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A conversation with a telecom rep

So, I think I mentioned that AT&T uVerse screwed up our phone line over two weeks ago, now. We have been researching other alternatives. I haven't been entirely happy with Cavalier, but neither did I want to give my money to one of the corporations that gave away the information of innocent, private American citizens with no suspicion of probable cause, with no notification sent to their customers, and with no warrant from the government.

I was, frankly, truly exhausted the weekend of the installation. If it could go wrong, it just about did. I won't go into a long, drawn-out explanation, but it did. I was so tired that, even though they were the ones who screwed the connection up, I was just about ready to roll over, accept that my tiny fist shaking in this world just didn't matter a hill of beans and didn't change anything, and so I may as well get cheaper, reliable phone service because you can't fight the corporations and win ... I was about ready to roll over and get phone service from AT&T, even though they're the ones that disconnected our existing installation in the first place because of their incompetent tech. I was about to just give up and sell out my principles just because I was tired of fighting a losing battle.

Until I went on their web site. Now, I was just investigating packages ... just gathering information. A live agent contacted me -- popped up in my browser window.

Jessica started asking me questions to facilitate the order. I indicated that I had been an AT&T customer in the past. She didn't ask me why we'd left.

Now, I am not, repeat, not the sort of person to deliberately be a nuisance to some poor service rep. Seriously. I have been in that position, and I would not do that to someone else.

However, I did ask her whether AT&T had revised its privacy statements in light of the pending FISA legislation.

She asked me what FISA was. (Not a good sign.)

I explained to her what it was, and that I wanted to be certain that my information would remain private, and only disclosed with my permission.

I also said that I was surprised that I was the first customer to mention the domestic wiretapping program.

She said that that wouldn't happen.

I explained that it did, that it had happened already, and how, post 9/11, AT&T, Verizon, and other major telecom companies had provided the data of American citizens to the government without a warrant.

She said that it was a request from the government, and what was my problem with that?

I indicated that I would like some assurance that, since I was entering into a financial contract with the company, I would be shown the courtesy and respect of a notification regarding my personal information if the company wanted to make such a disclosure.

She paused for a bit, then told me that they could not process my request because their site did not support Firefox, Opera, or any browser but IE. I replied with a smiley that they should talk with their web designers about cross-browser compatibility. She said that in order to have my order processed, I would have to contact Customer Care, and she gave me the number.

I was going to capture the whole text of the chat, but she closed the window before I could snag it, replaced with a "Thanks for chatting with us!" graphic. :(

Honestly, sincerely, I was not trying to be difficult. Most people consider me a nice person, and I was not trying to harass this poor rep who was just trying to do her job. Truly, I was tuckered out enough with dealing with Cavalier's errors that I was willing to a degree to go back to the evil overlords. However, these are legitimate questions pertaining to my phone service. What surprised me was that AT&T's legal team hadn't already created a standard, pat scripted response for their support reps on this issue. What took me aback was that she seemed completely and totally unprepared for my question. As huge a company as AT&T is with as many customers as they serve, I can't be the only person to have called about this, right? Surely in one of the previous calls, the managers had a meeting, and it got kicked over to Legal & Regulatory, and the lawyers hammered at it, and they came up with a prefab response ... didn't they?

Apparently not.

So, I still don't have phone service. And if one of the largest phone companies in the US is so arrogant that they can't even dedicate the energy of a few hired legal brains to come up with a response to customers who still remembers civil liberties ... maybe I shouldn't.

And so now I need to figure out what I'm going to do. Because at the end of the day, it's me who's suffering without phone service for almost three weeks now (and still paying for it, I might add). My tiny gesture is meaningless. They don't know, they don't care, and I'm the only one getting punished.

I just really don't know what to do, here. I mean, ultimately, staying with Cavalier doesn't solve anything, either, because they are probably leasing their lines from AT&T or something, so they're still getting my money in one form or another.

I do not like it when I have no good choices. I realize I'm tilting at windmills, but, darnit, it's the principle of the thing.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
hehutalks
Jul. 9th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
Is Vonage or another VOIP provider not an option here? Or do they provide the same information?
pointedview
Jul. 11th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately, you guessed it: VOIP is not an option here. This is due to the phone having to be hooked up to the alarm system -- has to be a real land line. (I wouldn't go with Vonage again, anyway -- horrible customer service.)
goodjoan
Jul. 9th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
You could always buy a prepaid cell and only top it up with cash purchased add on cards. No on could trace it back to you!

You're right though, that's a question that should have it's own section in the big book of pre-written answers!
pointedview
Jul. 10th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
*smiles* I appreciate the thought, but it's the alarm system that makes a land line a necessity. While we'll probably reach the point where they'll work with cell phones, this one is an oldie that's not so technologically advanced. :)

*hugs*
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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