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 http://www.gardnerandassoc.com