Why I Hate AT&T

AT&T is trying to drive me crazy. And they’re succeeding.

I know a lot of people have problems with AT&T’s service, or their arguably evil politics. That’s not our complaint. (Yes, it probably should be, but I have limited amounts of political spleen to vent, and what I’ve got doesn’t extend to my phone service.)

No, my problem is with their billing. Not only are the statements themselves incomprehensible–I made it through law school, I teach graduate students at a major university, I don’t think I’m unusually stupid, and I don’t begin to understand them–but their record-keeping is screwed up and their website has clearly been designed by the liquor industry in order to drive users to drink.

We’ve had an account with AT&T for years. A credit card on file with the company was routinely charged as bills came due. And then, for reasons that will forever be beyond me, it wasn’t.

We were out of town, and I picked up my phone to make a call. I got a message telling me that service was being cut off for lack of payment. We couldn’t figure out why, and we weren’t at home where we could look at our records, so we called the billing office (that call is allowed!), made a payment from our bank account, and then pretty much forgot about it.

Then today–barely ten days after we’d made the late payment–we got a text message telling us that we still owed money. Confused, my husband called. In the two or so hours he was on the phone, he was told that the credit card on file had been rejected. When he asked for the account number of that card, it was a number totally unfamiliar to us. I don’t know whose account it was or is, but it was a number and an account we don’t currently have, and have never had previously.

The “service representative” (!) was unable to explain why they showed a number utterly foreign to us, but insisted that AT&T would not take a substitute–indeed, that the company could no longer accept any credit card from such dubious customers. (We’ve been paying AT&T regularly and without incident for well over 25 years, but evidently that wasn’t enough to earn us the benefit of the doubt.)

Long-suffering husband paid–again–through bank transfer. Per instructions from “customer service” (note quotation marks),  he then went online to correct the credit card information.  There he encountered a form clearly devised by Kafka: upon filling out the profile, with name, account number, etc., and clicking “submit,” a message comes up asking that the type of credit/debit card be entered. But there is no place to enter that information. NONE.

Another call. Another “service” representative unable to explain the rather glaring omission on the online form. A lengthy effort to convey the information verbally.

I hope we’ve finally gotten our account straightened out, although god knows I wouldn’t bet on it.

Bottom line? The two of us have spent a significant part of our day talking to people who were unable to answer reasonable questions like “why do you show a credit card that isn’t ours” and “when did you start seeing rejections from this card?” and “where on your profoundly fucked-up online form can we insert the information you are asking for?”

The next time someone tells me how unresponsive “big government” is, I’m going to suggest they try dealing with big telecom. For now, I’m heading for the liquor cabinet…


  1. Be very sure that AT&T doesn’t have any financial interest in the company that bottled that bottle in the liquor cabinet. You don’t want to waste good liquor slinging it across the room!

    Happy New Year, everyone!

  2. Lousy customer service and bad politics — and pure greed.

    I have maintained a landline for emergencies, since they carry their own power in buried cables and can still function when cell towers are out. In the past few years, with no change in service, except for more unsolicited calls, the cost has doubled. My landline is now history. Greed and lousy service are enough to drive me away. I dropped my cell service a couple of years ago and my DSL even before that. Cutting the landline ends my last tie to Ma Bell.

  3. Count United Health and Medco. My never-ending issues with them started within days of their “coverage” starting on October 1, 2012 and continue to be unresolved.

  4. Yep, I hate AT&T as well, for all the reasons one could think of. When the cell contract comes up, I’m headed to Verizon (until I hate them as well).

  5. My hatred of these people goes back to the days of Ernestine. “One Ringy Dingy”. When I opened my company and set up a home in Indy in 1975, I started getting hateful calls from them. They were threatening to disconnect my service if I did not pay my bill. They had not even MAILED my first bill. Off to a great start. You can get combination Unlimited Phone, Internet and Digital TV from Brighthouse too. They also are a pain but somewhat less crazy than AT&T. I went back to the AT&T store when I was feuding with Brighthouse and after talking with them for a couple of minutes in their “Sales office” at Glendale, I remembered why I dumped them in the first place. Even though they have hundreds of customers in my neighborhood, they had NO IDEA what my actual bill would be, after taxes. NO IDEA. JUST AWFUL. And right wing creeps. Drop them ASAP. You will not be sorry.

