When Akron resident John Sopko lost internet service the day before Halloween, he thought it would be a quick fix.
Turn off modem, reboot, connection restored.
A month later, Sopko was still scrambling to get his service restored. Worse yet, he received a bill on Tuesday for a month’s service he didn’t get.
Sopko said he’s not a frequent internet user, but his girlfriend is, and her 17-year-old son needs the computer for his online school classes.
“He’s been at his grandmother’s since four days after it started because he needs it for school,” Sopko said Tuesday.
Sopko said the first time he called the AT&T service phone number, he followed directions to reboot the system. When the connection wasn’t restored, AT&T scheduled a technician to come to his home on Voris Avenue in Akron.
The technician repeated the steps Sopko had taken.
“He went and turned everything off and plugged it back in,” Sopko said.
Same result — no connection.
AT&T sent out a second technician, on Nov. 8.
“He did the same thing,” Sopko said. “He said it was an engineering problem and was going to send an email.”
Sopko waited and didn’t hear back. A couple of days after the second visit, he called AT&T again to find out what progress had been made.
“They said they were ‘troubleshooting’ and said it would be back up in a couple of hours,” he said.
But the connection didn’t come back and the company didn’t call back.
“I haven’t got no follow-up from them,” he said. “I’ve got to chase them down.”
Time passed as Sopko tried to set up another appointment.
The company texted Sopko, setting up an appointment for the Nov. 27. More texts followed as that date was changed to Nov. 23, which was confirmed via text on Nov. 21.
On Nov. 23, Sopko said he received another text, confirming an appointment for Nov. 26. A text on Nov. 26 confirmed an appointment for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sopko said he may not have responded in time to that text, so a new appointment was set for Dec. 3.
Sopko called the service line again on Nov. 26, talking to a customer representative.
“I don’t want to be mean to you,” he told the representative. “But this has been going on for 28 days now. Why?”
The representative couldn’t give a solid answer, which frustrated Sopko even more.
“I’m buying a product that I can’t use,” he said. “Tell me lightning hit a tower; tell me something.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Sopko’s luck finally started to change. He was contacted by an AT&T representative who said she could help.
On Wednesday, another technician came out, but this time the result was different.
“He was a more advanced technician,” Sopko said Thursday. “The antenna I had was bad.”
That “antenna” was a fixed wireless unit the company had installed about a year and a half before. The units are primarily used in rural areas where cable lines aren’t in place.
The technician tested the old unit and replaced it the same visit.
Sopko said he received credits on his bill from the company and a gift card for his troubles. His girlfriend’s son was scheduled to come home on Thursday.
An AT&T spokesperson said little about the specific service issues, but noted the problem had been fixed.
“Our technicians restored Mr. Sopko’s internet service and he is satisfied,” the company said. “Customers with questions or concerns about their internet service should contact us at 800-288-2020.”
Sopko said he’s still not sure why the process took so long.
“I didn’t get [an] answer on that,” he said. “…Why [didn’t] someone go a step further?”
Sopko said he didn’t go to another service because he was satisfied with AT&T when the internet worked. He still has an AT&T landline and uses the company for his television and cell phone services.
Is he as satisfied as AT&T said?
“When I got the right person, it cured the problem,” he said. “… It’s up and running and we’ll see what happens.”
Leave a message for Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @newsalanbeaconj.
This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Akron man struggles with AT&T for a month to get internet back