North Stonington customer gets Internet service runaround

Those of us who have telephone and Internet service tend to take them for granted.

For Sue Pianka of North Stonington, it took weeks of frustrating telephone calls to confused AT&T "customer service" representatives, waiting for days for technicians who failed to show up and finally the involvement of CtWatchdog before she was able to have Internet service at her parents' home, which is a few hundred feet away from her home.

Sue and her husband David gutted the house after his parents passed away and renovated it for her parents.

They wanted Internet service, especially for Sue's mother Claire, who loves to do research on the Internet and uses it to keep in touch with friends and relatives all over the country.

"She complained that she was going through withdrawal," Sue said.

Telephone and Internet service was not expected to be an issue because when their daughter lived in the house four years ago she had both a landline and DSL for Internet service. And the Piankas have DSL service.

Sue Pianka contacted AT&T on Aug. 13 asking for a landline and a DSL Internet line.

She was told that AT&T was no longer offering DSL service to new customers. Instead they can be set up with U-verse fiber optics service that would provide both Internet and telephone service.

That was fine by Sue and she was promised that a technician would install the service on Aug. 22.

Her husband took the day off, but no one from AT&T showed up. They found a message on their home phone from the company canceling the appointment saying it would be done on Aug. 23.

No technician again.

She then made several calls to try to find out what happened. Sue said she was promised by one of the representatives that they would look into the problem and would get back to her.

"A few days later I got a call from AT&T asking how I liked the service," Sue said. "I told them we still don't have service."

After that she was she was told that U-verse was not available in her neighborhood, but DSL was available.

She was promised that DSL service would be established by Sept. 10. A package arrived from AT&T with the equipment they needed to set up DSL service. Sept. 10 arrived, but no technician.

She then started another round of phone calls. "Every time I called I got a new person and you have to go over the whole story all over again," she complained.

"For a communications company they have so little communication between their offices," Sue said.

She was then told that U-verse would be set up Sept. 16.

But the day before she got a call saying that neither DSL nor U-verse were available for her parents' home.

It was at this point that she contacted state officials, her legislators, the FCC and CtWatchdog asking for help.

I contacted AT&T and within three days a DSL line was set up at the house.

"Perhaps I'm wrong, but I consider a phone and Internet service provider a public utility, like the power companies and to have to go through all this is pathetic," she said.

george@ctwatchdog.com; www.ctwatchdog.com

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