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BlackBerry Developer: Article

Do Not Buy Your BlackBerry From AT&T

Until they train their store staff with basic competency

I am one of the very first BlackBerry users - I've been one since 1997 when it was first introduced at the annual JavaOne Conference in San Francisco. Since then I went through more BlackBerries probably than even JetBlue founder David Neeleman.

With all the love and around-the-clock use, comes basic maintenance as well, I guess. Recently, the trackball in my Pearl jammed. We called AT&T support, they rushed me a replacement unit, overnight. (After all my monthly BlackBerry charges as a world traveler/CEO run up to $1,500 each and every month.)

So far so good. The packing slip has an order number for the new device they shipped; Your Order#: ORLM-0-15977338.

AT&T's technical support suggested that I should go to an AT&T store to transfer my files from the broken unit to the new one, and set up the new device with my email and account.

I go to the nearest AT&T store, 370 Route 17 North, Container Shopping Center, Paramus, NJ 07652.

A young store employee attempts to help me out - with no luck. He asks for assistance from another store employee, David Torres, Sales Manager, Retail & Business Sales.

David the store employee (who gives me the impression that he has no clue on how to help me out so far) suggests that the trackball of my old BlackBerry is broken therefore he can not transfer my files to the new one AT&T shipped. I tell him, "That's correct, that's why they shipped me a new device, because the trackball is not indeed functioning. However, you can navigate with menu options around and do what needs to get done."

David the store employee argues with me and says it can't be done. I give him a pop quiz and ask him to e-mail me one of the photos saved in the old BlackBerry. He fails the test.

Now I am back at my office. As per the AT&T store employee's request, I must now bring a computer with me back to the store for him to try other options to get me up and running on my new BlackBerry.

I will report back here after my follow up visit to this AT&T store. In the meantime here my advice to all existing and future BlackBerry users: do not buy your BlackBerry from AT&T until they train and give some basic technical competency to their store staff.

I returned to the store with my office laptop. The same AT&T store employee took about 90 minutes to guide through the installation of BlackBerry software on my laptop, backup and restore the files from my old device to the new one. This process could not be completed. He finally brought a laptop from the back room and finished the installation on his own machine after all. So far I spent a total of four hours, with two trips to the AT&T store.

Here is the bonus for me. The media card I purchased while I was at the store is permanently shuting down and restarting my new BlackBerry in a doo loop.

I can't use my new BlackBerry yet! I must get ready for my third trip back to the same AT&T store...

A few minutes ago, Jason from AT&T phone support successfully fnished my new device account conversion and installation. Happy days! I am up and running again... By the way, the media card required a quick formating after installation. I will still not change the title of this blog entry, AT&T needs to update and improve their in store technical support procedure book, my experience I went through is not the fault of individual store employees, it is the procedure book they are reading from, IMHO.

-----Original Message-----
From: "Atwell, Jason"

Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:06:51

Subject: <confirm>test#1


Test message from AT&T

Jason Atwell










AT&T Consumer Data Support

More Stories By Salvatore Genovese

Salvatore Genovese is a Cloud Computing consultant and an i-technology blogger based in Rome, Italy. He occasionally blogs about SOA, start-ups, mergers and acquisitions, open source and bleeding-edge technologies, companies, and personalities. Sal can be reached at hamilton(at)sys-con.com.

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Most Recent Comments
oilsandy 07/08/08 09:15:41 AM EDT

How much did you pay for the extra support from AT&T? Why do you assume retailers know more than you? It sounds like they went above the call of duty to get you up and running when you could have easily done it yourself. They gave you a free device, they hauled out a computer to do YOUR work and they took time to meet with YOU four times to solve YOUR problem.

The solution to your issue is laid out in your desktop software from Research In Motion. They are also available as second line support to fix your handset problem if AT&T could not.

Do yourself a favor, take an hour and get familiar with your device and work with AT&T to put you on a better rate plan. You are paying way to much.

