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?
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.