Why AT&T customer service is rated #1 in the world

August 28, 2022

After waiting on the phone to talk to an AT&T customer service representative have you ever wondered how AT&T is rated #1 in customer service? Well so do I. Here is why I think they deserve this rating.

When AT&T is working it works just great. I have great cellular coverage, unlimited data, no throttling, my internet access for home is reliable, and Uverse is just great. Luckily you do not need customer support when everything is just fine.

Talking to a machine. When something goes wrong is when things go wrong. AT&T uses a computer assistant to screen calls resulting in most callers yelling REPRESENTATIVE!!!! Usually the assistant will ask a series of question trying to find the right representative for you to speak to. Most of the time it will provide useless information like “log in and solve your own fuckin problem” when you calling because you can’t login in in the first place.

Waiting. Once they transfer you to a representative the waiting starts. This is a good time to take a shower, mow the lawn, or watch a 3 hour movie because that is how long you will wait to talk to a REPRESENTATIVE!

Getting a call back. AT&T values the 3 hours you will wait for a REPRESENTATIVE and will give you an opportunity to receive a callback when it is your turn. You can get a call back usually at 11 PM or the next day if you are lucky. If you ever receive the call back you have to push 1 to talk to the REPRESENTATIVE. Many times the button will not work and AT&T will simply hang up with a friendly “Goodbye”

Hanging up, transferring. Once you are finally talking to a REPRESENTATIVE the first line of defense would be to tell the caller “You have the wrong department. Let me transfer you…” and the wait starts all over again. When you finally get the right REPRESENTATIVE on the phone and they are incompetent and cannot solve your problem they will put you on hold, multiple times, then they will simply hang up.

Visiting an AT&T store. The first thing the service representative will do is to call…..wait for it….customer support.

So the bottom line AT&T customer service is the best in the world in teaching you have to be patient, how to control your temper, and how to cancel your entire service…..if only you can talk to a REPRESENTATIVE to do so.

WTH is wrong with Texans?

February 3, 2022

You’re freezing your butt off. You’re paying a tax for the electrical grid upgrade that was supposed to have happened in 2003. You’re paying high electricity prices due to deregulation in 2003. You’re paying outrageous home insurance prices due to the failure of insurance deregulation in 2003. You’re paying some of the highest property taxes in the country. You’re paying high college and trade school prices ever since Abbot and company deregulated college tuition in 2003. 

And over 75,000 of friends, family, and fellow Texans have died from COVID partially due to Abbott’s politicizing of COVID.

Yet you’re still voting for him? WTH is wrong with you?

#NoPlaceButTexas is no longer a slogan. It's a joke.

March 7, 2021

Texas has a history of cute sayings such as “Come and Take it”, “We do things bigger in Texas”, “Don’t Mess with Texas”, “Thank god for Mississippi”, and my favorite “No Place But Texas”. 

No Place but Texas was once a slogan celebrating the unique qualities of living in Texas, although I question if we are really unique. Much like every other state in the country we band together to help each other during times of need. We help neighbors rebuild fences after a hurricane. We provide supplies to those in need. We donate money. None of that is unique to Texas. 

Now No Place but Texas is nothing but a joke. Looney Louie Gohmert, #CancunCruz, Trump Wannabe Greg Abbott, indicted Attorney General Ken Paxton, leadership failures, science deniers, guns on demand, no place but Texas. Literally. 

Recently the “Energy Capitol of the World” was plunged into darkness during the winter storm of 2021. While the rest of the country was hunkered down enjoying their power and water, most of Texans were freezing their asses off unable to flush the toilet. Over 50 died. Republican elected officials were silent before and after the freeze leaving the Democrats to help those in need while #CancunCruz fled the state to weather the storm in Mexico with his hot wife and loving 10 year old whining brats. Yep. No Place But Texas. 

From Reuters

In 2003 besides deregulation electricity, which brought the freeze higher electricity rates for consumers, Texas deregulated college tuition and home insurance. Like electricity rates the cost of college skyrocketed and home insurance is out the roof. No Place But Texas.

Recently Greg Abbott has ended the mask mandate and will fully open the State 2 months too son, just like he did last summer which resulted in over 45,000 Texans losing their lives. His failures reminds me of another saying “All hat and no cattle”.

