Ndolger

En-duhl-jer: The one who indulges

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Where have all the amiibo gone?

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amiibo

OK, Nintendo it’s been awhile since I wrote a letter to you, but it feels like now is a good time after you have done your absolute best to top the Xenoblade/Last Story debacle of ’11. Nintendo somehow continues to raise the bar in levels of ineptness; now with their handling of their new product called amiiboWhat’s an amiibo? They’re mini-figures of Nintendo intellectual property. Mario, Link, Pikachu and dozens of others. Cool, right? Kids can play with them. Adults can collect them. Everyone’s happy! Right…right? Well, it’s never that simple with Nintendo anymore…

So what’s the problem exactly? Much like Beanie Babies, Furby, and Tickle Me Elmo before it, amiibos are in short supply. Take a quick glance on Amazon, many are completely out of stock or are fetching ridiculous prices. Shocker? Hardly. And that’s fine. Perfectly acceptable. No one is really debating that point. This happens during the holiday season. No big deal.

What has drawn the furious ire of the loyal gaming community is how Nintendo is reacting to this. Nintendo’s lack of clear communication on the shortages is so incredibly weak, it’s laughable. There are rumors of straight up discontinuation (after a MONTH, no less), amiibos being replaced with trading cards instead (are you f’ing serious?), and any attempt of clarification from Nintendo has been incredibly vague and awkward. There has not been a clear official statement on the matter, at best, it’s a “maybe they’ll be more…soon…ish…umm…maybe”? What the hell?! MAYBE?! One run of an item that can’t even be FOUND at retail stores? Nor preordered reliably? For God’s sake, Wave 3 is due to come out in late Jan / February and Nintendo had the bright idea to have retailer specific exclusives (Toys R Us, Best Buy, Target, Gamestop…*shudder*…Gamestop…), and…it’s impossible to preorder one month away! Target for example has been available for less than an hour…at 2AM EST! Madness…this is only going to get worse, not better.

Here is an email I received today after trying to purchase some Wave 2 figurines from Toys R Us:

amiibo-fail

This in itself isn’t what’s hilarious. This cancellation was after a prior cancellation email and a second opportunity given to users to purchase these items. That’s right. Toys R Us gave people a second chance to reorder items through an exclusive link…and they were still cancelled. Do you know what this means? It means Nintendo is screwing with retailers grasp on how much inventory they’re getting. There have been reports stores have been receiving 1 to 2 units of many of these figures. Insane.

Nintendo’s research in market dynamics is absolutely abysmal. It’s one thing to underestimate demand, it’s another thing to do so and then not replenish or allocate units correctly across different SKUs. This isn’t a ploy for marketing and hype, this is just incompetent management. Somehow, some peon somewhere thought, “Hey, we need to have Link, Pikachu, and Mario readily available at all times; let’s make 100 units of those for every 1 unit of everything else. Sorry Marth, Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, Fox, Samus, Pit, Little Mac, Diddy, Donkey Kong, Captain Falcon…there’s no way anybody will want you guys”.

Wait…what’s that? Europe and Japan DO NOT HAVE THESE PROBLEMS? Wow! No way! People have had to resort to ordering from German Amazon to buy these figures. Thank heavens Nintendo didn’t region-lock these things (as they normally do). So again, this isn’t Nintendo being cute to artificially try to drive up demand, this is piss-poor market research and execution, with terrible public relations management to boot.

Nintendo’s struggles with Wii U are well chronicled (i.e. it’s not selling well), so when amiibo were announced, many saw this as a potential turnaround for the company to start to drive interest in Wii U and obtain a new revenue stream. How could this not work? Disney and Activision has proven there is an interest (and a huge market) in this area. It’s baffling to see such a gold mine of profits just…thrown away? Why, Nintendo? Why do you always manage to screw up the simplest shit? It’s insane! You want money, people want these things. Why does it need to be this complicated? Instead, scalpers are selling these things for 5x the price. Hope you’re happy! That’s profits you’re not seeing AND pissing off your customers.

Do you know how Nintendo can fix this? Issue a clear statement statement saying, “We realize there is enormous demand for our amiibo products, and we will ensure that anyone that wishes to obtain their favorite character will be given the opportunity to do so, no matter what. We will take any measure necessary to ensure that our customers are completely satisfied”. That’s it. That’s all they have to say.

Should we start making calls to Operation Rainfall for you to fix this? I mean you eventually ended up releasing Xenoblade in the US after months and months of hounding (but I had no faith, so you forced me to import from the UK…thanks again for that). This situation just feels…completely different. The community shouldn’t have to voice complaints over this one Nintendo. This is really just common freaking sense.