I believe the crimes have been committed by the you and now you are blaming the very supplier who bailed you out.

You are only expert at paying too much and blaming the very team that helped you. For that you try and broad brush the entire AT&T organization as incompetent? You have no class.

sanzen71 06/18/08 05:57:03 PM EDT

As far as the trackball thing, Im not to sure if they were just being lazy at the store or truly couldn't do the transfer. I know ATT has taken away some of the data xfer machines from some locations. Mine being one of them. But yes, we used to be able to just plug them in and viola! Done! Sounds like they just made and excuse just to wipe there hands clean of the whole situation.

Brian 06/18/08 03:07:14 PM EDT

This article is pathetic. I hate AT&T wireless and believe they have the worst customer service however, you claim to be a blackberry user since 1997 and do not know what Desktop Manager is? I'm sure you gave some 17 year old high school kid a hard time too at the store over something a "veteran" like yourself should have been able to take care of.

amy 06/18/08 02:06:03 PM EDT

for being one of the "first" bb users, seem tp have absolutely no idea about how to use or set one up. i've only been using blackberry for about two years, and my knowledge seems to far exceed yours.

you went into a retail sales store and asked for help setting up your personal computer and transfering files. which they are NOT prepared to help with. that's what technical support is for. but after 11 years if you need help doing these most basic actions, maybe you should think about getting a razor.

Doesn't matter 06/18/08 02:00:00 PM EDT

take a look at the following link, shame on you being a long time BB user and still know nothing about how BB and its software works.


Al Sacco 06/18/08 11:20:08 AM EDT

I've got to agree with some of the earlier comments: This post is silly. That fact that it was so difficult for you to find someone at AT&T to help solve your issues says something, but you can't expect some guy who's been working at a retail store for two weeks to know how to solve every single issue customers might have.

Also, if you're as experienced with BlackBerrys as you claim, how come you didn't know how to back up your data via the BlackBerry Desktop Manager or other software?

The devices shown in the images within your post also are not BlackBerry Pearls, and you state that the trackball on your Pearl jammed. Did they send you two Curves as a replacement for the one Pearl? I'm confused...


Hayden James 06/18/08 09:12:51 AM EDT

Thanks for sharing. Keep us posted.

Humpty 06/18/08 08:13:00 AM EDT

For a guy with BlackBerry "experience" with more devices than even Jet Blue founder looks like you either don't know anything about them.

Let me be clear, a retail store is where people sale stuff, they don't fix, repair or train there. That's why AT&T has a Technical Support area on Internet or over the Phone. That's why RIM has a Technical Support on the internet and over the phone too.

My recomendation for you, switch to Windows Mobile and call Bill Gates to show you how to use it.

Your post is ridiculous.

Sunny 06/17/08 08:22:04 PM EDT

Ok dont buy a Blackberry from Att so whats your Plan B?
Just because you dont know how to transfer files doesnt mean people should stop buying from ATT.
This post is ridiculous and waste of everyones time.

Anon 06/17/08 05:25:12 PM EDT

Wooh... why are you asking AT&T to help you transfer your files? Download and install the BlackBerry Desktop Manager onto your PC. It has a nice little wizard built in to transfer everything from one device to another. When you are done, you won't even know you switched phones.

Alex King 06/17/08 04:57:38 PM EDT

Having 2 phones seems a little silly at times, but the iPhone is actually an "add a phone" to my BlackBerry line, so it’s not too bad

Chris Zeigler 06/17/08 04:56:09 PM EDT

RIM's so-called Javelin is a new BlackBerry completely devoid of 3G that's currently on track for a mid-2009 (yes, 2009) launch.

AT&T Store News Desk 06/17/08 04:35:35 PM EDT

I am one of the very first blackberry users since 1997 when it was first introduced at the annual JavaOne Conference in San Francisco. Since then i went through more blackberries than probably JetBlue founder David Neeleman.

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