TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AT&T Doesn't Like My Last Name

AT&T Doesn't Like My Last Name
1 Apr 2006 21:42:22 -0800

The "new" AT&T (formerly SBC, my local phone company) sent me a form
letter stating that my user ID does not comply with their new rules
and needs to be changed, or they will terminate the online access to
my account. My AT&T user ID happens to be my last name (semenzato),
same as my user ID everywhere else.

It complies with all AT&T rules except possibly their profanity
clause. This is the first time anybody suggests to me that the first
part of my last name is a profanity (seems more like a technical term
to me). I let them know that I was quite offended and they should fix
their filter to skip the profanity check for certain variations of the
customer's name. Their response was another form letter stating, among
other nonsense, that "though this may be a temporary inconvenience, we
are certain you will appreciate the efforts we have taken to protect
your information."

If this were my bank, I would change bank and be done. But this is my
local phone company, so I cannot change it. Still, I feel that I have
the right to use my last name as my user ID. Do I have any recourse?

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I suggest you invest a few minutes on
the phone to see if you can possibly reach anyone at SBC/ATT who is
able to deal with this (don't hold your breath waiting and do not
spend much time on the phone with it.) There _are_ limited alternatives.

I assume you use SBC/ATT's highly touted DSL service, which is where
the verbotin 'username' you are not allowed to use comes into it. SBC,
now over two years ago, tried to tell me I had no choice either, and
my response was to kick them out of my house totally. Most people have
a cable or satellite alternative to DSL. We are also very fortunate
here that we have local telco alternatives, and you may have
also. Gage is one alternative offering service in many parts of the
country; so is Prairie Stream Communications if you are in Kansas or a
few other SBC territories; there are others. Of course, none of the
alternatives can sell you DSL; for DSL you have to stay with Bell;
that's their one ace in the hole; the one thing which keeps as many
customers with them as it does. The alternative carriers may in fact
get their facilities from Bell, but what do you care as long as you do
not personally have to deal with AT&T/SBC?

I know that when SBC lied to me (for the last time I would allow it)
and got _really_ ignorant with me trying to tell me there was not a
damn thing I could do about it, I immediatly reported this to the
carrier I preferred, Prairie Stream, and the owner there told me to
go see (some name) at the cable company here in town, and get cable
internet instead, which I did, then as he suggested I just bode my
time for the 24 hours or so until the cable modem was up and running.
Then I pulled the plug on DSL, called back to SBC and told them DSL
was no longer needed. Once DSL was out, I was then 'eligible' to port
my existing number over to Prairie Stream. Even if you have to keep
your telco service SBC/ATT, I am sure you will probably like cable
internet a lot better than DSL anyway, and most of them are not as
ignorant and beligerant as SBC. But remember, do NOT evict DSL until
you get your new cable or satallite internet installed first. PAT]

Date: Sun, 02 Apr 2006 04:49:25 -0400
From: Paul Robinson <>
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Re: From Our Archives: Exchange Names in St. Louis
Message-ID: <>
Organization: TELECOM Digest
X-Telecom-Digest: Volume 25, Issue 126, Message 7 of 10
Lines: 35


> How about the non-exchange, non-dialable, ZEnith X-XXXX numbers?.
> These were pre 800 800 numbers. "Call you local operator and ask for
> ZEnithX-XXXX, no cost to calling party".

> Huh? There is no "Z" on the dial.

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: (in 2006) ... Zenith and Enterprise
> numbers only had four digits, _never_ five; they were never
> dialable and today have been largely replaced by 800, 888, 877 and
> 866 numbers which _are_ dialable. Pat]

Not correct. When I lived in Long Beach, California, around 1987, the
Orange County Transit District ran service into Long Beach but its
offices were long distance from Long Beach. I believe the number was
(then) 714-547-3311, and from 213-427, for example (it was that far
back that Long Beach was still in the 213 area code), was a toll call,
they had, for the benefit of people in Long Beach and a few other
communities, their "toll-free number" (which, you are correct on that
point, was non-dialable, you had to dial operator to get) was the easy
to remember Zenith 7-3311 since it matched the last five digits of
their number.

Also, for years -- and they may still be using it -- the California
Highway Patrol had the statewide number Zenith 1-2000.

So I know of at least two independent cases where Zenith numbers had 5

I've been living in the Washington, DC area for some 15 years now so I
don't know if that is still the case, but it was then.

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