Here’s what I wrote in 2011 after Nintendo’s mishandling of Xenoblade:

I have literally lost all will to support you Nintendo. Honestly, this is the beginning of the end for you. You’re chasing a market that’s going to destroy you. The casuals will NOT stand by you. They will leave and you will be left with nothing. Mark my words. You are done. And it’s so sad…

My how appropriate this comment still resonates today. What happened with the Wii U Nintendo? Oh, the casuals left you. As they always do. So what have you been doing since then? Continuing to piss off your loyal hardcore fanbase. Congrats, you’ve learned nothing. amiibo was a “layup”, and somehow you airballed it. Bravo!

So what’s going to end up happening? Well, I believe Nintendo will finally start ramping up more production, because I honestly don’t believe a company can be so stupid to leave money on the table like this. But, this wish-washy, maybe we will, maybe we won’t dance will probably go on for a couple more months. Everyone who wants a Marth or a Villager will probably get one, somehow. Maybe through Club Nintendo, maybe directly through a Nintendo website, who knows. But do I know this to be true? Hell no! And that’s the problem! No one freaking knows with Nintendo anymore! They continue to drag their customers through the mud. I’m just wondering how many more times I’m going to put up with this nonsense. So, again, bravo Nintendo, you continue to push the limits of how much you can punish your fans before they just say, “enough with it, I’m out”. I guess we’ll see if you can make it right, I just don’t have that high of hopes anymore…

Filed under Videogames, WTF
Jan 2, 2015

Have I mentioned I hate AT&T lately?

1 Comment

So what problem do we have today? This time boys and girls, I received a surprising $83 bill for my U-verse internet service! Since it’s only supposed to be $25…this was a little alarming!

Watch as I try to clear this up with AT&T customer support. Their office is closed on Saturday, but that doesn’t mean they won’t send you the bill!

Thankfully they have a wonderful customer support chat application so you can talk with someone on your computer! Nice! I wonder if I ended up getting a resolution…

System
Welcome <sir>.
System
Connecting to server. Please wait…
System
Connection with server established.
System
Technical Support Topic: U-verse Billing
System
Ashwin Dongre has joined this session!
System
Connected with Ashwin Dongre
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for contacting AT&T U-verse Member Support. My name is
Ashwin {ad214t}. Please allow me a moment to review your account details with the information you have provided.
Ashwin Dongre
I see that you have issues regarding your bill, am I correct?
You
Yes
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for confirming.
You
I was supposed to receive an adjustment that was supposed to kick in after two billing cycles. It’s still not happening, I’ve had to call to get it manually adjusted.
You
I also don’t stand why AutoPay did not kick in and I have a past due balance.
Ashwin Dongre
I understand how something like this can really try your patience. Your patience and co-operation is highly appreciated in this matter.
Ashwin Dongre
I would be happy to answer your querry regarding your bill.
Ashwin Dongre
However, if I am not able to answer all your queries to your satisfaction.
Ashwin Dongre
I might have to transfer you to our billing department.(Specialized department for handling billing issue)
Ashwin Dongre
Would that be okay?
You
ok
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you.
Ashwin Dongre
I see that you have already provided the 4-digit pass code and I am glad to inform it matches with our records.
Ashwin Dongre
May I please have your preferred email address for future references?
You
<my email address>
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for the information.
Ashwin Dongre
Please allow me a minute, while I check your bill.
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for waiting patiently.
Ashwin Dongre
I have checked and see that your Credits and Adjustments to Prev. Balance : $138.31 has been credited to your account.
Ashwin Dongre
And the current Total Amount due is : $0.00
Ashwin Dongre
As we are from Technical Support Team, we don’t have much access to the billing database.
Ashwin Dongre
However, if you have more queries regarding billing issues.
You
OK, thank you very much. I just want to know if the adjustments will kick in automatically going forward or will I have to keep calling every month?
Ashwin Dongre
I will help you with the Billing Department’s contact number.
You
OK, thanks.
Ashwin Dongre
You are welcome.
Ashwin Dongre
Meanwhile, may I know how your day has been?
Ashwin Dongre
I have checked and I recommend you to contact our customer service and billing department, they will help you with the billing details.
Ashwin Dongre
You can contact our Billing department @ 1-800-288-2020 Transfer code : 659.
Ashwin Dongre
They are open between 8:00am – 7:00pm ET, Mon-Fri 8:00am – 5:00pm ET, Sat Automated Service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You
I’m not sure…I understand.
You
You said my balance is $0.00 but it’s shows up at $82.95.
Ashwin Dongre
Is there anything else I can assist you with?
You
Are you looking at my home phone account or my U-verse account?
Ashwin Dongre
Please let me check that for you.
Ashwin Dongre
I am looking into your U-Verse account, as you have contacted U- Verse Technical Support.
You
I just logged into my account and nothing has changed.
You
Can you clarify what ” Credits and Adjustments to Prev. Balance : $138.31 has been credited to your account.” means?
Ashwin Dongre
I checked your U Verse account and the credit was mentioned there.
Ashwin Dongre
I also see that, your U-Verse account has been cancelled, am I correct?
You
Where can I see that? What do I need to click?
You
No…that’s not correct.
You
Do you need my account number?
You
My account number is <my account number>.
Ashwin Dongre
Sure, you can help me with the account number.
You
I had U-verse a couple years ago…that was cancelled.
You
You must be looking at my old account.
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for confirming.
You
They screwed up my service so much they credited me my entire bill. I was not happy with the service, there were multiple issues. In the last few months, I was FORCED to upgrade to U-verse from DSL.
You
It has been a nightmare. AutoPay is not working, my accounts are now separated from my home phone.
Ashwin Dongre
I completely understand your situation and concern.
You
And my adjustments aren’t working. I am so…tired…of having problems… 🙁
Ashwin Dongre
I apologize for the inconvenience.
You
As compensation to “force” me to move to U-verse from DSL, they let me keep “similar” pricing with what I had at DSL. Since they had higher speeds, I agreed to get a better speed for $25 a month.
You
I have not once seen $25 a month or anything close to it yet. I’m hoping you can tell me what’s wrong…
Ashwin Dongre
I have checked and I recommend you to contact our customer service and billing department, they will help you with the billing details.
Ashwin Dongre
I am afraid I wouldn’t be able to assist you in this, as we are from technical support team.
You
Of course. Because it makes to send a bill on a Saturday when the office is closed.
You
Then why do you have a BILLING chat session? Ugh…sorry, you’ve been very helpful, but now I’m just angry because I just wasted 30 minutes for absolutely nothing.
You
Thanks for your time.
Ashwin Dongre
You are welcome.
Ashwin Dongre
You are welcome.
Ashwin Dongre
I would have felt much better, if I would have been able to fix your billing issue.
You
Me too..
Ashwin Dongre
🙂
Ashwin Dongre
If you do not have any further queries you can go ahead and disconnect this chat session now, so that I can assist our other U-Verse customers.
Ashwin Dongre
Please visit http://www.att.com/esupport where you will find pages of product solutions, or download our Self Support Tool athttp://www.att.com/esupport/ and Channel 411 on your U-verse TV.
Ashwin Dongre
Thank you for choosing AT&T U-verse Chat support.
Ashwin Dongre
We value you as an AT&T customer. Again my name is Ashwin (ad214t).
You
No further questions, I’m just posting this conversation to my blog. It’s a really popular series. Every time AT&T does something stupid, I record it. It’s been years of fun. I honestly don’t know why I continue to support this company. Your customer experience is the worst I’ve ever seen. You have disconnected departments, fragmented service, and I have to call about every, little issue. All. The. Time. I’m tired of it. Have a nice day…
Filed under WTF
Feb 25, 2012

