Oh, God, I hate Qwest!!!!!
How in the name of heaven do these outfits stay in business? I thought the whole idea of breaking the Ma Bell monopoly was to bring us better service! Man. Talk about your unintended consequences.
Well, I do have to admit that Ma Bell’s service was bad. Awful. Though at least a human being answered the phone, it was the biggest pain to have to get on the phone and deal with those people. They were arrogant beyond description, because they didn’t have to treat you decently. You had no recourse. They were the only game in town.
Today you have no recourse, either. I called the Arizona Corporation Commission earlier in the present Qwest fiasco to urge that the company not be granted the rate hike it’s requesting, because the service it provides (or fails to provide) to customers does not justify increasing our bills. I was told that DSL services are completely unregulated. Period. There’s no regulation for DSL! And that, my chickadees, is why you get shafted every time you turn around if you have the temerity to buy in to one of these systems.
Yesterday I opened an envelope from Qworst, expecting the usual monthly statement.
It was a nasty collection letter claiming my bank had bounced a payment for $155.46 (!!!!!) and announcing that Qwest is about to disconnect my phone.
In the first place, this charge is incorrect. It includes about $100 for a modem that was never installed but instead was taken back to Qwest by the serviceman whose time was wasted while Qwest was engaged in wasting my time over the DSL flap. One of the endless series of customer disservice people I spoke with over the phone determined that this was an incorrect charge and, after learning that my bill is automatically paid, deleted the $155.46 charge, posted the real amount due (which was $55) to my American Express card, and arranged for regular billing to restart next month. She said no charge was due this month.
In the second place, had Qwest actually billed the credit union, any amount they chose to ask for would have been paid. My account contained $1,600 on the day the monthly charge goes through. Furthermore, because of the late, great PeopleSoft fiasco, in which My Beloved Employer’s newly outsourced payroll contractor took to failing to pay people’s salaries (oops!), I arranged for check-bouncing protection in the amount of a full month’s pay: $3,000. So, Qwest had access to $4,600 on the day its $155 bill was allegedly bounced.
Hm. Considering Qwest’s rampant incompetence, that’s a scary thought, isn’t it?
In the third place, had an automatic charge not gone through, the credit union would have informed me.
The speciousness of Qwest’s statement, then, was even more infuriating than its nasty tone.
So once again I had to get past Qwest’s enraging phone-answering robot, whose “voice” I would very much like NEVER to hear again.
Finally a human answers, a gent who identifies himself as “Brad.”
“Brad” says the bill was cut on the September 16 and I talked with “Amy,” the last Qwest human who deigned to speak with me, on the 23rd. While this may have been true, it skirted the fact that the credit union would have disgorged the $155 automatically had a charge been sent through on the billing date, around October 1. At first he thought maybe they had an incorrect bank routing number, but after some study, he couldn’t see why a bounced transaction notice would have been sent out at all.
He says one of the modems wasn’t credited because John, the dreadlocked but charming repairman, failed to provide a return authorization number. Thus the return didn’t register in the system.
“Brad” finds the $155.46 was deleted on 9/23 and then remarks, about what he’s seeing on the system, “This doesn’t make sense.” He says no late fee should have been issued.
He now adjusts the account and concludes that the account balance is 0 and nothing is owing this month.
I ask if the regular bill would be $86. Amazingly, to figure that out he has to manually add up all the charges. He says the regular bill will now be the same as it was before this time-wasting comedy of errors began.
Dollars to donuts, that isn’t the last we’ll hear of it.
If Qworst paid me for the amount of my time it has wasted, it would owe me about $240. And interestingly, Qworst may not actually be the worst of them all. Go online and check out the reviews of just about any telecom company you choose. Sunday I was at the Sprint store with a friend, where I overheard two women engaged in endless discussion with the staff (one of them had been relegated to a phone—even going in person to the store doesn’t guarantee that you can speak to a human being face to face). Neither of them was getting much satisfaction, though one at least managed to stay calm. The other was furious, and pointed out in barely measured tones that something was wrong with the way Sprint was treating a loyal customer who had paid her bills on time for many a year. As though Sprint gives one thin damn about loyal customers, any more than Qwest does!
We have only our own stupidity to blame for this set of affairs. If “loyal customers” would wise up to the fact that none of us needs a Blackberry or a cell phone or any of this other junk, telecommunication companies would be reduced to having to treat us like human beings to get our business. But because, like the herd of morons telecom executives evidently believe us to be, we stampede to buy every gadget that comes on the market the instant it hits the stores, we get gouged for services and treated like cows.
We should be as ashamed of ourselves as the telecommunications executives and our defanged, castrated government regulators should be.
The Continuing Saga of Qworst
(Notice that this stupid stuff started in August!)