Monday, June 6, 2016

Frontier Communications Rant


It is hard for me to comprehend how pervasive the Internet is in my life until it is gone, and thanks to Frontier Communications, I got to experience this for nearly two weeks straight. I rarely go negative with my blog posts, but this is a cautionary tale for anybody who gets involved with this communications giant.

For many years my family had used Verizon Fios for our Internet and television services (we do not have a land line), and during this period we only had a few brief service outages that were easily remedied by myself or their service technicians. Then, on April 1, 2016 Frontier Communications took over their service with virtually no warning. We received nothing in the mail and only a few e-mails that, quite frankly, looked like spam when they came in. But, through the grapevine, eventually we heard about it and the initial changeover was no big deal: our TV and Internet worked just fine.

Then came Tuesday, April 26, when we completely lost our service and nothing worked at all. I got a call from my son while I was at work, and I gave him a few things to try but there was no joy. When I got home I fiddled around with the router and reset the wall box, and nothing changed.

So, I got on the phone with customer service and waited. After a half hour I got in touch with a service agent who transferred me immediately to someone else who put me on hold. When they finally picked up, I tried to give this overseas operator my account number but they insisted on trying to figure out my account info from my phone number and address. This took a half hour. They had me try a few things (that I already did) then the call cut off. They did not call me back as they promised they would if the call got disconnected. This was 90 minutes of my life I will never get back.

The next day I tried the online chat version of customer service, which took about 3 hours out of my day (using my cellular data plan, thank you), but the results were no better. They scheduled a service appointment six days later with an 8-hour window that I was supposed to be around. Nobody showed up at all on May 3 – no call, no e-mail. Nothing. On May 4, I called them back and got a surly agent in the US and I decided right then to cancel the service. She did not seemed surprised and told me they would send some boxes to mail their TV box and router back to them. No apologies, no empathy, and no surprises, really.

I called Charter Communications, and they came out on Saturday May 7 to install the new service within a given one-hour window. The technician showed up early, so he tidied his truck and got the equipment and tools ready for the job. He spent three hours stringing a new line from the pole three houses down, and he was friendly, courteous and professional. He did a very tidy job and verified that everything worked properly before he left. This was a true joy after working with Frontier Communications.

Interestingly, I got a phone call from a local Frontier technician while the new service was being installed, and he told me that he thought he could fix the problem remotely in 5 minutes. He was not aware that my service was cancelled, and he seemed apologetic about the troubles we had experienced. But this was too little, and far too late.

Nearly two weeks without these services was a major pain, as all of our television comes through the internet in some manner. Also, I was in the middle of finishing my Masters thesis, which is possibly the worst time to lose my connection with the World Wide Web. So, we ended up running a hundred dollars in data overages on our cell plan, which we will never get back. And we were not alone: many of my friends experienced the same outages with Frontier, and there were many people on Nextdoor who reported that they were without service for almost a month, and they all experienced the same terrible customer service.

You might think that is it, but yesterday I got another bill from Frontier, as apparently they still think I have service. Looks like I will have to get back on the phone again!

Sorry for the rant, but I felt the need to warn everybody possible. I am never going back to Frontier…


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