Tuesday, June 06, 2017

ugh, stupid ATandT

So, we've had lots of rain. The ground's pretty saturated. Our landline phone-lines are underground.

(And yes, I know this is going to be a very "late-middle-aged woman yells at cloud" thing but I LIKE having a landline. Cell phone reception in my house is not great for some reason - it's staticky and in some areas of the house it tends to drop out. I don't want to have to go and stand out in my yard - in all weathers, at night, etc. - to be able to hear people on the phone).

Anyway. I came home, suited up to work out, and saw that my phone said "NO LINE"

The same message it's given three times in this past year. So, instead I

a. called my parents to give them a heads-up in case they tried calling, so they wouldn't worry

b. called A T and T. And that's where it went off the rails, and I wound up NOT working out, because it was well after 5, and I was grumpy and tired when I got done, and I need to eat soon, so.

Anyway. I called the number in the phone book. DON'T DO THAT. It turns out it's their sales center and I got some cheerful guy who tried to upsell me on stuff and when I groaned and said ""I probably called the wrong number" he tried to transfer me to their repair center and I wound up with a third-party seller talking at me.

They were trying to sell me internet service. I mentioned, "My landline is not working, but my internet is from another provider and it is working. Why would I want to buy internet from you?"

"Cost savings!"

Look, it's not a saving if it's unreliable.

So I finally hung up and tried to go through the online system. They claimed they didn't remember my account details. I FINALLY busted through by backdooring it (using my phone number and last five digits of my SSN) and submitted a trouble report.

Oh, but first: I had to go out back of my house and open up the "customer accessible" part of the box, and unplug some stuff, and plug it back in and I was all "I'm paying them each month for a landline for what? To do my own techwork?" But I did it. 

Guess what? They can have a tech out on Saturday afternoon!


The only upside to this - though I may have reduced that somewhat - is every telemarketer who calls me now will just get my voicemail and I won't even hear the phone ringing.

But geez, from Tuesday to Saturday is a long, long time for it to be out. So I thought: wait, I better somehow let people (like from church or AAUW) who might need to call me know my cell number. I don't regularly give it out because I don't usually have my cell on, and I'm one of those people who likes being unreachable sometimes (like when I'm driving), but I thought four days was a long time and people might worry if they never got me and I don't want to feel like I have to check my voicemail every couple hours.

So I changed my voicemail greeting - you can do that from any phone if you have your PIN.  It now says "This is Erica. A T and T messed up again and my landline's broken. If you need to call me, my cell number is 580-931-xxxx" (And I gave the full number).

So yeah, a persistent telemarketer might get through, but I can see the phone number calling on my phone and just ignore those calls, and anyway, most of them are bots who won't know what to do. (And the "my landline's broken" complaint might cause some people-telemarketers to just hang up).

But yeah. Between this, and not being able to trust the mail this spring, and all the road construction in my town (the bridge just north of where I turn to get to my office building is completely demolished and is being replaced, so that road is 100% closed), it feels like I'm living in some falling-apart world where there's no infrastructure and maybe you have to start bribing people to get what you need.

And yes, I know: landlines are outdated and the companies don't want to pay to maintain them and blah blah blah but given how poor the sound quality on my cell phone is, and how uncomfortable it is to use, I'd kind of like to keep a landline.

If the other phone companies maintain lines (I bet they don't, though), I'd consider switching my landline to one of them. Because really, the underground lines are what seem to be the problem here - not sure if it's all the saturation from the rain or if there's just a fault in the line that keeps going bad and they put a little chewing gum and baling wire on it and hope it holds for a while or what....

1 comment:

purlewe said...

I wonder if when they come out to work on the line if you can ask them "how many failures in a certain amount of time means you will dig up the line and replace it entirely?" B'c I think you deserve to know how often you put up with this before they actually maintain the line.