To the Attorney General of California
I have a problem with AT&T wireless cell phones in the San Francisco area. I am an electronic and computer professional and communications specialist and I know what I’m talking about here.
I own 2 AT&T cell phones and they both have the same problems.
The audio is very choppy even with good signal strength and the calls drop all the time. Knowing what I know about electronics the type of distortion sounds like digital packet loss – in short – AT&T is oversold and running in excess of their capacity.
Additionally – my cell phone turns off by itself even with a full battery. I seems as though AT&T is turning off phones to save bandwidth. And this results in missed calls. When it comes down to it – I’m not getting what I’m paying for.
There are several issues here. I am not just one customer who is and isolated incident. AT&T is oversold in the bay area and doesn’t have the network capacity to handle the number of subscribers it has. This results in packet loss distortions, disconnected calls, and I believe the they are remotely turning off my cell phone to conserve bandwidth.
To explain this in simple terms – it would be like a hotel who was renting more rooms than it actually had to the point where when people showed up – there were no rooms. AT&T does not have the ability to provide service to the number of phones it has sold in the Bay Area.
Because the service is oversold, during busy times I get what is known as packet loss distortion where words or parts of words are dropped. When it gets more overloaded it becomes unintelligible, then – they will drop the call. Sort of like kicking people off an over crowded bus to take on more passengers. Calls that should have been received are not received – phone never rings – but have voice mail.
The system works fine on off hours. If I make calls in the middle of the night I don’t have these problems. And – if this were happening for short periods of time I could understand that. But – this is happening throughout most of the day to the extent that the service is unusable. I am not getting the service I am paying for. I am paying for cell phone service – and I am not getting it.
I have made numerous calls to their customer support department and I just get the run around. I have had them do tests on my phones and according to their tests – the phones are fine. Yet they can not solve the problem. It seem to me that they actually want me to go away so they can collect $350 in termination fees and reduce the load on their overloaded system.
What needs to happen is that AT&T should be required to install enough equipment and capacity to handle the load. And – until they do – they should be prohibited from accepting new customers in the Bay Area.
Furthermore – because their service is unusable – they should not be allowed to collect and additional $175 per line for me to move to a different cell phone service.
This is not something that is happening only to me. I have talked about this with other AT&T users and it’s happening to a lot of people. It would be appropriate for the Attorney General to step in and take serious steps to correct this.
Here’s what communicating with AT&T customer Service is like
Dear Mr. Perkel:
Thank you for contacting AT&T Wireless regarding our previous response. We apologize that you were not completely satisfied with the information offered regarding your current situation. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any different options or information than have already been presented. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link, simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter web addresses, and press “ENTER”.
If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.
email Customer Care
TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000049527
Sent: 28 Oct 03 09:48:18
Subject: Re: BW0009319
I am unsatisfied. I was however satisfied for the first 30 days when
things were working properly. Now your service is oversold and it is no
longer working properly.
Under the contract you are obligated to provide me with service of a
reasonable quality and you are not doing so. Because you have failed to
provide reasonable quality of service – you are in breach of the terms
of the contract. You service is so oversold that it is all but useless.
I am therefore giving you notice that you are in breach.
> Dear Mr. Perkel:
> Thank you for your recent inquiry regarding the AT&T Wireless
> cancellation policy on service. When you activate new service with
> AT&T Wireless, we are confident that you will be pleased with your
> purchase. However, if you are not, and you purchased your phone
> directly from AT&T Wireless, your phone and accessories can be
> returned to the original place of purchase within 30 days. Because
> your service is over the 30 day trial period, we cannot waive the
> cancellation fee. Your other option may be to switch back to digital
> service if you still have your old digital phone and use your service
> until the end of the current contract.
> We hope this information resolves your request to your satisfaction!
> We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our
> service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey
> about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click
> on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link,
> simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter
> web addresses, and press “ENTER”.
> If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly
> to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all
> documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for
> contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
> Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.
> AT&T Wireless
> email Customer Care
> TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000042930
> —–Original Message—–
> From: email@example.com
> Sent: 27 Oct 03 21:11:19
> Subject: Re: BW0009319
> I’ve already conacted your customer service and your service determined
> that my equipment was fine. The problem is that your network is
> overloaded and you are not providing the service we contracted for.
> Because you seem to be unable to resolve the network congestion issue –
> I have to declare you in breach of the contract and unless yu resolve
> your network congestion issues in the next 30 days I will move my cell
> phone service to a new provider.
> firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
> > Dear Mr. Perkel:
> > Thank you for contacting AT&T Wireless regarding coverage reception.
> > Wireless service is normally available to your telephone, when it is
> > within the operating range of our system and it may be available
> > outside of that area in other carrier service areas. However, the
> > quality of your service is subject to transmission limitation or
> > interruption caused by natural conditions such as atmosphere and
> > topography. Also, there may be other limitations such as capacity
> > limitations, system repairs/modifications, and/or other conditions.
> > Please note that coverage concerns or equipment related inquires are
> > not currently supported via e-mail inquiry due to the number of
> > factors that can affect your service. We apologize for any
> > inconvenience this may cause.
> > In order to troubleshoot the issues you are experiencing with your
> > equipment and/or service in the most effective manner possible, we
> > will need to have you contact one of our Customer Care representatives
> > by calling 1-800-888-7600 between the hours of 6:00AM and 1:00AM CST,
> > 7 days a week.
> > We hope this information resolves your request to your satisfaction!
> > We value your business and are always looking for ways to improve our
> > service to you! Let us know your thoughts by taking a short survey
> > about your AT&T Wireless email Customer Care experience. Please click
> > on the link below to begin. If you are unable to click on the link,
> > simply copy the link and paste it into your browser where you enter
> > web addresses, and press “ENTER”.
> > http://184.108.40.206/idce/start.asp?SID=AWS2323
> > If you need to respond to this message, we suggest you reply directly
> > to this email for the best service. Please remember to leave all
> > documents attached for reference. A complete listing of options for
> > contacting AT&T Wireless can be located on our web site at:
> > attwireless.com/ocs/contactus/ContactUs.jhtml
> > Thanks for choosing AT&T Wireless. We appreciate your business.
> > Sincerely,
> > Daniel M.
> > AT&T Wireless
> > email Customer Care
> > attwireless.com
> > TRACKING NUMBER: A00000009319-00000034887
> > —–Original Message—–
> > From: email@example.com
> > Sent: 27 Oct 03 10:42:18
> > To:
> > Cc:
> > Subject: OCS25G Application Response – Next Generation Wireless – Next
> > Generation Wireless
> > Message From: Marc Perkel
> > Account Number:
> > Contact Number:
> > SSN Last Four Numbers:
> > Message:
> > Add this to my record. I am hereby giving you notice that I intend to
> > move my service in the next two months to anyone else who can provide
> > me clear cell phone service in the San Francisco / San Bruno area. I
> > have complained numerous times about the quality of service and
> > nothing has been done. I have 2 cell phones and both of them are in
> > proler working order. The problem is that you have oversold your
> > services in this area and it is causing packey loss – choppy audio to
> > the point of being unusable – and connections continously dropped. The
> > service is so bad that I can not use it. I am an electronic tech and I
> > know what packet loss from an overloaded system sounds like. In our
> > agreement I agreed to a plan and you agreed to provide me with cell
> > phone service. You have failed to uphold your end of the bargain. I am
> > therefore giving you notification that you are in breah of our service
> > agreement and that I intend to terminate the plan within 60 days based
> > on the breach. Please enter this email as part of your record on my
> > account. And – pass this on to your customer support managers. Marc
> > Perkel