AT&T High Speed Internet and U-verse: A Review

Thinking about using AT&T as your high speed internet provider? Read this first.

I was a loyal Charter fan for years (okay, not entirely loyal, because I had a lot of issues with them as well), but when my boyfriend and I moved into our new apartment back in August, we received some surprising news:  Charter was not available there, and our ONLY option for high speed internet and cable TV was AT&T.  Seeing as how I only moved a few miles down the road, this was slightly confusing to me (I later learned that AT&T had entered into an exclusive agreement with my apartment complex); however, there wasn't much I could do about it.


Do You Have AT&T U-verse and/or high speed internet?

  • Yes, and I love it.
  • Yes, and I hate it.
  • Yes, and it's okay.
  • No, and I don't want it.
  • No, but I'm thinking about getting it.
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So Why Don't I Like AT&T?

Honestly, there are a lot of reasons; so many, in fact, that I'll break this hub down into several sections. I'll review their customer service, organizational skills, high speed internet, U-verse, pricing, and technical support. Let's start by discussing AT&T's customer service.

AT&T Customer Service

Before I begin, let me share a secret: I spent 7 years as a manager at McDonald's. I hate when people complain about receiving "bad customer service", because they're usually just being a bunch of demanding babies-and their own rude behavior is usually the reason they received poor customer service. Harsh, but true. With that in mind, I will only complain about customer service if it is really, really bad.

AT&T is really, really bad. Have you ever spent over an hour being on hold or being switched to different departments? Have you ever told your story to multiple customer service reps (I'm talking between 4-7 reps, not just 2 or 3), only to be told (at the very end of your rant) that you were speaking to the wrong department? Have you ever had a customer service rep hang up on you? Have you ever been so frustrated that you almost cried? That's what it's like when you deal with AT&T's customer service over the phone (I will say that if you ever go to a local wireless store and talk to somebody in person, they are always friendly).

Today was the second time this week that I had to deal with terrible customer service from AT&T; by the time I hung up (an hour later), I was drenched in sweat and on the verge of having an anxiety attack (no joke). My boyfriend and I are both on our U-verse and high speed internet account; for some reason, this confused multiple reps. I even had one lady yell at me for 10 minutes and tell me that I do NOT have an account with AT&T and that there's "no way I ever called them before" because she had no record of it. I said, "Ma'am, I was on the phone for 40 minutes before they transferred me to you, so somebody was able to find my account". She insisted that I was lying, and continued to yell at me-something about how the FTC or FCC or whatever would have never allowed somebody without an account to discuss an account. Each time I insisted I had an account, and attempted to give her my account number, she would cut me off and begin yelling at me again.

Okay, now I understand mistakes happen...but after being bounced around to rep after rep, the last thing I could handle was somebody yelling at me and insisting that I was lying. A better way for Insane Phone Rep to handle the call would have been to say, "I'm sorry, but we have no record of your account; let me see if a manager can assist you".  Oh, and if there's no record of my account, maybe AT&T can stop sending us a monthly bill.  That would be great.

Organizational Skills

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, I give AT&T a -15 (yes, NEGATIVE) for organizational skills. It took 7 different reps to find my account- but I can get over that, I guess. What I can't get over is the fact that I was promised a discount on my service by 2 different employees, but they mysteriously had "no record" of any issues with our U-verse or high speed internet (which didn't work for over 2 months on one of our computers). When I explained that somebody just came to look at the computer 2 weeks ago, they told me again that they had "no record" of it. I told them that they also had "no record" of my account number, and asked if maybe their system was down and if I should call back later.

Eventually, they found a record of 5 days where our U-verse was down, but still "no record" of the 2 months our internet didn't work. They told me that they could offer me a $25 credit, as well as $15 off my bill for 6 months. I'm sorry, but a $25 credit for service that hasn't worked right for over 3 months is just...wow. I don't even have the right adjective for it (well, I do, but it's not really appropriate).