An Open Love / Hate Letter to Nintendo

4 Comments

Nintendo…we need to talk. I love you, but…it’s like we’re drifting apart. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I expect too much. Maybe you just can’t be what you once were and I should lower my expectations. But, you have to at least know how you make me feel. You give me such joy, but you make me feel like garbage, and it’s starting to become more of the latter as the days go by…

You once stood for the “hardcore”, and now you don’t even appear to understand what that means. The hardcore doesn’t want promises of what might come along in Wii 2.0, they want things now. What you’re doing with Xenoblade and The Last Story (sorry, Pandora’s Tower hasn’t been on my radar, so I can’t comment) is unacceptable. These are huuugge AAA games that people have been following for a long time. It would be one thing if you never acknoweldged their existence. It would be one thing if you hadn’t announced them at E3. But you DID. OK, well, I forget if you did that with The Last Story, but COME ON. With the people involved in TLS, it HAS to come here. When Saguchi and Uematsu are involved in a game, it’s IMPLIED it’s going to see release. Sigh…

I watched you release casual junkware. I  kept saying to myself, “oh, it’s OK, it’s temporary, they’ll get it eventually, they’ll wake up…they’ll get back to their roots”.  I watched Miyamoto be involved with Wii Music for crying out loud. That was a huge red flag. When you made Smash Bros 3 a child’s game, I should have paid attention. I should have known right there; we have major problems in our relationship. I bought Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort from you!! Can I have Mother 3 and Elite Beat Agents 2 now?!

What is the problem? Is it Nintendo of Japan vetoing things? I mean I totally get that. I can see it being the case. You’re talking to a guy who supported Sega of America and Phantasy Star Online. Oh, I get it! I get it more than you know…it still doesn’t make it right, but can you at least tell us that much?! If your dad is giving you crap about me, can you at least tell it to my face?

The fact that Nintendo of Europe DOESN’T HAVE THESE PROBLEMS, sort of makes me blame you Nintendo of America! They got Disaster: Day of Crisis. They got Trace Memory R. They’re getting Xenoblade and The Last Story. I can’t take it anymore. You keep giving your love to another, and I get Mario Party 9. Don’t you have fun with me anymore?

