Effin' phone companies!

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Thusnelda
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Effin' phone companies!

Postby Thusnelda » Thu Nov 08, 2007 8:18 pm

So after we split up, my ex (a gentleman and a scholar through this mess) was paying for my cell and phone/dsl bills until the contract ran out; the US Cellular contract runs out this Saturday and the TDS one in December. I'd put it off a bit and was worried that I'd be screwed and miss a little service, but last night I spent an hour on the phone with an ACTUAL NICE PERSON from AT&T who saved me ACTUAL MONEY on all three services. (He actually downsold me. It was awesome.)

My euphoria, however, was shortlived, as the telecoms seem incapable of conducting a transaction without at least three assholish moves.

Item 1: you can't change responsibility for dsl, so even though I was on the bill jointly, I have no choice but to get rid of my current phone number (one that the ex had had for like 10 years) and get a completely new account. Apparently it's a gov't regulation. (Dumb as shit.)

Item 2: I can't get AT&T (who owns the lines anyway) to turn on landline service until TDS turns it off. When will that be? "Oh, 6-11 business days..." That level of uncertainty is not okay for a grad student in the throes of projects who needs her dsl to be continuous.

Item 3: This morning I get a call from some US Cellular lady who wants to talk to the ex. Turns out that even though he's simply moving my number off of the formerly-family plan and keeping his own, he would have to pay $150 because of "early termination," even though it only ends on Saturday and I'm not even able to activate the new phone until it arrives next week.

The only thing that saved them from a PSC complaint and a boot up their collective ass was what the customer service department termed an "angel" who made a very special exception so he won't have to pay. The idea that it would require some sort of special dispensation akin to "talking to my manager" at the dealership... oy.

STAB STAB STAB.

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Postby Flat_Atom » Fri Nov 09, 2007 1:44 am

Anytime you get phone or DSL/internet service thru a CLEC phone company, you will have to deal with certain "headaches" if you will when it comes to activating and de-activating services. Why? Because CLECs don't own the lines...they rent them from guess who?...SBC AMTC(AT&T). Hence, anytime you set up service via a CLEC and something goes wrong or you need to alter your service in some fashion, it has a whole separate rung of beuracracies it must deal with in order to remain complient with the FCC and the ILEC (in this case, SBC AMTC/ATT). While I am all for competition and fair trade practices, this is the one major issue that the Ma-Bell split from the 80's has thrusted upon modern communications. Call it "a sign of the times" I guess.

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Postby mifflander » Fri Nov 09, 2007 8:37 am

Flat_Atom wrote:Anytime you get phone or DSL/internet service thru a CLEC phone company, you will have to deal with certain "headaches" if you will when it comes to activating and de-activating services. Why? Because CLECs don't own the lines...they rent them from guess who?...SBC AMTC(AT&T). Hence, anytime you set up service via a CLEC and something goes wrong or you need to alter your service in some fashion, it has a whole separate rung of beuracracies it must deal with in order to remain complient with the FCC and the ILEC (in this case, SBC AMTC/ATT).


Yeah, I ran into that recently with TDS. Their favotite excuse was to blame AT&T.

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Postby eriedasch » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:06 pm

Flat_Atom wrote:While I am all for competition and fair trade practices, this is the one major issue that the Ma-Bell split from the 80's has thrusted upon modern communications. Call it "a sign of the times" I guess.

You may see this as "one major issue" but the only method possible to allow companies like to TDS to compete against the near monolopolies like AT&T.

Some may see it as completely unacceptable to wait 6 days or however long it takes for AT&T to switch over to TDS and vise versa, but others like myself enjoy the ability to choose a smaller (local) competitor like TDS.

Customer service pretty much sucks across the board and I have had problems with Ameritech (who became SBC and now AT&T), TDS, Dish Network, pretty much any credit card company I have tried to contact, and every software vendor I've had to deal with.

Given that, I look at other aspects of the company when I choose a telecom, or any other large competitive corporate service like how they treat their customers' privacy, what their customer service record is (overall like # of complaints, awards for good service), local presence in the community, and any other aspect worthy of comparison.

I'll get you started: AT&T gladly hands over all customers phone records to the U.S. Government without warrents, or any other justifications. TDS and USCC do not.

AT&T has been censoring broadcast material if it does not fit in with their politics. TDS and USCC do not.

I encourage others to go deeper into it and make a case for AT&T or any other telecoms, but simply offering a limited time new customer package does not have me sold.

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Postby eriedasch » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:08 pm

mifflander wrote:Yeah, I ran into that recently with TDS. Their favotite excuse was to blame AT&T.

Wow! Competitors blaming eachother for problems inconveniencing their customers. I bet that NEVER happens in any other industry.

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Postby Flat_Atom » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:28 pm

eriedasch wrote:
Flat_Atom wrote:While I am all for competition and fair trade practices, this is the one major issue that the Ma-Bell split from the 80's has thrusted upon modern communications. Call it "a sign of the times" I guess.

You may see this as "one major issue" but the only method possible to allow companies like to TDS to compete against the near monolopolies like AT&T.

Some may see it as completely unacceptable to wait 6 days or however long it takes for AT&T to switch over to TDS and vise versa, but others like myself enjoy the ability to choose a smaller (local) competitor like TDS.

Customer service pretty much sucks across the board and I have had problems with Ameritech (who became SBC and now AT&T), TDS, Dish Network, pretty much any credit card company I have tried to contact, and every software vendor I've had to deal with.

