EcomCrew Podcast

E139: Nightmare with AT&T – A Customer Service Horror Story

Today's episode is a little different from what we usually publish.

I recently had to undergo a torturous customer service experience with AT&T. Those of you who are or have been AT&T customers and called their customer service hotline at any time know what I'm talking about. I have been an AT&T customer since 2007 when the first iPhone came out–not by choice, but because no other carrier offered the iPhone at the time–and I can definitely say that it has not been a happy ride. But out of all the years I've been with them and all the calls I made to them, this is, by far, the worst of it all.

So here's a little background: I'm in a family program which made me eligible to upgrade to the new iPhone X for free, as long as I return my old iPhone. The new phone got lost in the mail and they had to go looking for it, and when it finally got delivered to me after weeks of waiting, there was no return label in the box. I had to call them 3 times to get them to email me the return label. I finally got the label, sent the phone back and thought that was the end of it. But as per Murphy's law, I got a text message from AT&T telling me that they have not yet received the phone, but sent me an email informing me that it was actually delivered. So I called again, and they informed me that the text message was erroneous and that I will not get billed the $999. So I relaxed. But… yes, you guessed it, I got billed $999 for a phone I returned.

$999 is a big amount and although so much of my time had already been wasted, I wasn't willing to just let them take that money. So what do you do when you run a podcast and need to call a company you're pissed at? Set up the recorder, call them and record everything, then publish the call to your listeners as a podcast episode.

This episode is a condensed version of 2 very long calls I had with AT&T. We edited many parts out to try to keep the episode at around 30 minutes, but if you want to torture yourself and listen to the whole thing, just click here.

I may have lost my temper in some parts of the call and I have nothing against the agents I spoke to, but AT&T's system is just so frustrating. I know I'm shooting for the moon here, but I hope this gets much attention so that AT&T can finally, finally do something and take better care of their customers.

Resources mentioned:

EcomCrew Webinar – 2018 Amazon Launch Strategy
Full AT&T calls

Thanks for listening! What's your worst AT&T experience? Share them in the comments below. Until the next episode, happy selling.

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 139 of the EcomCrew Podcast. You can go to to leave a comment on this episode and let us know what you think. Are you an AT&T customer that's been through a similar situation? We'd love to hear from you. I think that there's going to be a lot of people that can resonate with this. I don't think I'm alone in the fact that AT&T produces a very frustrating customer service experience.

And the reason I wanted to put this on the EcomCrew Podcast is because customer service is so important to all of our business. Everyone out there listening knows how important customer service is to your business. But when you're one of these giant utilities that get a lot of protection, there's a massive amounts of consolidation, and there's not a lot of choices out there, they know they can basically treat you however the heck they want because you don't necessarily have a ton of options.

And that's certainly how it's felt an AT&T customer. Obviously in the cell phone world there is other options out there, but in my home service which I finally got rid of, they were the only option forever and I was finally able to get something else to replace it with and that was a great day for me. But back when iPhones first came out, they were the only option. If you wanted an iPhone which I think everyone did back in 2007, AT&T a lock on that.

So I've been with them since then, and I realize there's other options now, and I'm definitely looking at changing. But I've been part of the family plan that was grandfathered in and I also have a very busy life and had to prioritize things. And who provides my phone service is not typically at the top of my mind, but it certainly was over this experience of them losing my phone and trying to not give me $1,000 credit that I was rightfully entitled to, wasting hours upon hours of my time to finally get the end result that I rightfully deserved and getting zero compensation for it because they just don't give a crap about your time.

So on the other side of this break; I’m going to be documenting this case. It's actually somewhat comical at this point, because it feels like I've made some of this up. But you'll find that this is the actual reporting of the actual situation that I went through. And I didn't embellish or make things up in any way because I think that that's disingenuous. So I'll leave it up to you to make your own determination of how frustrated you would be if you were in a similar situation.

Everyone has a noise that gets under their skin. For most people it's something like nails on a chalkboard or the drill at the dentist office, and for me it is this. I’ve been an AT&T customer since 2007 when the original iPhone came out. So I know all too well that when I hear this sound, my day no matter how good it's been going is about to take a turn for the worse.

