Monday, January 24, 2011

It's true what they say about crappy AT&T customer service

At first I thought that people who had been complaining about poor AT&T service (and I've heard many such complains over the years of living in Austin) have just had bad luck. I've had AT&T DSL for almost a year, and had no problems with it. The I started having intermittent outages; they've been going on for nearly 4 weeks now. Starting around the 27th of December, the connection would go down for hours, sometimes days at a time. The DSL modem web page showed that everything was fine, except the DNS status was "fail". Indeed, we were able to ping various servers on the internet by their IP addresses, but the websites were inaccessible. However, the status still remained "fail" even when the websites were accessible.

Ray submitted 3 service tickets to AT&T (this after going through the motions of power-cycling the DSL modem and the wireless router -- AT&T tech support phone bot won't even redirect you to a live agent until you do it), and none of technicians fixed the problem. The first two did not even come into the apartment, they just "checked" (or claimed to do so) the box outside the apartment. One technician recommended swapping out the old DSL modem for a new one. It happened to be just barely under warranty, so we got a new modem for free. It didn't make one bit of difference.

The third technician came inside, and, of course, found nothing wrong with the modem or the phone line. He then told me that the AT&T "cabinet" on Jollyville Road had been run down two weeks ago, and a lot of people lost their internet connections. I pointed out that this has been going on longer, since around December 27. He said, that's when it happened. I can understand if he doesn't have the dates straight, but telling me that AT&T computers are still "readjusting" to rerouting of connections sounds ridiculous. They've been readjusting for 3 weeks?

As Murphy's law has it, when the technician was visiting, DSL was working fine. Still, he said he was going to call "them" (AT&T tech support?) to ask to do "rip and rebuild" of "virtual cross-connections", and that should fix it. Half an hour after he left, he called me back and said that rip-and-rebuild has been done. However, I could not check whether that fixed anything, because my DSL was working the whole time. The hope lasted a day; then the DSL started its up-and-down dance. So nothing really was fixed.

Luckily, it's been up for the last two days, thus I haven't yet switched to Time Warner cable internet. While the connection stays up, I'm lulled into procrastination. But if the connection goes down one more time, I'll be sure to drop AT&T and switch to cable.

1 comment:

timbur said...

Not good! We've had AT&T U-Verse without any major or persistent problems since the service was available here, maybe 2-3 years. (U-Verse is DSL but faster for some reason than normal DSL. But it is not appropriate if you run your own servers that require their own external-facing IPs, etc. Which you might.)