Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Dear AT&T

Die in a crotch fire. Figuratively, of course, but no less seriously.

Yes, I know diacf is LeeAnn's line and I hope she doesn't mind, but dammit, every month -- every month! -- when I go to pay my landline/Internet/cell phone bill, you have done something.different.arrgh with the login; every time, no matter how hard I try to find the right magic door, it goes wrong, and despite being the only effing name on the effing account, I haven't logged in as the Prime Meridian, or The Kirk, or somedamthing, and cannot therefore even so much as get a glimpse of my bill, let alone pay the rotten thing.

This time, I went 'round and 'round and answered the SuperSekrit Security Kwestions twice and I am still not considered to be me enough to see my own effing telephone account. I finally had to call up the Annoyingly Cheerful Robot Man and do it that way. (BTW, he doesn't know what "Die in a crotchfire" means. I suppose it is highly allegorical language.) "I'm sorry, I didn't quite get that, Dave. What are you doing, Dave? Dai-sy, Daaaaaai-sy....."

Ah, dreams. Well, back in the real world, stuff it up your fat pink patoot. I swear, I'm gonna find wherever you have hid your office and pay the whole thing in two-dollar bills next month, crumpled into a big fat wad. --Unless I can figure out how to do it with a singing telegram.

For land's sake, why oh why would any business want to make it so dreadfully difficult for customers to send them money? Are you insane?

Oh, that's right, you're The Phone Company. I think Lily Tomlin already covered this: Of course you are.


Hat Trick said...

Maybe you should switch to Sprint. Just paid my bill online, took about five minutes to review the bill and pay. :-) (Ducks and runs for cover)

KurtP said...

Which browser are you using?
I know some sites have a small conniption if I use F/F, but if I copy and past into Exploder, I get it to work the way it's supposed to.

Carl-Bear said...

Could be worse: If FailPoint were your phone company, you'd be randomly billed for Caller ID installation every time you go a phone call. Then you'd find that the FairPoint web site only works with Internet Exploder. After navigating that cluster f, you'd at last discover you can't pay a bill online at all. And odds are you won't be doing that web surfing on your FairPoint DSL because -- while they started billing you for it 9 months ago -- they still haven't actually installed it.

(But in fairness to the FP managerial idiots, they might flip a coin and decide to give you $9.99/month DSL 120,000 feet out from the CO by installing an experimental system at a cost of $70,000.)

Joe in Reno said...

I you really want to be mean call their investor relations people and raise Cain. I've solved problems with a couple of companies that way. Investor relations seem to have much more of a "can do" attitude.

Roberta X said...

It's not a browser issue, Kurt -- they keep changing login at the website for bill-paying.

I stay with 'em from sentiment; they suck but they're still The phone company.

Carteach0 said...

Soo...... just curious..... why do you have a land line?

Nathan said...

I, too, still have an AT&T landline.

But I don't pay it on their website. I pay it like I pay most bills, from my checking account online bill pay.

I do this because the AT&T website is far too complicated for mere mortals. Plus, it's slow and I don't have time to wait for it.

Will Brown said...

I sympathise; I finally gave up fighting their system. Now I wait for the paper bill to arrive and then e-pay that through my CU checking account instead. Easey peasey for me and a week to 10 days longer wait on the money for them.

And keep looking at Verizon since I don't have a land line any more.

Roberta X said...

I still have a landline because A) I have DSL, so there's gonna be a wire to the house anyway and B) I have and use old phones -- and AT&T landlines will still read pulse dialing.

Stranger said...

I switched from AT&T long ago. My telephone bill is half of what it was, and the new company is a pleasure to deal with. And with no collect calls from Pakistan at $5.50 a minute to argue about.

If I had to go back to AT&T I would lock the door and hang out a for sale sign.


Carteach0 said...

Understood. I have a DSL, yet no land line phone service. No need for it here, so no reason to pay for it. Perhaps I would think differently were I supporting a fleet of vintage telephones.

