AT&T U-Verse Enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

I wrote my original blog post way too early in the process about upgrading my father’s Internet capability. There were more maddening surprises–detailed below. Here are all the surprises that I know about now after several people at AT&T U-Verse failed to disclose appropriately as we went through the process:

  • To offer the low price, AT&T changes his phone from a direct wired connection to voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP). His home alarm system doesn’t speak VOIP so now he either needs to either schedule and pay for AT&T to come out and restore what was there for over 50 years as a direct wired phone line or upgrade his alarm system at a cost of about $550.
  • His new VOIP phone has a limit of 250 minutes per month. He’s never had a limit on his local calls.

New issues learned after installation:

  • This new service came with a $180 early termination fee if my father terminates before 12 months are up. This was only mentioned after the issue was escalated by the California Public Utilities Commission. No one ever mentioned this.
  • The monthly price of $40 was incorrectly quoted. The price is actually about $52 a month. They had quoted prices for a new customer and my dad was an upgrade customer. Everyone we talked to knew this was an upgrade order. Also, instead of paying a one-time equipment fee of $100 for the Internet modem, he is only entitled to a monthly, recurring fee of $6. My father wanted the one-time fee.
  • The bill they sent did not reflect the bundling/pricing we had discussed. It was off by about $30 a month. So much for the quote matching the order.
  • The adjusted monthly price of about $52 a month is a special promotional rate–it actually goes up to about $77 a month after 12 months. No one ever mentioned this.

I filed a complaint with the Public Utilities Commission on the first bulleted issues. And, AT&T U-Verse followed up with us. Even though several agents omitted material details, the company will not honor the agent commitments. They have promised possible disciplinary action and/or re-training, but, the fact that there are so many discrepancies is, frankly, baffling.

As they won’t honor the pricing, At&T U-Verse agreed to rip everything out and waive the early termination fee. I told them I would get back to them if that is what my father wanted to do. Oh, and they did refund the installation fee of slightly over $100. This is the best they can offer. I was told we could call in after 12 months and see if they’ll give another promotional rate to keep the price about where it is now. Yippee!

It’s hard to believe that there could be so many problems/issues in a single, residential transaction. And, for such a colossal screw-up (I’m trying to be kind, here) and delivering a performance worthy of the Keystone Cops, I install AT&T U-Verse in my Business Execution Hall of Shame.

Dave Gardner, Gardner& Associates Consulting

© 2013 Dave Gardner



4 Responses to AT&T U-Verse Enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

  1. Ron Ferrill says:

    No surprise. This entire business space is clearly among the worst in terms of customer service, while touting “customer service”. Similarly, I “bundled” only to be unbundled by the provider twice within the 2 year contract period and the cost per month doubling. So, now have 3 providers, 2 of them linked and one unlinked – for home phone, internet, and TV. I have to call every couple of months and force them to reduce uplifts to service costs, changing the “package”. Horrific. The only thing worse is my Sprint bill – it comes in a reusable envelope that takes about 15 minutes to open and repair for reuse. They tout that for “being Green” and “Saving Resources” while inside there are 10 pages, more that 50% of which is their advertising to a current customer, and huge amount of white spaces! What BS!



  2. Dave says:

    It’s really amazing to me that a company would act this way. It’s as though they think no one can see them. Thanks for commenting, Ron!


  3. They don’t care if anyone sees. They often have a lock on the market. The NYT did great piece in 2014 on how the cable/telcos are muscling people to switch to VoIP to cut out the costs of all the legacy copper wire. Makes you miss Ma Bell. See:


  4. kwiefling says:

    Yes, I, too, have been defrauded by DirecTV/AT&T. They charged me for $42/month for 6 months for a channel I never wanted and auto-renewed without my approval. When I spent nearly 2 hours requesting them to delete or cancel the charges they just said “Sorry, the season is nearly over, and NFL doesn let us cancel.” REALLY??!! No company EVER let it’s own rules stop it from doing what it wants to do. I committed to leave all of my $500/month business from ST&T to another provider – even a WORSE provider – just to say I will NOT be treated this way!! Unbelievable!


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