When you need a little smack of Glim


September 25th, 2007 by Jason

Open letter to ATT U-verse tech support (or anyone alse who will listen):

Let me start by explaining how I came to choose U-verse. I was a customer of DirecTV for television services and Road Runner for internet services. When Comcast took over for Road Runner in the Houston area I immediately wanted to switch to another provider. Comcast had the worst customer service I had ever experienced. I was also a happy DirecTV customer but there were a few problems headed my way. I used (3) of the TiVo branded HD (DirecTivo) DVR’s and they currently only support 10 HD channels. DirecTV recently started broadcasting on a new satellite that uses different HD compression that isn’t compatible with the DirecTivo HD DVR’s I had. They offered an upgrade program to non Tivo branded DVR’s that were way out of my price range. $200 x 3 DVR’s is a little steep. I started looking for other alternatives and ATT looked like they could fix all my needs with their current U-verse offering. The price is right and IPTV is right up my alley since I am a network engineer for a top medical school. I am always on the “bleeding edge” of technology so I am willing to deal with growing pains as ATT tries to stretch into the television services market. I currently have cat5 cables deployed to all (3) locations. The cables have been tested with a Fluke DTX 1800 and have passed spec. Having said that, I have multiple issues with your services.

1) My TV and IP services go out every day, multiple times a day. When I say go out I mean from freezing screens to total service loss. Every time I call technical support (see issue number 2) I get a different response or no response at all. I have been told the there was a problem with the power supply in the DSLAM. I have been told it’s weather related. I have also been given no explanation at all because the technician thinks it will be over my head. I am waiting for someone to use the “sun spots” excuse because I know it’s coming.

2) The ATT 2020 number that is on front of the DVR is not very helpful. If you call it after hours or on weekends you have to know the secret codes to get to technical support. It will tell me my phone number and ask me if that is the phone number on my account. If I say “yes” (which it is) it will tell me all offices are closed and hang up on me. If I say “no” it will go through a couple of more prompts and still hang up on me. I have to say “don’t have a phone” to get to a point where I can ask for U-verse technical support. The reason you are not getting complaints on the menu is because no one can get through. Here is an example transcript of how ridiculous this is.

2a)Technical support training needs some help. Last night a level 1 tech asked me to unplug my Motorola boxes so he can send an “electrical signal down the wire” which I am assuming was a ping but what do I know. I asked him if I needed to unplug the cat5 or the power. He had no idea what a cat5 cable was. I explained to him what it was and he said “Oh you mean the ethernet (pronounced ‘e-ther-net not the correct way of ee-ther-net) cable”. I think your helpdesk needs more training of common network terms and definitions if you guys are going to be offering network services.

3)The DVR doesn’t work when the network is down. This is the most ridiculous rule I have ever seen. My service goes down all the time so recording the shows I want to watch is kind of hit and miss anyway. But when you add the fact that I can’t watch what I have already recorded when there is no service is even more ludicrous.

4)”You can only watch one HD channel at a time”. This is crazy. I know it’s a compression and bandwidth issue but you guys need to get this resolved asap.

5)Processing power of the DVR is minimal at best. If you are recording something in HD and 3 SD sources at the same time the response time is very, very slow. It is almost unusable.

Here are some things I am happy with and I feel ATT does well.

1)The install technician was awesome and very proficient. So was the repair crew that replaced my phone line at the install.

2)Video on demand is very cool (I just wish you guys offered movies in HD)

3)The SD picture on my older TV is outstanding. I have never seen better.

4)The internet sustained download and upload speeds are way above what I expected.

5)The features coming down the pipe like the “whole home DVR”, USB mass storage and access to pictures are exciting.

In summary I do like the technology but I feel someone needs to address my issues or I will no longer be an ATT customer. I have talked to other customers in my service area and they are experiencing the same problems………Resetting the modem does not fix this!


Posted in General News | 4 Comments »

4 Responses

  1. AT&T U-Verse Universally Sucks! « Observations of a digitally enlightened mind Says:

    […] same issues and many are deciding to avoid AT&T  or switch back to their old service provider (here), (here), (here), (here), and (here). I am sure there are many, many, many, many more…even […]

  2. david Says:

    Hey if you are needing help with your uverse contact me at the e-mail address on that page, or on the one I provided here.


