Monday, October 27, 2014


An Open (Farewell?) Letter To AT&T

To whom it may concern:

I shall keep this brief as the bulk of my complaints can be found in the e-mail that I sent two weeks ago to ATT Customer Care. Alas, the lack of response after I detailed the lack of service/poor service at two of your New York stores causes me to take this additional public step.

This letter was sent at the encouragement of a gentleman named MattR running the @ATTCustomerCare handle. He contacted me after I had shared on Twitter my experiences at the above-mentioned two stores. The full letter runs below (minus my e-mail address and cellphone number.) After the letter, you'll learn what the resolution to this from your offices has been.


From: Robert A. George 
To: ""  
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2014 3:22 AM
Subject: Re: Twitter [ ref:_00DE0czFk._500E0FLW36:ref ]

Dear MattR, 

After four days attending a convention at the Javits Center where I needed two power batteries to get through the day, I realized my iPhone 4s is in desperate need of replacement. While my contract isn't up until December, I understand I qualify for an early upgrade with a NEXT plan. 

I wanted to discuss my options at the Manhattan location, 209 W. 34th Street  (7th Ave). I arrived at about 6:20 PM. The lights were on and at least three employees were inside. Two were seated near the far wall, discussing something. A third had his back to the window. On the door was posted Sunday hours of 10:00 AM -7:00 PM (see attached photo which also shows employees). 

I tried the door. Locked. Tried again, obviously locked. The employees continued whatever they were doing. 

As I tried to figure out what was going on, a 30-something businessman (wearing a suit) approached and tried the door. At this point, the employee with his back to the window and door turned and waved (cut off motion) to indicate the store was closed and showed 6 fingers. The businessman shrugged his shoulders and said, "Guess I'll have to go up to Times Square." He left. 

In the next few minutes, several people, including a Marine and a nicely dressed woman came by, tried the door and showed visible irritation that a store that appeared open was closed. 

Interestingly, it wasn't until about 6:40 that the storefront security gate was lowered and the lights were turned off. 

At this point, I decided to follow in the footsteps of the businessman: I got on the subway and headed to the 3 Times Square location. 

This is a bi-level AT&T store -- a few phones and tablets at street level, with the bulk of merchandise one flight down. 

Notably, at street level, there is an iPhone display -- a 6 Plus, a 6 and a 5S. The 6 Plus and 5s were in working condition. The 6 (which I was most interested in) was dead -- or, to be accurate, it wasn't plugged in! I tried to connect it, before an employee finally did so. 

After several minutes, the Apple logo appeared, but instead of turning on, it rebooted again, briefly started, at which point an iCloud login appeared with a password prompt. I asked the employee about it. She said, "Oh, a customer must have done that." I asked, can't you override it? She said "No." 

So, the iPhone 6 reboots again, but is not actually charging (see photo attached). 

FINALLY, the employee tells me, "Oh, you can try the one downstairs." So, I've been standing around for TEN minutes waiting for an apparently defective iPhone 6 to charge -- while there was a working one downstairs all along? 

I went downstairs, tried the iPhone 6 a bit, but was at last exhausted at the customer service (or lack thereof) at two AT&T stores in the busiest part of Manhattan. 

Final note: While outside the Times Square store (where I had begun communicating with your office), I ran into the businessman I met at the 34th Street location. His name is Kevin. We shook our heads over how the evening had gone. It turns out we are both longtime AT&T customers -- dating back to when we'd been with Cingular. 

I can't speak for Kevin, but I'm quite disappointed with the lack of communication and poor service by AT&T customer personnel at two central Manhattan locations. 

Thank you for your time in exploring this matter. 


Robert A. George 

P.S. Apologies for an earlier draft version of this correspondence without photos. 


I sent a follow-up e-mail to make sure that "MattR" received the letter. He responded in the affirmative. Two weeks later, I've yet to receive any response to this letter.  

Instead, one day later, I got this random text "thanking" me for the "social media contact" and asking  how likely I was to recommend ATT service in the future! 

Given this complete lack of attention to what I believe to be legitimate concerns about ATT retail service and now Customer Care, there's no way I can give a positive response -- despite more than a decade with AT&T. With my contract coming to an end in the coming weeks, it seems I should be looking at what Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon have to offer in the future.  


Robert A. George 

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