Consumer Reports: AT&T Ranks Worst in Customer Service

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The annual Consumer Reports study ranking cell service providers is out, and AT&T ranked as the worst in customer service experiences. The other major U.S. carriers fared much better, however, with Verizon coming in third behind smaller regional carriers.

AT&T ranks at bottom of CR satisfaction surveyAT&T ranks at bottom of CR satisfaction survey

The research group surveyed 63,235 cell service subscribers who gave AT&T an overall score of 62 out of 100. T-Mobile fared only slightly better with a score of 64, and Sprint earned a 66. Verizon managed to earn a 72, ranking fourth behind Consumer Cellular, U.S. Cellular and Credo Mobile.

"Of the four major U.S. national cell-phone standard service providers, Verizon Wireless led the pack, receiving favorable scores for voice and data service quality, and also for support attributes like staff knowledge and resolution of issues. Sprint, T-Mobile, and AT&T each received mostly middling to low marks, particularly for voice and text service quality," the Consumer Reports team said.

Despite AT&T's lower ranking, it still came out on top for its 4G LTE network, beating out Verizon.

"AT&T was lowest-Rated overall, but its 4G LTE network was rated the most favorably of any carrier," Consumer Reports said in a statement. "Its users reported the fewest problems with that higher-speed service, which most new smart phones now use."

Verizon topped AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint for its knowledgable staff and ability to resolve issues, and for voice call and wireless data service quality.

While AT&T may have come in last overall in the survey, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile have little room for bragging. None of the big carriers received glowing reviews from customers, and with their rankings clustering close together, they all fell well behind satisfaction with smaller regional carriers.

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12 Comments Leave Your Own

BurmaYank

Maybe so, but AT&T gave us a free MicroCell signal retransmitter (and IIRC, also gave one to John Martellaro) because our cellphone reception was always too weak at home, and I’ve never had anything but excellent customer service from them.

Verizon’s customer service, on the contrary, has ALWAYS seemed to have the deeply ingrained policy of “Just tell the customer whatever it takes to get him to end this call soon, to keep the call traffic moving, and for godsake, NEVER ADMIT THAT YOU ARE actually GUESSING about what you just told him, or THAT YOU REALLY DON’T KNOW what you have said.

Martin

AT&T SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Lee Dronick

I currently only have an AT&T account so I can not compare them with other carriers. However, I am pretty pleased with the customer service I have received when I finally get to talk with someone. They have a store a couple blocks from my house so instead calling in to play automated answering hell I go see someone in person. I too have a free Microcell from AT&T although reception around the house was very good.

I also must say that I am pleased with the coverage with AT&T. I need to qualify that by saying I don’t travel too much into the boonies where cell service may not be so good. It seems to be quite good along the Interstate and major state highways.

In the past I had Sprint and hated going into their stores, maybe they changed for the better.

Zach Albrecht

What a consumer REALLY needs to look at instead of all the bells and whistles that mascaraed the truth is what the phones wireless spectrum capabilities,and carrier availability in the areas they use it. Find one that matches the consumer’s needs, the happier the consumer.

Lot of idiots out there think, a lot of people have this phone, it must be good, and likely blame the carrier afterwards if they have a bad experience. Teach a Sales guy to be informative to a potential customer, so the consumer knows the technology before leaving, THEN you will have better consumer reviews. When commission drives a sales guy’s thoughts, he will sell whatever generates him the most money, while caring less about what the consumer really needs and what the company should expect.

Yes, I hate sales guys, but then again, I’m in IT, who normally get’s the blunt of the blame when it doesn’t work as the sales guy explained it.

ctopher

OK, I finally broke down and am now giving my first born to AT&T. Verizon has better coverage in my area and they have 4GLTE whereas AT&T does not. The cost was fundamentally the same so why did I choose AT&T? The main reason was you can talk and surf. I didn’t know if I would actually DO that, but I wanted the option. It turns out, I use that particular feature a LOT. I never use the all my minutes so I don’t talk much, but it seems that whenever my wife calls she needs something that I can just fire up the browser and find while she’s on speaker.

I have found AT&Ts; service to be very good IFF you go to an honest to goodness AT&T store and not an authorized reseller. It’s hard to tell the difference unless you ask. We have a few that are convenient and when my reseller slammed me with roadside assistance and navigation (Navigation? Dude it’s an iPhone 5, it can get me lost all by itself!), the company store took care of it without any hesitation.

