An Open Letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson

Mr. Stephenson,

This is a formal complaint directly to you, because it is obvious that your customer service center, including the management thereof cannot correct the issues that your company has.

I have been a customer of AT&T for over 2 years, since I moved to the Austin area.  I have recently dropped AT&T wireless service because of the exceedingly poor wireless network service.  The problems I experienced included dropped calls, on a daily basis; text messages not being received in a timely fashion (on multiple occasions I had received the previous weeks worth of text messages in just a few minutes); and horrible data connection speeds.  These were not isolated instances.  You may check the record of my calls to the AT&T Customer Service Center.  This was a monthly thing.

I also need to inform you that your customer service system may be costing AT&T a significant amount of money, if my experience was any example.  Over a period of three days, I had talked with 4 CS reps,  three managers, two technicians, and a technician manager.  The first 5 people I talked to wanted to replace my wife and my smart phones as warranty replacements.  I was dissatisfied with this, so I finally talked to a level 3 tech who asked if I had replaced the SIM card.  Since that was the first I had heard about it, I went and had them replaced and everything was fine for a time.  But still, replacing 2 smartphones, when it was a SIM card issue?  Really?

Unfortunately, that did not fix the problem.  At one point I was told that the local tower was old and scheduled to be replaced.  Unfortunately, I was told this for over 9 months (roughly).  If they ever did replace the cell tower, it did not help.

The problems don’t stop there either.  In December of 2010, ATT replaced its website and computer billing system.  I know that it was December because for the previous 21 months, I had paid every bill on-line through the AT&T website.  Since December 2010, I have not been able to logon to the AT&T website without significant technical support from an AT&T rep.  I have a monthly meeting blocked out for two hours on my calendar to call AT&T and try to log in to the website to pay my bill.  Seven months later and I have yet to successfully login.

Everything has been tried, up to and including deleting my entire profile and me starting over from scratch.

In the middle of this (May 5th to be exact), I dropped AT&T wireless service and moved to Verizon.  Unfortunately, no amount of effort on my part or CS reps can remove my wireless information from being the dominant profile in the ATT system.  I cannot even pay ATT for my remaining services without calling ATT.  Needless to say, this is annoying.

In point of fact, dealing with AT&T has been the single most frustrating consumer experience I have ever had in my entire life (and I owned a Ford Pinto).

If it weren’t for the simple fact that AT&T has a monopoly on internet service in my area I would have dropped that service years ago.  The cap on internet usage is just one reason.  My wife is an artist who works for home.  We had previously dropped satellite TV because of the expense and rely solely on internet based entertainment.  Fortunately, we don’t watch much TV.  I have recorded my entire internet usage and we barely scraped by in the month of May.  If I had wanted to watch another movie, we would now be discussing overage fees.  This is a very unfortunate way to do business.

I have already forwarded a similar letter to my congressman and state senators.

Thank you for your time.  I will be posting this publicly on my personal blog.  Any response (or the lack thereof) will also be made public.  Since AT&T has removed our rights to sue and other courses of action, this is all I have left.

Thank you

UPDATE 6/29/2011

I have received an e-mail from Linda Jefferson, Manager – Office of the President (presumably of AT&T).  We’ll see if anything happens.

UPDATE 6/30/2011

I just got a call from AT&T.  It was from a very nice lady in the wireless division.  So, the first thing we talked about was the complete lack of integration in a supposedly integrated company and my issues trying to pay my bill after dropping the wireless service.

We also discussed the issues with the wireless service, internet bandwidth caps, and the poor customer service issues.

All in all, I spent about an hour on the phone teaching this poor woman about internet technology, the fact that AT&T has bandwidth caps (she has AT&T DSL and didn’t know about the bandwidth caps!!!!), why those caps are poor business, and a brief coverage of European internet services with actually have competition and have massively faster service for much, much cheaper prices (She didn’t know about that either).  She was also unaware of the inability of AT&T to accurately measure bandwidth usage.

Because of the lack of integration, she has to forward my comments to another division.  She said that I would hear from them soonish (24-48 hours).

We shall see what happens next.

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24 Responses to An Open Letter to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson

  1. shoshwrites says:

    They wanted to replace your wife? But seriously, folks, AT&T have abysmal service. After nearly 7 years, I’ve dropped their landline & internet service. I’ll never go back.

  2. Jenn says:

    -This- is why I was so pissed at the AT&T takeover of T-Mobile. I signed up with T-M in February, and I’m already dreading the changes.

