A small rant. About an inconsequential matter. But … well, “it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to.”
CenturyLink. The company formerly known as CenturyTel. CenturyTel was a very good company. OTOH, if you attempt to deal with CenturyLink (a metastasized version of C’Tel and something called Embarq) you may be taking your brains into your own hands. If you have any left after listening to the screaching music and shouted sales messages they have on their (I use the term lightly) customer service line.
The short version: On Monday I signed up for DSL Internet. No telephone. No cable. No nada. Just Internet. Service was supposed to begin, and a modem supposed to arrive yesterday via UPS.
No modem. No service. I call their 800 number. No worries. We don’t know why it wasn’t today, but for sure, tomorrow.
This morning bright and early a very nice installer shows up, activates the service and gives me a modem off his truck. Soon I’m managing to surf the ‘Net via a wired connection. But, among other things, I can’t do anything with the wireless function on the modem. Can’t get email. Can’t, can’t, can’t. Several calls to tech support over the next three hours. First one is odd: “Oh, they don’t show that you subscribed to DSL. They show only that you’ve subscribed to the phone service.” Uh … no, no way lady. Explicitly excluded phone. It’s DSL only. The sales rep and I had an extensive talk about modem options and all. Nobody could have mistaken my order. I’m tellin’ you.
She goes away. Comes back and says, “Oh, I was wrong. Everything’s properly set up for DSL.”
For several hours, I continue plugging away, attempting to configure the modem and get email. Finally call tech support again. “Oh,” says this one, “the reason you can surf the ‘Net but can’t do anything else is that you’re listed as a ‘provisional’ user. Your account hasn’t been activated yet. And won’t be until September 1.”
I attempt to remain polite. It’s not her fault. And I have to say that all the tech support people I’ve talked with have just been sterling. It’s the business office that seems screwed beyond belief. She goes off and checks again. Yep. “It does say the service should have been active yesterday, but now it’s September 1, and they say there’s nothing they can do about it.”
It occurs to me they may be operating in a time warp. Maybe they’re in some century where connections actually did take weeks — where they had to be made laboriously, by hand, in person. Not this century, where anybody can just type in a command to tell the electronics to make what should have happened yesterday happen today.
I tell her I want to cancel my account — that they sold me the service under false pretenses and that I’ve already wasted way too many hours. Cancel me, NOW, baby! Not her department (of course). Please hold.
After nearly 20 minutes of the above-mentioned screaching (which by now I’ve memorized, which is good because its volume has deafened me and I can’t actually hear it any more), I hang up, haul the modem, with cords dangling from the box, to the local office, where the kindly installer takes it back with clucks of sympathy and promises to make service-canceling calls in my behalf. I come to the library, send a blistering email to CenturyLink’s billing department duplicating his efforts — and now I try to figure out who can become my Plan B Internet provider.
In other words — sigh — keep on expecting “lite” blogging for another week or so. And if you chose to deal with the blob called CenturyLink … good luck to you.
It may be even later than September 1 before I’m connected now. But at least there’s hope it’ll be with a company that doesn’t merely blurt (via endlessly repeated electronic voice) how much it truly, truly, really, we-mean-it CARES about its customers.
Just to make the day even cheerier: government snooping “rights” expand. Again. The one good thing about government is that, no matter how crappy some private company is, government always makes it look good by comparison.