What It’s Like Being an AT&T Customer

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At this point, it may seem like I’m beating a dead horse, but AT&T is absolutely horrible. Let’s talk about what it’s like being an AT&T customer.

Table of Contents

Customer Recap

At this point in my life, I’ve written two nasty articles about AT&T:

In the first article, I complained about my experience with AT&T after my move from Atlanta to Columbus. After having a 50 Mbps download speed, I was downgraded to just 18 Mbps. Of course, the problem was the terrible upload speed which caused my internet service to grind to a halt any time I wanted to upload anything. Needless to say, the transition was a bit painful.

Four months later, I wrote a followup article about my interactions with AT&T in an effort to get a better package. After growing a bit frustrated, I found out that the two competitors in the area offered gigabit connections, and there was nothing I could do about it. My apartment complex had a monopoly deal with AT&T.

So, what could I possibly add to the list of complaints? Don’t worry! This story has a decent ending.

Customer Complaints

Since I’ve already done quite a bit to complain about AT&T in the previous two articles, I’ll only focus on what’s changed in the last two months.

AT&T Monopoly

You may recall that I was having trouble deciding who to be mad at in this scenario: my landlord or AT&T. On one hand, I have a landlord that engaged in a sketchy contract with AT&T to reduce the cost of internet service at the detriment of their tenants. On the other hand, AT&T clearly has no interest in providing better service to their customers.

As a result, I decided to take matters into my own hands by complaining to the owners of the apartment complex as well as AT&T (again). The former resulted in action.

That said, I thought it would be fun to share my complaint to AT&T that never received a response:

I’ve had a lot of internet service in my life. For instance, I grew up with dial-up before my parents purchased Verizon broadband. Later, a small local company named Coax took their place.

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When I moved out on my own, I also purchased Coax which was a little pricey but reliable. Then, I moved and picked up Time Warner Cable. The router sucked, but the service was good and affordable.

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Then, I moved again and picked you guys up in Atlanta. Life was good. I had your 50 Mbps plan. I had to get rid of my own router and modem, but otherwise no complaints.

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UNTIL, I moved to Columbus where I’ve had nothing but issues.

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For starters, you are literally the only internet service provider in my complex. I don’t know what shady deal you’ve managed to make with the ———-, but I can’t even switch off your service if I wanted to.

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The best you can offer me is 18 Mbps which is okay, but not great for 2018. The main problem I have is with upload. 1.5 Mbps is insanely low. I can’t upload a picture without crashing our internet. Naturally, as someone with a wife, we have to share this measly 1.5 Mbps between the two of us which is painful to say the least.

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Meanwhile, both Spectrum and WOW offer internet service at an order of magnitude higher bandwidth for the same price or better. I’m talking at least 100 Mbps for < $50/month. In fact, WOW has a 1 Gbps line which I’d purchase in a heartbeat if it meant I never had to deal with AT&T ever again.

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To make matters worse, I’ve reached out on multiple occasions to no avail. I’ve called the local branch. I’ve called customer service. I’ve called tech support. No one has done a damn thing about this situation in the last 8 months.

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I’ve even filled out that silly form that asks AT&T to get gigabit internet in our area. I’ve not so much as heard back since filling it out in September.

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Let’s not forget the move itself wasn’t exactly easy. 3 months into living here I got a charge on my bill for not returning my modem which I was STILL using. Obviously, that’s been remedied, but the inconvenience was more than enough to piss me off.

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I’ve gone as far as to write an entire article tearing down your company as an institution in the hope that maybe someone could provide some half decent support. What is going to take? Do I have to move? Is this what happens when companies get so large that they don’t actually care about their customers? What the hell am I paying for?

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At any rate, I fully expect this to be a waste of time. If nothing else, this rant was at least therapeutic for myself. Apologies to any customer service reps who want to help but can’t.

Jeremy Grifski, December 20, 2018

As expected, I never heard back.

It Takes a Village

Luckily, the fight began to near its end at the turn of the New Year when I decided to complain to my apartment complex. Within a couple of days, they were able to get a hold of AT&T to figure out what the hell was going on.

As it turned out, my apartment was actually the only apartment in the entire complex with this issue. Everyone else was sitting pretty with 50 Mbps, and I was still stuck with Internet 18. Apparently, it had something to do with the wiring, but who knows.

After plenty of pestering, the landlord managed to get AT&T to come out and fix the lines. Unfortunately, they never told me, so my wife and I made sure to check in with them at the beginning of February.

At that point, the landlord said everything was fixed, and that we would have to call AT&T if anything was wrong. As you can probably imagine, I wasn’t exactly excited to be talking to AT&T again.

The Last Hurrah

That day, I called AT&T to see if they could upgrade my internet. To my surprise, they were happy to finally do it. In fact, they weren’t even going to charge me more for the upgrade. While I was happy about that, I was also kind of irritated. Was I overpaying this whole time?

Also, I’d just like to mention that the upgrade is only moving me back to the plan I had in Atlanta. I know beggars can’t be choosers, but 50 Mbps is still drastically less than anyone else is providing in the area. It’s a wonder that AT&T is still in business.

At any rate, the upgrade isn’t exactly simple. For whatever reason, they have to physically show up to program the box—I guess—which seems unnecessary. As usual, they’re providing me with a four hour arrival window with a worst case estimate of 6 hours for installation. That could literally be 10 hours of my time. Do they not consider that people have jobs?

By the time this article publishes, I should be content. I’m sure you’ll hear all about it otherwise.

Internet Service Providers Are Trash

At this point in my quest for decent internet, I should remind everyone that internet service providers are trash. While I’m currently fighting with AT&T, I’m sure I could be dealing with the same bullshit with any number of other ISPs including but not limited to: Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Spectrum, Coax, Xfinity, etc. They’re all trash.

Maybe some day we’ll realize the value of the internet, and we’ll topple this oligopoly. Until then, I just hope this articles goes a long way to helping someone in a similar predicament. Keep up the good fight, soldiers!

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