  3. Jenn says:

    Your past and current experiences sound extremely frustrating! I can say that I would feel the same way if the situation were reversed. My name is Jenn, and I’m with AT&T. If you’d like to email me at with your account and contact information, I would be more than happy to look into this for you so we can get a resolution. I’m so sorry you’ve has such a poor experience! Thanks -ATTJenn

  4. sean says:

    I have spoken to the linda Jefferson on the phone for the issue I faced recently with an AT&T technician cutting my U-verse cable at the cross connect box that is controlled by AT&T. I was told that i only can get $10 off my monthly bill, after that linda Jefferson would not return phone calls, when my wife called and asked for an explanation, linda was very rude to her. We called another AT&T division, and they automaticly said sorry and offered 1 month free.

  5. sean says:

    sorry we we totally blacked out for 32 hours TV, Internet, Phones, and watched several AT&T trucks connect our neighbors. but got ignored.

  6. Joyce says:

    I also talk to AT&T on regular basis. When ever I ( or the other 2 phones we have) accidentally hit the internet key we are charged $2.00 each time. That results in anywhere from $2. to $20.00 per month. I have also spoken to a number of cs reps and managers on the next two levels. I have been told that it was the price I pay for not using my phone correctly. I could either pay for a data plan that I do not want or block my picture messaging which is a feature that we use quite a bit. Am I the only one who think there is something wrong with this? How many others are paying these fraudulent charges without even realizing it? This is by far the worst phone company that I have ever dealt with and I can not wait to terminate my plan!


  7. Rob says:

    I just received a text message saying that I am in the top 5 percent of data users and my data speed will be slowed if I continue to use my data feature. I’ve only used 2gb of data. Yes to some people that is quite a bit but honestly it really shouldn’t matter. I’ve paid 30 dollars per month for years to have unlimited data. I just got off of the phone with an AT&T rep telling me that I should pay for the 4gb tier. Why should I do that since I have unlimited data? I ask her. You won’t have a problem with slow data of you pay for the 4gb plan, she tells me. So AT&T is trying to force their loyal customer to pay more for something they’ve paid hundreds if not, thousands of dollars for already. They are going to lose a lot of customers this way and I am one of them.

  8. Meyer says:

    ATT stinks

  9. S says:

    And I hope your kids get cancer randall

  10. Cat Storch says:

    He gets 21 milions dollars a year and AT&T still SUCKS. Horrible customer service – wait! Beyond horrible – We have been customers with 4 phones and an awlful MIFI device for YEARS!!!!!!!!Ordered a phone on 7/17/13 (upgrade), order confirmed, then cancelled, then 3.5 hours later (phone support and finally a trip to the AT&T store). No explanation as to WHY order was cancelled. Wait…. lame excuse was “we think your credit card is being used fraudelently” Really? Who are you people and why on Earth would you think that by pre-ordering a phone that we were using the wrong credit card!!!!!! You ended up putting phone on our LAW FIRM PA CARD anyway once we came into the store – We were not adding any lines, not changing anything but replacing a phone – Randall Stephenson should have to try being a normal person trying to get assistance. Oh and BTW, if you try calling a brick and motar store for follow-up you cannot speak to a human. I tried for nearly 2.5 hours to call the local Daytona Beach AT&T in ISB and NEVER got to speak with a person. If we ran our business like this we would be on public assistance. Why would you NOT STAFF correctly? Randall do you really need more $$. CAN NOT WAIT TO MOVE TO HAWAII AND SWITCH TO VERIZON! Also, as I rant – the MIFI device SUCKS and good God why would you not offer a better plan? Please fire everyone and hire all of folks that have BITCHED and COMPLAINED – we would make you more $$ Randy –

    AT&T SUCKS!!!!!!

  11. I’m a retired senior user of att and on a fixed income, recently my bundle expired, my mo bill went fron 68$ mo to 96$ Mo, , I called and down graded my Inter net dsl from high speed to 768K and some how my Long Distance service got cut off, I called and called to get LD service restored, and it took 3 weeks, and when it was restored my inter net service was changed back to highest speed. I always get a service rep with an accent who don’t speak good English, and speaks so fast I cannot understand them, I called today, to change my inter net speed back to slow speed, and again an off shore person with an accent, and spoke so fast I had to ask over and over to repeat, Why cant you hire Americans here in the US who need jobs. And every time I call any service dept. its always the wrong dept. The off shore people are incompetent, I’ve been with Ma Bell for a lot of yrs, and ATT trys to save money, I understand that, but you try calling for different services and see what you think of the service. Thanks for letting me speak. Jack A. Brookshire Sr [ed. DELETED PRIVATE INFORMATION]

  12. Keith says:

    AT&T provides less than acceptable service to there customers I was on hold for 40 minutes trying to resolve a issue with my bill.. I cancelled my service I had a deposit on the account they took the deposit and applied it to the bill and I had already paid the last bill !!! They have no right o do that .. I HATE THIS COMPANY AND IM GOING TO MAKE SURE EVERY SOCIAL SITE KNOWS HOW HORRIBLE THEY ARE IM TAKING LEGAL ACTION AND FILING A COMPLAINT WITH THE BBB

  13. Bob Eldridge says:

    Please contact me about bad service at the Woodstock AT&T phone store.

