Recently, I have been dealing with various internet service providers in my area, and I feel like I have just battled the mythological Greek monster, the Minotaur whose maze left me feeling lost and hopeless.
Each company I called tested my patience to the utmost. I thought I would be talking to a rational person but realized that by the end of a call, no such person existed.
Each person I spoke to had a different offer and sales pitch. They promised the best and most reliable service, telling me what I want to hear so that I would agree to an installation. This is expected when calling different companies. What is not expected is for it to happen within the same company.
For instance, I contacted a company out here and the salesman and I talked for about 45 minutes. He was trying to convince me I needed the highest speed for downloading movies, games, and multiple users even though I told him more than once, I only had one laptop and my dog wasn't ready to have her own yet.
He finally relented in pushing speed and then tried to sell me a package at a certain level. I told him I was looking at the special price they were offering at $19.99 per month with no contract. He informed me that did not exist. I had to tell him the web address of his own company so he could see the page I was currently looking at.
After our long conversation, he thanked me for choosing their company. However, after I hung up, I immediately received a group of emails from the company. Ding, ding, and ding...the emails poured in. The first one thanked me for signing with the company. Ok, that was expected. The next ones were thanking me for signing up for all kinds of services I knew nothing about. I did not sign up for all the services I was being thanked for. I also noticed in one of the emails, I was signed up for the highest level of internet speed. Guess what else I noticed? One of the emails I got was a confirmation to send my router to my new address after I specifically told the salesman not to do that since I was not going to living there for another two weeks.
I immediately called them back and spoke with another person.
After getting through the computer prompts and hold period, a woman came on. I explained to her what was happening. She put me on hold to investigate and came back to ask me if I was a new customer (which I selected on the computer prompt I was). She then said that since I was a new customer, she could not see my account and that I had to wait until after the install to make any adjustments. She also informed me she could not stop the delivery of the router (which I never did see). Total time involved was almost an hour.
Installation day came. The guy was great. He was thorough and speedy. I was happy I had the internet at my new place.
I received my first bill not too long later. I reviewed it and had a minor angry moment after I noticed I was charged for the highest rate speed. There was also a fee that had no explanation.
Once again, I had to call and go through the computer prompts and be put on hold. This time I got a young lady who continually put me on hold (sometimes up to 10 minutes) as I asked about my bill. Finally, she said she was not trained enough to handle this situation and promised to call me back the next day.
She did not.
I called back the next day (more computer prompts) in the afternoon giving her the benefit of the doubt. I then spent another hour on the phone with another person explaining the situation and being put on hold. He assured me he was a manager (aren't they all?) and would take care of the situation.
My next bill had an adjustment on it but still had the higher charge on it. So...I called yet again (don't forget the computer prompts) and wound up getting yet another person who claimed to be a manager. With so many managers, I have to wonder who does the actual work.
Again, there was to be an adjustment...and the assurance I would be charged the correct rate on my bill.
My next bill had not only the higher charge but now my internet stopped working.
Once again, I was on the phone for an hour. This time, (I asked to speak to an employee...no, just kidding), I spoke to a technician. He told me that the problem of no internet was with my laptop and that I should buy a new one.
I mentioned to him, that my cell phone also did not pick up the internet signal and called him out on his inability to fix the issue. Restraining from using profanity, I asked to speak to a manager after getting hung up on and having to go through more computer prompts.
I was told someone would call me back in 10 minutes at 11 p.m. I said that was fine. At 1:20 a.m. I got a call back from someone who claimed to be a manager. He said someone would be out the next day between 8 a.m. and Noon. At 5 p.m. a guy shows up at my door and I told him to take a hike and called another company. His response was, "Thanks for choosing the "F" company and keep the router, it's yours."
Five minutes later I called another company. They were very professional in their approach. Yes, the internet would cost 3x more per month, but I felt better about them for some reason. Maybe it was because of the sound of the salesperson. She sounded mature and knowledgeable. She gave me a next day installation day. I was ecstatic by the speed of service for a new customer. I felt good about my selection of a company.
Well, for 24 hours anyway.
The Installer showed up early at 10 a.m. PRIOR to the time slot offered from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Fortunately, I was home because if I wasn't, they would just leave. He was pleasant and did a fine job. Upon completion of the work, I asked him the phone number that came with the package plan and he said he didn't know it. He said I could just plug in a phone and call my cell phone from it and I would see it then. Not a big deal.
The big issue came a couple days later I got a mailer from my new provider that offered a better package to new customers at a lower cost. Or so I thought. I called the company to ask if I could get that advertised better package deal. She instructed me that the cost of $19.99 for T.V., the Internet, HBO for a year, and the phone was more expensive than my plan of internet and phone. I asked how that could be, and she said that the cost of $19.99 was for EACH service.
About a month after that, my neighbor decided to switch to the company I had just signed up. She called them and while on the speaker phone I heard the salesperson offer her a faster service and phone for less than I was paying. The salesperson responded to me that my neighbor was a repeat customer which was an outright lie. She was not
A couple days later, my neighbor showed me an email from the company. What startled me was that she was going to get FIVE time's faster internet and phone service for TEN dollars LESS a month than I was paying.
Again, I was on the phone and my question to them was simple, “Why?”
The answer was that they have different promotions to get new people, but don't offer the promotion to the existing customers who are relatively new or ones who have escalating fees the longer they are customers.
Something is not right with this line of thinking.
Ironically, every time they end the call with me, the salesperson, or manager, or janitor, or whoever they are, say, "Thank you for choosing us."
I usually respond with, "If there were more choices to select from, I would not have selected you."
In the meantime, I am gearing up for my next battle with the Internet Minotaur.