Robocaller Defense – The Final Solution

I’ve ranted a couple times about spammers, scammers, con artists, robocallers, and political campaign calls (which often fall under the category of “spammers, scammers, and con artists – but I digress) and how annoying I find them. It’s not nearly so bad since I went back to work, mainly because I’m just not here to be bothered by the phone going off. I go through the voice mailbox once a week or so and clear out the dozens of junk calls and verify that there’s nothing legit in there, then move on.

It has occurred to us that since only about one out of twenty or thirty calls is actually legitimate, where “legitimate” is defined as “not outright bullshit,” there are reasonable questions regarding the utility of the landline. Even of the “legitimate” calls, probably 99% are those which could easily go to either my cell phone or The Long-Suffering Wife’s cell phone.

The phone bill has crept up and up, mainly through neglect on our part I expect, and today I finally reached the breaking point. I bit the bullet and dove into the septic quagmire which is AT&T “Customer Service.”

I cut the cord. I turned off our landline.

AT&T doesn’t make this easy.

You can’t do it online.

You must have strong Google-foo to find a phone number to call to terminate service.

When you call it and spend nearly five minutes fighting your way through the Byzantine maze of menu choices, there’s a message that says, “We’re sorry, but due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, customer service is unavailable at this time. Please go to to take care of any of your customer service needs.”

Which, of course, you can’t. See above.

So you try again in an hour. Same result.

And again in an hour. Same result.

Finally giving up on that course, you go back to the website, where a little chat box opens up. Someone wants to help me!

(The following is an approximate version of my journey through hell this morning.)

Can you help me terminate my local home landline service?

Of course I can!

Answer dozens of questions to prove I’m me.

Am I moving?


Why do I want to end the service?

$75 a month for nothing but robocallers is nuts. I’m tired of being insane.

Would I like to downgrade to a package for $50 a month that doesn’t include voicemail and this and that?

Does it include a way to block the robocallers? No? Then please terminate my service.

Would I like to downgrade to a minimal package for $25 a month that doesn’t include long distance?

Does it include a way to block the robocallers? No? Then please terminate my service.

Would I like to switch to a U-Verse and VOIP and high-speed internet package? That’s available in my area.

First of all, no, it’s not available in my area. That’s a different nightmare that AT&T put us through for years. But, speaking hypothetically about this U-Verse and VOIP and internet package – does it include a way to block the robocallers? No? Then please terminate my service.

Maybe we could…

Stop. Please terminate my service.

I just want to make sure…


Okay, let me see who I can transfer you to who might be able to do that.

Stop. You told me ten minutes ago that you could help me terminate my local home landline service. It’s right here in the chat transcript.

I am helping. I’m going to give you a phone number to call.

Is it 800-288-2020?


I’ve already done that. Three times. They’re having a bad case of circumstances beyond their control.

That’s impossible.

That’s what I said, but that’s why I’m here. They’re not there.

Try calling again…


I’m trying to connect you to someone who can help you.

You said you were the person who could help me and you’ve now wasted fifteen minutes of my time and are currently trying to shuffle me off to another department where they’ve already failed three times this morning. Do you have a supervisor there I can yell at?

One moment please.

(Nearly five minutes later, when I had pretty much figured that he had simply gone away…)

How can I help you?


Okay, I will put you in direct touch with the department you need. You won’t have to wait in a long queue or re-enter all of your information. Please wait for a moment and I will call you.

(Phone rings)

Imagine my surprise when it turns out that “Patrick G” has an accent much more like Rajesh Ramayan Koothrappali, Ph.D. than Patrick McGoohan. He connects me to someone with a US Southern drawl. Who promptly asks me to start over explaining who I am, what I want, and verifying that I’m me.

After five minutes, he finally figures out that I live in California! He’s in South Carolina and he can’t access my information from there. (So much for interstate commerce or AT&T’s ability to link any of those pesky computer-thingies together.) I get transferred.

Next is a “dude.” You can practically hear him waxing his surfboard in the background. At least he’s in this area. And yet again I get to explain and verify.

Am I moving? Am I sure I want to turn the phone off? What if…


Yes, but…


Well, alright, if you’re going to be like that. Would you like to have your calls forwarded to another number for the next thirty days?

Would the robocalls get forwarded also?

Of course.


Okay, it’s done. Do you have any other questions?

Yes, I do. How about, “Why did this take over forty-five minutes once I actually was able to contact someone?” Or maybe, “With this pathetic excuse for customer service, why in hell do you think that I would conceivably want to ADD more services instead of getting rid of the one I have?”

I’m hoping for a customer satisfaction survey where I can express myself in more depth.

In the meantime, if you need one of us, call our cell phone, or send a text message, or send an email, or post a comment here, or use Skype or FaceTime, or tie a note to the back of a messenger lizard.

Just don’t call the house.

Unless you’re a robocaller. Then you can call all day long.

“Doo-dooo-DOO! We’re sorry, the number you have called is no longer in service or has been disconnected.”

Bite me, robocallers.

And the AT&T you rode in on.


Filed under Castle Willett, Death Of Common Sense, Freakin' Idiots!

2 responses to “Robocaller Defense – The Final Solution

  1. Ronnie

    Nice one dear

    Liked by 1 person

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