  14. Benita says:

    I am just heartbroken over the way AT&T has lied to us about charges on the bill. This is actually my mother’s home phone and uverse bill. My mom is elderly and takes care of my brother who is mentally handicapped. He loves being able to go on facebook and with friends. AT&T rep told us that the total bill would be $49.95 for home phone and uverse. My mom is on fixed income so this was great for her. The next bill she received was $118.00 so I called AT&T and was told there was no plan for $49.95. I gave them the confirmation number and reps name that promised us that (unfortunately confirmation numbers don’t really mean much to AT&T)..I might as well talk to myself as I would have gotten more accomplished. This company does not care about their’s all about the money..really sad..hope the higher ups sleep good tonite. I will say a prayer for all of you..

  15. Bob Eldridge says:

    I find that most of the AT&T people are very good folks. However I run into two of their first line managers that were poorly trained and didn’t have a proper attitude towards customers. One didn’t know his job and directed me to the wrong department the and other had little flexibility, I suggest that AT&T look into how their managers are trained and insure that they have the customers problem their first priority. I still don’t have my answer.

  16. Rodger says:

    ATT is the worst. I was told in Jan. 2014 that i could get a free upgrade on my phones. YEAH right . I am still wondering what was free with this. After a week with poor signal, dropped calls and not receiving Messages on time I called the store and asked what was up with this? If this was what I was going to get for service due to the free upgrades I would like to return the phones and cancel my contract. I was told the problem wasnt with the phones but due to a tower being down in my area and bare with them and it would be fixed soon. A week later nothing had changed. with a call and a chat with att CS Im told the tower is still down. I told ATT store I would like to return these products and go back to my old phones. They agreed and said I could come in on Sat and make the change. When I went to the store on Sat. I was told I couldnt return or change anything I was to late at that time and past the buyers remorse period. But I called prior to that, Sorry we have no record of that. For 3 Months now I have contacted ATT several times and spoke with anyone that would listen. I have had Techs. try to do repairs , even change my phone back to the old GSM system with no luck. Thru all this ATT say sorry you have a contract. I may have a contract but ATT will not be free of me and my continued complaining for the next 22 months. I have come to the conclusion that the contract is the only way they can keep there customers.
    What a piss poor company..

  17. kippage says:

    I have had a problem with AT&T since February. I have spoken with numerous reps and do not expect any problem new or old (they replace one problem with a new one) to go away permanently. Basically, I will not change my service when they try to push it on me because I am convinced that it will mean a significant jump in price sooner or later. I know that whatever they promise me in person without writing (which is always the case) can easily be denied if a future problem warrants a phone call to them explaining the promise. These are givens based on my experiences, experiences of family and friends, and experiences of those online.
    There are two ways their promises have come true… new customer order (until something changes even if promised no extra charges) or when you call to canceland they promise to wipe out or reduce fees. However, any promises along woth this are subject to denial. Like the first time I canceled, she offered a package that was acceptable to me but not quite up to par with the original that they pulled from under me (too long to explain). The billing went well for two months until I called to out my service on hold for a month since i was promised this at when I rescinded my cancellation. They told me I could not do this except with special circumstances which was not told to me. when I was offered the package i repeated the offer, emphasizing that there was not time limits, etc. They told me thos was correct.

    The sad part is, after I was promised this, I did not trust anything and knew that I wanted to put it in writing. So I looked up Randall Stephensen’s, CEO, address because they will not give you address or phone number for him. I sent him a lenghty letter explaining the entire situation beginning from the first snafu and ending with the promise. I asked him to contact me this was not acceptable. Several weeks later, the letter was returned for incorrect address.