Male: Welcome to the AT&T [foreign language 00:04:13], the call is recorded for quality. Thank you for being the best part of AT&T, we’ve created great rewards for you.

Mike: By rewards, I assume they mean that I get to talk to a phone system that isn't a live person and can't really understand the question I'm asking. So in this case I'm just trying to talk to a representative, and you'll see just how ridiculous this phone tree is. I have to imagine that somebody that wears a very tight tie that’s choking off air flow and blood supply to someone's brain thinks that this is a good system, and is going to make people happy at the end of the day.

Male: How can I help you today?

Mike: Representative.

Male: In order to get you to a representative who is trained to help with your specific issue, please tell me what prompted your call.

Mike: An open case that you haven't responded to.

Male: Bear with me just a second. Is this about your mobile phone?

Mike: Yes.

Male: One moment while we connect you with a customer service professional. In order to ensure quality customer service, your call may be recorded. Please note some customers may be experiencing longer wait times to speak to a customer service professional in your area. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resolve this issue.

Mike: By working to resolve this issue, I think they mean that they’ll just leave this particular part of the greeting in there forever, because every time I've ever called AT&T that I can remember, this has always been a part of their greeting.

Female: We appreciate your call to AT&T about your wireless service. Your approximately time is eight minutes.

Mike: The eight minute estimation they gave me was actually pretty darn accurate surprisingly enough, and after listening to various AT&T propaganda over the next eight minutes, a live human being finally picked up the telephone.

Male: Hi, my name is Jerry; may I have your name please?

Mike: Before documenting this phone call that I had with Jerry who was a very nice person in his own right, I have to give you some back-story before talking about this 58 minute and four second phone call that we had, because it took a lot to lead up to this point. And I could go off on a complete rant about this for 30 to 45 minutes easily just talking about how I got here. But we only have so much time for this podcast. I'm going to try to get through this as quick as I can, and just give you a little synopsis of what led up to this point, which is really just years of frustration of being an AT&T customer.

I can say wholeheartedly that I have never had a positive experience with them to the point where it led me to actually record this call out of complete frustration to document how miserable being an AT&T customer can be. So let me start with this particular experience which was when I actually ordered my iPhone X. And I already knew that they wouldn't let me ship to my address which is just so frustrating because I'm on a family plan, and the main member of the plan lives in New Jersey and I live in California.

I am an authorized member on the account. I can use my credit card to pay for the phone. I can walk into a store and buy the phone, but they will not let you ship it to an authorized person's address or the billing address on the credit card that's paying for it, because of “security reasons.” Of course Murphy's Law which is not AT&T’s fault, but it just shows you like how frustrating having to deal with this crap is.

Once the phone arrived in New Jersey, my cousin was nice enough to send it to me, and of course the post office loses the freaking phone. And it was really, really frustrating because it took a couple of weeks for them to open an investigation. And they finally did relocate the phone, and I finally got my phone a few weeks late which is frustrating in itself. I opened up the box and there is no return label on it as was supposed to be as a part of the AT&T next program. I'm required to submit my old phone back. So I had to call AT&T.

Of course the first time I call them, they tell me to wait for the label to show up in my inbox and it never did. That was 30 minutes wasted of my time. I called back again. The second time, the same thing happened. Of course I was foolish enough because I was in a hurry when I called them the second time not to actually wait for the email to hit my inbox. So I had to then call a third time and talk to somebody. And they wanted to hang up with me at the same time and I’m like no, I am not hanging up this phone until the return label is in my inbox which it eventually was.

I printed the return label; I sent the phone back the same day. We work in e-commerce as you guys know with the EcomCrew podcast, so mail picks up every day. It was in that day's outgoing mail. So fast forward a few weeks, I get a text message from AT&T that says, we still have not received your phone. If you don't have it back to us by XYZ date, you're going to be charged $999 on your next bill. Of course this was pretty darn frustrating since I knew that I sent the phone back.