Then again.... who have I got that I need to talk on the phone with? Even my cell phone only gets about 40 minutes a month on it, and that's almost all school business.

LeeAnn said...

I got pissed at AT&T a long time ago when they insisted my complete and utter lack of service was my fault, not theirs. Dead line for 3 days. All my fault because I didn't buy their little insurance scam thing about interior wiring or whatever.
Turned out it was a dead junction box down the road. Yeah.
All my fault.
And you can use Die In A Crotchfire any old time you like. :)

Guffaw in AZ said...

TPC The Phone Company
The uber-villain from the James Coburn film The President's Analyst.
Makes sense.

John A said...

Not just AT&T, by any means.

-- rant --
Since the fixes are so simple, I suspect any complaints about this sort of thing never make it to techs but get swallowed in various circular files.

Earlier this month. I used my pass-manager software to login to pay the electric bill just as I have for over a year, but got a message that the site was down temporarily. Well, OK. Except it said the same for three more tries over the next two days. At which point I figured there was something really wrong, and went to the main site - where I learned the address for signin had changed. Riiiiight...

And I used to have a credit card with a certain bank. Whenever I tried to sign on, the site would not let me because my computer address was not the same as the previous time I logged on. Which is because sometime during the intervening month, I had turned off my equipment, and my ISP had assigned me a new address from its pool when I powered on again. So I had to start sign on, get the error message, leave that window open, open another browser window, wait until I had an EMail with a "one time" password, go back to the first to enter that... I did not renew that card.

And while I like Amazon, if I am logged on while shopping why do I have to log in again at checkout (and a couple of times lost the contents of the "shopping cart")?

Crucis said...

Just one reason why I still get a paper bill regardless being a large telecom retiree.

Rob K said...

Setup auto payments at your bank. I think you'll be happier. That's what I have with Chase. It's easy to setup and manage. They'll do electronic transfers with most large companies. It's easy to cancel one month's payment, if you want to for some reason.

DOuglas2 said...

I presume you have heard of the Dialgizmo Pulse to Tone converter?
Since the move our "home phone" line has been a google-voice number and an OBi110 Voice Service Bridge connected to the cable-modem (the only IsP serving our road).

Years ago I read a lot of IEEE Spectrum articles about how the Phone Company hardened their networks to make sure it would still mostly work regardless of whatever calamity might hit, and that had kept me with a POTS line for longer than most of my friends, because I assumed a lot of that ethos and infrastructure still existed within the system.

But $40 once for an Ethernet to POTS bridge compared to $40/month to TELCO seemed a smart decision, once we were moving to a different area code.

Tam said...


"Understood. I have a DSL, yet no land line phone service. No need for it here, so no reason to pay for it."

A no-frills land line, with a wall phone (not cordless), can come in handy during blackouts. The power could be out, your cell-phone could be dead, but generally the old steam-powered telephone will still work.

Carteach0 said...

"A no-frills land line, with a wall phone (not cordless), can come in handy during blackouts. The power could be out, your cell-phone could be dead, but generally the old steam-powered telephone will still work."

Agreed, yet at what cost? Around here, that no frills land line will cost me about $25 a month once we add in all the taxes and fees. That makes it a $300 a year insurance policy that I can call someone during the rare times when cell phone coverage is down.

So.... who do I need to call enough to spend $300 a year making sure I can?

Crucis said...

I've got news for you. That POTS line is liable to go out before than cell tower. Almost all cell towers have UPS systems with generator backup. Your POTS line doesn't.

Your individual lines in your neighborhood route to a concentrator for conversion/connection to a T1. That concentrator has a battery backup that is recharged off the local main. If the power goes out, those batteries won't recharge. The life of the batteries vary from a half-hour to a couple of hours.

Your cell tower will continue on the generator as long a fuel can be trucked to it.

Big difference. You're much better off with a cell phone...if you're in cell coverage.