Luckily for the Republican Party, who ushered in this Texas sized stupidity, “We do things bigger in Texas”. We have the biggest idiots in the country who will forget about how they froze their nuts off or how much they are paying for electricity or tuition or home insurance. They will forget about the 45,000 who died of COVID or the 50 who froze to death. In 2022 they will again vote for the very people who did this to them. Again, No Place But Texas.

Well as the saying goes in Mississippi, “Thank god for Texas”.

Electricity Rate Recommendation

February 25, 2016

Before electricity deregulation consumers in the old HL&P area were paying just under 8 cents a kWh in a long term, no maintenance, contract. Now after 13 years of deregulation consumers have the ability to “Shop, Compare, Choose” according to the Public Utility Commission’s website, the PowerToChoose.org. Unfortunately choosing using the tools provided by the PUC is complicated and deceiving. Don’t take my word for it, even the Commissioner agrees. From Jim Malewitz of the Texas Tribune:

Donna Nelson, chairman of the Public Utility Commission, said Thursday at a public meeting. “They’ve [electricity resellers] got all these tricky little things in their prices, and whatever the fact sheets are called – the nutrition label – that makes it really difficult for customers.”

I’m putting the final touches to a presentation titled “How to Select a Cost Effective Electricity Reseller” and in doing so stumbled upon a plan that is about as close to what we had pre-deregulation. Is it the cheapest? Maybe not for your specific usage and your home but if you are looking for a no gimmick, no extra fees, no hidden costs, with a relatively low rate, this is the one for you.

Discount Power has a 12 or 24 month plan at 7,.7 cents per kWh no matter how much electricity you use during the month. Many plans have variable rates, discounts and extra fees depending upon your usage during a specific month. It can be very complicated to compute a real rate and sometimes it isn’t as low as it seems, but knock yourself out if you want to try.

With this plan you have a long, no maintenance contract, at 7.7 plus tax. If you appreciate a relatively low rate, a longer contract, and no gimmicks, this is the one for you. Discount Power Saver No Gimmicks 24 signup can be found here. The electricity fact sheet is here.

BTW I do not receive any referral fees from Discount Power and I have signed up myself.

How much will that $17.99 oil change cost?

February 12, 2016

I should have known better.

That $17.99 oil change advertised by a company on Bay Area Blvd in Clear Lake cost me $53.00. I was in a hurry and my regular service station, NTB, was not available. They charge me $26.00 drive out and they rotate my tires. So being in a hurry I fell for the $17.99 ad. (Afterward I drove down the street to get my tires balanced and rotated for free at Discount Tires. They are a great place for tires)

After my cars hood was up, the oil was being drained I fell for the upgraded service of using Pennzoil instead of Mobil. That was $33.99. That was my mistake. Chalk that up to just plain stupidity. My bad. So after the $33.99 there was tax, an oil filter, an extra quart of oil, and a disposal fee.

All of this was included in my $26.00 service at NTB. So my suggestion when falling for this advertisement is to ask “How much will that $17.99 oil change cost me for my particular car?”. Turns out my car takes 6 quarts of oil. The $17.99 includes up to 5 quarts. And you should ask if that includes an oil filter and disposal fees.

Best Buy, Sears and their new arbitration clause

December 11, 2015

Lucky for Best Buy and Sears most Americans are too busy buying that giant flat screen TV, computers, and notebooks, to worry about the loss of their rights to the Constitution.

Best Buy has upgraded their arbitration policy and consumers have the choice of declining it. According to Best Buy  “We will not close your account if you only reject the arbitration change.”. Mighty nice of them. At least they give you the opportunity to opt out. Most other companies, that restrict your rights to the Constitution, do not allow this opt out provision.

Sears has adopted the same language.

The notice goes on to claim that arbitration bars you from a jury trial or joining a class action suit. Instead of a Judge and Jury in a courthouse, which you have paid for with your taxes, you have the honor of submitting your claim to a private justice system, ie the American Arbitration Association. They claim arbitration is simple and less expensive, which is not always the case.

You have to write to both if you want to opt out. I doubt most card holders will take time away from learning their new remote to do so.

The Power to Choose. It ain't that easy.