  6. I could have written this post with only a couple of changes. Worst company service ever. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. It’s January and our final bill still hasn’t been received even though we physically went to one of their stores to cancel our service in early November. Pathetic and it should be illegal to do that to your customers. Thankfully, we won’t need them in our new location and ha ha, they don’t service this area anyway. Yeah!

  7. When I transferred my account from Indianapolis to the town I currently lived in, the process was so painful that I resorted to calling a friend who worked for them to beg for help. It’s insane for a company to essentially make it impossible to get customer ‘service’ from people who are ostensibly selling said service without having to beg people on the inside for assistance.

  8. My distrust of AT&T goes back to a domestic violence shelter I used to volunteer for. AT&T was their phone provider, but they switched to a local company who was also a sponsor. AT&T continued to charge them for their disconnected service for at least 6 months longer. The kicker – domestic violence was one of AT&T’s “charitable focuses” at the time.

  9. “Telephone companies” do not want landline customers. They have drastically cut back on maintenance and made customer “service” more improbable. The companies want a wireless world.

  10. I loe AT & T. (Last line of “1984”: “I love Big Brother.”) Because AT & T probably has a system to monitor any mention of its glorious name, I want to be sure to say, I love AT & T. From the quarterly hassles over ads that have not appeared in the Yellow Pages for several years, to the confusion overwhy I cannot receive bills for ths ervices in my office in one bills, to long conversations with customer service reps who transfer me to customer service reps in Manila, to—whatever. I could go on. And on. I love AT & T. But then again, as Chuck Barris used to say on “The Gong Show” (I show my age), I love toe jam.

  11. People talking about the history of AT&T apparently don’t realize the company was completely bought out by SBC Global maybe 15 years ago. (SBC Global had purchased Ameritech.) SBC Global was actually the bigger company before the purchase of AT&T. But SBC Global decided to take AT&T’s name because it was better known.

    So the AT&T of people’s past that they’re talking, for better or worse, isn’t the same AT&T of today.

  12. IIRC, SBC Global is the direct descendent (since corporations are “people”) of Southwestern Bell, which was one of the original “Baby Bells” created upon the breakup of the original monopoly entity known as “Bell Telephone”. It has risen from the ashes (and the easing of monopoly legislation) to once again lay claim to as much communication business as they can lay their hands upon.

  13. We have problems with their billing all the time, but ours stem from having a landline, a cell plan and Uverse, all of which are billed separately.

    We have each of these three autopaying from a credit card, but if the card expires, we have to remember to hunt down all three account numbers and update our billing for them.

    It is ridiculous. I spent 4 hours on the phone with AT&T trying to get them to combine our accounts, and they just can’t do it. Their systems don’t talk to one another for different services.

  14. I despise AT&T. I live in Westfield but have AT&T landline service that comes from Sheridan which is at least 12 miles from my house. When I call anyone in Westfield (remember, I live in Westfield), or Carmel, or Fishers, or Indianapolis, I have to dial 1-317 plus the number. But, if I choose to call Greenwood (which I don’t), it’s a local call. Go figure. Customer Service can provide no answers to this patchwork system. On the other hand, AT&T wireless can provide 4G LTE service for my Internet needs, but with a data cap of 10GB per month which is exhausted after two weeks. Did I tell you I despise AT&T? I needed to vent.

  15. I despise AT&T. I live in Westfield but have AT&T landline service that comes from Sheridan which is at least 12 miles from my house. When I call anyone in Westfield (remember, I live in Westfield), or Carmel, or Fishers, or Indianapolis, I have to dial 1-317 plus the number. But, if I choose to call Greenwood (which I don’t), it’s a local call. Customer Service can provide no answers to this patchwork system. On the other hand, AT&T wireless can provide 4G LTE service for my Internet needs, but with a data cap of 10GB per month which is exhausted after two weeks. Did I tell you I despise AT&T? I needed to vent.