So I went back and found the old return email that I got from them with the label and it had a tracking link. I clicked on the link and it shows the phone had been delivered. So I called AT&T, wasted about 45 minutes of my time talking to someone explaining to them the situation that I had returned the phone, the tracking showed that it had been delivered, but I got a text message saying I was going to get billed.

They told me that that was an erroneous message, please be assured I would not actually be billed. Well, sure enough two weeks later I get a text from my cousin that says, hey you owe me $999 because AT&T charged you for not returning the telephone. I was livid as you could possibly imagine. And so I had to call AT&T again, and now this time I called them and was about 30 to 40 minutes into the phone call when the phone call dropped.

Of course with AT&T spectacular customer service, they didn't bother calling me back. I figured we were already at a point where they might actually rectify this because I had already given them the tracking number to prove that the phone had been returned. Of course not. So then I talked to them again the next time via their online chat system. I chatted with them for a little bit. I explained the situation because I didn't really feel like calling them again. And they assured me within three to five business days that they would call me back and resolve this case.

Of course five days goes by, still nothing about the case. They did not call me back as promised, and that is what led to this phone call with Jerry. Enjoy guys, it's a dozy.

Male: Hi, my name is Jerry; may I have your name please?

Mike: Yeah my name is Michael.

Male: Hi there Michael, how can I help you today?

Mike: You said it was Jerry?

Male: Yeah, my name is Jerry from [inaudible 00:10:55] support.

Mike: Great. So I'm calling about a case number that was opened a few days ago, and I also want to let you know that I'm recording this just because it's been so frustrating and I'm like documenting this case. It looks like out of control. I have the case number for you when you're ready.

Male: I can help you with it, sorry for the inconvenience. You said you already forwarded this piece to us, let me double check the information for you okay.

Mike: Sure.

Male: Have it verified over to solve. So is this your phone number you’re calling about ending with…

Mike: Yes.

Male: Oh Michael, all right. Michael, what is your security — I mean your last name on the account?

Mike: My name is Jackness, J-A-C-K-N-E-S-S.

Male: All right, got it. Okay and what is your security password of the account? Got it. Let me just try to log in now to see in a few seconds here.

Mike: Thank you.

Male: All right, I’m just trying to just scan some bullets [ph] here and to re-login on my system [inaudible 00:11:56]. And so while I’m trying to re-login, can you tell me more about that problem regarding to that issue, is that about your services, internet, calling?

Mike: So I bought a new iPhone.

We’re going to fast forward through the next couple of minutes because it's just me reiterating all the things that I told you guys already about my rant earlier about how we got to this point. I had to explain to Jerry why I was calling him. And I also want to mention, we're going to fast forward through a bunch of other parts of this call. The call was 58 minutes and four seconds, and we try to keep the podcast to about 30 minutes, and I've already chewed up a few minutes about the rant and other things.

So if you want to listen to the full call unedited in its entirety, go to, and you can listen to the whole darn clip. We're going to put the whole thing up there unedited with the exception we're going to beep out a couple of pieces of personal information like my address and security code. But everything else will be the full call. It's incredibly frustrating listening to the whole thing back in real time.

We had to do it a few times as we were producing this episode. And let me tell you, it's just ridiculous. We're going to hit the highlights. We’ll start with this next clip here.

Male: Just on line Michael, I need to check this out real quick, all right?

Mike: If for some reason we get disconnected you’ll call me back or do I need to call back and wait on hold again?

Male: This is your number right [inaudible 00:13:19] number?

Mike: Yes.

Male: Right now?

Mike: Aha.

Male: I'll just keep this in file; you just have to call that number, all right? But I wish you can stay on the line first so we can verify this.

Mike: I am not going anywhere.

Male: Yeah, thank you so much. I’ve been very [inaudible 00:13:33] I got you back here, okay?

Mike: Thank you.

Male: Let me work on this, all right? And Michael, you said you have like the tracking number that you shipped this out?

Mike: Yes I do.

Male: Can you also get that information?

