Thursday, April 28, 2011

Withdrawing a recommendation

In the past, whenever the subject of Internet service has come up, I've generally recommended Earthlink. They weren't perfect, but they weren't overly restrictive - they blocked one port - outgoing SMTP (but incoming was fine - you could run your own domain), and things like IPv6 (via 6to4) generally worked fine.

I don't know what's happened, but they've gone to crap. I wanted to move my service to my new address. They took down all the details, told me it'd be done in a week and a half, and I never heard from them again. Two weeks later, I called, they cheerfully notified me that I'd been disconnected, acted as if I'd never called and wasted 30 minutes on the phone with a CS rep who'd assured me it would all be done, and, well, went through the process again.

Except they couldn't because their computer was down, so the Earthlink guy told me they'd call me back.

Guess what, they didn't.

I'm sorry, but is Earthlink a going concern any more? Are they interested in keeping customers, or are they just phasing themselves out?

BTW my call yesterday was the third time. I tried calling them just before the move too, but was told to call back after I'd moved.

And much as I hate to rag on Indian call centers, there's definitely something substandard going on, in my experience, dealing with them. I suspect it has to do with the fact that it doesn't really feel important that someone's going to stop paying $50 a month to your employer when you get a dollar or two an hour, and are rewarded, not for keeping a customer happy, but for closing your calls as quickly as possible. The latter is also true of US call centers, but there seems to be a customer service ethic that Earthlink's US call centers had that simply wasn't there when I tried calling Lenovo some months ago, or Earthlink the last few weeks.

Mind you, I have no idea what was going on with Comcast today. First attempt to get service: CS rep closed the chat session. Second: CS rep refused to go further unless I turned up at a center with the deed to my house (no, seriously. I'm not making this up. Want to know why? It's even more ridiculous: the previous owner of my house owes Comcast $1.77. You read that right. Not $177,000. Not $177. $1.77.) Third guy took the order but still wants me to visit a center with the deed to the house.

I'm not a happy Squiggleslash right now. Not happy at all.

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