  18. Susan Taylor says:

    I hear all of you! I am a small business owner, you know, the kind that is supposed to be driving the economy forward?! Yup, I have 14 employees and 70% of my annual revenues pay their wages. So, what do you think AT&T just did? They made me switch to U-Verse. That’s right, they told me I had to change or couldn’t use them anymore. Seeing how all my business systems were connected, and ALL telecommunication companies suck, and although I never agreed, they sent a technician to take my old equipment away and give me new. The result? A whopping $620.00 bill from my personal IT company. Why? AT&T was totally, totally incompetent. They forced me to make a change (and, by the way, sold of their DSL Division to drive up stock prices…) and, in return, sent the equivalent of an ape to “install” the U-Verse system. He knew absolutely nothing. Seeing how my business had to SHUT down for 2 days (my reservation system, computers, internet, webcams, printer/fax were ALL connected), Then, AT&T has the balls to actually BILL me for their ape like technician. But, still, there is no where else to go. They all suck. Been to all of them and have to say it is probably favors in Washington that pave the way here. Us “little people” are screwed.

    Susan Taylor
    Dog Tired Daycare

  19. Gayee says:

    1. AT&T misspelt my name. I asked AT&T for correction. I was advised that the error would be definitely corrected years ago. Today, the error is still there. 2. I did not subscribe text messaging, but ATT allowed text messaging going through my cell phone and charged me without my consent or subscription.

  20. Insulted! says:

    We’ve had the same problem most of you have had. AT&T has been our cell carrier and land line carrier for numerous years then we bundled and added the $160. Monthly shared family plan so now have 4 cell phones and iPad on the acct along with Direct TV and High-Speed DSL
    Customer Service and problems have been resolved without any problems before now….now
    We are getting the RUN around!!
    Since we had an ice storm in Feb. 2014 – Our Cell Service is TERRIBLE!!
    DROPPED CALLS and NO SERVICE is now the norm…..called the Customer Service Dept several times to complain about not having service and dropping calls constantly…always gives the excuse the towers are damaged…..ok sorry the storm messed them up….now it’s time to fix them.
    Ok this week placed two calls about the same problem. The first representative says she can’t find any reason why we have no service and dropping calls ( we were discontinued 3-4 times while on the cell with her) claims there are no towers down and service should be ok…no luck here! So called back on Thursday and repeated the entire conversation/problem with a new rep by the name of Rachel….now we are fired of the RUN AROUND and complaining heavily……Not Getting the Service that is being paid for every month! Period! Time for adjustments to be given for the last 6 months!! Sympathetic, she was before she insulted us … She has spoken to her Supervisor and she can give a $20.00 credit for this months bill…..excuse me? That’s not going to fly $20.00 credit on a bill of almost $200.00 for cell acct and $285. For the landline, DSL, Direct TV etc. for a combined total paid to AT&T of close to $600. Per month and the offer is for $20. Credit insulted!!
    Then Ms Rachel checked her system and informed us that there were numerous damaged cell towers in our area and that was why we were having problems with NO SERVICE and all the DROPPED CALLS! We don’t mind paying for a service we contracted for — however when the service is not working properly credits should be issued without question each month until AT&T has fixed THEIR DEFECTIVE CELL TOWERS! How would they feel if they had purchased a car and it ran great until something broke and the dealership should be responsible only to have the rep say we can give you a credit of $20.00 on your entire repair bill???
    AT&T has no customer service and all they want is the MONEY!!! They don’t care about their customer’s they are in it for the MONEY…..plain and simple!! No other words are needed!!!

  21. Patrick Larkin says:

    Remember one thing AT&T like most corporations here the USA are only interested in SHAREHOLDER SEVICE not Customer service

