Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ring, ring goes the phone.

I hate my home phone. 

I like the idea of a home phone since the service is super reliable and normally unaffected by weather and whatnot, but I do not like the expense of having it.  I wouldn't have it if it wasn't for internet. 

In my town, Mediacom is the cable internet provider.  Unfortunately for me, even though I am in city limits they do not provide service on my block since I am the only residence.  Well, they will get me service, but only if I agree to pay to have them run the cables.  That's pretty much out of the question.

I should back up.

In 2007, I got divorced.  Since I got divorced, I have switched my home phone number six or seven times.   Each time I have done it, I have made my number unlisted.  Also, I am on the "Do Not Call" list.  The main reasons for these switches is that my ex wife has a multitude of collection agencies after her at any given time and even though she hasn't been a resident at my house for almost four years, they still constantly call looking for her.  Daily.  Last year I was still getting twenty to twenty five calls a week for her.  These days, it is more like fifteen or so per week.  Either way, I called the phone company today because I have had enough.

I asked the nice lady at Century Link (my phone provider) how I could be getting these calls since I AM on the "Do Not Call" list and my number is also unlisted.  Clearly, I told her, the problem lies with their company because they are the only ones that know I have this phone number.  She said that there really isn't anything that she can do for me other than try switching the number again.  Or, she told me,  for an additional fee I can block up to twelve numbers.  I guess she doesn't realize that I don't have numbers to the collection places or telemarketers.  If I did, I would call them a hundred times a day until they left me alone.  So, a mostly useless suggestion.

Back to why I called them in the first place.  I hate that I have a home phone.  Where I live, it is less expensive to have a home phone and compliment that service with DSL than it is to just have the DSL.  Go figure. 

So, I decided today that I would call and get information on getting my internet service through my cable provider which is Dish Network.  They usually send me a couple letters in the mail each year boldly proclaiming that they can save my "MEGA MONEY" by bundling my television and internet services together. 

I found one of my old bills from Dish Network and called customer service.  About eight minutes of computer menus later, I got a real, live person and he refused to tell me about their program.  He refused.  He would NOT tell me because since I am already a Century Link internet customer, so anything he could quote me may not be a solid rate.  So, he told me to get the rate, I need to call Century Link and cancel my service.  Then, I can call Dish Network back and they can set me up.  I asked if I would be saving money in doing this?  He said he didn't know. 

I hung up the phone and called Century Link back.  I got a nice woman that had the title of "Internet Specialist" on this call.  I asked her about the package programs that they have with Dish Network.  She told me that they don't do any business with Dish Network anymore.  She said that they have switched to Direct TV since the program was better.  I told her that I just got off the phone with Dish Network and the service representative there just told me that he could bundle his Dish Network programming with Century Link DSL and save me some money.  She told me that she had no knowledge that Dish Network could do that anymore. I said thanks and goodbye to her.

This is getting me nowhere.

I called Dish Network back and figured I would try to just tell them that I want to establish new service so I could at least get a rate idea.  So, I did.  The nice customer service representative I had this time quoted me rates that I thought were okay.  I asked her if Dish Network does all the billing for this.  She said no.  She told me that Century Link would bill me separately from them.  I asked her if there would be an access charge from Century Link.  She said that she didn't know, but that I would have to call Century Link and find out.  I said I already called Century Link and they said that they don't do business with Dish Network anymore.   She asked if I was already a Century Link DSL customer.  I said yes, but I want to consolidate these services into one bill and do away with my home phone.  She got a little angry with me as if I was wasting her time and said that if she would have known that I was already a Century Link customer, she would not have quoted me anything.  She informed me that any rate quote she had given me was null and void.  She said she could not help me, but if there was anything else she could do for me today, just let her know.


[facepalms again]

So, I called Century Link back and spoke with another "Internet Specialist."  This time, though, I asked her what speed my current DSL was.  She told me it was 1.5M.  I asked her how much more money it would be to go to their fastest service (10M).  She told me less than five dollars per month.  I told her to do it.

I don't know how it all came to this.  I didn't get rid of my home phone and the harassing calls from collection agencies and telemarketers.  I didn't reduce my monthly bills at all.  In fact, I raised my monthly bills.  I spend over two hours on the phone trying to get answers for questions that are, to my knowledge at this time, impossible to answer.

So, we are better off outsourcing customer service in this country?


  1. Too bad that you've experienced that. I hope that in time, you will be able to fix everything about your connection. And will not get calls for your wife anymore.

    By the way, thanks a lot for sharing us your experience. I hope that even though you haven't get what you want, the customer service representatives had help you in a their own little ways. Thanks!


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  2. Brad, you are too much of a nice guy.
    I would have blown a gasket years ago. I would have went-off on someone so harshly that their ears would still be ringing.

  3. I have found that in doing so, I don't really prevent collection agencies from calling for my ex. I usually just end up with my blood pressure elevated, and a day ruined for someone who works on the phone.

    My ears constantly ring, but I thought that was from the aliens?