  16. I hate AT&T because they lie All my long distance is from my cell phone, and my policy with AT&T was if I ever made a long distance call it would be .40 cents a minute. Everything was fine, but now even if I never make a long distance call I am being charged $4.00 a month for long distance. I have been with this company over 40 years and this is the way loyal customers are treated. I live in Connecticut and I wish the Attorney General would look into AT&T dirty dealing.

  17. When I first moved back to Indiana from Florida, I had made arrangements beforehand to have my phone service through AT&T ASAP. They did accomplish this quickly. But when I got a call asking which long distance service I wanted to subscribe to, I explained that I was severely hearing impaired and would eventually be totally deaf. I also exlained that I had a phone equiped with volume control for hearing impaired but still had to frequently ask him to repeat what he said. I told him I did not want or need long distance but he continued demanding I select one of their options. I again refused and he informed me that I was required by law to have a long distance service on my phone line. I told him he was welcome to send the phone police to arrest a 66 year old, legally deaf, disabled woman living on Social Security for refusing long distance service. He hung up on me but the phone police never appeared. I still have a land line phone in case I need to call 911, it is through my cable service. Costs me $49.95 monthly for this service which I hope I never need.

  18. I no longer have a land line, because it seems criminal that AT&T would charge you monthly fees for long distance when I only use my cell phone for long distance. Surprise that no one has did any thing about AT&T cheating consumers this way.

  19. Below is what I wrote ATT when they asked me if I would recommend ATT to a friend:
    I am having problems with ATT ever since I made the stupid mistake of switching from TWC. Internet speed is alright, but customer service is the worst ever. I have spent several hours on the phone trying to fix billing issues, service issues, and nobody seems to know anything over there. Besides that, what company in the world makes a customer go through 3 — yes, 3 different automated service responses over the phone before connecting you with a real person. Additionally, when I finally can speak with a real person all the info I previously provided to the 3 different automated responses (average of 10 minutes each of my waiting periods) are not in the system and the agent will ask me all the Goddamn same questions all over again. Agents, managers, and so on…every single employee at ATT who promised would call me back, never did. Some managers are very poorly trained, and sometimes even rude on the phone. The other day, I was on the phone with an agent trying to fix an issue with my modem and the agent, whom couldn’t figure out the problem, transferred me to the automated without my permission, and finally the call was dropped. Finally, what kind of company does not provide 24/7 customer assistance and/or technical support? ATT is a joke, and the only reason I haven’t yet cancelled my service is because of the early termination fees. I would never recommend ATT to a friend. Are you crazy? I would lose that friend.

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  21. My brother and I each ordered a heck of a deal last Friday. AT&T offered a 10 inch ASUS tablet for free with a 2 year $30/month commitment. I got an email yesterday and he got one today telling us they are cancelling our order as either they couldn’t verify our information or we have over the limit of AT&T lines. As we have no line between us we were perplexed. I am 59 and my brother is 65. We live in the same town we were born in, on the same family property. My brother spent over 2 hours on the phone and went up 6 levels of supervisors and they were still unable to tell us what the problem is or why. We were also told that any application for service would automatically be denied for the next 90 days. We have to go to an AT&T store, show them 2 forms of ID, AND buy something from them. The people were nice but totally incapable of helping us.

  22. I absolutely HATE AT&T! They really are customer No service just like Clark Howard says!!!!! I have no choice because no other service is offered in my area…. PLEASE, PLEASE allow Charter to come here and save us all!!! Over my 30 year home phone service and 15 year internet service, I can recall NOT ONE positive experience. It is enough to make me relocate from my own home town!!


  23. One more reason why I hate ATT. BAD, ARROGANT, COULD CARE LESS CUSTOMER SERVICE. For hours now I’ve been trying to tell ATT that their phone line is hanging dangerously low across the street. It’s draped over and pulling down the other power lines too, but I can’t get thru to report their problem. They just don’t care enough.