I’m sure they’ll enjoy my son too! smile

Terrin

I used to be an AT&T customer. I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Now, I have two unlimited everything plans on T-Mobile. I pay less than $115 a month including tax. On AT&T that would cost me over $130 a month for ONE line and it wouldn’t be unlimited data. I have two unlocked iPhones, and couldn’t be happier.

The data speed (at least on the iPhones) is fast enough for surfing the net, getting email, and streaming Pandora. It, however, is slow in comparison to either Verizon or AT&T. Yet, with data caps on the big two, you will blow through your data allocation anyway the faster the data plan is. Further, T-Mobile’s call quality seems better in my area.

I’d probably go without a phone before I went back to AT&T.

Mark

I’ve been with Att for a year .. but their Cust care is so freaking bad .. i moved to Sprint, and Sprint got the best Customer care out of 3 major competitors .. i only paying 79.99$ each month for unlimited data and messaging .. Sprint store reps are so good, every time i call Sprint they resolve the issue at very first time..

Ashley

It’s no surprise, if you ever have any problem with your service, it takes 10 days, and a minimum of 43 hours and at least 27 representatives on average to get any headway in fixing a problem. Most of the time even then, your issue is never resolved and service remains broken.

buseruka

AT&T is not the worst - they just deal with more people. The absolute worst is DELL! They don’t return phone calls or even respond to emails sent directly to their customer service site. But this should help if you’ve had problems…
Tom Sweet, Vice President Corporate Finance and Controller
Brian Gladden, Dell Senior Vice President, CFO
Dell Inc.
Round Rock, TX
(512) 728-7800

Always look for the Investor Relations site for a company. Contact the people at the top and things can get better.

Doug

My phone doesn’t work at home or at work.  AT&T is aware of this but said they don’t promise you’ll have service????  What is up with that?  What good is it to have 4 cell phones and none of them work?  Then they told me it would be $700. plus to get out of my contract.  I had the same problem with Verizon and they canceled my contact because of “marginal” service no questions ask.  AT&T Stinks.  No wonder their score is in the tank.

Melvin Norwood

I have been a customer with at&t for a long time but u-verse have no respect. So I know that I’v got to change to another plan. I’m going to change to another company!!

Robert May

We never had problems with our service with AT&T until recently when we upgraded our phone from the iphone 3G to the iphone 4S. Simply to recieve better GPS service.
We live in remote Alaska, and depend on our telephone to book clients in our remote lodge. 
It is a small plane ride away to a AT&T store ( Cost $120.00 roundtrip) and a longer ride to   an Apple store ( cost about 600.00 roundtip which includes the small plane ride and a dash-8 ride)
We had a perfectly good working 3G but, it did not have the newer technology of the GPS system that my husband wandted to use as a back up on his boat. So while I was in Kodiak at the AT&T store I upgraded to the 4S, excited to do this I brought the phone home and my husband proceeded to use it to make business calls.We had service but, fournd out the speaker system was out on the phone so no one could hear him when he called them. Next time we took a trip
in to Kodiak was about 4 or 5 days later as it is expensive to do that.
They gave him a new phone and said he would have to redown load all of his information on to this new phone(we had just done this with the orginal iphone and it took us 8 hours because of our remote location.) So again, redownloading the phone and getting it set up again my husband went to make a phone call and it said no service. When we called the AT&T store they asked us to take the sim card our and put it back in which we did. no service still. He then told us we would have to bring the phone back into the store for them to figure out what was wrong. So, a few days later and another plane ride in we were able to take the phone back in. They put a new sim care into the phone and it worked until we got back home. It continued to say no service. When talking again to the store they said if this phone did not work since it was the second phone they gave us we would have to go to the apple store. two plane rides away from where we live to get another phone. We called the 800 line service for help from home and talked with a representative that had us turn of the phone turn it back on , no service.then she had us go into settings and reset the phone for service. no service. This representative then put us off to another higher technical support person she had us turn of our phone turn it back on, and no service.
they had us do a few other normal procedural checks and then realized that since the first techniclal support person had us reset the phone in an area that is roaming only we would have to take it back into the store a plane ride away and potentially get a new sim card or reset the current sim card. We will do this Monday. Our 3G phone never had these issues always worked and we are sorry we upgraded at htis point because our business depends on that phone number and we have lost a lot of money. We have not had service on this phone for about 3 weeks now and still do not. stay tuned ....

I

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