So it must be the money. Why wouldn’t it be? It’s always the money. What do you want? What are your true localization costs, really? I mean really! If you’re already translating it for Europe, you’re done! Do you really need marketing? People who want the game already know they want it. People who want the game don’t even really care about voice acting…is this news to you? Because it’s true. Do a poll.

I just don’t get it Nintendo. I can understand niche games like Giftpia and Doshin not coming here. You don’t want to take a risk. Fine. I’ll live. I guess with Disaster: DoC you don’t want to evoke memories of 9/11? I mean that’s the only excuse I can come up with? Maybe you just really hate Monolith Soft and don’t want to see them make money because you clearly don’t think their games can sell in the US. But, you know what’s sad…I love them. Baiten Kaitos I and II were amazing games. Donkey Konga 3? Fine. Gamecube was dying. Still would have really liked to see that one. Elite Beat Agents 2? You’re cheap and don’t want to pay for licensed tracks. I get it. You missed the boat on that one though, sorry to say. It could have been a really huge series. Next time…pay for some actual songs. Mother 3? I hate you.

But Xenoblade and The Last Story are different. These are huge Japanese RPGs on a system that has none.  That have traditionally had none for over ten years across multiple systems. That in the glory days had some of the best. That maybe, just maybe…fans want these so bad, because they want to relive the glory days. Or maybe they just really like the talent associated with these projects. Sakaguchi. Uematsu. Shimomura. Takahashi. Maybe we just really want a good Japanese RPG because there haven’t been that many in the past few years, and to see you waste two potential great ones…is an absolute shame.

I want you to make me feel like a kid again, like only you can. You have the tools and the talent…please stop wasting them. As it stands now, you are the kings of “nectar in a sieve”. Such great sweetness…wasted…

It’s not like Xenoblade could have been released at any point in the last two years. Oh wait. But, hey…I guess it’s OK because your Wii release schedule is so jam-packed with content this year. Oh wait…

You screw up Zelda: Skyward Sword and I’m breaking up with you. And will you please stop abusing Pikmin 3? It doesn’t deserve it.

Maybe I place too much value on this hobby. Maybe it’s my fault. I just thought you cared…maybe I’m just the last of a dying race of people who loves their videogames and hates to see what is happening to this industry.

At least I have Dark Souls. At least Atlus still cares. Oh crap…they’re not publishing that are they? ARGH!!

Edit #1:
A day later, Nintendo decides, after waiting a few days, to Tweet and say, “sorry, but screw you loyal fans, we have  no plans to make you happy…we just wanted to taunt you a little bit”. Hardly surprised, but for some reason I had hoped this wouldn’t be the answer. Or at least, this wouldn’t be the way to do it. Why do you raise hope just to squash it? I’m getting sick of this. I’ve seen enough of this crap this year. I’m a Cleveland fan. I’ve had enough Decisions for one year.

I have literally lost all will to support you Nintendo. Honestly, this is the beginning of the end for you. You’re chasing a market that’s going to destroy you. The casuals will NOT stand by you. They will leave and you will be left with nothing. Mark my words. You are done. And it’s so sad…

Edit #2:
Hitler pretty much sums everything up:

Edit #3:
Thanks for nothing Nintendo. I just imported Xenoblade. Thanks for forcing me to mod my Wii. I can’t believe it had to come to this.

Filed under Videogames, WTF
Jun 28, 2011

The Yellow Light is Back

0 Comments

So, it’s that time again! The time when the PS3 gets so scared it pees itself. 

Otherwise known as the Yellow Light of Death (YLOD). This fun acronym basically means your Playstation 3 is a corpse. His components are burnt up because someone doesn’t want to use lead in their soldering (causes the thing to overheat). Yay! Anyway, this time (the third time), I just narrowly missed the 90-day repair window (for repairs). Yay!

Here is my email to customer support, I plan on adding a call to customer service to ask why they suck so much: 

Just created service request <I bet you’d like to know!>. Just wanted to say, I’m angry. That’s basically it.

This is the THIRD time this PS3 has died. And what do you know…it dies a few weeks after being off of repair warranty, After talking with the customer representative tonight, I learn that you offer NO extended warranty on repairs. Fantastic. It’s like you EXPECT it to fail. How comforting…

And yet…you offer NO replacement to the current SKU. Nothing is equivalent to the A01 model. NOTHING! What is wrong with you guys?! How can you not have released a model that can play PS2 games?!

I can’t believe I’m paying ANOTHER $130 to get this thing repaired! I must be freakin’ crazy…

If there is a question in here, it’s this. How could I POSSIBLY “deactivate” my Master Account from PSN on the hardware if it DOESN’T WORK?! How do I go about doing that? Please tell me. Is that something that can be initiated on your side? What implications arise from not being able to do this?

Last time this failed with a YLOD, I had to research a guide on the internet to fix it. It fixed it…for approximately 10 minutes, during which I was able to deactivate my PSN. I really don’t want to go through that again.