Mike: I have it right in front of me.

Male: All right, can you please read it to me?

Mike: Yeah, it’s 610820.

So after giving Jerry the tracking number and waiting on hold for five minutes and twenty seconds, he finally came back on the line.

Male: All right, hello Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: I’m sorry for the long wait here. I’m still waiting for a reply on the other department still right now; I’m sorry for the long wait.

Mike: Okay no problem.

Male: Okay thank you so much.

Already then, so eight minutes and 19 seconds more the whole time and Jerry finally came back on the line.

Male: All right, hello Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: Thanks so much for patiently waiting. Sir the tracking number you gave me, is that for UPS, FedEx, what kind of delivery that they used for this, is it UPS?

Mike: It was your — you guys sent me the label.

Male: Is that for like FedEx or which one did they use for that?

Mike: I think that it was USPS, but I mean you guys sent me the labels and I can show that it was delivered.

Male: I’m trying to check it now.

Mike: Do you have access to your own system where you can see that you sent me this label? I mean you should have access to this label.

Male: Yes but right now they're trying to use that tracking number. They are asking me about the shipping charge — I mean the shipping period so they can track the package then. They'll are going to use that as a proof that you already shipped that out.

Mike: But if you were to look at the e-mail that you guys sent me on December 7th, you guys have a record of that?

Male: Yeah I do have the record of that, let me double check that again.

Mike: I have an e-mail in front of me from AT& Dear Michael, we appreciate the opportunity to assist you to complete your return. Please do the following steps. Here is the access to your labels. I can click on that. I can't access the label anymore because I used it, but then there's number six, retain a copy of the return label for your records. To track your return, click here. And I click here and I can see the tracking results.

Male: All right.

Mike: It has the tracking number that I gave you. It also has an order number here if an order number helps you.

Male: All right, I have the order number. Right now the most important part here is the tracking number for the shipment. They are going to use that as a proof that you shipped it out, okay?

Mike: Okay.

Male: They’ll work on it, okay. And they also are trying to ultimately relay the information, one moment sir.

Mike: Okay. At this point Jerry disappeared for two minutes and twenty nine seconds and came back on the line with this.

Male:  All right, hello Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: Okay. Let me – I’ve been trying to use the information that you gave me out right now for the tracking number. We tried to check this using FedEx. Usually what we use are FedEx, UPS, and the USPS. We’ve been trying that through our tracking system, not showing up any result now. We're going to try to use the tracking number — I mean the audio track. And this is going to be let’s see.

Mike: Can I forward you the email that I have since you can't access it, because I click the link and it pops right up and it shows me the tracking, December 7th label printed, December 11th received by USPS. It says USPS.

Male: USPS, all right.

Mike: December 17th, package scanned by Newgistics. December 19th, package in transit to returns facility. December 20th, package scanned by Newgistics. December 21st, package in transit to returns processing facility. December 21st 6:00 PM, package delivered to returns processing facility. Current status, delivered.

Male: Okay, let me try to renter that. This is the same information that I keyed in. I’m also checking that here on my end, not showing any information. Let me double check if the tracking number is correct. Do you mind reading back to me again one more time.

Mike: The number that you read me is correct.

Male: It is correct, okay.

Mike: It was correct. I doubled — can I forward you this email, do you have an email address that I can send this to you at?

Male: [inaudible 00:18:03] I don’t have like an email here set up for my computer.

Mike: Do you have access to the email that you sent me that AT&T sent me on December 7th?

Male: I usually turned out – the record that I have for that is like in general on the server. It’s not like an actual email. It's on the general server we got into the warehouse. It is what we commonly use for that. So like to confirm generated ones to send the information to the customer. Now right now because we do have the right tracking number, and it's not showing up, let me have this escalated for you, okay?

Mike: Okay.

Male: Usually what I did for the facts about that, if you already claim that you already shipped it out and you can see the tracking number on your end, which I'll also use to track the package. It’s not showing up here on my end, but it’s something we're not getting the same page, because we can use this information to resolve this right away. I’m waiting for the warehouse to scan it and then we can just write some credit on it on the account. We can write the – write another case for it on January 29th because the back office is still working on it to track the package. So I can guess it’s the one that’s causing delays, checking it out.