High Speed Internet

I work from home, so high speed internet is something I cannot live without. I get paid per project/article, not per hour; the slower my internet connection, the less I make- and last time I checked, my family enjoys having things like food and electricity.

AT&T high speed internet is not fast. Maybe I was spoiled by my cable connection (as I mentioned earlier, I had Charter for years), but DSL just isn't cutting it for me. I have even used those online sites that check your connection speed, and mine is well below the 12.0 Mbps I get billed for each month. AT&T checked the connection as well, and agreed that it was not as fast as it should be; however, they also didn't do anything about it. They blamed it on my computer, which was funny, considering my computer is fairly new, and is only using about 2% of its memory.

Speaking of my computer, it was unable to connect to the internet for over 2 months. When it did connect, it was so slow that it was similar to using dial-up. Many of the sites I use for my freelance work took several minutes to load, making it impossible for me to get anything accomplished.

U-verse

Of all the services AT&T offers, U-verse has probably been the worst. My daughter's TV doesn't work for days at a time; when we turn it on, we just get an orange screen. The TV in the master bedroom freezes on a regular basis. It also experiences frequent "pixelization", which is AT&T's fancy technical jargon for "your TV is acting like it's connected to a satellite dish in the middle of an intense rain storm".

Have you ever tried to watch an entire movie where the TV freezes and cuts in and out? It's not fun. I thought maybe we could avoid the problem by recording things, but our DVR recordings are often just as bad. When they even show up, that is; our DVR shows are "unavailable" several times a week.

Pricing

For 12 Mbps of high speed internet and 450 channels, we pay $179 per month (before taxes and other random fees). Maybe I'm just cheap, but I feel like that's a little high. Especially since our service never works correctly. In fact, I couldn't remember the exact amount of our monthly bill, and it took me 5 minutes just to check for this article (AT&T's login page kept freezing).

Technical Support

Although having the tech guys come to my house never accomplished much, I will say that all of the techs have been very friendly. That's why I'm not angry at them for not fixing my stuff; if you're nice to me, I'll like you no matter what. With that in mind, I'm going to assume that maybe AT&T just didn't train them properly or give them the equipment they need to do their job well.  Tech Support, you're okay in my book.

Why Don't I Just Cancel My Service?

The answer is simple: I can't. As I stated in my first paragraph, my apartment complex is in an exclusive agreement (I believe that's a fancy word for monopoly, but whatever) with AT&T, and I am not allowed to have any other high speed internet provider or TV service for the duration of my lease. However, that doesn't mean I should have to settle for terrible service.  I guess I'll just keep calling AT&T.  They should probably start chipping in on my phone bill, since I waste most of my daytime minutes talking to them.

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Comments 9 comments

Bel Marshall profile image

Bel Marshall 5 years ago from Michigan

Wow this "exclusive" agreement should be illegal. Thank you for this review. I have been considering ATT because I use them for cell service, which has always been very good for customer service. Clearly, they need to have their wireless people train this bunch.


Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace Author

I agree, Bel. I'm not sure how they get away with their exclusive agreements, but I've heard that several other local apartment complexes have entered into them as well. As an unmarried mom with 2 children, I can't afford a house anytime soon; that means I'll probably be stuck with AT&T wherever I live. Even if I loved AT&T, I still think I should have the option to CHOOSE whether or not they are my cable and internet provider.


imatellmuva profile image

imatellmuva 5 years ago from Somewhere in Baltimore

Good grief Sunnyglitter...never in my life have I heard of an apartment complex who only allows service with a company that they've partnered with. Perhaps you can ask generally and anonymously your local civil service agency, if this is legal, and doesn't somehow infringe on any constitutional right. I'm not there, and I'M OUTRAGED!

I'm with Bel Marshal1, AT&T Wireless Customer Service can serve as training for the other customer service teams. AT&T's Wireless plans suck, and I tell them that, but their customer service is awesome, the only reason I'm still there...I tell them that too.

