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AT&T phone issues affecting Austin Pizza's business

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Having your phone disconnected is bad. But how about having it happen four times? The owner of Austin's Pizza says the biggest problem is the phone company can't seem to figure out what's causing the issue.

It's pizza night. You decide on what kind of pie and call in the order, unless their phone has been disconnected.

"We called our rep...he told us what it was and not to worry about it, that is was supposedly taken care of," said the pizza company's executive chairman, JD Torian.

He says the problems started in September, when they moved offices and left behind a piece of AT&T equipment.

Eventually, Austin's Pizza started getting collection notices from AT&T.

JD said, "We continue to pay our phone bill. We even paid the collections. We're in contact with them almost every day...and no one knows what's going on."

To date, their phone number has been disconnected four times, with the most recent happening on the last busy weekend of the season, UT graduation.

"We had online, but once our phones went down, online crashed," JD said.

Eighty percent of their business comes from this, phone orders and without a working number, it affects more than just customers.

JD said, "If there's no phone calls, then you start sending people home. Drivers get cut earlier and the call takers get cut earlier, in stores, the cooks all have to go home."

They're estimating a loss of more than $200,000, but expect that number to rise.

"The first time it turned off our sales were trending 13 percent over last year. The second time the phones turned off they went down to 4 percent over and they went flat the third time. Now they're negative," said JD.

AT&T has been able to forward Austin Pizza's number to these cell phones.

"Which are basically $2 a day, pay-as-you-go phones," JD said. "They said that perhaps, we could get reimbursed, if we bought them from ATT."

They released this statement about the ongoing disconnect:

"We worked with Austin's Pizza to successfully restore their service. We apologize for the inconvenience to Austin's Pizza and their customers."

He said, "AT&T can be briskly about giving up our number. I can't imagine that after all this they wouldn't gladly hand it over."

JD says there's no guarantee the line won't go dead again.

"These are the kind of messages I was getting, you know, like, maintenance can't do anything," he added.

He wants to put all of his energy into doing what he loves.

JD said, "We wanna make the pizza and get it out the door, to happy people...nobody's happy to see the salad guy. Everyone's happy to see the pizza guy."

He will be happy if AT&T lets him out of his contract.

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119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

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Fax: (512) 495-7001

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