Flashback to the last week of January. I've gotten a job at Baxter Pharmaceutical Solutions in Bloomington, IN and Rita and I found a duplex to rent while we're looking for a house. This is literally the dream job, and I don't see me leaving for any good reason. So we're getting everything set up for the move. In the meanwhile, I'm commuting the one hour one-way every day (which sucks). I hit upon the marvelous idea that I can do all the things that need phone calls (setting up utilities and whatnot) while I'm driving to and from work, right? GREAT idea, except that it means I can't write things down. So, I have to rely on my memory and my word for all this stuff in the future. Remember that point, you'll see it later.
I call SBC to switch our phone and high speed Internet service over to Ameritech. Now SBC owns Ameritech, but it's one of those pre-existing territories things, I guess. We have to change phone numbers, change providers, the works. Dan (the first SBC customer service person that I deal with) assures me that everything's cool, that we'll have phone service on the 5th of February (the day we moved in to the new place) and have DSL service available on Feburary 9th.
Slight digression: Why, oh why does it take four more days for their fucking system to recognize service that I have and pay for? Hell, they own the network, they own the lines, they own EVERYTHING. Boggles my mind, frankly...
So, we're moved in and get everything put together, when I realize that I no longer have a modem in my poor old 333 Mhz Celeron Gateway computer. This is a bad thing, because while I'm waiting for the privelege of using services that I (thought I) am paying for, they have a free dial-up service available. So, since I wanted to buy a new computer anyway, I went and bought a new computer. It has a modem, so we can hook up to the dialup. This is February 8th, and the dialup works...until the next day, when nothing works. No dial-up, no DSL, no nothing. Needless to say, this has me confused slightly, but I decide to give it a few more days before calling. We had enough irons in the fire at that time, so I don't really get around to doing much with it until Friday February 11th. Thus begins our story:
I spoke with a few customer service reptiles (which, of course, is what reps stands for) who read me from their script and tried to walk me through installing the software (which I'd already done) for SBC DSL. This was fun the first time, but not so fun later on. We made no progress. They couldn't figure out how it was that I was unable to use the DSL, because I had an account...oh, waitaminute, sir, you DON"T have an account! I'll be darned, that's interesting, since Dan had assured me that everything was fine, and any phone in my house that didn't have a DSL filter on it was buzzing and popping at me. So they poke and prod their systems and come to find out that, when I asked for my service to be moved from my old number to the new number, they tried to run the order to my old number. Thus the system decided that it was a cancelled order and there was not service to be had. Odd, again, since I'm hearing the DSL buzzing and popping, but I take it in stride. I ask them 'So, when is it that I get my DSL connection?' February 21st, they say. That's a nice long time away, but what does it matter? I've got that wonderful dialup connection to use, right? Right? Oh, yes, they assure me (J.R. I think this one was, I can't remember now).
So I hang up and try to dial up. Can't get it done. This time I call back on my cell phone, Saturday, and ask why it is that I can't use my dial-up connection to bridge me until I get my DSL service. And I go through about three more people with American names that sounded suspiciously non-native-speakers of English (Andy, Nelson, and Fred sounded a LOT like Prakesh, Ramesh, and Kumar...). They read from the Holy Customer Service Reptile Script some more, and tell me that my modem is fucked and they can't really help me until I get the hardware in order. So I hang up and call EMachines, the makers of my brand-new supercomputer. They do a MUCH better job of actually acting like they give a damn, which is to say not reading from a damn clipboard, and run me through the steps of reinstalling my modem. Guess what? The modem was fine, not a thing wrong with it. By this time, I've already twigged to what you all already know (that SBC is FUBAR and can't get their heads from their asses), but the EMachines guy goes ahead to tell me that my service provider's got the problem. So I call back Saturday evening (now, that I've spent the entire afternoon playing phone ping-pong) and tell them that I can't use the dial-up. As Anish, er, um, Dave starts to spew the same crap I've heard already I tell him "Friend, my modem's fine, it's on YOUR end that there's a problem", he offers me up to Tier 2 customer service. This would almost seem to imply a higher level of service/expertise, wouldn't it? Well, I was steaming a little by then and when Mohammed (finally, someone honest about where they're from and who they are) starts to treat me like a two-year-old, I get shitty with him. Which he fired right back at me. We finally get to the point of Mohammed telling me that it's not SBC's fault and he doesn't know how it is that I can't get a connection. Well, I pretty well told Mohammed to ram it up his ass and hung up. There was no way I could get anything done at that time, and I wanted to get the hell off the phone. My ear canal was litteraly starting to hurt from having it up against a cell phone. If I get ear cancer, I'm suing SBC.
another slight digression: If you don't like dealing with people, don't work in customer service. If you don't like dealing with people who have TOLD you that they've spent all day on the phone being told everything that you're telling them RIGHT NOW and don't want them to get shittier, don't get shitty with them. It's not my fault that your life sucks, I don't even want to be talking to you. I want my shit to work right so I don't HAVE to call Customer Service.