So, please, pray tell, how do I do this?

I know I’m being pissy, but I’m pissed…I can’t believe I continue to support a company that makes this shoddy of a product.  A FEW WEEKS OFF WARRANTY….ARGHHH.

Not very happy,
Ndolger

Why can’t I just have a PS3 that can also play PS2 games that doesn’t die every 4 months? Is it that much to ask for? Step up your game Sony…

UPDATE:

Thank your personal deity that Sony realizes that this isn’t cool! Here are their responses. This first one still leaves me pretty upset, but at least they can help deactivate my account, so I can try to remain a big deal on certain games *coughbioshockcough*.

 Response Via Email (Elizabeth S.)

Hello Ndolger,

I apologize for any frustration you may have had regarding your PlayStation(R)3 computer entertainment system having to be serviced. Unfortunately, if you are not able to turn the PlayStation 3 on, you can not deactivate your PlayStation 3 PlayStation(R)Network master account.

Once you receive your PlayStation 3 back from the service center, we will be glad to deactivate the PlayStation 3 for you.

You may either email or call our consumer services at 1-800-345-7669 Monday through Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., and Sunday 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Pacific Standard Time and we will definitely assist you with deactivating your PlayStation 3.

If you have any further questions, please email back.

Regards,
Elizabeth S.

 

 

Finally, this next response is the one I wanted. I’m cool with paying for repairs. I understand hardware breaks, I’m a reasonable guy. But I do realize Sony is notorious for making pretty crappy hardware. Every single one of my Playstations have broken over the years, while my Nintendo ones are decades old and never had any problems (OK maybe the NES, but it still works!).

But…I shouldn’t have to double-dip for a payment when it breaks after being repaired!! Thankfully, at least someone over at Sony realizes that this isn’t cool! You don’t treat your customers like this if you want them to stay around…

 

 Response Via Email (Nancy M.)

Hello Ndolger,

I appreciate you taking the time to email us regarding your PlayStation®3 system not working properly and needing service again. I apologize for all the inconvenience this has caused you and please understand that I am fully aware of how frustrating this can be.

I have further researched your service requests and your situation I did see that you are approximately 11 days outside of your 90 day service warranty. Since you PlayStation 3 is right outside of the 90 day service warranty I am setting you up with a new service request and you will not be charged for this service. I will be canceling your previous service request that was set up over the phone earlier today, the authorization charge that was put on your credit card from today’s call will be lifted depending on your banks policies. For further information regarding this pending charge being released and the money being back in your account please contact your card issuer.

Be sure that when you send your PlayStation 3 in for service that you reference this service request number on all your paperwork . This service request number will be referencing the free service, so be sure to not use your previous service request number.

To answer your question regarding deactivating your account, we will be more than happy to do this for you please email back with the following information.

-Sign-In ID
-Online ID

I honestly apologize that you have experienced such a situation and am hopeful that this helps relieves some of the frustration you had towards our company. Thank you so much for you continue support in Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and please understand that your concerns have been heard.

Regards,
Nancy M.

 


Filed under Videogames, WTF
Apr 8, 2011

I am the King of Bioshock 2…Almost!

0 Comments

After a great deal of pain, I’ve finally achieved something I’ve been working towards for months. After having to deal with the email spam, the whining and complaining of those who fell to me (of which there were hundreds), the taunts toward my mother, the inquiries with regards to my sexual orientation, the laaaaaggg, and most of all the many, many hours of doing the same thing over and over after all that, after all of that…alas, I have become #2 in a game that nobody probably even plays anymore!

Behold!

Number 1 seems so very out of reach…can I do it?! If I had the time, it certainly would be possible, I just….really don’t anymore… Look at that “Avg Per Game” though! Hot damn!

Filed under Videogames, WTF
Apr 6, 2011

Why AT&T Is the Worst Company on the Planet

0 Comments

Welcome to hell. My own personal form of hell. It’s called AT&T.

 In the coming paragraphs, I’m going to be talking about my experience with AT&T’s customer service, engineering, technical support, billing, and retention departments. This isn’t a happy tale. I will say this upfront, I never took a harsh tone, never raised my voice, never used an expletive, nor said anything (extremely) derogatory or mean at anyone over the 30+ people I ended up interfacing with over at least 20-30 hours of my time. This event will be known to me as: “THE AT&T DEBACLE”. Sure, I got pissed off a few times and displayed some emotions that a bystander may view as “anger”, but I was never abrasive or standoffish. With that in mind, here weeee goooooooooo~! Welcome to my hell. I’ve been here a long time.

Events are numbered, but do not indicate specific times. This entire story takes place over a 7 month time frame (maybe more!)! Enjoy!

Chapter 1) The Peaceful Times

Was an AT&T DSL customer for 5 years; generally pretty happy with it. No complaints. I had phone and internet with them. Other than their terrible customer service and problems moving my services to a different residence a few years ago, I was pretty “neutral” toward them.

