Customer Disservice

A week ago I wrote about my broadband service quandary. As some readers may recall, the $20 a month I had been paying my broadband provider was about to soar to $50 (or maybe it was $60, it depended on which customer service person you spoke with). What happened was my customer loyalty discounts had expired.

Now $30 a month, (for six months only), would have gotten me cable-based broadband service, but the cable company added to that an unstated installation charge. And taking the charges out a year or more, the cable-based DOCSIS broadband would have cost a little more than VDSL from the phone company  — but maybe not depending on the upload and download speeds.

To make a long story short, I’ve decided for now to stay with VDSL, after an agent magically came up with a $10 a month loyalty discount, so my bill will only double starting this month.

But that agent then said “plus tax.”

“What tax?” I asked. The $20 was the total price I paid, and I was shocked when he said the new $40 was “plus tax.”

The tax is on the line on your bill that says taxes, he blithely replied. There’s Federal Tax and local taxes.

No such line on my bill, I replied. There is no Internet tax, I said.

Yes there is, he insisted. The computer says so.

Read my bill, I replied. Show me.

Finally, after talking to a supervisor, the customer service rep admitted that there really was no tax. But, he added, the phone company’s computers had automatically added tax to his quote, even though by the time I got the bill there wouldn’t be any tax.

So, it seems I’m facing incompetent computer programming along with very poorly trained customer service reps (gee, last month one rep couldn’t tell the difference between upload and download).

Now I try really hard in my blogs for Phone.com not to diss the competition, but why am I happy that I don’t get my phone service from these guys any more, although for now I don’t have a choice about the broadband over which my Phone.com service flows? 

But looking on the brighter side, every report and study shows that people are fleeing traditional phone service to both VoIP and wireless (or both). The means that inevitably, the traditional phone companies are going to have to spiff up their broadband act, to the benefit of we VoIP users.