I’ve had a Bellsouth dialup account for years. A few months ago, I decided to upgrade to DSL. Due to the recent merger with AT&T, and their new system, I was not allowed to keep my old email address. I had to create a new email address for the DSL account. Eventually I got them to keep my old email address active as another (paid) account, so that I would have time to migrate to the new address.

A few days ago, I lost Internet access. After some time with tech support, I found out that they had moved my old email address to the DSL account. The new email address, that I was migrating to, was suspended. Mistakes happen, so I asked them to fix it. That turned out to be impossible. After six hours on the phone getting passed back and forth between billing & tech support people, I couldn’t get past, “We are unable to reactive an account for 90 days.” What kind of a goofy system allows employees to turn accounts off, but not restore them?

Over the past few days, I must have talked to every billing and tech support person they have. Not one of them knows how to reactivate my account, or if my lost emails will ever be restored. Today I was told that I was on the data cleanup group’s todo list, but that there is an enormous backlog of work ahead of me.

What really makes this fun, is that AT&T doesn’t have any direct numbers. You get someone new every time you call them. I have to re-explain the problem every time I get passed to a new person. They can’t read the trouble report before I go through the spiel. Some of them never do understand what the problem is.

I have learned a little about dealing with AT&T:

  1. Never let them call you back. They won’t. Insist on staying on hold. You can at least tie up their system if they can’t help you.
  2. If they pass you to someone else, insist that they stay on the line. The other department will soon decide to pass you back. If you don’t keep the first person on the line, you will get someone new & have to start all over.
  3. If they want a way to contact you, give them a Yahoo or Hot Mail address. The free accounts work, might as well remind them.

Maybe I should file a Freedom of Information request. They can forward my email to me. With any luck, the spam will be redacted.

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