Me and AT&T

We are without a landline at the moment, and not by choice. Sometime after 6:45 p.m. last night, anyone calling to our house has been getting a busy signal.

We did not discover this until this evening, however. My husband arrived home and said he’d tried four times to call to say he was on his way, but the line was busy. Suddenly the two odd one-ring calls we’d received last night around 8 p.m. made sense.

I tried to call out, and couldn’t get a dial tone; there was nothing but the faintest crackle on the line. Our DSL connection was working okay. All the phone connections were tight, nothing has been added or subtracted to the line since 6:45 p.m. last night. I plugged an old phone into the jack; it didn’t work, either. So the problem is not in our telephone, at least.

I called AT&T Repair from one of our cell phones, learned there was “higher caller volume than usual,” and was told I could go to the website to report trouble or stay on the line.

I chose to stay on the line, punched in all of the right numbers at the prompts, and eventually was told that my report had been forwarded to a technician and they were committed to fixing the problem by August 27.

This is eight — EIGHT — days away.

In what universe is this acceptable customer service, AT&T?

I have been picking up the receiver from time to time in hopes that the problem will somehow go away. A couple of times I actually got a dial tone, but then the next time I’d try, I’d either get a busy signal or the faint crackle of nothingness. The internet has started kicking out as well, about every third time I try to access a site.

Should be an interesting week.

Update: 30 minutes later. Got a dial tone again. The power of blogging? I quickly forwarded all calls to the cell phone, just in case. We’ll see if things still work tomorrow.

© 2010 Anne Bingham and Making It Up as I Go

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14 Responses to Me and AT&T

  1. This is so creepy. The exact, I mean EXACT, thing happened to me—from the odd, one-ring calls, to the crackle on the line, to the “higher caller volume than usual,” to fixing the problem by next week. (Mine was by the 23rd, 8pm.) Then I did what you did—pick up the phone every so often, only to get a very loud dial tone. (It sounded snarky to me. Maybe that’s my imagination.) Later that day, the phone worked.

    Too weird…


    • Anne Bingham says:

      And did the robo-voice who ran the initial test tell you that the problem was not in their line and was inside your house and give you the song-and-dance about how you might have to sell your wedding ring to pay for the service call?

      We’ve had three more one-ring calls so far, two in the middle of the night, one just a few minutes go (around 8 a.m. Central). Have a strong dial tone and I’ve been able to call my cell… I just wish someone would let me know what the trouble was and that it’s fixed for good.


  2. MaryWitzl says:

    This happened to us as well, and it took a long time for BT to sort it all out.

    Squirrels snacking on phone cables? What kind of squirrels are these? The kind who enjoy nuts AND bolts? 🙂


    • Anne Bingham says:

      A phone company tech stopped by yesterday afternoon; when he called. When he called to say he was coming, he said someone else down the street had also reported trouble (I thought he said the same kind of trouble, but that might just have been an assumption). He found no problem in our system but suggested that the other repair “might have crossed your line with someone else’s.” Whatever: the phone’s working again. I keep checking everytime I walk past a handset. We had another phantom ring right around the time he came, and one last evening as well, but no more that I know about. It’s all very mysterious.


  3. Okay, so this is what happened with my phone problem (that sounds so eerily like yours). The AT&T person came today and found I had a short in the jack. The wires were pinched (he said) and that’s why (he said) the phone sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t. (I can’t understand the logic, though.) He gave me all new jack ‘stuff’ and re-arranged the jumble of wires on the wall behind the jack. He says it’s fixed. It works now. So far. We’ll see.

    The previous owners of this house did a lot of fix-it-up projects on their own and by the looks of it, put this jack in. That may have contributed to the problem. Or not. We’ll see.


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Glad it’s working for you, Andrea. We had a bad jack issue once (stop me if I’ve said this before!) I suppose something in the insulation just deteriorates and at a certain point one wire gets bare enough that it affects the other ones. No more phantom calls for us since Saturday evening.


  4. Susan says:

    Oooh, there’s nothing more frustrating than tech-related problems. Glad you’re sort of back on line.


  5. My phone is fine, but I sure enjoyed reading the comments between you and Andrea. It was like a story was unfolding right here! Glad you both have had your phones repaired!


    • Anne Bingham says:

      Now if Andrea and I could only find a way to incorporate our phone advenutres into our respective mss. Alas, the antique concept of a “land line” probably would not resonate with our audiences.


  6. Reporting my first and last ATT cell phone. We have one land line, for emergencies; however, it was out with the power outage. So much for emergency access. I think I’ll learn how to transfer calls to my cell when the warranty replacement phone arrives in the mail. Very dissatisfied ATT customer. Anne, I’m loving your blogs, and I really don’t have time to read blogs. I’ve always loved your witty letters though. Guess I’ll read your blogs from now on. Am dreaming of flying with Lyle to Chicago for museum tour and having you meet us there and be our guide. Remember when we dreamed about that years ago?


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