A 90-year-old man vented his frustrations the old-fashioned way as he spent $10,000 on newspaper adverts to complain about internet provider AT&T.
Though sending a tweet or speaking out in an Instagram Live are definitely quick ways to make your feelings known, these more modern outlets rely on one thing: the internet.
Unfortunately, a reliable network connection isn’t something Aaron M. Epstein has been blessed with recently, despite having been faithful a customer at AT&T for more than 60 years.
Hear his story below:
The 90-year-old California man was paying for 3.5 Mbps, but it couldn’t handle streaming and made titles on Netflix and other services look ‘like a slideshow’.
Speaking to ABC News, Epstein explained that he and his wife have been passing time during the coronavirus pandemic by streaming films and TV shows, but that the stream would ‘start and stop, start and stop, very frustrating’.
Epstein joined AT&T in 1960 but only started having issues with his internet speed in the past five years, when online streaming became widely available.
The frustrated man started calling the internet provider to ask for faster service, but staff told him it wasn’t available in his area of north Hollywood.
As changing providers would have meant going through the hassle of changing his phone number and email address, Epstein decided to take matters into his own hands by venting in The Wall Street Journal.
He took out two ads in the renowned newspaper, titled, ‘Open Letter to Mr. John T. Stankey CEO AT&T’, which ran in the February 3 edition of the publication in New York and Texas, where AT&T has a headquarters in Dallas.
In his letter, Epstein pointed out that the area in which he lives is surrounded by ‘creative technical works in the Universal, Warner Brothers, Disney studios in the adjacent city of Burbank and our city’.
Therefore, he explained, ‘We need to keep up with current technology and have looked to AT&T to supply us with fast internet service.’
Epstein continued, ‘Yet, although AT&T is advertising speeds up to 100 MBS for other neighbourhoods, the fastest now available to us from ATT is only 3 MBS. Your competitors now have speeds of over 200 MBS. Why is AT&T a leading communications company, treating us so shabbily in North Hollywood?’
The decision to shame AT&T in The Wall Street Journal didn’t come cheap, with the ads reportedly costing a combined total of $10,000, but the stunt paid off, as Epstein received a call from the CEO’s office on the very same day the ads were published.
The company asked Epstein how it could resolve the situation, and earlier this week he welcomed two AT&T technicians into his home so they could set up faster internet.
Commenting on his successful endeavour, he said:
It’s definitely a lot faster and it’s everything I expect of it.
I’m not a frivolous spender of money and $10,000 means a lot to me, but in this particular instance it was money well spent.
People are not going to expensive restaurants. People are not going on fancy vacations. My wife and I are at home and watch Netflix and streaming services more. So, I have no complaints whatsoever about spending this kind of money.
After being supplied with new internet, Epstein received a call from Stankey himself, after which he thanked the CEO for the upgraded service. In an effort to share the benefits with others, he asked if his neighbours could also receive faster internet.
An AT&T spokesperson confirmed that the company has completed its planned expansion of AT&T Fiber in Epstein’s neighbourhood, explaining that the development is ‘part of our ongoing fiber expansion in the larger Los Angeles area’.
The spokesperson added: ‘Nationally, we recently announced that we will bring AT&T Fiber to an additional two million residential locations this year.’
Hopefully Epstein will be able to enjoy some top quality streaming without interruptions from now on. Hey, maybe they’ll even make a Netflix show about him single-handedly taking on the huge company.
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