February 11, 2005

Road Rage on the Information Superhighway

You must accept my apologies for leaving that last horrible post up for days and days. I've been offline, against my will. Why? Well, I'll tell you:

Bellsouth has been my internet service provider since the Dawn of Time. When I lived in California and home internet was a new thing, I briefly used AOL, but as soon as I was back in God's Country and Bellsouth began offering the service, I signed up. Since 1997, I have had the same account, with all the charges paid monthly, on my phone bill. In 2001, I changed the account over to Bellsouth's DSL service, altering my username and password only because the DSL folks told me I had to - my e-mail address, my main one, has been the same for eight years. I've never been disconnected, other than in power outages, and I've never had a problem with the service. Until two days ago, that is.

Two days ago, Bellsouth Billing decided that I had not paid my bill and that I needed to be disconnected. Bear in mind that my bill was paid, in full, on the twenty-fifth of January, my regular billing date. There was no outstanding balance. There was no problem with the payment - my bank cleared it the day I posted it. My bill - both online and of the dead-tree variety - shows a zero balance. Yet Bellsouth saw fit to disconnect me.

Somewhere in their fucked-up thought process, they realized that I had, indeed, paid my bill, so they reinstated my service...with a different username and password. Without bothering to tell me, the Billing people reverted my username and password to the one I used four or five years ago, for dial-up. My e-mail address, the one with my right name on it? Obliterated. Which wouldn't be such a big deal if I didn't have, oh, fifty or so resumes out with that e-mail address on it.

It took me three hours on the phone last night to work through all this with these assholes, to figure out why I couldn't connect using Bellsouth DSL and why I had no e-mail at all, even when I used another company's dialup account to connect to the internet. Yes, I have a work-order in to reinstate my old e-mail address, username, and password, but that could take up to four business days to process. After all the time on hold, after the six department-transfers, talking to the two "supervisors", and after having my account examined with a fine-tooth comb, they still can't tell me what the fuck happened or why they did this. And you want to hear something even funnier? They aren't prepared to do anything for me. No account credit, no perks, no "we're sorry we totally screwed your job search, Mrs. MacFarland," no kiss my ass, no nothing. They are still claiming, despite my uninterrupted dialtone and the evidence of their own systems ("yes ma'am, I can see where it say you paid your bill, and I can see right after that where they put the work order in to disconnect you fo' non payment - it don't make no sense") that I was disconnected for non-payment.

I am livid. Spitting nails, people. I am ready to yank every Bellsouth product I have out of this house and throw it on the midden heap. We don't need their frickin' phone service, anyway...we all have cell phones, and we already have a cable line in here, just waiting for me to hook a broadband router up to it. There is no reason, not one, for me to tolerate this kind of bullshit.

I have one more phone call to make to these people, to give them one last chance to cut the crap and create a happy customer where there is none. If they fuck this one up, I may be offline for a few more days while I rip their shit out of the walls and call the cable company.

Posted by Queenie at February 11, 2005 09:05 AM

I have never, ever, had any dealings with any phone company that weren't fucked-up. I use cable for my broadband connection, and the only reason I maintain a dial-up line is a backup to get to my server at the office. The only reason.

Posted by: Sam at February 11, 2005 01:07 PM

My story is IDENTICAL to yours. This is somewhat eerie. I too have had bellsouth since 1997, started with a dial-up account and transferred to dsl 11 months ago. Found out BS was STILL charging me for my dial-up service for the last 11 months, on top of my dsl service. I called to get it straightened out and they did the exacct same thing to me. Disconnected my e-mail , switched me to an OLD e-mail address and lost the address I have been using for the last 8 years. I just got my email back yesterday after 8!!! days and I too was told 24-48 hours. What they DON'T telll yoou is that is 24-48 BUSINESS hours so 24 hours in business hours is 3 days and 48 is 6 days.. Assholes.

Posted by: dawn at February 11, 2005 01:30 PM

Don't know about DSL. We live in an area that is ripe for it yet we are still on the "waiting for dtermination" list (I've done several posts about the whole screwed up mess).
My point though, is our cable access goes out on a regular basis. The cable provider has done a similar thing to us more than once. And at THIS point, we are waiting for DSL to BE available in our area so we can get AWAY from cable. That and the fact that it is double the cost of DSL.
All I can do is wish you all the luck on the project. That and DAP makes good products for filing in the holes in the walls when you rip everything out.

Posted by: Wichi Dude at February 11, 2005 03:46 PM

I was a Southern Bell/Bellsouth customer continuously from 1976 until two years ago. They pissed me off and I switched to Comcast local. Showed them. Now I must run, and spend yet another fruitless hour on the phone to Comcast to figure out why I can receive e-mail but not send it. I wish I spoke Hindi.

Posted by: Velociman at February 11, 2005 09:01 PM

I'd exercise my god given cable rights on this one queenie... Beats the stuffin' out of DSL, and ... , well it just does. It lets one cuss faster.

Posted by: RedNeck at February 12, 2005 06:51 AM

Sue them, Queenie. I did, in Georgia at the Gwinett Country Court House last year and I won!!

I sued them for crappy customer service and keeping me on the run-around for so long. The Judge had the same experience and judged in my favor.

I got a whole $185 out of it. But I got the pleasure of whipping BellSouth in open court with one of their slick lawyers and technicians feeling the direct pain!!!!

Sweet justice...

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