AT&T requires seven operators to disconnect landline

A week ago I told an AT&T repairman to cancel my service. He wrote it on his paper form, and I thought it was done. I call their customer service line to see if my service was cancelled. AT&T did not cancel my service.

LOOP 1: Matt is nice and normal. Willing to go with the flow.

I call their customer service line at 1-800-288-2020


The lady totally tries to sell me services when I tell her I just want to cancel. “Oh but this plan is cheaper.” Uh. no. Can-cel. She thinks I was saying “can sell.” She eventually transfers me to another person after 10 minutes of explaining their cheapest plans to me.


After getting my name, number, and objective, he transfers me to another person.


I never land to operator #3, because it’s now 30 minutes and counting while on the phone and I have a meeting at work. I leave the phone on my desk and later come back to a dial-tone.

LOOP 2: Matt is upset and angry and thinks his upsetness will show them I mean business.

I call 1-800-288-2020 again.


The dude answers, gets my name, number, and objective. He says he’ll transfer me. I know this drill. I tell him “MAKE SURE TO TRANSFER ME TO THE RIGHT PERSON.” I am very direct and emphasize it with all the upper-capital power one can have on a phone.


I am transferred to the wrong person. Operator #5 is the claims department, not the disconnect department. Operator #5 starts me over by going to the 1-800-288-2020 line.

LOOP 3: Matt is laughing and finds this hysterical. I try complimenting the operator to get on her good side.

I’m transferred back to the beginning with the 1-800-288-2020 line.


This time the lady starts the conversation different. She asks for my name FIRST. And then my phone number. All the other operators asked for my number first. I explain to the operator lady how I appreciate her different approach, that it makes me feel more like a human to have someone ask my name first. That gets her on my side.

She says that she’s sorry but she needs to transfer me, and she tries to find the direct phone number to the disconnect department. She looks for about five minutes and asks other people there, but nobody knows it!

She says she will transfer me, but that she’ll stay on hold with me to ensure I get the right person. Sure enough, she gets me to the right person at the “disconnection department”, our operator #7.


Hooray! Operator #6 even gave operator #7 all my info, so I didn’t have to repeat it. Phone service gets disconnected.


AT&T, your system is seriously messed up. I can see how you don’t have a direct phone number to disconnect. I can see how you want me to talk with someone first to make sure why I want to disconnect. But don’t transfer me. Give that first person the ability to disconnect people’s services.

I am never going with AT&T for anything ever again.

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16 years ago

I suppose there’s a certain percentage of people who just give up going through hoops and keep their service. very sad.

16 years ago

Boy how times have changed. You kids have it easy. Back in the day, if you wanted your service cancelled, you’d have to go and get a job as an operator at AT&T.. and then battle 7 operators to the death. One of those 7 had to be yourself. Talk about jumping through hoops. Also, it created an odd statistical bias where ninjas were the only ones that ever canceled their service.

16 years ago

The way of the ninja is effortless.. to a ninja.

16 years ago

I saw an AT&T ninga wrangle with a ComEd barbarian warrior. Not a pretty sight.

16 years ago

If you saw it.. then it wasn’t a ninja.

16 years ago

Oh.. “ninga”.. that might explain it. The lowest order on ninja wannabes.

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