I have a blackberry pearl that, for no obvious reason, started having a problem where it would just randomly disable the wireless feature. This meant I could make or receive calls or do anything online with my phone. However, the pearl doesn’t really alert you to the fact that it is just turning off wireless so I had to return it.

I bought it last December so I had to go through the AT&T; customer support process to have a replacement sent to me. This was almost 2 weeks ago. There were both some positives and some negatives to the experience. However, since I have completed dogged a company on this blog before for horrid customer service I thought it would be only fair that I highlight this experience as well.

First off, let me say the phone part of the experience was actually fantastic. I ended up calling 3-4 times and each time I spoke with a different rep. Each rep was friendly, patient, and (best of all) immediately available - meaning I didn’t sit on hold for a hour before talking to someone. Not only were the phone support people friendly but they each spoke their customer’s language fluently and clearly. While I don’t mind talking to a guy from some other country the process is much smoother when there is no language barrier.

Overall I have to say the phone experience with AT&T; was about as good as I have ever had with any company. Not having to wait on hold at all was great. I’m still not sure why I had to enter my phone number into the phone when each rep asks me to repeat it but beyond that I think AT&T; hit it out of the park with their phone support.

Sadly, their technicians who refurbish phones aren’t nearly as spot on as their phone reps. The first time I called AT&T; they said they would send me a phone via standard shipping (3-5) days for free. The phone I received was both refurbished and broken. The problem with this particular phone was that the screen just wouldn’t stay on. It would go black all of the time and flicker between working and blackness repetitively. If I were going to guess I’d say something wasn’t installed properly or there is a short. Either way this should have been caught in QA long before the phone was shipped out to a customer. The flickering screen actually left me with a phone that was less usable than the one I had returned. Not cool.

So, I called back and explained the situation. This time they agreed to send me a phone via express shipping (1-2 days) for free. Again I received a refurbished phone. This one looked good but oh how looks can be deceiving. This one had a few problems. First, and foremost, was the little metal clip that holds in the xSD cards - you couldn’t open it; it was stuck in the locked position. The only way I would have gotten it open would have been to remove the clip completely. I figured I shouldn’t do that less AT&T; decide to void my warranty. Secondly the metal clip that holds the SIM card in wouldn’t stay closed. It wouldn’t lock! This flaw makes the phone pretty worthless unless you enjoy having a phone that is frozen and needs to be restarted all the time. Finally the keypad was very stiff and oftentimes it didn’t even register any key presses. I called AT&T; again and explained the deal.

That was last Thursday. I called the AT&T; and explained the situation and they promised to send me another phone via express mail that day. Monday rolled around and I still didn’t have a phone so I called them at the end of the day. It turns out something went wrong on their end as there was no sign of an order to send me a phone so this new AT&T; girl promised to ship another express and once more apologized for my troubles. At this point I had been shipped 2 broken phones and one non-existant one. Not a good showing.

Today I received the third phone. It is brand new, in a sealed box, with all the accessories. It seems to work as expected. Unfortunately the documentation just isn’t clear on what to do with the accessories. On document, in bold, states not to include them in the return package - the other says that I MUST include them in the return package. I opted to not return them until they tell me otherwise.

So in the end AT&T;’s phone people were very nice and helpful however their refurbished phones suck. I went over a week without my phone and the normal AT&T; support person was unable to credit me for the time I was without service. I’m not sure who I have to call to get that fixed.

Sadly, because of the technical issues I have to give the overall experience a C in the end. As exemplary as the phone reps were the rest of the service process pretty much sucked. AT&T; seems to be moving in the right direction with their customer service department but they still have a bit of work to do with their quality control



Bill, this is a remarkable account - you might try posting on www.measuredup.com, which is a new customer service website where consumers can post their experiences with businesses in their area. This might help others who find themselves in a situation like yours.


I imagine you must have loads of free time to read posts like this and then make snide comments.


You must have loads of free time to first deal with AT&T; and their incompetence and then to write this long and drawn out post…