What is about to go down is *WHY* I don’t take risks, why I don’t like change, why I take an “if it’s not broke don’t fix it approach to life”, and why if I find something I like and it works well, I won’t change. This will scar me even further.

Ch 2) The Hot New Girl in Town

 I left DSL for U-Verse. The service is brand new in the area, exciting new stuff, actually heard good things and I was excited to try it. U-Verse is a package of home phone, TV, and internet. This sounds good. I would like that. This all started after a salesman came to my door (in a no-solicitation neighborhood;  this should have been a warning) telling me about U-Verse. I let him tell me a story. A story I won’t soon forget.

He promised me all sorts of things like: a free DVR, a special monthly rebate because I told him I really wasn’t interested at the price he was offering it for (later to find out it was a hidden 12/mo commitment!), no installation fee, and the promise of, “If I cancel within 30 days it will be a painless transition back to DSL”. Gee golly! That sounds pretty sweet, how could this not work out?!?

Ch 3) The New Girl is Actually Kind of a Bitch

I hated U-Verse. It didn’t take long for me to realize this. No local channels for free? Piece of junk standard def channels? Eww… The internet was nothing spectacular either for the rate I was paying! Expensive, worthless ($50 for TV is fail for basic cable), can substitute with cheaper alternatives,  and the entire service is a single point of failure . If it goes down, your phone, internet, and TV *all die*. This happened to me twice in a three-week period;  I was down for a total of 3 days. Was down ZERO days with DSL for 5 years. Ehh…

Plus all sorts of promises were lies: No DVR ($15/mo if I wanted it), no HD channels ($10/mo if I wanted it), there *was* a $30 installation fee, my promo rate of $18 off the bill was a hidden  commitment. Basically…IT’S A TRAP! I managed to get out of this commitment because the reps understood the deception that took place here. I’m skipping being yelled at by customer service for asking for a DVR for no fee (because that’s what I was told I would get…) and listening to fun conversations with the on-site install team talking to their internal customer service teams trying to figure out what went wrong with my account. When members of your own company tell customers that they are disorganized, well…you start to question your commitment with them.

It was hilarious, so much back-and-forth between AT&T itself, where chaos ensues, and I’m laughing because this is what happens to me when I have to call AT&T CS.  Sorry to ruin the plot, but one of the themes going forward is: AT&T has no idea what the hell they’re doing…even internally. 

Will note that I had no problem with their physical on-site install teams. They were awesome! If AT&T is Pandora’s Box, they would be the “hope”. They really are very capable. I guess that’s something?

Whatever. It wasn’t for me. No big deal. I gave it a shot, I liked my old service better.

Ch 4) I Want My Old Life Back

My old Bellsouth DSL had a promo for $25/mo for 12-months. Gee, that sounds nice, I’m canceling U-Verse anyway, let’s go back to that! I just need to have phone service with AT&T to get the rate. Sounds good to me…that’s what I had prior to switching to U-Verse anyway. Nothing could be better. This leaves me pretty optimistic. Would have stayed with U-Verse had they matched their own promo, but they wouldn’t do it. Their loss!

Should be no problem, right? All I’m doing is going back to the same thing I had not a month prior. This couldn’t possibly end badly…right?

Ch 5) Pain. Sadness. Longing for the Old Times.

Apparently switching to a different service from the same company is like trying to play the game OPERATION blind-folded while underwater. It took oh so much time and energy to get it to work (“work” is used in jest). Scheduling the cancellation of U-Verse and transition back to DSL left me down without internet for a week and a half. A week. And a half. Not quite the seamless restoration I was promised by my sleazy door-to-door salesman…

I’m not even going to go into what was needed to switch from VoIP to TELCO. Use your imagination. I call this the DARK TIME. I missed the NBA playoffs (CAVS lost…Lebron is probably gone… Edit: Yep.), was unable to maintain my top ten ranking in an online game, and was just generally not able to be part of 21st century America. Still no real explanation for why going from DSL to U-Verse was almost instantaneous, but going the other way around was like being in a SAW movie.

Ch 6) The Bitch Won’t Let Me Go

Once I get AT&T DSL back, more fun begins. My account info is still tied to U-Verse (even after all that time) so we have to wait for that to clear…even though I actually have service, I can’t use it! Two more days pass. More downtime. It keeps piling up.

Ch 7) This Isn’t What I Wanted

Finally the day comes when I get my internet back! Yay….err, wait, what’s this? I wanted the EXTREME speed (EXTREME isn’t that fitting, but I digress), but instead, I was given the slowest speed, DSL-Lite. No idea why! No-one knows. Just to note as well, I was under the assumption that EXTREME 6.0 (I ended up getting 3.0) was what I could get. Eventually find out that it isn’t available in my area…not exactly thrilling. At this point, I’m still pissed, but at least I have SOMETHING!

