AT&T: Even Yossarian would go nuts

att_logoI am so angry and frustrated with AT&T I dont know where to begin. I have spent the better part of this week trying to fix a screw-up that THEY made. With no success. Finally, I decided to do a chat, so I would have a written transcript. I don’t expect you to read the whole thing, unless you’re a masochist, but let me assure you that the Catch-22 is perfect. The number they referred me to at the end of the chat is the SAME number I’ve been calling for the past two days — a number which, when I explain the situation,  they tell me they can’t help.

This is absolutely unbelievable. The Chat starts now:


Thank you for choosing AT&T. A representative will be with you shortly.

You are now chatting with Sarah G.

Sarah G: Hello my name is Sarah G. Thank you for allowing me to be your specialist today. How may I assist you?

ELizabeth Hellmann: I am at the end of my rope. I have tried to fix a problem that you made and have literally talked to 8 different people, none of whom could fix the problem. I hope you can.

Sarah G: I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

Sarah G: Please feel free to share your concern.

ELizabeth Hellmann: THat’s what everyone said, but the problem remains. I have combined billing for my home phone and my cell phone. I’ve had it since it became available 10 years or so ago.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Suddenly, the wrieless people are sending me  increasingly nasty letters saying I owe them money, but, at the same time I am STILL receiving combined bills from you. I dont know what happened to “decombine” the phone bills in the wireless deivision, but they can’t seem to do anything about it unless I get it cleared up with “Combined Billing.” whoever they are. I have been trying to contact COmbined Billing in Illinois for the past 48 hours and have never reached someone.

ELizabeth Hellmann: As I said, I am at the end of my rope. I have been an AT&T customer for almost 40 years, but if this isnt settled, I’m going to cancel my service.

Sarah G: I apologize for the inconvenience you have experienced.

Sarah G: I can help you with that!

Sarah G: Please allow me a moment, while I access your account.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Okay

Sarah G: I’ll be right with you.

Sarah G: Thank you for waiting, I appreciate your patience.

Sarah G: Your inquiry requires contact with a specialist who handles billing and payment requests for wireless accounts.  I apologize that I do not have access to your records to assist you in my office.   Allow me a moment to connect you to a representative who will be able to assist you.  In that event that you may be disconnected, please contact a representative at 1-800-331-0500 or visit the wireless website at:

One moment while I transfer this chat to a representative that is better skilled to handle your concern.

Welcome! You are now chatting with ‘Mhel Niño Milton’.

Mhel Niño Milton: “Hi” it’s a short, simple word but it’s how love starts.Hi Elizabeth, I am more than happy to help you with your wireless account.

Mhel Niño Milton: May I know your wireless number?

ELizabeth Hellmann: xxxxxxxxxx.  But before you tell me I owe you money, please read the above transcript. I do not want to re-explain the situation.

Mhel Niño Milton: Sure… let me first read your previous chat here 🙂

Mhel Niño Milton: May I know your wireless number?

ELizabeth Hellmann: I just gave it to you above.

Mhel Niño Milton: Oh my bad, thanks for the info.

Mhel Niño Milton: Sorry to know your frustration… I understand that you want to separate your current combined billing, correct?

ELizabeth Hellmann: NOOOO I do NOT want to separate the billing… I want the combined billing to continue and I want the wireless people to understand that it IS combined billing, has been for 10 years or more, and to stop sending me suspension notices. I ALWAYS pay my combined bill promptly. Clearly something went awry with YOUR system and you disconnected the combined portion of my wireless bill. Why I dont know, ESPECIALLY since I am STILL receiving combined bills. Thus, you are invoicing me for a double payment on my wireless bill. MAKE THIS STOP.

Mhel Niño Milton: Oh my apologies for this… let me verify the detail of your current bill statement here.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Which bill are you talking about? You need to get the Combined Bill. Not simply the wireless one. And you are now going to tell me you cant do that, arent you? You will now be the 10th person to tell me that. Can you understand why I’m disgruntled?

Mhel Niño Milton: I can completely understand. If that happened to me I’d be really upset too. I can imagine how frustrating that must be.

(Long pause)

ELizabeth Hellmann: Well?

Mhel Niño Milton: Just to be clear what are the accounts that is supposed to be combined if I may ask. In that way I can look for way to help you 🙂

ELizabeth Hellmann: The accounts are my land lines: xxxxxxxxx, xxxxxxxxx, and my cell xxxxxxxxxx. But they are ALREADY combined. In fact I just got a combined bill two days ago and paid it. But I am ALSO receiving nasty bills and notes from the wireless division saying that my account is past due and you are going to suspend my service. If that happens, I will definitely be cancelling my account.

Mhel Niño Milton: By the way we no longer have a combined billing available for our AT&T customers just to make sure to provide you the best option, I think it’s best to coordinate to our Customer Relation department for the best assistance for your needs. Just stay with me in this chat.

ELizabeth Hellmann: So what happens now?

Mhel Niño Milton: Our Customer Relations department will provide the best option for your needs that is beyond my capabilities… rest assure that they will help you with this one.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Are they going to enter this chat?

Mhel Niño Milton: Yes…

Mhel Niño Milton: I will get you in touch to them right away.

One moment while I transfer the chat to a representative that is better skilled to handle your concern.

Welcome! You are now chatting with ‘Imani Lelani’

Imani Lelani: Hello Elizabeth, I will be more than happy to assist you today, while I access your account tell me a little about how your day is going.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Please read through the transcript. I do not want to re-explain everything.

Imani Lelani: Allow me a few moment to review your account and bring myself up to speed on your needs so that I can better assist you.

Imani Lelani: Thank you for your patience. From what I see here you are on the combine bill and are receiving messages about your wireless account being due, is this correct?

ELizabeth Hellmann: Yes. I do not know why… or how.. this began. But it needs to stop.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Please communicate to the wireless division that I already pay my bills to them via the combined billing.

Imani Lelani: Okay, I am glad we are on the same page with this. Do you remember when you made the payment and for how much?

ELizabeth Hellmann: What payment are you talking about? I have been paying my combined bill every month. I did make a payment diretly to the wireless people when they first started haranguing me, but that was a few months ago.

ELizabeth Hellmann: ANd I should not have had to pay that bill. So, technically, I believe AT&T actually owes me a refund.

ELizabeth Hellmann: No.. you are incorrect. I have had combined billing for as long as it has been available… probably about 10 years. Nothing on my end has changed.

ELizabeth Hellmann: I pay my land line and my cell bill together every month with one payment.But suddenly, the wireless people are telling me I owe them money. And they continue to. SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG HERE.

Imani Lelani: Okay, well I am looking at your account and I do not see anything here showing that you are on combined billing.

ELizabeth Hellmann: Well, that is NOT my problem. That is YOUR problem. I have been paying combined bills for YEARS. You need to fix the screw up.

Imani Lelani: I can going to give you a number to call. You can call this number and they can further assist you. My systems are showing that you are not on combined billing so I cannot further assist you. 800-288-2020]

ELizabeth Hellmann: You know what? I am not going to waste more time on this. I’ve already spent hours and days on this. YOU have YOUR manager Call ME at xxxxxxx. Otherwise, this goes on social media, and I contact your CEO. I’m done.

ELizabeth Hellmann: And THAT happens to be the number I called in the first place. WHere no one could help me.

ELizabeth Hellmann: You guys are impossible.