nullstream weblog - DSL Part II

« DSL | It's all about the Benjamins »



September 15, 2005 10:52 AM PST

Wow, I mean wow. Now I remember why I hate these guys. You'd think after being screwed over so many times by Verizon in the past I'd learn my lesson. I'll skip my past rants about their over charging me for years on a local long distance plan, and my long saga to try and get DSL from them for 5 years at my old house. Most of you guys have heard this already.

So I email them (cause they keep putting me on infinite hold) and ask why I can't get the rate I signed up for. I slanted the mail as if I was concerned that the order might have been taken wrong. Or maybe they just forgot to press the 'high speed' button or something. I'm not sure what kind of answer I expected but this is what I got: "If you would like we can lower your DSL price $14.95 for DSL speeds up to 768k/128k. This pricing plan is a commitment plan... if you cancel your DSL before the plan has ended then your termination fee will now be $79.00."

So no explanation of if I can even get 3Mb, or why I might not be getting it. The crazy thing is that they are just continuing to charge me the 3M rate, but 'if I would like' they can lower it to the appropriate price for me. But they are going to try and gouge out 79.00 to cancel.

Seriously these guys are messed up. After a few calls and a cumulative total of 25 minutes wait time I was able to talk to someone about this. She ran a test on my line and after a minute said it was only qualified for 768k. She then confirmed that I was currently being billed for 3M. She had no answer to my question of why they didn't tell me I could only get 768 during the initial online check, or during the phone ordering, or any other time during the last 2 weeks as the order progressed. She also had no answer for when or if they would have actually switched my account over and billed me the correct amount. She did happily offer to switch me to the one year commitment plan for 768K. I declined as I'll just be canceling in a couple days anyway and don't want to fight them over the $79.00 termination fee.

So the obvious extrapolated conclusion (also based on my previous experience with them) is this: You sign up for 3M access. They happily take your order and don't bother to tell you that you can't get that speed (even though it is apparent that they have that info at their finger tips in most cases). You install it and start surfing away. The average customer might think, hmm it doesn't seem as fast as I thought it would be, but doesn't know how to test it. Verizon happily continues to charge them for the higher rate as long as they can. The only question left is what happens 10 months later when the customer finally does figure how he was being screwed? Will they reimburse him? What do you think?

Comments (11)
J, September 15, 2005 11:26 AM:

You should have some period of time that you can cancel at no cost. Just insist on it. They sold you something that they now admit they cannot provide. So you don't owe them anything - including any install or modem charges. Any contract you signed pertains to 3Mb service, and they aren't providing that service. Might be time for another call to the BBB.

128K upload is like a joke. You can get that on a shotgun modem!

John, September 15, 2005 11:49 AM:

Oh I won't be paying any cancellation fee. Don't worry about that.

Update: I ordered up 3Mb cable modem access from MDM. They will come out and install it on Monday. It turns out they have an unadvertised bundled deal with basic (analog) cable that gets me around the same price I was paying with Comcast. I asked them twice to make sure the bundle came with the 3Mb service and not their crappy 256K offering. (I mean why bother selling that?). I'll cancel DSL on Tuesday.

So it looks like I'll be on basic cable for a while then, while I continue to think and plan for HDTV.

Bryan, September 15, 2005 11:51 PM:

You are probably exactly right about most people not ever really checking the speed they signed up for. I never looked at mine before, so I just ran a couple of those free Internet ones and got completely different results. Hell, I don't even know what a megabit is. I do know the only time I care about speed is playing online games and there are several Counterstrike servers here where I show up in the low 20s in the ping column.

Oh that's right. Counterstike. Still the greatest game in the whole world.

John, September 16, 2005 12:16 AM:

We just got done playing a couple hours of CS so I guess I'd have to agree with you there.

J, September 17, 2005 12:28 PM:

He's referring to CS on the PC though, which is better than on XBox. It was really frustrating that you can't do simple stuff on CS xbox game hosting like rotating sides automatically, or bot level matches.

Bryan - have you checked out Wolfenstein:ET? It's free and one of the most fun team games I've played online.

Bryan, September 18, 2005 06:21 AM:

No, I never did check that one out. That's supposed to be the one with the different roles, right? Where teamwork is actually required. I could probably get into that if there were a regular group of people I could play with where you actually were playing like you are supposed to. CS is a team game, but nobody ever really plays it like one.

It was great fun playing Rainbow Six and CS on the XBOX with you guys when we were all communicating.

J, September 18, 2005 10:05 AM:

Yeah, teamwork is required to really do well at the game. But it will take you a while to max out what you can do on your own. Till then, the levels and stages of each level are great. Only when you get good like me does it matter whether or not you're playing with other good players! Hahahaha.

John, September 20, 2005 10:35 AM:

Cable modem is installed and DSL is cancelled. MDM is not as fast as Comcast but after a few days of slow DSL it feels good. All that's left is to return the DSL modem and pile of phone filters.

J, September 20, 2005 04:21 PM:

What are you seeing on upload speeds? The norm seems to be about 40KB/sec.

John, September 20, 2005 06:28 PM:

I'm only expecting 25 - 30KB/sec, but I'll run another test tonight.

Wheelson, September 21, 2005 01:39 PM:

If you know someone who is an IT person at a company and you want to ruin their day, just walk up to them and say, "Verizon", or "AT&T", or "QWest". It will cause them to run through the halls screaming as if their hair were on fire.

I have the same set up from Comcast...the non-advertised government mandated package. You can get the cable modem only without TV and they'll charge you for the data connection plus a $15 "Line use fee". Or you can buy the data connection plus "Limited" Cable Service for an additional $14.75 and avoid the $15 fee. Mmmm, tough choice.

The reason they do this is because the frequencies used by the cable modem are in the same range as that used by the Limited cable channels. So, if you have a cable modem, then you have Limited Cable as well, they can't filter it out. But even if you're not using it, they get to charge you for it. That's wrong. That should be their problem, not mine.

All links will be marked with the nofollow tag, making them useless for search rankings. Any posts containing spam URLs will then be deleted.