Dear Harriet, 

I want to offer my condolences on your travails with Comcast [Comcast – Why I’m not thankful, Harriet Hausman, Viewpoints, Nov. 27]. But also to offer some caution about AT&T.

Comcast was my original cable, internet, and phone service provider. But when their fees kept inching upward, I switched to AT&T. They came out and installed a satellite dish and installed new cables. Everything was fine until last July when AT&T and CBS got into a catfight over who would get a bigger piece of the pie.

In August I researched Comcast/Xfinity and discovered I could save about $60 per month (for a two-year commitment). A nice lady in Berwyn took my order and Comcast came out and got me connected. That day I cancelled my AT&T phone, internet and DirecTV. I even received a refund check in the mail for the unused phone and internet service. (Pleasant surprise!) I then received a statement for DirecTV showing a $25.10 credit balance. Nice! 

In late September I received another statement showing a refund was issued on Sept. 12 bringing the balance to zero. Never having received a check, on Oct. 8, I “chatted” online with “JJ.” (Names removed to protect the incompetent. Note: I am somewhat hearing impaired and am unwilling to deal with those interminable menu options on the phone.)

“JJ” assured me a credit had been issued (he even gave me the refund number) and that I would receive a check in 5-7 business days. That it should take six weeks for delivery raised my suspicions.

On Oct. 24, I “chatted” online with “S” who assured me his supervisor “J” would be immediately crediting my credit card (which I had used for my monthly bill.) By this time my credit card had a revised expiration date, which I advised them about. “S” left the chat after advising me that his supervisor “J” would join and confirm. After a very long wait, I received three quick messages from “J,” who then terminated the chat!

On Oct. 29, having not received the “immediate” credit, I “chatted” with “R.” After I asked for his supervisor, he repeated everything I had told him and repeated that I had been issued a credit. I repeated that I wanted his supervisor, at which time “R” left. After I once again provided a detailed history of my previous “chats,” “C” repeated that a refund had been issued! I then asked for C’s supervisor to get involved.

“C” then indicated he needed to get “collections” involved. He then asked for a phone number where I could be reached. I waited about 5 minutes for a further response. Receiving none I ended the chat. Within minutes I received a phone call from someone at AT&T (per caller ID display) who began asking for the same information all over again. This was a woman apparently from the other side of the world whom I repeatedly had to ask to repeat herself since I was unable to understand her. At this point I said goodbye and hung up.

On Nov. 8, I filed a complaint with the FCC attaching documentation of my efforts.

Nov. 11, I received a phone message and follow-up email from “DL” of the “AT&T Office of the President” (impressive, huh?). I emailed advising him when on the following day I would be available. Complete documentation was attached. I did not receive a phone call. I emailed him. 

Nov. 13, received email apologizing and said he would contact me today. No call!

It is interesting to note that his number does not list AT&T in the caller ID nor is the phone number the one that I called. 

After playing email and phone tag for several days, “DL” finally called back on Nov. 19. I had to explain all over again what had been going on. He said he’d check and get back to me.

Two days later he called back and said a credit would be issued to my credit card in the next 5-7 business days. He asked if this complaint could be considered “resolved” and I responded that “I’ll believe it when I see it.” He asked if it would be OK to call on Nov. 27 (the day before Thanksgiving) to verify that it was resolved.

Nov. 27, no call, no credit.

Google “AT&T – Office of the President” and you will find dozens of unresolved issues. I certainly hope the Federal Communications Commission doesn’t waste its time on trivial issues like this.

And so, dear Harriet, I trust you will have satisfactory results, but now you know “why I’m not hopeful.”

Jay Champelli is a 53-year resident of Oak Park.

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