Saturday, February 18, 2017

It’s the internet speed, stupid

“I don’t want to do business with an outfit that does business like that.”

I answered the doorbell; two young men were there, wanting to talk about ( Company Name )’s upgraded internet service. I was intrigued. Ellie and I have 12 Mbps DSL service and I am happy with our provider. But I am a techie and know that my internet speed is not very speedy. I let them talk, and became interested.

Long story short: ( Company Name ) had recently upgraded its network in my neighborhood, it was offering promotions and I could have what I have now ( internet plus phone ) except with the internet at 40 Mbps for about what we’re now paying ( $ X ). For months Ellie and I had spoken about getting rid of our land phone line. Here was a great opportunity: if I wanted just internet, and didn’t wish to rent the modem, the monthly cost would be less than $ X/2. To aid decision-making, they assured me I could change the order’s specifics up until installation. “Where do I sign up?”

They called Customer Service and placed the order for internet plus phone. I spoke with CS as well. Returning the phone, I understood that I would talk to CS one more time. During the last portion of the call, however, the salesman took notes and hung up. He gave me several papers, including one with a printed phone number which he crossed out and replaced with another, which he called to my attention saying, “This’ll get you to Customer Service a lot quicker.” I thanked them; they departed.

It was only then that I noticed there was no cost information on anything they had left. 

I had a very unproductive call with Customer Service the next day. Before that, however, I had to get around the dead number my salesman wrote on the form he left. ( “The promotion for the number you are calling is no longer valid; please call … .” ) I successfully contacted Customer Service by calling the pre-printed number the salesman had crossed out.

“Hello, I’m calling to get the cost of service I ordered yesterday.”

The agent was familiar with traveling salespeople, but could not understand why I had not gotten the email with cost information. After investigating, he told me it was because the movement of my phone number had not begun.

He continued, “There really will be no actual cost information in the email, though. It will have the non-promotion costs for everything, plus the name of the promotion being applied to those costs.”

Huh?” “So … the only way I know what to expect on my bill is because of what you’re about to tell me in this phone call?”

“Yes, that is correct.”

I was stunned; “That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of.” I added something unintelligible.

The phone call continued its downward trajectory. The CS agent told me the cost of the service I had ordered is approximately what I expected
( $ X ), but “ … that doesn’t include the monthly ten dollar modem rental.” Also, “Because we’re offering TV in your area, there is no promotion for internet-only; the retail cost of internet-only is $ X.”

Dazed, I pondered the result of our neighborhood salesmen’s visit: no documentation of cost, a worthless telephone number, an incorrect quote for the cost of my order, and an incorrect quote for the cost of what I was most interested in. I conveyed my annoyance to the agent with whom I was speaking. He got it. Nothing to be done.

Ellie and I were of like minds: we did not feel good about doing business with ( Company Name ). The travelling salesmen were either liars or incompetent; neither was a pleasant explanation. The inability to get a written statement of the cost of service was, we thought, beyond ridiculous. “Let’s not do this,” we said, virtually simultaneously.

Knowing which number to call, I dialed CS again; “Hi. I would like to cancel the service I ordered the day before yesterday ... ”

The CS agent was more than courteous; “I can help you. Do you have a reason?”

I told her the story, ending with, “I don’t want to do business with an outfit that does business like that.” We had a nice conversation, she cancelled the order, and I’ve happily returned to my 12 Mbps internet.

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