  24. I hate ATT Wireless. They will no unlock your iPhones. Do not sign up for new service, if you cancel they will charge you $40 activation fee (BS), and 2 months of billing up front. They do not tell you this when you go buy your phone at the Apple store. They just stick it to you and say its in the policy and their charges are valid.

    I HATE ATT!!!!! DEC 11 2014

  25. I spoke with a rep that called my home today. I told her that we had a problem changing from Comcast to AT&T with my mother’s service and her phone number was eventually changed in the process. It was difficult for my mom (she is blind) because she is Japanese and her family couldn’t call for a very long time. Many of her friends never called again. The rep then HUNG UP ON ME. How I hate At&t is ungageable.

  26. I was contacted again today (as I have ben every day for a couple weeks) by AT&T telemarketers (she said she worked directly for AT&T) regarding upgrading my landline phone and DSL internet service to U-Verse. When I told her I did not want U-Verse (and have told them that everyday for the past couple weeks) and to stop calling, she said she would place me on the DO Not Call list and then verified my name and number. My name supposedly was earlier placed on this list, but it’s hard for me to say exactly when because my side of earlier conversations was often muted while the AT&T telemarketer continued on with his/her script. I was told by today’s representative that when my name does appear on this list, the calls will stop. By law a company has 30 days to get a name on this list. My repeatedly stating emphatically that I do not want U-Verse will not stop the calls. Now, if I did want U-Verse, the calls would stop immedcately. This is not right. I am a senior citizen being harassed by this company into doing what they want and not what I want. This repeated calling is a recognized ploy used against seniors. When I say NO, it should mean NO and the calls should stop. I made a complaint to the Ohio Public Utilities Commission and a few days ago heard back from someone named Latricia at the AT&T offices. She said she would look into it, but I can tell nothing is going to change until that 30 days is up. At the present time the only other option I have for Internet service is through Time Warner Cable and it is just as bad, if not worse than AT&T.

  27. My story is similar but unfortunately even worse than yours with 9 pages of notes over the course of a month. They couldn’t get billing together for my landline so they opened a new account with the same phone number. They’ve been sending me refund checks but also say I’m overdue on the new account, and that I owe an additional $50 as an activation fee because they started a new account on the same number. Just when I thought ATT was just evil, I now realize that they are the spawn of satan. Help me!! So now I have no phone service, a credit ding and tons of refund checks. It is a complete circus over at ATT.

  28. ATT is pure S A T A N and sadistic to boot ! Their reputation is worse than you can imagine B U T
    their plans and, as pointed out, . their people, their very nice people. DSL allows phone company mics AND H D CAMERAS into my home FREE!!!
    That email adrs is fake. I made it up on the spot and bought the rights to anyrhing they put out on the year. Check on fixing it pls (get me that URL)

  29. Earlier comments (above) repeated lightly.
    Verizon is like a nice, long loving hug after ATT just kicked me in the ditch & then ASKED me if there was anything else they could U S E against me.
    Bye bye……………………………………………………………….

  30. I know this may seem trivial, but after speaking with bill collectors I have discovered that my situation seems to be quite common with AT&T. First they took two deposits from me for services I never received. They claimed they would return those deposits and cancel my order which they never did. All this was over a landline that I never got. I had to open a dispute with my bank against them over the deposits – which I won. I had asked the AT&T Social Media Manager Pam ####who was handling AT&T’s side of the dispute to make sure that account was closed. She never did. So for months I continued to be billed for services and equipment I never received. I sent two certified letters back with the bills to the billing department explaining the entire situation and that I considered billing someone for services and equipment never received ‘fraudulent billing’. Never heard back. I continued to receive bills that also stated they would be disconnecting my service if I didn’t pay my bill. That was funny because there was nothing to disconnect. I was being billed for TWO phone numbers & never even had ONE phone line. Yesterday I went to the mail box and there were 2 letters from collection agencies – one agency for each number. I think it’s outrageous AT&T is doing this to me and so many others. Too bad it took me so long to start talking to AT&T by email in black and white because most of the stuff was done over the phone until I finally realized I needed to be documenting what was said to me. Well.. that is when they quit contacting me- when they had to put it in black and white. I have already sent you some of the email correspondence between myself and Pam Rodgers, too bad I can’t include the letters I sent to the billing department with this email. THERE WAS NEVER A WORKING PHONE LINE, PHONE JACK, or PHONE at my house. NO PHONE BOX on the telephone pole…NOTHING. NOT ONE phone guy ever showed up at my house to install ANYTHING. I’m making a complaint with the Texas Attorney General’s office and with Public Utilities Commission. I am also considering getting an attorney and exploring other alternatives.

