FEELING PIQUED? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Pique

Pique is such a cute little word. It’s the right word, mind you, but it doesn’t really cover the territory.

I am in a life and death struggle with AT&T, which is interesting because I’ve closed my account with them. Apparently, for the privilege of not working with them, you have to pay for that, too. In their system, if you call them, you have to pay them for “an upgrade” even if you don’t upgrade. Even if you were talking about it, decided not to and hung up. They will still bill you between $70 and $90 (assuming you didn’t buy a phone … more if you actually bought anything at all) for having talked to them.

That’s a hefty bill when you’ve actually done nothing at all except discuss what plans are available. I have concluded — and not lightly or without serious thought — that anything they tell you via customer service is a lie. Either it’s an outright lie intended to just shut you up and get you off the phone, or it’s something they made up just to get you off the phone. I call that “making it up as you go along” but perhaps you can come up with a more colorful name.

To get “make it up as you go along” service, you need a manager. They will even send you “the deal” in writing and no one else will have heard of it. They will give you long and complicated case numbers, but no one will do anything about them. If you are working with my bank, they will tell you they’ve taken care of it and if you call back, you’ll discover no one did anything at all. They completely ignored you.

That’s the third part: completely ignoring you while pleasantly agreeing with everything you say.

Why is customer service like this? It wasn’t always like this. There was a time when customers were valued. For that matter, when workers were valued. Now, no one is valued unless they own the company or run a major piece of it.

The important thing to remember is:

Trying to find peace with customer service

They will tell you they understand your frustration. They do not comprehend the difference between “pique,” “frustration,” and “lethal rage.” They don’t realize that 9 or 10 pointless conversations with customer service don’t make you a bit frustrated. They make you angry enough to want to strangle whoever is on the other end of the line.

Pity you can’t reach through and grab them by the throat, isn’t it?

I’m feeling a little bit “piqued” at AT&T. Just a bit of pique. Nothing serious.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. I am retired and delighted to be so. May I live long and write frequently.

28 thoughts on “FEELING PIQUED? – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. They apparently assume if you talked to them, you changed your service and for that, they charge you and change your rates and when you call back they’ll sound baffled — like “Gee, this NEVER happens here!” and give you a long case file number about which no one will do anything.

      I gave up. I cancelled them. I got US Mobile. You can use any phone you want (but I bought their flip phone for $37 including shipping) (they’ll send you the SIM card free if you already HAVE a phone). You pick a plan. I went with unlimited talk and text (I never use the phone but the difference in prices was like $2). So I’ve got unlimited talk and text (I don’t know how to text, but I probably should learn) for $10/month. Plus their $2 monthly fee and local taxes ($2.15). Total unlimited talk and text: $14.15/month. If I also wanted 30 gigs of data, that would bring me up to $30/month but I don’t use data on the phone and I don’t do any financial things on the phone, either. That’s insanity.

      Meanwhile, ATT is still trying to charge me $90 for a turning off my phone and explaining I never wanted to talk to any of them ever again in this lifetime. I thought that was pretty firm, right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems firm to be, but they’re trained since birth to not near the word, ‘no’! … I mostly take photos and text on my phone. I’m hard of hearing so the invention of texting has made my life so much easier. 🙂

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  1. Piqued? I’d be downright furious. We have one such provider here too and they’ve done the same with my daughter…it’s been an ongoing battle and you are right, they absolutely lie or agree, change the plan and charge an obscene amount of money (in her case hundreds of dollars) then say, why would someone do that? We have to change it back, but we can’t, the deal is over. I know your frustration and pique all too well. Thankfully, I have a great plan. Sigh! Your right, at one time “the customer was always right” meaning they’d do their very best to accommodate you and repair and or fix anything requiring it. Not today. YOur a cog in the wheel interrupting their day. I hate that! Truly! Hate isn’t a strong word in this case, it’s quite appropriate! Hope you get it all worked out!

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      1. That’s how I see it too cause dam is been ridiculous. My son’s had better luv n with Amazon, always delivered on time no issues I guess their business depends on it while others don’t care so much.

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      1. We have about three majors, but I have no doubt that they collude and fix prices to the extent that they are monopolies…..and yes they are liars and thieves….

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  2. I have AT&T internet and Direct TV, so I have had to call them a time or two (or three). They did not keep my bill the same after the first year, the custome retention people did not help, I did not get credit for the days it was down. My neighbor has had good luck with Direct TV, but he is more patient with them.

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  3. Are there any consumer advocacy offices attached to state or federal government or independent non-profits? We have state-based ones you can go to if you can’t get satisfaction from a company you are dealing with. I have subscribed for many years to Choice magazine which is independent and as well as conducting reviews of products advocates for better standards. Sometimes even mentioning them in a letter or call gets results for customers getting a hard time. I believe there is a similar publication in the USA called Consumer Report, are they helpful?

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    1. We have an ombudsman in Boston, but that’s ANOTHER set of phone calls and I’m really done with this.

      No one can help because all the customer service is outsourced to Pakistan or India, so you never talk to the same person twice and you never get a straight answer to a question.

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