Ch Ate) I’m Back Baby! Wait…What are you Doing?!

 It takes two more days for me to get the speed I should have gotten initially; would have been a week, had I not demanded escalation. I finally feel satisfied. Three weeks later, I have internet DSL back and it’s the right speed. I am content. This is where the plot twist comes! I’m like JACK BAUER, I can’t be happy for more than one episode.

Ch 9) I Just Want to Watch My Bear 

Eight days after I get my speed back to what I want…it gets DOWNGRADED back to the slowest speed! Didn’t see that one coming (did you?!) and I expected a lot of the earlier nonsense! Begin the LOL now. Inexplicably, I’m now at DSL Lite which is 75% slower. It wasn’t until I tried to watch a bear play with a stick (KUNG FU BEAR) on Youtube that I realized there was a problem; buffering, it is slow. Speedtest.net confirms.

 Ch 10) Phone Tree Puzzles

After talking with 5 people and going through hoops with them making sure I’m not an idiot, “Is your modem plugged in? Is your computer on? Do you know how to wipe your own ass?”, I finally get someone to actually check the line provisioning. What do you know! I’m at DSL Lite! Fantastic! I already deduced this. Inquired as to how this would happen when I didn’t initiate it…no one has a clue! Ended up talking to 5 people about it when it was all said and done! It’s a plum mystery folks! I think it was OSAMA BIN LADEN. Or maybe we can just blame OBAMA…everyone else does.

Ch 11) I Just Want to Make an Omelette!

 I’m quoted it will take 5 days until they’re able to get me back to the higher speed. LOL. Are you kidding me?? I said basically %^&* that. Do this TODAY, “But sir, it takes 5 days…”. No idiot. That would be if I wanted to “upgrade my service”. I don’t want an “upgrade”; I want a “restoration” because one of the hamsters in the hamster wheel powering your internet took a dirt nap. After bitching (at this point, this is when I was the most angry), wow, what do you know…it gets escalated and it’s working when I get back home. Amazing how that works.

Funny side note, one of the phone transfers that happened was from somebody who “referred” me for an upgrade and sent me to the referral department. The little prick tried to get money off of my situation by doing an “internal referral”. Another theme: AT&T are douchebags who don’t give a crap about your situation, but if they can personally benefit then they’re gonna go all out!

Great, good. I’ve got DSL back and it’s the right speed. After waiting weeks for this to finally be fixed, it is. Thank Jebus. Can I go on with my life now?

Ch 12) Do Not Pass Go! Do Not Collect $20! 

A month later, I get my bill. I was waiting for this. I knew it was coming…it’s not right. They’re overcharging me. This would be the “surprise twist” the entire audience sees coming a mile away, but it has to happen because the plot can’t advance without it. I call. First person: they say five words. I say: “Sorry didn’t get that…hello…? Hellooo?”. Click. They hung up on me. Fun. Not the first time it’s happened by the way. Wait fifteen more minutes getting back to the same spot because AT&T is always experiencing “abnormally high call volume” at 11AM, 2PM, 5PM, 10PM. It doesn’t really matter. Someone’s always upset with AT&T.

Ch 13)  Can I Strangle Someone Yet? 

Eventually talk with someone in DSL Billing. I say I’m supposing to be getting a credit. I’m not. They say: “Sir you aren’t applicable for this rate”. I say: “Look at my encyclopedia of notes for this account; you should clearly see that at least five people have said I’m supposed to get this rate. They say: “Oh you’re right, the last person you said told you this, but they were wrong”. Me: “What…why?” Them: “I don’t know. I’m not able to do anything about it here; you’ll need to speak to retention”. Me: “Fine. Whatever”.

Ch 14) Signing a Deal With the Devil

 Speak with retention. Learn two things: 1) I need to have an “extended” long distance plan with them to be eligible for this rate. Must have been in super-fine print because I never saw this condition. Against my better judgment I agree to this; $5 extra a month. 2) I won’t actually *see* this rebate on my account until 3 months later. More deception. It’s not a 12-month commitment. It’s a FIFTEEN MONTH COMMITMENT! I lol’d. Really loud. Let’s use the more appropriate form: LOL.

 This may just be a character flaw. I like easy. Instead of thinking about it and mulling it over, I took the least resistance path and just said, “OK”. If I just would have said “NO” in 2), this wouldn’t have happened. However, things like this make for good drama. Does anyone really want to see me just cancel AT&T and the story ends? I think not!

At this point I agree to this absurdity simply because I’m in shock. She tries to apply the rate now, but now she tells me she can’t because I have a “pending rebate that will not stack with this offer”. Oh! Mysterious! Unfortunately I need to wait 4 days before we know what this mystical rebate actually is because even the retention lady doesn’t have access to it (theme: AT&T is disconnected). It sounds like it’s from U-Verse…U-Verse just refuses to stop ensnaring my life even after I killed it. What a bitch.