Mike: I mean, does that seem fair to you though? I mean this has been going on for two months. This is about the 5th or 6th hour of my time that I've had to communicate about this. Does that not seem ridiculous?

Male: Yeah I totally understand. I know how frustrating this can be getting to always – I mean you’re spending too much time over the phone just to resolve this. I’m trying to explain to them also what’s going on, and I know how frustrating this can be for the customers.

Mike: Can you — are you able to get on a website, can I give you the URL, the tracking link that I have here?

Male: Yeah, that will be great. Can you – that will give in detail supposed to be filled. What is the URL?

Mike: It's…

Male: I’m sorry E.

Mike: V as in Victor, V as in version, V as in Victor, the number three forward slash tracking with a capital T dot aspx. Aspx as in x-ray.

Male: X-ray okay. Okay let me try to check that out sir.

Mike: And I can give you the tracking data, it's an RA number. And then it pulls it right up.

Male: Because when you're clicking on like that you’re directly on it, but usually the tracking number, when we go to the website of USPS, UPS or FedEx, we just put the tracking number on it, and it’ll show up this information that you see here.

Mike: Yeah, I understand what you're saying, but I mean this e-mail that has a link to track. And I do e-commerce for a living, so I know what you're saying, like if you go to USPS’s website and put in the tracking number, it should show up, but it doesn't. I don't know if it's because it went through this new logistics company or Newgistics. It seems to be a partner that you guys have partnered up with.

Male: Yeah let me – You already saw the final reading for our shipping. Let me try to check again.

Mike: If you track it on, that tracking number works.

Male: Okay let me check that out.

Mike:, and I put in that tracking number and it's working fine over there, and it shows that it was delivered.

Male: Let me try to check that out okay, I’ll get back.

Mike: Thank you.

So, at this point Jerry puts me on hold for two minutes and eleven seconds. And during this time, I have to wonder what would have happened if I wasn't savvy enough to realize that Newgistics was one of their partners. I mean again being an e-commerce guy and reading through that, it was obvious to me that these guys have gotten involved with it as a partner, as a final mile kind of company or whatever they're using them for. And they had their own tracking number that was in their system, and that was able to show that it was delivered.

Had I never mentioned Newgistics, I think I'd still be on the phone with them three months later arguing about this, because their system could not prove that I had delivered it. But anyway two minutes and eleven seconds later, Jerry hops back on the phone with this.

Male: Hello, Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: I just found some information now, all right regarding what you see. Is this what you see right now, 12:07 label created, 12:11, all right for USPS.

Mike: Yes.

Male: All right and then 12:21, 6:00 PM delivered [inaudible 00:23:32].

Mike: Yup.

Male: 6177, right?

Mike: Yeah.

Male: Okay, now we're on the same page, okay?

Mike: Now we're finally on the same page Hallelujah.

Male: Now I’m trying to get this. They just need to forward the information now, okay? All right because they cannot find it on their end. Now since I have in front of me, I can directly create an adjustment for this for my supervisor. I just need to show this information now, all right. Have you found this it takes too long, so we're now getting this being paid to you okay? But now that I have it, I will get to work on that $999 showing up on your bill, all right?

Mike: Okay, thank you.

Male: Okay, this will be the final one. I’m so sorry it takes too long but what matters most is I have this resolved now, okay, once and for all.

Mike: Thank you.

Male: All right, just trust me on this one.

Mike: Thank you.

Male: You're welcome sir.

Mike: All right, so I’m kind of used to this at this point but another three minutes and thirty five seconds of whole time to get this response.

Male: All right, hello Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: Okay. I’ve finally resolved this one again. This adjustment was taken from your bill February 5, 2018 the $999. And would you mind – I’ve sent you a text message about the ticket numbers regarding the adjustments and I’m sending it via text message now.