February 19, 2015

If you listen to to those who support Ken Lay’s electricity deregulation you might think choosing an electricity plan that’s right for you might be as easy as visiting the Public Utility Commission of Texas website, the PowerToChoose.org. Well it ain’t but go ahead and visit. Using the website, enter a zip code of 77062 and display the fixed rate, 12 month plans. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

The lowest rate displayed is by Discount Power for 7.4 cents a kWh, lower than what we were paying before deregulation, but it isn’t the rate you will pay if you select this plan. Open the Electricity Facts Label. I’ve written about this about a year ago. It wasn’t easy then and it’s harder now.

A year ago I created a spreadsheet to calculate the real rate based upon the kWh used, the penalties, and the monthly fees based upon my usage from last year. This year the tricks and gimmicks broke my spreadsheet. So I had to call Discount to understand their plan.

The rate for this plan is actually 11.64 cents multiplied by the kWh used, minus $45.00 if the usage is over 1000 for that month. Got that? And add the $3.05/month charge for electronic metering. This rate includes the TDSP delivery charges but not the taxes.

After many phone calls I gave in and extended by plan with PennyWise at a calculated rate of about 9.7 cents.  After all someone has to pay the middlemen with the complicated rates.

Tonight: The Rising Cost of Home Insurance in the Bay Area

September 18, 2014

If you have nothing better to do but wonder why your home insurance premiums have skyrocketed over the last decade after insurance reforms of 2003, come on by for a discussion on the topic. From the Bay Area Association of Democratic Women:

The Rising Cost of Home Insurance is Focus of BAAD Women Meeting on Sept. 18 

“John Cobarruvias, a consumer activist in the areas of new home construction and home insurance, will be the featured speaker at the BAAD (Bay Area Association of Democratic) Women meeting on Thursday, September 18. He will share his experiences as an activist and discuss the high cost of home insurance in the Bay Area, the history of home insurance reform and the actions of the Texas Windstorm Association (TWIA).” 

It all happens at the Bay Area Community Center in Clear Lake Park, located at 5002 NASA Parkway (across the street from lake) in Seabrook. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, begins with light refreshments at 6:30 p.m. followed by the program at 7 p.m.

The Texas Department of Insurance Companies (T-DICS)

July 30, 2014

The Texas Department of Insurance should be renamed to the Texas Department of Insurance Companies (Texas-DICS). They department as a whole (not the individuals working there) are as impotent as the Texas Ethics Commission, unable to do the job they were designed to do in the first place, protect the consumer. From Paul Burka of Texas Monthly:

As for the question of whether TDI is an ally of the insurance industry or an ally of consumers, the facts speak for themselves.

Burka was talking specifically about the 75% rate hike for long term health insurance, a hike the DICS eagerly approved. Ever since Rick Perry’s insurance reform of 2003 property rates have skyrocketed especially along the coastal areas. Under the banner of “less regulation”, TDI can only watch as the industry continues to raise premiums and the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association continues to drown in debt. Much like the Texas Ethics Commission, they have become a paper tiger, a wet noodle, a worthless gathering of talented people willing, but unable, to do the work of the people. This is all by design.

Luckily for the insurance industry, most Texans are more concerned about their taxex going up $10/year than their mortgage going up $100/month due to a rise in home insurance. Texans tend to be easily distracted.

Before you buy AT&T's Mobile Share Value Plan

July 7, 2014

AT&T has been advertising a new mobile plan. You might want to read the fine print before signing up.

The plan allows 4 phones to share 10GBs of data, unlimited calls and texts for $160/month which is a pretty good deal. In the past once you signed up for a plan under AT&T you could upgrade your phones periodically at a discounted rate if you sign a 2 year commitment. With this new plan, the commitment by AT&T to provide the discount is gone.

Turns out AT&T still requires the two year upgrade, but you pay $25/month more for the phone. So your $160/month can easily turn into a $260/month for 4 phones. I’ve been with AT&T before it was called AT&T. This is the first time I found them to be deceiving, less than truthful. It was always very easy to upgrade and there wasn’t any fine print. Now you need reading glasses.

So after the $160/month plan and upgrading your phones, the plan is just as expensive as it was before. 

Others have noticed this gimmick and many have complained on the AT&T forums. Duglin.net has a detailed review:

What AT&T doesn’t clearly explain in their advertising is that the monthly discount for each phone no longer applies once you upgrade to a new phone by renewing your contract and buying a subsidized phone.

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