Tuesday, May 10, 2005

SBC Sucks!

How can a company grow so big with such poor service? I ask myself this question every time I deal with Southwestern Bell (SBC). If there is one company I despise, it is them, and yet, because of where we live, if we want high speed Internet, I have to have them. Maybe this will be a new project for Doug to look for alternative options...

This morning Doug had a phone interview at 8 a.m. When they hadn't called by 8:15, I thought maybe we should test our phone, so I called, and it didn't work -- it went straight into voicemail. I checked, and sure enough, the interviewer had called. Doug called the guy on my cell phone (the dogs recently ate his for lunch) and everything was fine.

After the interview, I go to the SBC site to see where to call regarding the repair. I noticed that in my haze of the end of semester, I didn't pay the phone bill. It's 10 days past due, so I go ahead and pay it. After several minutes more of searching, because they don't make anything easy to find and my phone isn't eligible for online problem reporting, I find the number and call it on my cell.

Automated hell ensues. The repair system checks my number and then says it's not a working number and will transfer me to someone who can help. I get a live person and the first thing they say is, "How would you like to pay your bill today?" Um, I have already paid my bill. It was only 10 days late. Was my service cut off? If not, I need to report a problem. The man says he'll transfer me. A minute or so passes, and I'm back in automated repair hell.

My blood is starting to boil. Not because I'm going through this, but because I go through this EVERY TIME I call SBC. I go through the repair steps again, only to be told that I don't have a working number (duh!) and get transferred back to collections. My voice is almost quivering I'm so angry by the time I get (key word is "get") to talk to a real person. "Ma'am, your service was not interrupted." Good. At least I know for sure I shouldn't be in the collections department. With SBC, you never know. Still, that means repair, which has been sending me to collections.

The lady in collections puts me on hold for several minutes and I'm afraid she's going to put me back in automation hell. Finally she comes back and has a repair person on line. I talk to the repair lady and she asks me how long I have been out of service and if our DSL is working. She said there is a short in the line and will send someone out today. I ask if someone needs to be here and explain we'll only be here until 3:30. I work afternoons at the PR agency and Doug has an interview. She said it would be helpful if someone were here, but not necessary and they should be here before 3:30. I thank her and hang up.

I probably spent no more than 2 minutes on the phone with the repair lady, which is fine. It's all I needed. But I looked at my call timer. The entire call took 17 minutes, which meant that it took 15 to get me to the right person. And this isn't a one time thing -- it's EVERY TIME I call.

Doug walks in after I hang up. My teeth are still clenched and I am breathing deep; I have the look of murder on my face. "What's wrong?" he asks. I told him I just got off the phone with SBC. I swear once again, that we need to find a better service. We are forever getting calls and mail to switch our electricity, our this, our that, but I haven't found alternative to phone/DSL that services our neighborhood. "I wish we could get Road Runner here," Doug says. "SBC sucks." I just snort. That is the understatement of the year.


Anonymous said...

I know how you feel about SBC...that is how I feel about Time Warner. I hate them ever since our Mass Media class and those stupid commercials about legislation and SBC. I guess that's what we get for being Mass Comm students!


dquack said...

I thought about that too during MM&Society. When we first moved to Austin we had TW Road Runner and never had a service issue. The only reason we switched is that it's not available in Pflugerville. I've actually talked to the General Manager of Time Warner Austin and liked him. But I have heard others who have had issues with Time Warner.

One of the things with the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (that we didn't cover in class) is that it was supposed to open up competition so that we would have a choice. SBC shouldn't be my only choice for phone service. In some markets there is a choice, but not here and not every market. Instead the Act created bigger monopolies, even in the telecom industry, and consumers have gotten screwed.