Given that, I look at other aspects of the company when I choose a telecom, or any other large competitive corporate service like how they treat their customers' privacy, what their customer service record is (overall like # of complaints, awards for good service), local presence in the community, and any other aspect worthy of comparison.

I'll get you started: AT&T gladly hands over all customers phone records to the U.S. Government without warrents, or any other justifications. TDS and USCC do not.

AT&T has been censoring broadcast material if it does not fit in with their politics. TDS and USCC do not.

I encourage others to go deeper into it and make a case for AT&T or any other telecoms, but simply offering a limited time new customer package does not have me sold.


You misunderstood my statement. I wasn't making a case that ILEC service is better or worse than CLEC...just different in it's response to service and repairs. Obviously there are other issues than just the CLEC vs. ILEC however, I worked for TDS Metrocom and Telecom for years and have enough first hand experience on both ends of the spectrum to know that it really boils down to how fast of a response do you mind waiting for service/repairs/etc. Of course the CLEC will make the case against the ILEC when the ILEC is the cause for a delay in service. Nothing a CLEC can do about that when the issue lies with the ILECs lines. Due to this issue, CLECs get a bad rap for slow repair times and the ILEC knows this yet nothing is ever done from either end to solve the issue for the customer. ILECs knowingly do this because it serves their best interest and they more than likely have enough problems of thier own to deal with. A CLEC repair issue just takes a back seat unless it's a matter of complete mass service disconnection in which case, the ILECs service is more than likely also affected. As for the handing over of personal records...the gov't has it's grubby fingers in ATT/SBC more deeply, hence it can apply more pressure on the bigger company to cave into it's requests. I haven't worked for TDS for a long time so I cannot say how Telecom(ILEC) handles records requests versus Metrocom(CLEC) but that might be something to look into.

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Postby mifflander » Fri Nov 09, 2007 2:29 pm

eriedasch wrote:
mifflander wrote:Yeah, I ran into that recently with TDS. Their favotite excuse was to blame AT&T.

Wow! Competitors blaming eachother for problems inconveniencing their customers. I bet that NEVER happens in any other industry.


Is That supposed to make it less annoying? They were giving me shitty service and instead of apologizing and acting like they gave a damn they blamed someone else.

I guess customers should just get used to crap service and never complain about it.

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Postby eriedasch » Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:56 pm

Flat_Atom wrote:You misunderstood my statement. I wasn't making a case that ILEC service is better or worse than CLEC...just different in it's response to service and repairs.

It sounded like you wishing for the "good ol days" and I apologize if I interpreted it that way. I agree with your explaination of the CLEC vs. ILEC and if people are that concerned with it they should learn the difference and go with ILEC if it appeaers to be more stable for them. I've been with Metrocom (CLEC) since they started competing against Ameritech 10 (?) years ago in Madison and honestly have not had a problem. Although I am aware countless other people have had problems with them, and countless others have had problems with Ameritech ILEC's, TDS Telecom ILECs, AT&T ILECs, and likely every other ILEC out there. Part of my point that customer service from large (and even medium sized like TDS) corportations overall sucks.

So again, I agree and I do not believe one is better than the other. But the one thing I do like is that CLECs exist bring competition to the market. When Metrocom first started competing with Ameritech they offered a far better deal because they were new to the market. Now there does not seem to be as much of a price difference and with the recent buyout/merger (whatever you want to call it) with SBC, AT&T are able to offer even lower prices as a huge company like that can afford short term losses, especially if they succeed in taking over bigger share of a market or better yet driving smaller competitors out of business, as then they can jack their prices up (i.e. Charter) if they have little to no competition.

Flat_Atom wrote:As for the handing over of personal records...the gov't has it's grubby fingers in ATT/SBC more deeply, hence it can apply more pressure on the bigger company to cave into it's requests.

I'm not willing to give them a pass for that. I see them for what they are: a lapdog to the gov't willing to illegally compromise their customer's privacy in return for laws created on their behalf to make it easier for them to make money.

Flat_Atom wrote:I haven't worked for TDS for a long time so I cannot say how Telecom(ILEC) handles records requests versus Metrocom(CLEC) but that might be something to look into.

Right after the whole wire-tapping news stories broke TDS Corporate (who oversees US Cellular, Telecom, and Metrocom) sent a press release stating that they do not hand over any customer information to any gov't agency without specific warrent for specific phone records and need specific reason for doing so. Those are not the exact words, but similar. A few other smaller / midsized companies (i.e. Quest?) issued similar statements.

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Postby eriedasch » Fri Nov 09, 2007 4:36 pm

mifflander wrote:Is That supposed to make it less annoying? They were giving me shitty service and instead of apologizing and acting like they gave a damn they blamed someone else.

I guess customers should just get used to crap service and never complain about it.

So is this your first time dealing with a corporation that has given you shitty customer service? I highly doubt it. Part of my point earlier when I made the claim that basically every big company you deal with 9 times out of 10 you will get shitty customer service.

I encourage you to complain and even file official complaints. I would think enough complaints against a company and something might be done. But knowing that AT&T (formerly Ameritech, SBC) has the most number of customer complaints per capita of any telecommunications company and continues to grow and merge at monopoly like leaps and bounds with virtually no gov't oversight. Meanwhile TDS wins JD Power and Associates awards for (sometimes) good customer service and continues to be marginalized out of the picture.


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