Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Taking the long way around

Last week we switched from DirecTV to U-verse. Now, while the installation guys got here about 20 minutes before they were scheduled - they were at our house for almost three hours. And, during that three-hour period we had no internet access.

Finally they left with everything seeming to be in working order. That is, until my wife came home and tried to use the television in the study. Because of the way our house is wired, the main unit is housed in the study and we have a wireless box in the living room. Somehow, and I have yet to figure out how, the picture was frozen in the study and the box and remote refused to work.

At the same time our phones and internet connections worked fine - as did the television in the living room. The only problem was, since the main unit was not working, we were unable to use the DVR.

On Friday my wife called the U-verse folks to try to get a serviceman to come out to the house and fix the problem. Not so fast. The installer walked her through rebooting the system which failed to resolve the issue. Next she called the manager and asked him to send out someone to fix the problem. No dice. She was told she would have to call customer service.

(So much for exceptional service on the survey.)

The guy she spoke to in Indonesia didn't seem to have the slightest clue what to do. He took her back through the steps of rebooting the system which failed, once again, to resolve the issue. He finally decided that the box must be bad.

Great! There's an AT&T store near my office. I could just take the box to the store, exchange it, install it and we'd be back in business. Right? Wrong. Way wrong.

The young man in Indonesia told my wife that wasn't how it worked. They would have to send us a new box through UPS and we would then have to return the old box to the nearest UPS store. We were promised that the box would arrive the next day.

That it did - but not before one of the most bizarre journeys I've ever witnessed. My wife was sent an email with a link to track the location of the box.

LocationDateLocal TimeActivity
Stafford, TX, United States07/06/201310:34 A.M.Delivered
07/06/20138:28 A.M.Out For Delivery
07/06/20138:25 A.M.Arrival Scan
Houston, TX, United States07/06/20138:16 A.M.Departure Scan
07/06/20136:33 A.M.Arrival Scan
Louisville, KY, United States07/06/20135:21 A.M.Departure Scan
07/06/20131:45 A.M.Arrival Scan
DFW Airport, TX, United States07/05/201310:48 P.M.Departure Scan
07/05/20138:53 P.M.Arrival Scan
Fort Worth, TX, United States07/05/20138:37 P.M.Departure Scan
07/05/20137:25 P.M.Origin Scan
United States07/05/20134:38 P.M.Order Processed: Ready for UPS

I have no idea where the box began its journey and I'm assuming it was put on a truck in Fort Worth and driven to the D/FW airport. But what I can't understand is why the hell it was flown to Louisville before being flown to Houston. It's seems mindboggling that there wasn't a direct flight from Dallas to Houston. It would have been quicker to put the box on a truck at the airport and drive it down I-45 to Houston.

Everything worked out in the end and the new box was plugged in and working by lunchtime.

I just can't help but thinking there has to be a more efficient way to handle this situation. I get that those planes and trucks would be in the air and on the road anyway, but would it really be so hard to allow customers to exchange those boxes at a local AT&T store?

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