Can giant companies, especially monopolies, ever get it right? Listen to this litany of the efforts to move my phone service, and get DSL.
- SBC offers rebate of the $35 install fee if you order your service transfer online. Great.
- First attempts to do it fail. When it says I can’t do this, it gives me an 800 number to dial to make the trasnfer. Number asks me which state I am in, and offers a choice of Texas, Oklahoma and a few other Southern states. Press 0, eventually get to agent who says, “You’re in California, I can’t help you.”
- Try to call California customer service. Long IVR and long wait. Have no idea who to ask to fix web problem.
- Email online customer service. A few days later I get a canned meaningles response, as is so common with online customer service these days.
- Notice there is a $100 gift card offer if you sign up for DSL online. That’s great, since at the 6 month promo price, you can effectively get DSL free for 6 months if you want it.
- Promo notice says terms of $100 gift card can be found at www.sbc.com/polarexpress. This URL just redirects to the AT&T home page. Mucked up in the merge. Nobody knows who to tell to ask to fix it. Did email customer service, never heard back. Nobody at the live agent desk knows the terms of the online promotion of course.
- Phone customer service says they can take my order, but will charge me $35. I should have accepted that then and there!
- Instead I try online transfer again. Now it lets me in. But it can’t find “23rd avenue” in their database. I try many permutations
- Eventually call agent again. Long, long wait again. Agent says, “Oh, we spell it ‘23D avenue’” — gee, that’s obvious.
- Yes, I order the transfer to address on 23D avenue. That works. It asks if I want DSL too.
- Note that while I am moving the phone, I am not changing the billing address which was always a different location. I have to re-enter my billing address.
- I order DSL. It asks for new phone number and account code. It says order is taken, but account code was incorrect. I’m presuming that’s because there’s a new phone number. Says somebody will contact me in 48 hours to verify account code.
- No sign of DSL order. I phone. They say no sign of order, and can’t place order on phone number yet to be installed. I phone again, they confirm account code is the same for me with the new number as with the old.
- Still no sign of DSL order. Promoted to smarter agent. Smarter agent says DSL order was “dropped” due to some problem, possibly not being able to find new target address. (Though it says 23D on the order.) Can’t place order. Old number at the location does not match the address. Some other disconnected number is also ringing the phone at the new location!
- Transfer to yet smarter agent. 10 minute wait. I explain I want the gift card, but deadline for ordering is the 15th. Other agents have now said I can’t order until I get dial tone, which is the 18th.
- Smarter agent says she can place the order for me even though there is no dial tone. However, won’t get $100 gift card. Puts note in file about how order was dropped due to their error so if I am crazy enough, I can call to try and get it.
- In theory order is now in place, but for another week after I get dial tone. So no DSL for a while.
Who knows how many hours of time wasted in all this? I would not have SBC at all if not for the fact you must get SBC voice to get DSL at a good price, and it is a good backup if you do have a VoIP failure in any event.