Internet Disservice

I called AT&T to inquire about Internet service pricing last week.  They slammed me.  I figured this out last night when I got home and there was a package on the porch.  Took it inside.  Opened it.  Saw a DSL modem.  Livid.

This started 10 days ago.  I made an inquiry to AT&T sales.  Wanted to know how much it would cost me to bundle my Internet, phone, and television service.  It was getting close to time to switch from EarthLink.  Though you will not find it anywhere on their Web site EarthLink charges $49.95 for 3.0 Mpbs.  AT&T is $30.  I am loyal to EarthLink.  But they are charging about 66% over market rate for the same level of service.  It was time to switch and it was my intent to do so when Abby and the kids were off on their summer tour.  Anyhow, the AT&T rep told me their pricing for various services and that I could immediately save $10 a month by switching phone service to something called Complete Choice Enhanced.  I said sure and forgot about it.

On Monday night my Internet service went down.  Seemed odd.  Used to do that quite a lot back in the day.  Not so much anymore.  Decided to head off to work and give it a little time.  When I got home it was still down.  So I called EarthLink tech support.  The rep did not speak English well.  Made me do all the obvious things.  Then something not so obvious.  He asked me to switch phone jacks.  Which is not the easiest thing to do in the world.  I pinged.  Googled the word idiot.  It seemed to have worked.  Odd that the jack would just go bad.  But I started moving some network gear around to get all the computers online.  Did not work.  I checked all the jacks.  None of them would give me PPPoE.  Called back EarthLink tech support. The rep did not speak English well.  I was told there was a widespread outage and my service would be down until midnight on Tuesday.  Suggested I use dial up.  Was a bit taken aback when I said that my computers did not have dial modems so that was not possible.

On Wednesday morning DSL was still down.  So instead of calling EarthLink tech support, because the reps tend to not speak English well, I decided to have a chat session.  Was told that the outage would continue to affect me for another 24 hours. And then I got home and opened the DSL modem.  No prior notification that I had an account with them of any kind.  No mail.  Nothing.  Just a DSL modem on my doorstep.  And it's just a simple plug in one computer type of modem.  Would not even work for my setup if I wanted it to.

Livid.  So livid I think I scared my kids.  Livid because AT&T slammed me and made my Internet service go down.  To get semi-technical here, a DSL line can only be provisioned by one telephone company at a central office.  If AT&T has a DSL line provisioned on the switch for your phone then EarthLink cannot.  EarthLink had my line provisioned.  AT&T put in the order to provision my line and essentially took down my DSL service.

Called AT&T.  Asked for a sup.  No love.  Could not even tell me what level of service they signed me up for without my permission.  Said I had to speak with customer service.  Which of course is closed at night when normal people take care of such things (remember that convenient for us not the customer sin?).  Denied that they had anything to do with my EarthLink service going down.  Liar.

Called EarthLink tech support.  The rep did not speak English well.  With a little direction he figured out my line was "inactive".  Transferred me to another phone queue.  The queue that I was transferred to had a recording.  "Not able to handle calls due to system outages."  Great.

So I called AT&T customer service this morning.  Explained what had happened.  Guy was a jerk. Denied that they had anything to do with my EarthLink service going down.  Liar.   Hung up on him.

Called back, got a nice calm lady.  Explained what happened.  Found out I was signed up for 6.0Mpbs service.  That I was currently being billed for the DSL service, and I was being billed $75 for the DSL modem that I did not order.  Made a note in the account that I did not order the service and if I cancelled I would not be billed anything.

I cranked up EarthLink chat tech support.  This is the conversation.

Shawn P: Your DSL line is turned off. why?
Shawn P: You can contact our Installation Department and get it turned back.
Shawn P: Seems your area is undergoing some changes on the phone line. Hence it happened.
Shawn P: You can reach us at 1-888-EARTHLINK (1-888-327-8454), available Mon – Fri 7 a.m. to Midnight, ET Sat & Sun 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET.
Shawn P: This is what I am going to do for you.
Shawn P: I've kept a note on your account.
Shawn P: Please phone them after few hours.
Shawn P: It helps us to serve you quickly.

Quickly would be nice.  It's been three days.  I called the EarthLink tech support.  The rep did not speak English well.  He told me it would take five days to reprovision the account.  I said no thanks.  Tired to cancel.  Guy would not let me.  I hung up.

I called EarthLink tech support.  The rep did not speak English well.  Told the lady I wanted to cancel.  Told her pricing was too high.  And I swear it was just like the infamous AOL recording.

I very specifically had to say "cancel the account" seven times.  Once she got finished with that she started to tell me about the final bill that I was going to be receiving.  $49.95 for the period of June 16 – July 16.  I tried to politely explain to her that she could not charge me for a service that was not being provided and that if she did so I was not going to pay it.  She agreed to only charge me $25 because the phone company got the other half.  Told her that was not my problem and that if they charged me anything I would not pay it and would walk down the street to EarthLink HQ and have a chat with the receptionist.  I am not going to get billed.

So back to AT&T to see if they want my business.  Explained to the rep what happened.  Said if they did not do something to make up for this mess I would cancel all my AT&T business and go to Comcast.  I got transferred to a specialist. Nina.

Nina from Atlanta.  Nina in Atlanta. Nina in the office park where I take the kids to Taco Mac.  Nina was nice.  The first person I spoke to in this whole ordeal that was nice.  Nina understood the semi-technical issue I described.  Nina had empathy that I had been without Internet service since Monday.  Nina cut me a deal.  Nina is overnighting the proper modem.  Nina fixed the problem.  Nina kept me as a customer.

Nina was service.  Service gets and keeps customers.

June 18, 2009  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Business, Customer Focus, Internet