Thursday, November 07, 2002

Ok, so here's a long mostly boring saga about my home phone. Back around August I switched my local and long distance service over to MCI's Neighborhood program. It took a while for my request to go through, but I didn't think much of it at the time.

Today I called MCI to have them transfer my phone service over to the new house that we're moving into this weekend. It took me almost 20 minutes to even reach the correct department since their touch tone menus were screwed up and would send you to the wrong department. I finally connected with the service department and they said they could get me transferred with no problem. It would cost about $130.00 and take up to 60 days. I was stunned into disbelief at this point, both by the cost and the amount of time it would take. I told the guy "Why in the world would I not just call Bellsouth and switch back to them. It would have to be cheaper and take about 1 day."

His reply was "if you can do that I would recommend it, sir. We're new at doing the local service and it just takes a while to get things going."

I hung up and called Bellsouth. They said it would cost $40 to get my service turned on at the new house and I'd have to change phone numbers unless I waited about a week for MCI to free-up my old number. "Fine," I said, just wanting to get it over with. The guy types in the background for a bit and then tells me that I still owe Bellsouth $39.37 and that it has been turned over to a collection agency.

"What the hell," I said, "I paid that like a month ago!" He replied that there was nothing he could do and I would have to talk to the collection agency.

So I hang up and call the collection people. She says they just got the deliquency last week. I had checked my bank account and the bank had electronically transferred the payment 22 days earlier. She said I'd have to call Bellsouth and have them figure it out.

So I call Bellsouth again. They have no record of the payment and said I've have to get my bank to fax over a proof of payment statement with some bizarre little 3 digit "customer code" on it, since it's probably "just a billing error."

I called Netbank, and they seemed to be very helpful. They're faxing over the information to Bellsouth. Now I have to hope that someone picks up the fax at Bellsouth and does something about it. Bleh.

My current plan is to get hooked back up with Bellsouth then do the ole switcheroo with MCI again. MCI won't charge me to switch from Bellsouth and once I have a phone hooked up again I won't care if it takes 60 days for MCI to get their crap together. It's pretty sad that MCI isn't trying harder to retain customers, though.

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