Edwin Griffith






12 December 2003



Chief Executive Officer

SBC Communications

PO Box 203370

Austin TX



Your Most Revered and Royal Magnificence;

            Please have mercy and forgive this lowly undeserving commoner for addressing your highness in so open and direct a fashion. We plead that your Magnificence will take note of our plight and perhaps deign to correct it or perhaps direct some other lowly slave or servant to do so.

              You have the most incompetent, ineffective, disorganized, isolated and arrogant technical help system I have ever had the misfortune to encounter. I used to teach organization theory at the graduate level. And, Sir, allow me to inform you that whatever you have put together defies analysis, puts customers in a permanent “do loop” and is totally unresponsive to client problems.  There is nothing in the literature to describe the type organization you have created. The closest analogy I can think of is a Rube Goldberg design.

            To begin with, I tried several times to call your office in Austin.  However, unless I could give the operator a name, she would not allow me to talk to anyone in your building – to include even a secretary. Like the Wizard of Oz, you have managed to hide yourself behind emerald walls and shield yourself from the public. Any idiot who so isolates his headquarters from the operational field has no way of knowing what is actually happening and is ignorant of problems because underlings are reluctant to report such problems to individuals higher up. Hell, a number of years ago I was put straight through to the President of General Telephone… got his VP who that afternoon had 14 different service vehicles and supervisors parked at my house to fix a problem I had…and he was grateful for the fact that I reported it to him.  Ran out of coffee and doughnuts but that is a different story.

            Your operator said she could put me through to an Executive Assistant, which she did. However, that assistant, because I was not in her territory, like a true bureaucrat, transferred me to the Executive Assistant in Missouri – a Ms XXXXXXXXX. My problem was that I was getting error 678…a no response message to my efforts to connect to the Internet.  A phone call determined that your phone (252-758-8135) prompted a message that stated “all circuits are busy try your call again later” This message had been going on 24 hours a day for about three days when I called her, it had already been reported and was case number 17337635, Nothing had been done to fix it hence my call and frustration.  All I could get from this brain deprived woman was a simple instruction to wait and try to connect again… nothing I could say would convince her this was a circuit problem. Her final piece of advice was for ME to call Sprint from whom YOU lease the line and ask them to fix it.  In other words, in her view, it was my responsibility to get a number which you provide me with to have it repaired…Arrogance or ignorance- or incompetence??  Nor was there anyone else I could call.. I had already talked to your contractor in India with no results. And the only other hope I had was to continue to call tech help until I could reach an American who knew something about the system and how it works. I finally surrendered.

            A few months ago I had a similar problem…the people in India told me that they would report it – several times… a few days later I got an American tech help who told me it had not been reported and that she would do so… it then was fixed in less than two hours. But that was not the best part of my experiences.

.  I was also having difficulty with not getting email.  People were sending me email and I was not receiving it.  So again, I got one of your contract people in India.  This person had me make some adjustments to my Outlook Express and Yahoo such that it ended up dumping all of my filtered spam and bulk mail into my inbox. After several more calls to India, no one could tell me how to fix it. So I was reduced to deleting 722 messages from my inbox one by one as my Outlook Express software which allows dumping multiple messages at once was malfunctioning.  I truly appreciated the several hours that one took.  Then every day I was getting at least 40 –50 pieces of spam and the bulk filter while indicating it was on, was not filtering.  After at least 10 calls in which I got Indian tech reps and no results, I finally got an American, who went right to the problem and fixed it.

            I have also been getting messages in Cyrillic from Russia, Romania and God only knows where else.  This has been going on for about three months now. I mark them as spam and have it deleted.  I also send it in to your abuse system with the information they request and will receive an acknowledgment with a case number promising they will contact me… Which as you know – or should- they never do.  Today I had three and tried to pass them into the bulk mail container as spam but they were encoded in such a manner that that did not work.  I had to download them into my inbox in order to delete them…of course I sent them with the required info to your abuse system… which then acted in its normal response mode. So here again, I am unable to act, can not contact anyone who can or will act and just have to sit here with my thumb up the dark place. I complained to your tech rep, who of course was in India, who explained he could not help me with my email but gave me an 800 number I could use to get to the problem…1-866-883-2275…YOU try it and then tell me just what in the Hell it is…It is a conference call setup of some sort. The next one I called was more honest, telling me he could not help me. His supervisor wanted me to wait while he tried to contact someone.  I declined because I had been on the phone for over 15 minutes on this one.  I told him to call me back.  I was amazed (though by now I should not have been) to learn there was no way he could call me on the phone, he could not send me an email and he could not access the computer. Again, I experienced the usual SBC inefficiency and incompetence. Do I have to tell you what I experienced when I tried to correspond with a live technician? I tried your online live help system and of course no one responded.

            I imagine, in the vacuum of your office, you think all is well and are particularly proud of saving money by contracting tech assistance to a firm in India. Sir let me tell you about that service.  These are     people who speak English and have taken classes in American English (Saw that on 20/20). But these people are nothing more than robots reading from a tech manual, they have no conception or understanding of how a computer works or how it ties into a system of computers.  They look in their book for the nearest thing to what they think the client has said and repeat it back to him to be assured they are looking at the right place in the manual… sometimes I have had to repeat myself three or more times because they could not comprehend what I was talking about. YOUR SYSTEM IN INDIA DOES NOT WORK !!!!  All your American tech reps know and acknowledge this when I talk with them, now why do you think that information has not reached you?  At least give them a computer so they can send emails…do something …Explain to me what good a system is that can not access the outside and cannot communicate….That was a stupid request… by now I  should know the answer. Your entire organization is dysfunctional.

            I wish I were younger but I am an old retired warrior and professor… other wise I would give my right arm to study and analyze your organization.  That study would be a seminal work in that it would reveal trends in Organizational Development and Theory heretofore undiscovered.






Edwin R Griffith, Ph.D.

Lt. Col. US Army (Ret.)