So, for the last couple of months, I’ve been having some trouble with my phone losing signal. A lot. But not usually for continuous periods of time. Just one or two seconds out of every ten or fifteen seconds, for a few hours or days at a time. Other times, it works fine, no problem. The loss of signal thing seems to occur no matter where I am, and when the problem is occurring, I get continuous signal even where the problem occurred the most. Last month’s phone bill had literally dozens of dropped call credits. That does not count the times (which occur 3 to 1 against the former) that the call was dropped before the number was even dialed by the phone. I spoke to someone at an AT&T store about the problem and they said it couldn’t be their service, it must be the phone, and to call Warranty Exchange to get a new phone.
I’ve been considering options for getting a new phone, and I think I’ve almost decided to forego getting the new phone that is available now in hopes of instead getting the new phones that will be available early next year that instead of having a few more features than my phone, have many, many more features than my phone. (See the phone I am looking forward to here.)
Anyway, I decided that I’d better call Warranty Exchange about getting my phone replaceed, since I’d already made two calls to customer support centers today (see Bowflex post below) and had several dropped calls. As soon as I called and said that I needed an exchange and what my problem was, they told me I needed to call back from a landline. I told them I don’t have a landline (true). They told me that it would be impossible to do a warranty exchange while I was on the mobile phone. I asked why, and they told me that they needed to take the battery off several times, to get some numbers and do some troubleshooting. I suggested that perhaps I get the numbers and call back, since we are likely not going to be able to reproduce my issue or determine if it is fixed anyway. They insisted that it would be impossible, but recommended that I locate a payphone and call them back. I said that that would be impossible (not entirely true, but I am lounging at home in my underpants by now, and don’t want to get dressed and go find a payphone). They say they can’t help me, I say I need to speak to their supervisor.
No problem, they (finally) ask for my mobile number, name, password, and then xfer me to Kevin, employee number 6959, who claims to be a supervisor. As Kevin is coming on the line, my phone begins to break up badly and I am nearly disconnected. After about 45 seconds of “Hello? Can you hear me?”‘s back and forth, my phone switches off encryption (which usually ends the call altogether, but requires less signal strength), and the call actually manages to stay connected. Kevin tells me the same things the first rep did, that they can’t do a warranty exchange while I am on my mobile phone, even if I called back with the information from inside the phone. Kevin agrees that the standard troubleshooting wouldn’t need to be done, since he himself has already witnessed the phone having a problem. I again suggest that since the only thing standing between me and a warranty exchange then is the numbers squeezed between the back of my phone and the phone’s battery, I should reasonably be able to call back with that information and get the exchange done. Kevin advises that is is against policy to do a warranty exchange while speaking to someone on a mobile phone, and that it is therefore impossible.
I tried to get Kevin to understand that it is not in fact, impossible, but that he is simply choosing not to do the warranty exchange because he is choosing to follow his policy to the letter. I trick him, a couple of times, into admitting that it would in fact be possible to initiate the warranty exchange, and that he is simply choosing not to do so. I am unable to get him to agree that this is poor customer service. He explicitly tells me that “the customer is NOT always right.” I ask to speak to his supervisor. He says (get this:) that he can have a supervisor call me back within the next 48 to 72 hours, if I can provide a landline number to call. I remind him that I have already stated (dozens of times by now) that I do not have a landline available. He continues to be unhelpful. Several times during the call, he became sarcastic and rude to me. About halfway through the conversation he basically stopped answering my questions, saying that he “refuses to answer questions that [he doesn’t] consider relevant.” Questions like “do you understand that ‘right now’ is within the next 48 to 72 hours?” and “Are you capable of getting up out of your desk, walking over to Angela, and asking her if she is available to speak to me?” (Angela is his direct supervisor, but insists that he is incapable of guaranteeing that she will call me back, especially if I con’t have a landline.)
The call lasted about 40 minutes (I’m suprized my phone stayed connected the whole time), and basically came to no good, except that I have these (and more) examples of Kevin being rude and refusing to assist customers to give to Angela, when I can get through to her, which I will. As far as the warranty exchange goes, I know how I can get that done (see the next paragraph), but that’s not the point anymore. Now the point is to be sure that Kevin gets re-educated about how to perform Customer Service, and to be sure that AT&T understands the importance of making exceptions for customers.
Incidentally, I called back immediately and got a different 1st level rep (Patrick), who when I asked to speak to a supervisor other than Kevin, politely asked what my situation was. I explained the initial problem, and he told me that if I wrote down every number inside my phone, I could call back and get warranty exchange with no problem. I thanked him, opened my phone, transcribed every little number, even checking behind my SIM chip, and called back to find that they close at 9PM. No problem. I can call from my work phone tomorrow. (*wink*)