Saturday, July 24, 2004

"Mr. Watson come here..."

We have a dial tone!

My first call, which I'm literally making as I write this, is to SBC to strip our phone line of the "services" the company gave us at one time for very modest fees or for free. They've raised the cost of those services significantly although I've been assured we were notified in our bill, "it was on the back of page 17 last February, Mr. Main."

I also want to get a refund for the time our phone was out of service.

As a heads up to friends and family who call us at home, the aforementioned plan of becoming one of those families who screen every call is going into effect as promised. How much our bill is being reduced is apparently an inexact science. The customer service representative I spoke with refused to tell me what those taxes or fees amount to...making any number of excuses along the way.

He made no effort to help me whatsoever and again acted like I am the only person on earth who has ever asked how much the taxes and fees are and even worse what they're was amazing.

I finally asked if he had access to our prior month's bill. He told me he did. I then asked him if that bill listed the taxes and fees we paid last month. He told me, "yes". I then asked him if he could read me those numbers. He did.

Being an apparent genius I've been able to determine that we'll pay about 6 dollars in fees and taxes each month, meaning our phone bill will be about 22 dollars...probably a little less.

If anyone out there is a customer service consultant, allow me to give you a hot prospect: SBC. I am stunned at how surly everyone at SBC has been to me, except for that one kid in billing earlier this week who by now I'm sure has found work somewhere or been sent off to be reprogrammed so he can learn how to be uncooperative. I really am not rude when I call, but the guy who processed my requests on our phone service was excessively snotty once again.

I'm certainly open to using another company for our local phone service but it doesn't make economic sense...and in truth those other companies simply use the SBC lines. Right now (and considering SBC charges you 8 dollars to make any change to your phone service, including canceling services) it wouldn't be worth it, although I might change my mind if I get the right pitch from a company that understands the importance of treating people with respect.

Our local cable company is in the process of rolling out local phone service. I never thought I'd want to have more dealings with the cable company, but I'm rethinking that stance now.

"There's small choice in rotten apples" - Shakespeare