Ch 15) A New Hope…Dashed

 No one ever figures out what this mythical rebate was (are you surprised?). I get a manually adjusted credit and a guarantee that the next month will be resolved. It wasn’t. It won’t be…for FIVE MONTHS. I literally had to call every month after my bill came and had them manually adjust it. I want to lie down…

However, during this time, another promotion for AT&T DSL becomes available: $15 for 3.0Mbps downstream DSL! Hey! That’s what I have! Good lord, for $15 I may be able to put up with this nonsense. I inquire. I am rejected. “I’m sorry, this promotion is not valid for existing customers”. Baffled, I say “Wait…what?! You’re going to sabotage and anger your existing base? You won’t adjust it for me?!”. I ask to speak to retention. They won’t budge. I am even angrier now that I’m in a 1-yr commitment paying a rate that I could beat if I could just cancel. This promo also doesn’t require you to have phone service with them. Anger rising.

Ch 16) Happy Ending!

Enter month five of calling for manual adjustment. I grow weary of this. I ask when it will stop, and somehow manage to bring up the subject of the $15 rate again, perhaps out of sheer annoyance. I get sent to retention again. This one apparently isn’t a moron. I’m told, “Yeah, we can actually just cancel your existing contract and replace it with this one year $15 rate. Does that sound good?”.   Whaaaaa—?? Good news?! NO WAY!

Have I made the case that no one is on the same page at this company? It is literally a crap shoot if you are able to get someone who knows what they’re doing. I say “yes”. I am joyful. I haven’t been this happy in quite some time! I’m getting decent internet for $15! All it took was restarting another year contract with a company I hate. Whatever. I value cheapness over principles. Everything is well with the world. What else could possibly go wrong?Fade to black. Everyone can go home now.

You think that’s the end of the story?! This is like Dragonball buddy. When one saga ends, another begins.

Ch 17) The Phantom Menace

Problems in DSL land. The line is damaged. DSL only stays online for maybe 10-15 minutes an hour and then craps out. But, here’s the cool part! When you make phone calls…a soul of a departed AT&T customer service rep (let’s just call it that, because I have no other explanation) dials a RANDOM phone number and connects me to it while in conversation with other people! It’s like unintended three way calling with random parties! Hey! Cool! AT&T sponsored prank calling! One time I got a bank. One time I got an Indian dude. Everyone was all very confused. I’d never seen or heard anything like it in my life.

I will admit, it was kind of interesting, but…I’m still pissed. My DSL doesn’t work, and calling people is an adventure. Fun note: this happened while on the phone with AT&T customer service. They had the same initial reaction I did, “Wow. That was weird, I’ve never heard of anything like that!”. I could not make this crap up if I tried folks…this is your AT&T. Or maybe it’s just mine. Have I been a bad boy this year? I tried to be good. 🙁

Ch 18) Happy Ending II…No, I Lied Again.

 Someone is dispatched on site to take a look at my line. “Uh, sir we don’t see any problems with the line”. What do you know…it’s a miracle. All they had to do is show up and “voila”, there was never a problem at all! The problem is fixed, and nothing had to be done. AT&T is amazing like that.

Other than my general dismay at more downtime and more unbelievably weird problems with this company, I am again “at peace”, but no, it’s not done yet (man I wish it were, this has to be getting boring by now).

Ch 19) Where We Go From Here, Nobody Knows

Fast forward to the present; a few months later. I have blocked out the terrible experiences with AT&T…until today. Now we have a wide-spread connection problem. The entire southeast is experiencing severely degraded performance (http://bit.ly/dX1g9N). I’m only getting about 30% of the promised speed during peak times. I should be getting 3.0 Mbps. This has been going on for weeks. I have to imagine it’s Netflix’s doing. But, what do you know? AT&T is underprovisioning customer’s lines to save cost. Service level agreement? Bah. What’s that? Who cares! Screw you AT&T.

But wait…yes! I have created my own website! I have an outlet to complain about my terrible experience with the worst company on the planet to a wider audience. Catharsis at work. I have a ton more phone calls to look forward to! I will record this one though! I have to, it’s for the good of all mankind.

Ch 20) Choose Your Own Ending

a) AT&T gives me a million dollars.

b) AT&T goes bankrupt because they’re a terrible company.

c) AT&T continues to bone me because I’m too much of a baby to change my service.

There’s just one thing left to say….I hate AT&T! I look forward to the day when I can break ties with this terrible corporation for good.

Filed under WTF
Jan 11, 2011

By the hair of your chinny chin chin

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Here’s a great way to start off 2011. Be thankful that you’re alive! Most of these people should be dead. 8+ minutes of near death encounters and sport tricks shots. It’s got planes, trains, and automobiles galore! And Guns’n’Roses to boot? Must watch! =E

Filed under WTF
Jan 3, 2011

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