    Below is correspondence between myself and Pam Rodgers – I never heard back from Pam ####..not a word even though she knows I was in the right. She never closed my account like I asked either. I have spent so many many hours on a problem AT&T created & I’m not calling customer service because I already tried that route and they are incompetent. lazy, or dishonest- pick one. And it’s pretty hard to feel like being a sweety in your corresspondence when you have wasted over 20 hours of your life on something that should have been so so simple.


    Sharon K

    Can you please look at your bank statement on 05/21/15, This is where I see a returned payment. I have also sent you a screen print.

    Pam ####
    Social Media Manager
    myAT&T Social Media Team
    Monday to Friday 430pm to 1:00am CST
    Check out our support center: http://support.att.com/


    May 27

    to ATT

    Ms. ####,

    There is no debit card transaction or activity at all for the date 05/21/15. I could not see your screen print because I don’t have Microsoft word on this laptop. There is no activity for that day at all .

    On 05/18/15 however, my bank did reimburse me with 2 $50.00 refunds for the money I lost with At&T. Those refunds you see are not from AT&T to my bank account, that is why AT&T is not listed as being the one
    doing the refunding. The refunds you saw were from my bank to me, not AT&T to me. You can ask my bank as they are well aware of the date and time they refunded my money. That is why I told you earlier AT&T no longer owes me any money- they owe my bank money. I really do not understand the confusion. Why is it being made so complicated? I just want the bills to stop for service I never received. As I said my bank reimbursed the 2 deposits At&T took from me and never returned. Below is a cut and paste of MY BANK REFUNDING THE MONEY on 05/18/2015. As you can see it was definitely not a refund from AT&T.

    05/18/2015 Misc. Credit CREDIT DUE TO DEBIT CARD DISPUTE $50.00
    05/18/2015 Misc. Credit CREDIT DUE TO DEBIT CARD DISPUTE $50.00

    Sharon K

    May 28

    to ATT

    Ms ####,

    #1. When a telephone technician comes to a customers home to climb a pole and install a phone box and a phone line that runs from the box to the home for a land line he has the customer sign a form when he has completed his work. This is something all repairmen/ technicians from companies do. They get a signature from the customer stating that the work was completed and that it’s up and running. Since no one came to my property to install a phone box and a land line – your company cannot produce any paperwork proving any such service was installed because it wasn’t. I was billed anyway. I was billed even after explaining no one came and that nothing had been installed.
    I can however produce witnesses who are willing to testify that no phone box or telephone line or phone jacks are in place at my home. That home is being remodeled. There are workmen there every single day. They are working on that house inside and out and also know no phone man came and nothing was installed. So, what it boils down to is I can prove my case and your company cannot.

    #2. I can and did prove to my bank that two deposits for fifty dollars were taken from my bank account by At&T for service that was never delivered or received. Your company cannot prove that any money was returned to me by your company, because NONE WAS. My bank can see that when they look over my account- which they did.

    #3. Your company is already aware that I was billed for services never received and that my entire orders were bungled and mismanaged. Instead of trying to rectify the situation , more stalling and bungling is going on. It’s a very very simple case. I am astounded and amazed that it is being made so complicated on your company’s end. You are now telling me you have access to see my bank activity. You should be able to see that your company never did return my deposits , but alas the saga continues.