Mike: Okay and is there — like if the credit does not show up in my bill, can I use that to talk to somebody about?

Male: Yes sir, this one is already direct attribute that I worked on today, calling from other departments. And also I saw some information regarding tracking numbers, so there is no way this will not be applied to your account.

Mike: So unfortunately for me this was not the end of the story or the end of this phone call. But I want to move on to the next part of this journey. Let me just say real quick that this call did go on for about another twenty minutes. Again you can go to if you want to hear the rest of it. So now I'm slicing the end of the phone call, there was a couple of things.

Number one, I wanted to be compensated for all of my wasted time. I got I think something like $80 out of AT&T in the end which I think is an absolute insult and a joke compared to the amount of time that I wasted on this. But I was just ready to hang up the phone and move on to the next thing. And also just kind of pointing out the fact that they had already charged me the thousand dollars, they weren't going to remove it from my bill immediately. I already had to pay out of pocket for that.

And just thinking about all the people out there are that would be screwed so badly by something like this. I mean most people are living paycheck to paycheck. They have credit card debt, and they're running up their credit card bills and balance very close to their limit, and are using that to pay for necessities things like food and gas and electric. And if AT&T put someone in that situation that only have let's say $1100 of credit limit left on their card, $1,000 of that got used up by AT&T's erroneous charge, what happens then?

I mean it's completely ridiculous.

But I want to move on to the next part which was even after I thought I was done with this, a few days later I got a call – sorry I got a text from AT&T saying in part, you need to call us about your most recent customer service request. Please call us at this number. And as you can imagine, that was not the best start to my day.

Yeah, there it is again my favorite sound, and I was going to be in for a good time.

Female: We appreciate your call to AT&T. Your approximate wait time is one minute.

Mike: Oh my God, only a one minute hold time. I finally hit the jackpot.

Female: To connect [inaudible 00:27:38].

Mike: So yeah about that one minute, eight minutes and twenty seven seconds later, someone finally picked up the telephone.

Male: Hi, thank you for calling AT&T advanced technical support. This is [inaudible 00:27:58] may I have your first and last name please?

Michael: Yes sir, it's Michael Jackness.

Male: Hi Michael, how can I help you today?

Mike: You guys texted me and said that you need to speak to me regarding a recent customer service request.

Male: Arising from customer request, is that that what you’re saying?

Mike: I got a text message from you. It says we need to speak with you regarding your recent customer service request.

Male: Let me just go ahead and check on that, okay?

Mike: Okay.

Okay so two minutes and 22 seconds to check on that to come back with this report.

Male: kindly please, can you provide me with the exact message on that notification you received?

Mike: Sure, it was on Friday at 6:00 AM. It says we need to speak with you regarding your recent customer service request submitted on February 24th, 2018, which is three weeks from now. Please contact AT&T at 18003310500. Thank you.

Male: February 24th, is that what you’re saying?

Mike: Well, it says for thank you for submitting a request on February 24th, which I assume was a typo since February 24th hasn't come yet.

Male: [inaudible 00:29:16] right now, I’m reviewing all the memos and the notes here, please bear with me.

Mike: If there was ever an example of the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing, AT&T excels at this. Literary 32 seconds later, he came back on the line, still kind of perplexed at how I got this text message that I'm reading that came obviously from AT&T. It just gets funnier and funnier.

Male: Actually Michael what exactly is showing on here is a proof of the documents of the placement by the turn of the device. That’s [inaudible 00:29:58]

Mike: Okay.

Male: That’s exactly maybe the reason why they asked you to call us to inform you that they offload the charges; they’ve turned off the device.

Mike: Okay so — I mean it seems just — I'm actually just speechless. It’s like I just wasted 20 more minutes of my time on something I’ve already wasted five hours of my time to get you to approve to begin with. I got a text at six o'clock in the morning which woke me up to call you about this, and you're telling me that the ambiguous request was only to tell me, to make me have a phone call and tell me that it was approved. Couldn’t they just text me that it was approved, your request was approved.

