Free internet and the associated costs

I’m getting free high-speed internet, and I think I’m going to cancel it.

What?!” you’re thinking to yourself. “I’d love to get my internet for free. How can you possibly want to get rid of that?!”

By now you’re frothing at the mouth. One of your eyes starts to twitch, and your neck is scrunched into your shoulder. Your whole body shudders sporadically. “What wrong with you! Can’t you see…”

Shhh… be calm, friend. Be calm… Let me take you back in time. Back to before I had free internet. Back in the ‘good’ old days.

A long, long time ago (3-4 weeks) I had Time Warner internet. Time Warner would regularly raise my bill. I would regularly call in and get it lowered back down. We had chemistry.

My service was good. In 5 years, I lost connection once. The representatives I dealt with were helpful and solved my problems when I did call in. Yes, dear friends… life was ‘good.’

Enter Frontier.

I’m relaxing on the couch; one foot draped over the back, the other hanging off the front. A commercial comes on the tv. High speed internet! 19.99! price lock for 2 years! No contracts! No hidden fees!

I chuckle lightly to myself. Too good to be true, I think. Too good to be true…. Or is it…. What if it is true? What if it is?!

I pick up the phone and dial in their number. “It’s not too good to be true!” The sales rep spits into the phone. “It’s all true!”

I am elated.

“I can get you guaranteed 24mbps service at your location for 49.99 a month!”

That’s actually a little bit faster than I have with Time Warner, and slightly cheaper. It’s definitely not as good as tv said, but still pretty good. “I’ll take it,” I say.

We schedule an appointment for Thursday morning, because I’m off work.

I wait at home for two full days and call frontier 7 different times before sending this email to the CEO.

Dear Ms. Wilderotter,

I know that your company provides internet service, and I’ve even been
told that it’s a quality service. I wouldn’t know.

I contacted Frontier several weeks back to schedule an appointment to
have said internet installed on Thursday, Aug 21 in the morning.

On that day at 1pm (after hearing nothing from anyone), I called your
800 number (855-837-2479) and was told: “Something came up with your
technician, we’ll get the job assigned to a different technician who
should arrive this afternoon.”

That’s fine. Things happen. Whatever.  So, at 6pm (after again hearing
nothing and not having my service installed yet), I call your 800
number and am told “I’m not sure why he didn’t arrive for your
appointment. I’ll get it set as a priority job for tomorrow.”

Whatever. Things happen. I work in a similar service industry, and
know that it can be difficult to make appointments on time (although I
would have called at least if I was running behind). But, I’m a very
unlucky person. If it’s going to happen, it would make sense it will
happen to me.   And it did. Again. The next day.

On Friday, Aug 22, I call the 800 number at 2pm (-ish) (because, once
again, nobody has bothered to call me or install my internet). “No
worries.” they say. “You’re still on the schedule and someone should
get hold of you this afternoon.”

So, when 7pm rolls around and I still haven’t heard anything, I call
the 800 number again to go ahead and cancel the appointment.

I’m transferred to a Nicole, who works in a department for disabled
customers (phone 877-462-6606).

Nicole seems very helpful and convinces me to give Frontier another
chance. She told me she would send some emails and call me back on
Monday at the start of her shift at noon.

Naturally, at this point, I’m familiar with Frontier’s business policy
of requiring me to put forward all the effort for effective
communication, so on Monday Aug. 25, after I get off work at 7:30 pm,
I call Nicole.

“That’s weird.” she says. “Normally they’ve replied by now. I’ll check
into it and call you back.”

So on Wednesday, Aug 27 (after hearing nothing from anyone again), I
call back for Nicole. Nicole is busy apparently, but I do get a chance
to speak with a different employee who tells me: “Nicole is looking
into it and will get back with you.”

Which, naturally, means that I will need to contact Frontier again. Or not.

I’m done with it all. It’s been a huge waste of my time.  I had been
told by several of my customers and co-workers that I should switch to
Frontier because the cost is lower and the service is very good. That
sounded fine to me because Time Warner just raised my bill again.

But at least Time Warner bothered to contact me and let me know they
were raising my bill.

Below is all of the information that I was given for my scheduled
appointment last week.
If you could ensure that all of my information is removed from your
system and my appointment is fully cancelled I would appreciate it.
(you may be able to skip the part where you cancel my appointment as
it doesn’t look like it was ever going to get done anyways.)

Thanks,
Steve

The CEO, Ms. Wilderotter, replies that she has gotten hold of senior vice president Mr. Stevens to address my problem.  Mr. Stevens promptly calls me the next morning.

“If I can give you 5 months of free service, will you give us another chance, Steve?”

“Sure.”

(Aside to the audience) And now you see how it’s free.

Mr. Stevens follows through and I actually get someone out to my home to install the service. And it seems to work fine!  (Except that it’s less than half of the speed that I was told I was guaranteed… But, whatever. It works.)

I call in to Frontier to set up automatic payments and discover that I’m paying $10 a month for security features that I neither want nor need. Sweet. The bill just dropped by $10.(Except it didn’t. I called in on two separate occasions to cancel the security bundle and still got billed for it.) And I go ahead and bundle my internet with my Dish tv to save even more money! (Except when I called in on another occasion, they tell me that request was never processed either.)

Speaking of the bill, my first month clocked in at $220. That seems reasonable for free internet, right?

I call Frontier, who tell me that the problem has already been taken care of because somebody credited my account for $250.

I know,” I say. “That credit is for five free months of service.”

“The notes don’t say that,” they reply.

I contact Mr. Stevens again. He has someone else call me back, who says she sorted out all of the billing problems. And hopefully she did. So now, we’re back on track with my 5 months of free service. Rock on.

The following day, I notice that my speeds are even slower than the slower than promised speeds I’m paying for. About 4mbps. Too slow.

I call in customer support.

HIM: “Your package is for 6mbps it says.”

ME:  “Then why am I paying for your ultra internet?”

HIM:  “Please hold.”

…..

HIM:  “I guess you’re right. You should be getting faster service.”

He runs some checks and can’t find anything.

HIM:  “I’ll schedule an appointment for a technician to troubleshoot it. We can schedule for Wednesday.”

ME:  “I work Wednesday. I won’t be home at all.”

HIM: “Oh. Do you want me to cancel the appointment?”

ME:  “You can’t reschedule it?”

HIM:  “No. The system automatically schedules appointments.”

ME:  “…”

HIM: “Do you want me to cancel it then?”

ME: “If that’s the only option, then yeah. Cancel it.”

HIM: “Well, I could schedule it as a priority job so that someone from the local office contacts you. Then you could schedule the appointment with them.”

ME:  “That will work.”

HIM: “Ok. Someone should contact you within 48 hours.”

Now, naturally, that was a week ago and no, nobody has ever contacted me.

But, luckily, the problem righted itself and my speeds were back up to 11mbps. cool.

Execpt for when they’re not. Because today they’re back down to 4mbps, and I’m left wondering:

“Why am I bothering not paying for this service when I could pay for Time Warner and actually be getting some value out of my money.”

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