    4. My account was never closed when I canceled it even though I was assured it would be.

    5. Ms. #### you are receiving a paycheck for the time you are spending talking to me. I on the other hand am not receiving anything but lost wasted time with your company. I had to take two days off twice to wait for a telephone man to come to my home. No one came. That was 2 days of work for me LOST. I had to spend countless hours on the telephone trying to rectify the problem while no one cared and I was transferred from one person to another and then after holding the line and so many transfers having my calls dumped and expected to start all over again. Which I did. Hours and hours lost over a stupid little service I never even received. I was not paid for this lost time as your company employees are being paid to give me the run around.

    6. Where is YOUR COMPANY BANK RECORDS showing that I was paid my deposits back? LOL There are none. And there is no record of your company giving my deposits back in my band account records either.


    Nothing complicated about it at all. I can’t prove my case & your company cannot.

    I can remember when AT& T was a good company with quality customer service. Sadly, those days are gone. I will NEVER be an AT&T customer again. This is such a shoddy way to treat customers. REALLY. I believe I’ve wasted enough time.

    Sharon K

  31. OMG could you please edit out her last name that was accidentally left in my post? I thought I had bleeped out all of her last name. Sorry

  32. I did today finally get this problem resolved to my satisfaction, but I had to go pretty high up the ladder to do it

  33. AT&T is the WORST company ever! I don’t know how they are able to keep a business like this around. For their customer service I think they hire a 3rd world country that can barely speak English AND not to mention that stupid recording when you call that can’t hear anything you say but asks 10 million questions ONLY to be asked the SAME questions when you FINALLY get to a human. I hate them. I hate them. I hate them!

  34. My trials with AT&T started several years ago when my contract with the company was coming due and I called the phone# provided in the alert letter. The third party contractor gave me stuff I did not ask for like a cell phone and another DSL line. It took me 6 months of hour to 2 hour phone calls to ever so slowly back out the unwanted unasked for equipment and getting the improper charges credited out. Swore I would never talk to another third party again and have tried not to. Rocked along OK until this year when I asked for my land line to be discontinued. I am 3 phone calls and 2 incorrect billings into that effort. Let my guard down and let another third party contractor (on my 4th phone call that day) “take care” of me. They have rigged the system where you simply have to go thru hell to talk to an AT&T person. Absolutely hate them.

  35. When it comes to dealing with AT&T you MUST DO THESE THINGS ! When you finally get to a human, doesn’t matter whether they are US or India, wherever, get their “full name” their “physical location,” ( City & street address if you can get it ) and if possible “record” the entire call. This person WILL TRANSFER you, but before allowing them to do that…DEMAND that they type your issue into the computer notes “and” that they explain the whole issue to whoever they are transferring YOU TO. Understand we get the service that we “expect,” we do not have to accept sorry customer service, we can EXPECT BETTER. We have become a nation of “sheeple” ( people who just accept whatever without a complaint….don’t rock the boat ) just going along with crummy service everywhere, fast food, retail, banking, whatever ! So service has been “dummied-down” on every level and people just take it…it’s the way it is in today’s world, they say. :(( Bullshit…be an “assertive human being” not aggressive, understand that we can change things by being “empowered” ( I actually hate that word) but it can apply when we refuse to just take crap on every level. You’ve heard the “squeaky wheel gets the grease,” well baby, there’s something to be said for that. Maybe if enough of us become the squeaky wheel…who gets oiled and make these sorry systems start working again. I complain if things are not “up to snuff,” but I ALSO COMPLIMENT when things “ARE” up to snuff, and people get a spring in their step when we compliment them on a job well done ! But it has to start by us not just rolling over and whining that “it’s just the way it is these days.”

  36. AT&T’s …….CONSTANT…….. request for Sign In is enough to make a preacher curse! I have a resident computer, I am the only one that uses it, and I get constant requests for me to sign in again again and again! What the hell is that all about?????????? This must be the most stupid phone company in the world. This just started a few months back. No explanation, just their stupid request for Sign In. What is the reason for all of these Sign Ins? PLEASE God send us a good phone company!

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