Dear Editor:

When I saw your blurb “Ameritech: Serious Hangups” I was elated. However, when I actually read the article I was outraged. At the end of the article you quoted Ms. Hatchett as saying “It really doesn’t matter. I’m giving in. I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and bow to the prince of Ameritech. I don’t like it, but I’ll have to do it. There’s no sense in crying about it. At this point all you can do is laugh.” Well I for one do not find it a laughing matter. I moved here over a month ago and I still don’t have phone service.

I did the appropriate thing and called for my hookup when I moved into my apartment. Ameritech explained to me that it would be two weeks before a technician would be available in my area. I was willing to wait that two weeks, assuming that summer is a busy time for moving and relocations. I also gave them my cellular phone number and landlord’s name and phone number in case there was a problem. I waited for my June 15 appointment.

On the 14th, I called to remind Ameritech that a technician was supposed to come out the following day to hook up my new service. Their customer service department happily reassured me that yes, they did indeed show that I had an appointment for the 15th, and if I would like to call back in the morning, they would be able to tell me if the technician would be to my apartment between 8 and 12 or between 1 and 5. The next morning I called again. They told me that I was the last person on the technician’s list for that day and that I could be sure that no one would be at my apartment before 4. I thought this was strange because the person I had spoken to before had told me that it would be either a morning or an afternoon appointment. However, I figured that the person that I was speaking to would know what he was talking about. I cleared my schedule as well as spoke to my building landlord about the technician coming. She was in the courtyard from 1 PM until about 3. I was home from 3 on. I called Ameritech around 5 PM to see where the technician was. The customer service department informed me that the technician was at my apartment at 2 and no one was there. My landlord said she saw an Ameritech van but no one approached the complex and she was in sight the entire time. I was there the remainder of the day and I saw no one. When we conferred she said, “I saw the van but since no one approached the gate it wasn’t for you. They probably didn’t show.” Upon speaking to Ameritech, I found that the next available appointment would not be until July 14–almost one and a half months after I requested service. After complaining quite a bit, they agreed to give me an appointment on the 28th of June. I called that morning, again to confirm (also, being paranoid now), and their customer service department happily told me that yes, the technician would be at my apartment between 1 and 5. I left work, was home by 1, and proceeded to call Ameritech’s installation every hour from 1 on. At 1, 2, 3 PM, Ameritech confirmed that yes, I was still on the technician’s list. When I called back at 4:40 PM, after not seeing a technician, they told me, “I see that Anita told you that you were scheduled for an appointment, which was correct, but now you are off the list.” At this point, I have missed work to sit in my apartment and wait for this technician, who no longer had me on his list. Installation could not tell me why the technician was no longer coming. They told me that they were sorry for the inconvenience and that they would flag my order, whatever that means, and could send someone out the following day. I told them that I could not keep missing work to sit in my apartment hoping that a technician would show up. They said they would call my cellular phone one hour before the technician would come so that I could leave work then. I received a call the next day around 1 PM, now the 29th, informing me that they wouldn’t be able to ‘fit me in’ that day, and that the next available appointment in my area was not until July 10, now next Monday.

In conclusion, I will have waited, through no fault of my own, for over a month to get one line installed in my apartment. I do not blame the general order inquiry customer service line, I empathize with them. The representatives that I spoke to were nothing but nice on the phone, and sympathized with my dilemma, but, there was nothing they could do.

When I tell people of the problems I have encountered with Ameritech, they often laugh and tell me that it doesn’t surprise them, that they too have had similar mishaps and issues with Ameritech. I would go somewhere else for phone service, but I don’t think that is an effective way to hurt their business. I believe it would help if more people contacted media outlets to voice their opinions. As Mr. Cohen put it in your article “Ameritech has no incentive to see that it’s going smoothly; since they have a monopoly on installations and most consumers have no alternative, why should they bend over backwards to give you better service?” The frustration that mounts from a statement like this, a “throw your hands up in exasperation” response, is unacceptable. We, the consumers, should not roll over and “bow down,” we should take a moment to try and make a difference. A company the size of Ameritech does not need the kind of bad publicity that the media can provide. If every person who has had frustrations similar to mine voiced them, then maybe we could change the system. Let me ask your readers this, for those who believe we should just accept things for what they are, I bet you don’t vote either.


Rebecca Wray