It says we need to speak with you; we need to speak with you regarding your recent customer service request. And you’re telling me the only thing you need to speak to me about is to tell me that it was approved, that's why I’m calling?

Male: Let me verify that.

Mike: So by this point you can tell I'm actually losing my temper, because I was actually really frustrated with this at this point. It was just amazing to me that again the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. I actually did get woken up at six o'clock in the morning when they texted me which really did tick me off only to be told when after I called them at this point that it was just basically to let you know that it's been approved, which makes no sense to me.

I was 100% convinced that I really did need to speak to somebody within AT&T to get something else resolved, that they didn't actually approve my requests and I was getting the wrong information from this guy. Obviously I had zero faith in AT&T at this point with anybody is telling me, and it did really, really seem like there was something else going on here that I needed to get to the bottom of. So another four minutes and 43 seconds with this joker here. He put me on hold again and go look at this, and he came back basically with the same thing.

Male: Thank for patiently waiting Michael.

Mike: Yes.

Male: Yeah actually I am working hand in hand with my beautiful supervisors here. And what exactly was to be – what I’m seeing here on our end is a text message that we sent you regarding to the usage of your data. And can you please read me once more the whole message of that message because I can’t see that message here.

Mike: Yeah, the message for the data came from a different phone number and a different day. This message came at Friday at 6:00 AM from the number 288382-70 which obviously isn't a full phone number. And it says, we need to speak with you regarding your recent customer service request submitted on February 24th, 2018. Please contact AT&T at 18003310500.

And spoiler alert, this call went on for about another 20 minutes after this. There wasn't any more progression or resolution to this, so there's no reason to continue to play that on this podcast as we're trying to keep it to about 30 minutes. If you don't respect yourself very much and want to torture yourself a little, you can go to and listen to the whole thing played out. We stitched the two calls together in one thing there at

Besides that I hope you guys got a good insight into what it's been like to be an AT&T customer for me over the last few years. And specifically with this case, I’ll leave people to make their own judgments from here. But I'd love to hear from you at Go to the show notes; let us know your experience with AT&T. I have a feeling that I'm not alone. I read other comments on Twitter.

After I've ranted on Twitter myself, I've had lots of people come and say that they've had similar experiences, and I’d love to hear yours. And my hope is that this podcast gets enough attention that maybe just maybe in some utopian world of mine, AT&T actually changes their policies and the way of doing business. I don't really foresee that. I do think that I’m kidding myself a little bit there. But you never know, maybe this goes viral and it becomes a PR thing that they realize that it's an issue that they have to take care of, and maybe spend a little bit of their billions of dollars in profits on actually taking care of their customers instead of their shareholders.

So again, to get to the show notes and comments for this episode. We’d love to hear from you. And with that, I want to leave you with one final thought.

Welcome to AT&T. Please note some customers may be experiencing longer wait times to speak to a customer service professional in your area. We apologize for the inconvenience and are working to resolve this issue.

Michael Jackness

Michael started his first business when he was 18 and is a serial entrepreneur. He got his start in the online world way back in 2004 as an affiliate marketer. From there he grew as an SEO expert and has transitioned into ecommerce, running several sites that bring in a total of 7-figures of revenue each year.


  1. What you described has been very typical of my phone and web interactions with AT&T. I was once transferred 17 times in one call, for what was seemingly a simple and common request.

    My only consistently positive interactions have been with the technicians who have come to my home, who generally seem competent.

  2. I know this is an old post but as a former AT&T RSM Level 1 (I left the company about a year and a half ago) I had to chime in with my two cents.

    AT&T has awful customer service support, and if its any consolation, the back end support for employees is just as bad. There has also been a push to remove many of the tools that managers formerly had access to, that were very useful for cutting through problems such as yours and resolving them at the store level without the need for further escalation.

  3. It’s unfortunate that the world largest telecommunications company sets an example of how NOT to run customer service. The best customer service I’ve experienced this year are with Charles Schwab. Instead of putting you on hold to wait for another department to answer, they will bring in qualify technicians or appropriate depts on a 3 way phone conference with the customer service always the point of contact to solve your problem on a single call. They even went as far as calling you back to check if you have anymore issues and follow up emails.