  22. Priscilla Kelsey says:

    I have been hassling with AT&T since May 2013 after my DSL High Speed Internet quit working and have spent unbelievable hours of my time on the phone with so many of their reps, sr. reps. and supervisors that I am loosing count now (but am keeping a daily log as proof of calls). In October 2013 I was told that DSL was no longer available so I qualified to be “UPGRADED”. to U-verse. What an upgrade!!! Sometimes it takes up to two weeks for me to even get into my Facebook, and my e-mail account is backlogged with e-mails that I cannot access at all. They have told me my problems range from the router (which was replaced 4 times) then they said it was my computer (had my own technician check it twice, he even wiped everything out and restored it for me, replaced the card, we even took it to his house and hooked it up to his computer and it worked liked a charm on his Internet Service (Charter) so wee ruled out that it in my computer. Next AT&T decided it was an outside line problem so they would then proceed to send out 4 separate line technicians (each had a different opinion – 2 said it was a line problem, one said it was not a line problem, the other said ther was a slight problem on the line but is shouldn’t be affecting my Internet service). One would say I had to be at a 1.5 range and the next one would say I had to be at a 3.0 range for u-verse to work so I have been switched back and forth 4 times yet the speed still sucks whether I’m at 3.0 or 1.5 (where they have me back to now). None of them believes that it is an inside line problem. Then suddenly for no reason, I lost complete Internet connection for two weeks and after trying everything I knew to do and the book suggested to do to get my service back up I made another attempt last week to resolve this issue. The rep I spoke with walked me through some steps (new steps no one else had ever even suggested before) and gave me a code to type in that supposedly would increase my speed (NOT!), however it did get me back on-line so I could access my Facebook and Search Tools. But still did not solve my problem in not being able to open my e-mail account. When I called this same rep back she informed me that this was not an Internet problem now, but is a Microsoft Software Problem because my e-mail account goes through Outlook. So I have called Microsoft and they have now informed me that they cannot correct my problem with Outlook because my AT&T U-verse is operating so slow that they cannot get my account to come up so they can remove the remote from it. So here I am after 18 months back to square one with AT&T U-verse where this week I will have to spend another “who knows how many hours” back on the phone trying to explain to the hundredth rep this new delimma and my chances are probably slim to none that my problem will be solved yet again. My husband and I have been AT&T Customers for over 40 years and been through every merger of Bell South, South Central Bell, etc., etc. they have been through and remained faithful customers but I am at the end of my rope and I am searching out a new ISP. I know I live in a rural area (but less than 1/2 mile of the city limits of a small city) but you would think that I live in the backwoods of nowhere to hear these technicians and reps talk about “why my service is so slow”. Come on folks, in this day of great technology I find it hard to believe that my neighbor less than 500 feet from me is getting great service and I am getting the “slow train to Georgia” service. We have a cell tower on our property which includes both Verizon and AT&T wireless service and even have new fiber optic lines running through the lines directly in front of my house. We have family on both wireless services and have no problems with their cell phone services in our area so why am I having such a struggle getting decent Internet service? If anyone with upper lines of authority out there with AT&T U-verse is listening, I think you had better step up to the plate and try to resolve some of these complaints because sounds like the competition is moving in quite fast on your territory. I for one am tired to paying out my hard earned money for a service I may get to use one or two days a month (if I am lucky)! If U-verse is the best you have to offer then AT&T might as well shut their doors because from my experience with it thus far it is a piece of CRAP!!

  23. Harriett Hughes says:

    I have dropped AT and T because of the poor service. I have had it for 50 years and had a land line, 4 cellphones and Internet. I wanted to get Uverse, but it was not in my neighborhood although a friend 10 blocks away has it. They didn’t know when it would be here and told me to watch for their trucks!! The last straw was when I called about my 478 dollar bill and they said they could reduce it, but never did. I am getting letters from a collection agency even after I wrote a letter to them with my proof that I didn’t owe the money. I still had my bills! It has been more of a hassle than I every wanted to deal with and as soon as the contract is up on my cellphones they will no longer be getting my money! Talking to customer service is torture. You are on the phone for hours and passed from one rep to another or cut off and have to start over. HELP!!

  24. John says:

    I purchased a new LG G3 at the AT&T store and found out that the phone has a defect where the plastic around the screen cracks. LG admits this as there problem and told me they will replace it no problem, but I need to send it in to the repair center and it will take about 2 weeks. I can’t be without a phone for 2 weeks! So considering I got this phone with ATT next and still owe $430.00 and its not a year old yet I call ATT and and ask them to replace, repair or at the very least give me a loner phone so I can send it to LG. All my request are denied because even though LG is saying this is a known issue with the manufacturing they never sent ATT any info about the defect and So they consider it dropped and its my fault. So I think well let me call LG back and kindly ask they to get in touch with the correct department and have ATT records updated with the defect so they will fix it for me without sending it away for 2 weeks. LG staff and as very rude told me I dont know what I’m talking about started yelling at me and every time I call back I get hung up on. So I call ATT back explain what LG did and the lady was very nice asked her boss and they told me I could get it repaired and when I was billed for the repair they would credit it back. I agreed this was a good outcome and the agent said ok let me put you on hold write everything up and get your case number I’ll be bright back. About 5mins into the hold the call was transferred to the mobile device support center with no explanation from the lady I was talking with. So the new agent comes online and I explained yet again everything and was told do u know her name…I had forgotten by that point because I was already an hour into this. She asked her boss and they said they can’t do what I was informed by the previous supervisor and I’m back to square one! UGH!!!!! So my next step was a very shot and polite letter the the president of the mobile side so we will see if I get any help there. If not I am considering ATT to have not provided services as in my contract for att next and will work to have the remainder of the 430.00 voided. I will not pay anymore of my hard earned cash for a broken manufacturer defect. Not going to happen!!

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