Let's just say, you didn't have cable...it really doesn't suck...(I'm about to get rid of mine), could you then go wireless for the phone & internet? That way you can choose who your service provider will be. You may think, "I shouldn't have to get rid of my cable to be freeeeee....", but chile', this might be one way to beat that apartment complex at their own game. I wish you the best with this one!


RichPt profile image

RichPt 5 years ago

I'm amazed these monopolies are legal, what a scam! Well done for making some noise about it, that's the only way these things, change - if enough of us have a moan about it!


Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace Author

I'm amazed how companies get away with monopolies as well. It really upsets me.


KC Santiago profile image

KC Santiago 5 years ago from Texas

You will get no argument from me on how terrible AT&T is. When we first signed on it was for a deal, high speed internet, no phone line necessary, for $14.95 a month. First thing the guy asks when he comes to set it up, “Where’s your phone line?”

I set the desk up on the far side of the room from the phone line. When I pointed out the ad said no phone line needed he say that means no phone service is needed but I do need a phone line. Big difference between no phone line needed and no phone service needed.

When talking to the rep over the phone they tell me I can buy so and so router at Radio Shack or rent theirs for 10-12 bucks a month. Set up guy says I can’t use that router. Back on the phone another rep says they will send us one and we only have to pay for it if we stop service and do not return it.

With a weeks delay we get internet service. Four days later we lose internet service. I get on the phone with tech support, some guy in some far away land who could not properly annunciate English words. After I don’t remember how long going through the unplugging the router, checking all the connections, yadayada he decides he will send a technician out to check the lines. Two days later we are back online.

A month later I get the first bill. It is more than twice the $14.95 we signed up for. I call, they offer lame excuses, tell me pay the $14.95 and they will straighten the bill out.

We move. For some reason they can not transfer the account to our new address, they have to create a whole new account. The next two months when I receive the bill they are as the first one was way over the $14.95. Each time they blabber about getting it right, just send the $14.95. Third month in the new house I get a notice we are two months behind and they will disconnect if we do not pay right away.

Turns out we were getting bills for the old address and paying on that account. Didn’t have any bills in for the new account. Back on the phone, lots of run around like you described, tell this person everything, they connected me to some other mutt who needed all the info again.

Finally get some young lady who had half a brain. She finally understands that the last two months paid on the old account belonged on the new account balance. Supposedly it was all cleared up. The next bill was still way over $14.95 and they wanted me paying late fees on money I did not owe. I wrote a letter and sent it with the bill rather than dealing with them on the phone again.

We have had this account for a year. They have never sent a single correct bill. They continue charging me late fees on money I never owed. At the last tally if I had paid all that they charged me I would have almost 3X’ s what I owed them.

The last time we lost service I called tech support. The girl wanted me to check all the connections etc. I explained I had already done all that. Then she goes down the line, “Did you make sure it’s plugged into the wall good? Did you make sure the connection with the monitor is good? “ When she started asking me a third question of “Did you…” I hung up. Had to call back three more times before I got someone who understood me when I said I had already done that and was not going to do it again.

Unfortunately I live out in the boonies and there are not a lot of options.


Sunnyglitter profile image

Sunnyglitter 5 years ago from Cyberspace Author

Oh man, KC. That really sucks. I feel your pain - I have no other options here, either. I still can't believe that AT&T gets away with this monopoly. I'm not sure if I updated this article, but I ended up calling Charter and asking why I couldn't have them. They told me that they aren't allowed to service my apartment complex. Sigh.


eving 4 years ago

wow i totally agree with this article. I've been using AT&T for about 10 years now and I still have these same problems. U-verse high speed internet is not a high speed internet. Also srsly they do need to train their customer service department better, they are horrible.


Kathy 3 years ago

You should file a complaint with the FCC. All of these cable companies think they can get away with whatever they want to. But the FCC has to and will answer every complaint.

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