AT&T is an insufferable service

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After dropping 4 calls today, I decided to try yet again to contact AT&T about their ridiculously lousy cellular service in San Francisco and to try and seek either a rate adjustment or to wave my ETF so that I can go to service that actually works. The following conversation with two different customer service reps was absolutely maddening.

Describe your problem:

Dave Schumaker: I’m seeking a rate adjustment for my AT&T cellular service. Currently, I’m paying an outrageous $100 / month for extremely subpar service. I can very rarely make a call from my apartment and surrounding neighborhood. When I am successful in making a phone call, it usually ends with a dropped connection. As someone who often works from home, this is severely affecting both my professional and personal life.

Please wait for a chat representative to respond.

Welcome to AT&T Technical Support Chat. My name is ‘Christine Alexander’ and I’ll be happy to assist you today.

Christine Alexander: Hello, Mr. Schumaker. I will be more than happy to get you over to our Customer Service chat service.

Dave Schumaker: Great.

Christine Alexander: They will be able to better assist you will your credits.

Christine Alexander: Do you have any other technical issues I may assist you with before I make the transfer?

Dave Schumaker: Nope.

Christine Alexander: Mr. Schumaker, you have a great weekend. It may take 1-3 minutes for the transfer to complete.

Please wait while I transfer you to a representative at AT&T Mobility.

You are now chatting with ‘Raquel Johnson’ at AT&T Mobility.

Raquel Johnson: I will be happy to assist you with this once you have verified the account. Will you please provide the account holder’s first and last name and the last four digits of the social security number or the security passcode if one has been set up previously on your billing account?

Dave Schumaker: David Schumaker, ****

Raquel Johnson: May I please have the mobile number that you are chatting about?

Dave Schumaker: ***-***-****

Raquel Johnson: Thank you for verifying your account. How may I assist you today?

Dave Schumaker: I’m seeking a rate adjustment for my AT&T cellular service. Currently, I’m paying an outrageous $100 / month for extremely subpar service. I can very rarely make a call from my apartment and surrounding neighborhood. When I am successful in making a phone call, it usually ends with a dropped connection. As someone who often works from home, this is severely affecting both my professional and personal life.

Raquel Johnson: I am sorry that you are having a issue with your service. Have you contacted our technical support department about the trouble that you are having with your phone?

Dave Schumaker: They just transferred me to customer service. And it’s not the phone. I’ve had 7 different iPhones (no joke). The problem isn’t necessarily the phone, it’s the lack of sufficient cellular coverage.

Dave Schumaker: I chatted with an AT&T rep 2 weeks ago and they pushed a new SIM update to my phone, because it was “out of date.” However, that didn’t fix the problem either.

Raquel Johnson: I apologize Mr. Schumaker you just spoke to technical support?

Dave Schumaker: Yes. A person named Christine Alexander just transferred me to you after I explained the *exact* same issue. “Christine Alexander: Hello, Mr. Schumaker. I will be more than happy to get you over to our Customer Service chat service.”

Raquel Johnson: I apologize about that Mr. Schumaker, I will have to have you speak with the technical service department to try to help with your phone.

Dave Schumaker: No. Who do I need to chat with to either adjust my rate or to wave my ETF so I can move to a cellular provider that can give me proper service where I live? This is not a tech support issue.

Raquel Johnson: I will have to refer you to our customer care department. The number is 1-800-331-0500 the hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Dave Schumaker: That’s fantastically helpful. If only I could make a phone call.

Dave Schumaker: There’s no one else that I can chat with about this issue?

Raquel Johnson: I apologize Mr. Schumaker, there is not anyone that would be able to credit your account for you.

Dave Schumaker: If I cancel my service, what is my current ETF?

Raquel Johnson: One moment please.

Raquel Johnson: The current amount of the Early termination fee is $120.00.

Dave Schumaker: And is there any way I can have that waived? I don’t believe it’s either fair nor reasonable that I will be forced to pay that, simply because AT&T cannot provide me with sufficient service.

Raquel Johnson: One moment please.

Raquel Johnson: I apologize Mr. Schumaker, AT&T will not waive the early termination fee at this time. The customer service department will be able to further assist you with your account. Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Dave Schumaker: Apparently not. Good day.

Good grief! I mean seriously, am I being unreasonable? And $120 for the early termination fee as well? Because, obviously it’s my fault that AT&T cannot provide reliable phone service.

gdgt live in Chicago

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gdgt is visiting Chicago next week! It’ll be my first visit to the Windy City, so I’m pretty excited.

If you’re in the area, come check us out at Gallery 223 (223 West Huron) on May 12th at 7pm. We’ll have a ton of cool gadgets on display, drinks, music, and even the potential to win some rad gear. More info is available here.

What did Grandpa just say?!

“David is a whore…” 

That’s not something you expect to hear at a family party, let alone come out of your grandfather’s mouth. 

I’m in Southern California for the weekend to celebrate my grandmother’s 80th birthday with family and friends. Since I’m traveling light and with my new toy, I decided to bring along my iPad. 

After arriving and saying our hellos, I gave the iPad to my Grandpa, who was sitting at a table with a number of his friends. He briefly looked at it and passed it around. After getting it back, he opened up the Notes application and read something off the screen. 

“David is a whore…”

What?! 

Everyone started laughing, and I did too. I knew my Grandpa was a funny person, but I’d never heard him make a joke like that before. I was pretty confused and wondered if we’ve crossed some new line of humor with my family. He looked at me and said, “No, really. That’s what it says!”

He handed the iPad to me. And sure enough, I saw this on the screen:

It turns out that my sister had apparently used my iPad without my knowledge and decided to leave me a special message that I might find at a later time. 

Well played, Sister. Well played.  

iPad Launch Photo

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I woke up extra early yesterday to line up for the iPad launch at an Apple Store in San Francisco. It was a pretty festive atmosphere, and after the doors opened at 9AM, I finally made my way inside.

A number of journalists and photographers were inside, interviewing and shooting excited customers. I decided to pick up an iPad and start play with it for the first time. An AP photographer caught this photo and now it’s running all over the place!

AT&T – More failed calls

Ah, yes. Wasn’t AT&T supposed to be getting more reliable and the coverage more consistent? I wouldn’t have noticed.

Here’s a gallery of dropped calls from the past week or so.

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If anything, AT&T is consistently inconsistent.

Too bad complaining on Twitter doesn’t accomplish anything.

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Postal extinction

Remember when phone booths used to be pretty prevalent? I wonder how long it will be before electronic communication renders these guys obsolete?

An AT&T App Conspiracy…

Awhile ago, AT&T released an app for the iPhone called Mark the Spot, which allows users to send a message to AT&T pinpointing their location, the problem (dropped call, no data coverage, etc), along with various diagnostic information. I use it often.

One thing I’ve noticed lately though is that whenever I open the program to report a problem, my iPhone instantly finds a connection. Have you seen this strange phenomenon?

I think AT&T is toying with me.

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