Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Reason's Why I Hate Qwest Telephone Service

So this will be a ranting blog. The problem is such:

A few months back I decided I needed a quicker and faster home internet connection. So off I went to do some research, and after some time I stumbled upon the website of my local telephone carrier, namely Qwest, Inc. There, proudly displayed on their front page was an ad I found hard to resist. It read:

"Qwest DSL - 19.95 a month for XXX number of months"
and then in small print
"If you sign up online"

Regardless of small print, signing up online is excctly what I prefer to do. I hate the call centers, the lengthy waiting on hold, and so forth. So I off I march to sign myself up for some new DSL service.

Problem is, I can't. No, it wasn't money, it wasn't love of my old service, it wasn't cosmic fate or the failure of the planets to align. The simple fact of the matter is that the Qwest server kept failing. Everytime I tried to sign up, I got to the same failure page. Sensing that something was wrong with their system, I bit the bullet and gave them a call.

So after the endless dial in menu, the lengthy wait, etc. I get a sales tech on the horn. I explain my troubles, and he says "No problem, I'll sign you up right now." I specifically ask, "I'm still getting the 19.95 deal, right?" To his dubious credit, he did manage to mumble something that could have been a yes or could have been a no. Presuming he has been overcome with the mindbending task of using his customer support computer to switch my service over to DSL, I (foolishly) take this for a yes.

While I am at it, Qwest is also heavily promoting the use of online billing, allowing them to lay off some employees because instead of sending me a statement in the mail, I will be the one to track and submit my payments electronically. Again, I love doing things electronically. The idea of not having to fill out a check, send off and envelope with a stamp, and so forth is appealing. So, great, let's do that as well while we are making some changes.

Well, soon the DSL modem arrives, I install it and we are off and running.

After a couple of months, though, I note that my phone bill, rather than shrinking as I expected with their "Bundle Savings," is actually larger. So I login and check my bill, only to discover that my DSL bill, rather than the promised $19.95 is now running me $31.99. Hmmmm... I send out an email to customer service asking them for some details. On the email submission form I am asked for my name, address, zip code, phone number, and (possibly, but I can't be sure, a couple pints of blood). I write:
I signed up for the DLS w/ MSN Premium promotion (19.99 /
month), and did recieve my service in late August. Looking at my bill,
though, I see I am being charged 30 dollars and change. What gives?
A day later, I get the following response:
Thank you for your recent e-mail inquiry to Qwest regarding the DSL
charges on your bill. I apologize for any confusion.

I am unable to provide any specific information, or make any changes for
this account as you did not provide your 3 digit account code for your
account. The three digit account code is the last three digits of your
account number located directly after your phone number.
Great. Thank you. To top it off, the following is placed at the bottom of the email:
Tired of receiving a paper bill?  Sign up today to pay your bill online!
at www.qwest.com/billpay

That's right folks. You, too, can sign up for a paperless bill so you don't have the funky 3 digit code from your paper bill, so you can't get any help from excessivly sphincter engaged customer support represenatives.

The level of service here is stunning.

So a couple days after that, I get on again, this time to have a nice online chat with a customer support person. Evidently using their instant messenger somehow validates me better than an email. Go figure. Here is the coversation:

Chat Information Thank you for using Qwest.com. A Sales and Service Consultant will be with you in a moment. Currently, your estimated wait time is 2 minutes and 14 seconds.
[I wait several minutes]
========================================================
Chat Information Thank you for contacting Qwest. My name is Jay. How may I help you today?
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: Q: I signed up for DSL at the 19.99 rate (w/ MSN Premium), but my bill shows I am being charged 30.91. Why?
Dan: It was installed late Aug, 2005, BTW
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Sure, I will be happy to assist you.
Jay: Will you please verify the phone number that you are inquiring about?
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: [I give him my home phone]
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Just to verify that I am speaking with the responsible party on this account, please provide me with the Qwest billing account code (the last three digits of the Qwest account number on your bill) or the last four digits of the account holder's Social Security number.
Dan: [I give him my SS#]
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: I'm sorry for the delay. I'll be right with you.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: OK
[I wait several minutes]
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
--------------------------------------------------------
[I wait several minutes]
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: I show that you have the Choice DSL (up ot 256k) for $31.99 per month.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: Hmmmm... when I tried to sign up for this online the server wasn't working. So I called and the rep signed me up. I ask him specifically that I was getting the 19.99 deal advertised.
Dan: Can you please place me on that plan and credit my bill?
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: With you already subscribed to the Choice DSL, you would not be eligible for the $19.99 promotion.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: Okay, but I didn't sign up for the Coice DSL. I signed up for the 19.99 / month with MSN premium.
Dan: Evidently the rep incorrectly signed me up to the wrong plan.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: I will be right with you.
[I wait several minutes]
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: Okay: I am looking at the add right now online. It reads: "Web-only special Just 19.99/mo for a year on up to 1.5 Mbps speed Qwest Choice DLS Deluxe with MSN Premium.
Dan: So I guess I am signed up of Choice DSL.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: That would be the other part, with the order placed through the care center you would not have received the $19.99 pricing for the order would needed to have been placed online.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: I just haven't gotten the rate I was pormised because the online method DOESN'T WORK! I tried it and it continued to fail, so I called.
Dan: At least, it didn't work in mid-August when I ordered it.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: I will be right with you.<>
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: I apologize for the inconvenience.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: Yes there are some additional things.
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: How may I help you?
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: I note that my online bill still shows a past due amount, yet my Credit Union account shows that the full amount due has been sent.
Dan: Can you confirm that for me?
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: Yes, I show a payment of <$XXX.XX> posted .
Jay: Your online bill statement available through MyAccount is updated monthly. Payments or credits made during the current billing cycle will be reflected on the following month's online bill statement.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: OK, I guess the web just takes a while.
Dan: Second, I currently have no phone line (no dial tone).
Dan: I went out to the phone line outside, and confirmed that this is the case there also.
Dan: Can you confirm if there is a downed line?
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: There is nothing on the account to show that you shouldn't.
Jay: Please contact Qwest Repair directly at 1-800-573-1311 from any working phone, or click here to report a repair issue online.
--------------------------------------------------------
Dan: OK
Dan: What do we need to do about the DSL issue, or do I need to take that up with someone else?
--------------------------------------------------------
Jay: There is nothing that can be done about it. I am sorry. You can upgrade if you like, but you would not be able to receive the $19.99 pricing. It would be $44.99 per month for the DSL Deluxe.
--------------------------------------------------------

So at that is where I effectively hung up. If they ever try to tell you their customer service is first rate, you'll know they are full of baloney.


1 Comments:

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