about 1 minute, got a very nice representative. He seemed very happy that I wanted to pay my bill. I did this, and then was transferred fairly quickly to a web-support agent. She seemed exhausted, but nevertheless. did the job very well.

She then transferred me to the Uverse support line. This person was on a bad connection and also obviously did not use English as their primary language. This "technical support" person seemed very confused, or perhaps were going through a "cheat sheet", and kept asking me to do things to my equipment that was not possible. I explained to her that I was at work, and the equipment was at home. She continued then to ask me about what the equipment showed at home. I politely told her we were getting nowhere, thanked her, and then we both hung up. I did not have the time to spend a few hours with her to be told that I needed to be "bumped up".

To summarize, ATT is not a good company for people who value their time (or sanity). Unfortunately, in Chicago, ATT and Comcast are all we have.






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