I went out of town between Christmas and New Year’s and my house was vacant. At some point during that vacancy burglars broke a window in my house, entered, and removed a television, home theater system, iMac computer, Dell Latitude laptop computer, Dell 3100cn color laser printer, AT&T 2Wire DSL modem/wireless router, a pilot’s flight bag containing 2 headsets and a bunch of flight gear, a KitchenAid Mixer, and various other items.
Consequently, I have spent a lot of time lately working with the police, my insurance company, and various companies to replace the stolen items. My experiences in dealing with these various entities have been mixed – for the most part positive, but with one notable negative exception.
First, the positives. The Fort Worth police were prompt in coming to my home even though the break-in was long over by the time I arrived home. The two officers who showed up were courteous and thorough. They took statements from my daughter and me, took fingerprints in several likely locations, and explained the investigative process. Since that initial call I have talked to the detective assigned to the case and to administrative staff to record serial numbers and other information about the stolen items. They have been unfailingly courteous and easy to work with.
My insurance company, USAA, has also been easy to work with. They quickly worked with me to make an inventory of the stolen items, reimbursed me for the depreciated value of the items, and then explained how to get full replacement reimbursement by sending in receipts for purchased replacements. At every step of the the way they have been easy to work with.
So what has been the negative part of this experience – aside from the burglary itself? My AT&T DSL modem was attached to my iMac and went out the door with it when the thieves departed the scene. Thinking Internet connectivity was one of the most important things I needed, the first purchase I made was a new DSL modem at the local AT&T store. Unfortunately, the modems were not in stock. Fortunately, they had some in the Fort Worth warehouse, and I could have one shipped directly to my home. I purchased one immediately, and then waited for it to arrive. And waited. And waited. And I am still waiting after two full weeks.
Everything else I needed to replace was ordered after this. Everything else I needed to replace has already arrived.
So where is my AT&T DSL modem? That is one of the unanswerable questions of the universe. I tried calling AT&T. Here is how that process goes:
- Call AT&T and get automated system requesting account information.
- Enter account information.
- Listen to menu of options.
- None of the options seem applicable, so pick what seems to be the closest.
- No, that was not it, so try something else.
- Finally, just stay on the line to talk to a person.
- Give the nice person who comes on the line, the same information entered in step 2.
- Find out this person cannot help, so they will transfer me to another number where I can get some help.
- Begin again at step 1.
- Repeat until you eventually give up.
OK, the phone does not work, so let’s go back to the AT&T store where I initially placed the order. Here is how that goes:
- Enter name at kiosk to get in line to be helped.
- Look at cell phones, tablets and other AT&T products and services for sale for 10 minutes while waiting for help.
- Give order information to friendly AT&T service rep who calls my name.
- Wait while they go in the back room to check on my order status.
- Listen while they explain it is not possible to figure out why a modem in the local warehouse still has not shipped and that it is best just to go home and wait.
- Watch as it seems that all AT&T service reps in the store seem to have trouble getting any useful information for customers.
- Go home and wait.
Yes, AT&T has been my sole negative experience, but it has been a doozy. This is not my first experience with AT&T, and it is not my first bad experience with AT&T. In fact, their service has been unfailingly bad in every interaction I have had with them – from the business phone system salesman whose entire sales pitch was “We invented the telephone” to countless time spent waiting on hold or at AT&T stores.
However, I will point out that the service people I have interacted with at AT&T have been unfailingly courteous and friendly. They have tried to help me, but the systems AT&T has set up make it impossible for anyone to determine anything of use to customers.
Finally, to make this whole situation even more absurd, I have to admit that I own stock in AT&T, thinking it was an undervalued component of the Dow. I now realize how stupid I was to think it was overvalued. I will be selling it tomorrow.
As for my DSL modem, I still have no idea when it will show up, and I do not think it is humanly possible to determine where it is or when it will arrive. (Posted with a modem loaned by a gracious friend.)