  3. Josh Says:

    Very nice post. It’s nice to hear the AT&T problems explained by someone who knows how the technology works.
    Here’s my story, as it is unfolding as we speak:

    I live in San Antonio. I’ve had AT&T U-verse tech(s) come out to my house 6 times in the past 3 weeks, spending a total of maybe 25 hours, simply trying to get my U-Verse service WORKING! This is not an old house with a complicated wiring system. In fact there’s a centralized On-Q box to make things simple and clean…

    To his credit, the latest tech to frequent my house DENNIS JOHNSON (give him a raise), has been much more personable than the others, and even took care of a wasps nest that was growing under the edge of my roof. Oh, and he also wired my house to have LAN outlets on the walls! Other than that, he’s been spending hours upon hours sitting around my house or in his van just waiting on hold for some other network guy to flip a switch or splice the wires, or whatever the hell they have to do to get my service working. I’m not angry about it, mostly because I don’t mind having the guy around. I’m really just amazed. At least they work around MY schedule and come for service calls after 6:00 pm and on weekends.

    I can’t stop wondering wtf is going on at AT&T…
    BTW, anyone considering service with AT&T should really watch this Frontline episode:

    Thank GOD I decided not to disconnect my Time Warner internet before hooking U-Verse up. Now I can spend my time waiting for AT&T just cruising blogs and sharing my story… lol

    Right now, Dennis the tech is sitting outside my house in his van still on hold with tech support. He had to plug his phone in because the battery was dying…!

  4. Mac Says:

    My experience has been similar. All I want to do is add another receiver, as I added a TV to my home, to which they charge an extra $7/mo for. I called and scheduled an appointment for Thursday June 18th, and was told a tech would be here between 12 and 2… no tech showed up … called Uverse customer support, to which I was told the techs were running an hour and half behind, yet no one paid us a courtesy call to tell us this. Couldn’t sit around all afternoon waiting for the tech, (have to keep my job to pay for Uverse) so I cancelled that appointment and made another appointment for Saturday the 20th, which I was again told between 12 and 2… Sat around, waiting for the tech once again to which no one showed up or bothered to call. Called customer service, and was told nothing was ever scheduled… and there was no record of my previous call/complaint. As irritated as I was, I chose not to chew the customer service agent out.

    Received an email asking to rate my service call, to which I gave very poor marks and explained my aggravation, to which I surprisingly received a customer service call back from Edda on Tuesday 23rd from this poor rating, who was apologetic and helpful, wherein the appointment was once again re-scheduled for July 2nd – the earliest appointment – again, between 12 and 2. Once again… we waited around for the tech, and after 2 hours of no tech, called customer service to once again find out that NO SERVICE WAS EVER SCHEDULED! I almost fell out of my chair. Again, I bit my tongue and chose to not chew the customer service agent out.

    I cooled off for a day or so, and gave it one last chance. I called back in to customer service, and unfortunately did not get the gentlemans name, but he was able to pull up the history of this fiasco, and was again apologetic and understanding. I was placed on hold while I was told he was setting and verifying an install appointment, and he even stated he re-verified the appointment for 8-10am today, Friday July 10th, and being it was the first appointment of the day, there would be no delays. I asked him repeatedly to make sure it was set, as he could not give me any sort of response code, to which he assured me it was all set up, so I trusted him.

    Once again… waited around for 2 hours for the tech, and no tech showed up. Called customer service and was once again told NO SERVICE WAS EVER SCHEDULED! And then, to add insult to injury, the history/notes that the previous individual was able to see in my account is NO LONGER THERE. The last note on my account was from the tech on the 18th stating “waited 15 minutes. No one at residence”

    I don’t know what system Uverse is using, but it isn’t working. I am completely unhappy with customer service (or lack thereof) and their general lack of support or ability to schedule a simple receiver install. I would gladly do it myself, as I have been building computers for 12+ years, but these receivers aren’t plug-n-play and need to be synced.(or so I am told)

    All I wanted to do was add a simple TV to my home, and here I am almost 30 days out, and they can’t even get it done. It’s really really disappointing. When you first sign up for Uverse, they are “johnny on the spot” with the service, but forget it after you have been with them for a while. I’m just another number now, apparently….

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