AT&T helpdesk experience


I have tried to sign up for Google accounts for weeks, nay months. Google tries to confirm that I’m not an imposter by sending an email to my non-Google account. Fine; lots of providers do this kind of thing.

The problem is that I never get the email, so I can never click on the link and close the loop to confirm my new account.

Well, true, I have the spam filter in my AT&T account enabled, which generally seems to be a good idea. But this is ridiculous!

I signed up for another Google account, using my work email as the primary non-Google account, and the confirmation email arrived just fine, no problem. So I finally decided to ping AT&T on the issue.


First of all, if you work through the usual AT&T screens related to internet access, you get nothing but Uverse options, and after a frustrating chat session with a Uverse heldesk rep, it turns out the AT&T DSL is a totally different universe.

Oh. Nothing on AT&T’s internet access web sites suggests an alternative. DSL doesn’t exist any more.

Why do I care about AT&T’s marketing distinctions?

Anyway… I finally got an AT&T DSL chat line rep, who spent considerable time with me and basically told me it couldn’t be their problem and I must have been mis-typing my email address, lo, these dozens of times over the weeks and months, from different computers, etc. Not very helpful.

I hunted through a not very useful collection of pages to see if I could turn off the AT&T spam filter, and after considerable trouble found the email settings page. More or less by accident, I happened to look into my webmail folders, where, lo and behold, I found my missing Google emails, not in the webmail spam folder, but in the webmail trash folder.

Ok. First and most important, the service rep should have understood the possibility that when I was talking about email folders, I was referring to the Outlook folders on my PC that I use all the time, rather than the webmail folders that I never use. That was the fundamental misunderstanding, an omitted but important training point of the customer service reps.

Second, of course, according to published behaviour, the email should have gone into the webmail spam folder, not into the trash. But who’s counting?

I tried to explain all this to another AT&T rep in a chat session (no way to resume the thread of the original one). When I logged in a second ¬†browser session to explain the details, the chat session aborted. Surely it ought to be possible for that not to happen. But who’s counting?

While looking into my webmail trash folder, I also found a confirmation email from that had been improperly trashed. But who’s counting?

The customer service rep assured me that AT&T *never* deletes email.

Based on a random sample of two, I suspect the bug in the AT&T software (and I insist it is a bug!) is that it deletes email with the string “noreply” in the sender’s address.

But of course, I couldn’t tell AT&T about the diagnosis because the communication got disrupted. How hard am I willing to work to help them solve a problem that they don’t even know they have?


Update, 19 March

Well, it isn’t the string “noreply” in the sender’s email address. As I watch my webmail trash folder, I find stuff from Charles Schwab,, all kinds of things that are not trash and that I should have been receiving.

This is with the AT&T spam filter turned completely off.

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