Aah! Here’s the problem: your attitude

Daniel Mann’s problem with AT&T should have been easy to resolve. Yet it wasn’t — because he made it impossible.

Mann contacted AT&T to complain about a signal problem he was having with his telephone. After being disconnected repeatedly by AT&T customer service representatives, he then asked our advocates for help. But one look at his paper trail made it clear why he couldn’t get help from AT&T: He was shooting himself in the foot with a hostile attitude.

We’ve posted on several previous occasions that sarcasm, shouting and entitled attitudes are inappropriate when asking for help. Mann clearly
didn’t read those stories before calling AT&T — or us.

When Mann requested our advocates’ assistance, he gave us this explanation of his problem:

AT&T messed me about resolving a signal issue, promised me a $25 credit on my bill and in the process cut me off of the online chat three times (I have the transcripts). I … got a call back this morning from some woman purporting to be from the president’s office who sounded like a robot who couldn’t have cared less and went back on herself at every opportunity. She refused to apply the credit, refused to acknowledge that they had offered it in the first place and refused to look at the transcripts where it was offered. I eventually got so frustrated that I started screaming and hung up.

And his desired resolution is “The promised credit, teaching staff to be respectful of customers and not take their business for granted, and an apology.”

Will he get it? I don’t think so — at least, not with our assistance. (He might escalate his complaint using our company contacts for AT&T.)

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According to Mann, when his phone stopped working he requested help from AT&T and received a promise that the company would issue a credit of $25 to his account. He claims to have chatted with an AT&T customer service agent named Rhency. We don’t know what he and Rhency said to each other during that chat. But according to Mann, the chat was disconnected during their conversation.

Mann then engaged in an online chat with two other AT&T agents, Aileen and Samantha M. Here are excerpts of their chat:

AT&T : Welcome to AT&T Chat. While we connect you to an agent, please share how we can help you today?

Daniel : Please fix the problem and give me the credit that was promised
Aileen : I myself is[sic] a customer too. I understand how you feel about this. I’m in your side.
Daniel : Then sort it out and stop with the platitutes
Daniel : *platitudes

Samantha M. : Thank you for using AT&T Chat Services today. I noticed you were speaking to another Representative. Please give me a moment to review your previous interaction and I will be happy to assist you further.
Daniel : Okay. Yes, she disconnected for the second time
Daniel : She supposedly was processing a credit and then conveniently cut me off
Daniel : Again
Daniel : I’m really pissed off
Samantha M. : I understand but [I] do need you to keep this chat professional so that I can assist you.
Daniel : Then I ask you do the same. Cutting someone off twice is not professional behavior.
Samantha M. : I am not that agent. I am someone totally different. I agree with you.
Daniel : You represent the same company, so for all intents and purposes that makes no difference to me whatsoever. Now, are you going to fix this or not?

We agree with Mann that it can be very frustrating not to receive goods or services we’ve paid for — and even more annoying to hear scripted lines from customer service agents that don’t address the problems.

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But we are turned off by the attitude Mann displayed to people who were trying to help him. Our advocates feel that AT&T is extremely unlikely to give him anything more than the $25 credit after his abusive responses to three customer service agents. The transcript clarifies that he was the one being disrespectful and taking the agents for granted – not the other way around. (Interestingly, Mann lists his profession as “sociology professor.”)

Even so, we didn’t immediately turn his case down, but suggested that he post about it in our forums. He replied to this suggestion:

“I really haven’t got either the time, inclination or capacity to go through another step. Please just let me know if you’re willing/able to help or not.”

No, thank you. As far as we’re concerned, Mann’s story is a Case Dismissed.

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Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org.

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