    It’s great that there are alternative to AT&T. Poor service creates more opportunities for other better servicing companies to thrive! That’s the same in e-commerce world, poor product + poor service = new competitors with better product and happier customers!

  4. I’ve had eight AT&T technician visits to try and solve my home Internet timeout and dropout issues over the past year. Each technician determined that the problem was outside the house. AT&T never charged me for any tech visit, regardless of whether or not a component was repaired or replaced. I’ve had two modem/gateway replacements, two port swaps, a card change, an EBN component replacement and a ground issue repaired in an effort to eliminate the dropout and timeout problems. The last technician came out on December 4, 2020. He could not find any problem and didn’t perform any elaborate diagnostic tests of the outside or inside wiring. Instead, he gave me some lame tips about what to do in order to solve the issue. After doing so, the technician promptly left. Not surprisingly, none of his tips worked and the problem with my Internet remains.

    I recently received my bill online and noticed a $99 “Dispatch Fee”. Apparently, the AT&T technician charged me for coming to my home, finding no issue, doing essentially nothing and never remedying my technical issue. The AT&T technician never told me there would be any charge, nor did the technician seek my authorization or signature to approve a charge. I have disputed the charge with AT&T. I requested that AT&T show me any paper or electric document with my signature on it that approved a $99 fee. They have yet to produce any such document.

    Regardless of AT&T’s decision I will refuse to pay the charge. If necessary, I will file a formal complaint with the appropriate regulatory agencies. I also plan on giving AT&T the boot. This is something I should have done years ago.

  5. Recently purchased a prepaid phone from AT&T.
    It has no charger. I’ve spent two days to get someone to help me, but there was no way to get help by phone.
    When I came to AT&T office they said that they’d accept return of my phone for $55 restocking fee.
    I was on the call with AT&T support for more than 3 hours that day.
    AT&T employee helped me to call their support. We were on the call for about 80 minutes.
    Support agent got my email and phone number to send me postage return label, but never sent a label nor called.

    Next day I’ve tried to chat online.
    At the first attempt person in the chat promised me that I’ll be called within a half an hour.
    One and a half hours later I chatted again.
    This time I was in the the chat until I’ve got a call.

  6. I can definitely identify with this. I have had numerous transactions with them over the years, and it is an experience that I dread each time I call. I always experience numerous waits on the phone and transfers to different departments ( agents with heavy foreign accents).

    I had an experience yesterday that made me livid. We have a bundle with ATT/DirectTV/Internet (through ATT). I had questions about my bill being raised 2 times lately and issues with my wireless internet as well as issues with not being able to watch TV on some of my TV’s. We pay extra to be able to watch on 6 TV’s, and we were able to in the beginning. However, in the last few years, we started getting a message about turning one off if we were using more than 3 at the time.

    In one of my many transfers to different departments to talk with, once again, someone whom I cannot understand and someone who cannot understand me I encountered the rudest LOYAL CUSTOMER REPRESENTATIVE that I believe I have dealt with….Truly, she was a “B”! She told us (by this time, my husband also chimed in with me on this call via speakerphone) that we did not have a bundle, and that we only had Direct TV with them.

    We disagreed, and she rudely kept telling us we only had one account…..Finally, she DID find some sort of confirmation that we are paying for three things through them. She also kept telling us that our Direct TV equipment had never been any different and that she was a representative when they were looking into purchasing the equipment—She indirectly called us liars. Her tone and sneering remarks left me wondering how ANNA could ever be working in a Loyal Customer capacity! I gave up after more than 2 hours of dealing with the mess and out of sheer frustration!I wonder how many people have had a stroke after going through this process!

    My husband has a doctorate in educational administration and I retired from teaching after 30 years teaching Language Arts. She talked to us like we are imbeciles. She had a snippy attitude with a know-it-all answer for anything. ATT won’t change because it’s a WIN WIN situation for them when people give up in frustration after spending hours on the phone.

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