Now I'm ready to go into terminal ballistic mode. I get on the phone Sunday the 13th and get pretty much the same damn run-around. Honestly, I don't remember much of it, because it was the same damn stuff, so I won't really go into it. The upshot of Sunday's call was this: I'm going to call back tomorrow, you're going to get your shit together and get me service of SOME kind, or I'm going to cancel out and never use you people again. And my original feeling was just to straight-up cancel, but since the orders department wasn't open, I softened my stance and decided to give them one more chance.
Monday was the 14th, Valentine's Day, and Rita didn't want to listen to me yelling at people anymore and didn't want me to get pissed off over it on Valentine's Day, so I didn't call back Monday.
Now comes Tuesday the 15th of February. I call the DSL help desk and immediately ask for a supervisor. I give them my case number, I tell them the convoluted-assed tale of how we got here and what's happening. They transfer me to a service tech, who starts my now daily reading from the Holy Script of Customer Service. So, since I'm becoming a convert, I start reading it to HIM. He is not happy with this, and I'm all too happy to explain to HIM how unhappy I am with the whole fucking deal. He tells me he has to transfer me to Dialup because it's not DSL's problem. I get transferred to the Dialup people (again) who tell me that they can't do anything because it's DSL's problem (again), and they transfer me to Nelson (or, as I affectionately refer to him, Ravi). Nelson FINALLY comes clean. He has looked at my records (like the nine service reptiles before him) and has found the solution, the very crux of the problem: WAY back in the stone age, on February 9th when my service got kicked back because SBC couldn't pull it out long enough to recognize that I'd moved numbers and so my service was cancelled, I was no longer a customer. Therefore, when I called to bitch and they told me that my DSL would be working on the 21st, it was a new order. This means, friends and neighbors, that I DID NOT have access to the free dialup service. Understand, this is after being a loyal (I tried to convert my friends from cable modems and other such accounts) customer of SBC DSL, I'm now kicked to the curb. That was the last straw. I asked Nelson an opinion question: Does it seem reasonable that I'm being treated this way, taking into consideration that I had an active contract with SBC DSL that THEY fucked up, and now I'm to be treated as new order and have NOTHING, NO WAY to get on the Internet, and have spent the past three days being jerked around with NO POSSIBILITY of EVER being able to use the services that I was asking about until the 21st? He then tried to read the Holy Scripted Apology. I asked that he transfer me to the orders department so that I could cancel my service immediately and not to say another word until he transferred me. Then he tried for a second reading of the Holy Script. This made me snap, and I yelled at him pretty harshly, reminding him that I'd said, and I quote, 'not one god-damned more word until I'm transferred.' Then they played their latest trick on me. I'd spent enough time dicking around with these circles that were going nowhere that they orders department was closed for the night.
So, I called back Wednesday directly after work, and cancelled my service. And told my story again, for about the fifth time, to the cacellation department. No scripts, no bullshit, they tried a few times to get me to change my mind, I told them I'd rather have no Internet connection ever again than have SBC DSL for free, and they cancelled it off. So far, I haven't even seen any charges, and I'm pretty sure I won't be getting any. I'm now the proud user of Insight Communications Broadband cable modem service, and life is good. They haven't screwed me yet (of course, I've only been a customer for a week, lets see how things go). The aftermath is this: I've now lost three days of my life, one of which was a mid-60s day in the afternoon in Indiana in February. Friends, that's a slice of heaven that I was stuck watching from the window of my computer room while I babbled with SBC DSL Customer Fucking Service. Someday, I'll lie on my death-bed, hopefully surrounded by loved ones and friends, and I'll long for those three days back, the three days that I'll never have again because SBC DSL Customer GODDAMNED Service couldn't tell their ass from a hole in the ground if they farted.
My suggestion: Leave SBC DSL if you have it, don't ever even THINK of signing up with them, and if they call you to sell you service tell 'em to go shit in their flat-hat. I was a paying customer for nearly two years, and you see how much of a damn they gave for my patronage.