Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fairpoint: Worst Phone Company Ever!

Last year, Verizon sold it's land lines in New Hampshire to Fairpoint Communications. the turnover was delayed and delayed until about January of this year. One ice storm later, Fairpoint was so backlogged with repair requests that they were struggling to fulfill customer expectations. Their solution? Take two weeks off to regroup.

This was enough to make me consider dumping them, but now this shows up on my bill:

"Starting mid-March, monthly billing statements were issued on regular cycles so your statement was sent to you on your regularly scheduled date. However, due to our recent system changes, prior to March, you may have received your monthly invoice later than your regularly schedule (sic) date. For this reason, if your payment for the invoice that we delivered to you late was not processed by the time your next billing statement was sent to you, your new invoice may (might, goddammmit!) reflect (state!) a past due amount. Remember, (ok...) you will always have 30 days to pay your bill from the date indicated on the bill. The past Due status on the indicator may (grrr!) not be accurate."

Seriously, WTF-ing F is the average person supposed to make of this?

Translation into 1960's Business English:

We have recently made a change to our billing cycle. Your bill might reflect a payment past due if your previous payment was not received before the current bill was issued. Please disregard, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

I'm moving my business to Comcast. I have no faith in their abilities either, but they're the only other game in town.

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At 5:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes - FairPoint has made some errors in the transition. But, AT&T has been in business for years and it took them 2 weeks to move my telephone service when we moved. We had nothing but problems - rude call service center - and nobody was there to help me. We didn't move across the country - we moved 2 miles. There wasn't anyone there to help me. Everyone has problems - you people just need to give the change some time - all you hav done is sit there and complain about every little thing!

At 11:27 AM, Blogger breakerslion said...


First, I don't know about "every little thing" to complain about.

Second, Verizon was no picnic either.

Third, I have been dealing with many phone companies over the years as part of my job (Bell Atlantic, ATT, UUNet-Worldcom-Verizon, Broadwing, Sprint, MCI). I can't think of one competent person I have dealt with in the last 9 years, EXCEPT the router specialists, and the people who show up in the trucks wearing tools. Anyone else you speak to on the phone has absolutely no problem solving skills, and that's putting it nicely.

Fourth: We knew we were getting bent over before this change actually took place. One phone company after another has dumped off this aging copper infrastructure to the next in line to avoid expensive upgrades. Verizon was just the last to pitch the hot potato. FairPoint didn't strike anyone as big enough to do anything but milk the cow some more, hence the initial protest.

Fifth: Taking a two week hiatus in logging trouble tickets is an obvious "management solution". Who cares if there's a backlog, as long as it's not on my system, affecting my performance review? I've seen better problem solving skills from a domestic cat.

Last: That rambling, mealy-mouthed, confusing, non-apology for a massive billing error, system generated or not, does nothing to ease the impression of incompetence. In addition, the bottom line on the bill was three times what I normally pay, and includes only $4 of long-distance service. Adding the "current" charges to what has already been paid for the year, there is no way to make this add up, even granting a payment anomaly in March.

"Mistakes were made."

At 4:22 PM, Blogger Rev. Barky said...

delicious - someone complaining about someone complaining.

It's about time you woke up about Verizon. I did a piece on them a while back.

Read and weep.

Comcast isn't great either, but they are just incompetent and not simply ruthless.

At 7:30 PM, Anonymous rita said...

I've used Verizon at home for years. No complaints. We use Comspan at work. The system goes down about once a week for a few hours. So far *fingers crossed* it hasn't happened on Monday when we have to our meet publishing deadline...

That was a rather bizarre notice you got. Makes one wonder who the heck they've got working there. Perhaps they are hiring out prison labor?

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just glad they aren't quite as messed up in Maine, or I would have to do some serious head busting. I am about at the end of my rope with incompetence and bullsh*t. Have I mentioned lately how much I despise corporate America sometimes?


At 7:43 PM, Blogger RC said...

Ugh - i hate all the phone companies.

It's like some how they've focused so much on advertisting and getting people signed up and switched over that they forgot what their initial service was.

That letter is hillarious, thanks for the translation. They should hire you! (or someone)

At 10:11 AM, Blogger seller said...

good article,
I really liked how the author picked up the opinion a very good story.
The author write more!

At 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fairpoint is, without doubt, the worst phone company in America. Want some confirmation, visit a local office to ask for some customer service or to try to change or update your account. You will be told that "Our policy is to have all customer service requests" routed to our call center in .....

When you call, you will be greeted by a surly employee who will tell you more about "company policy."

I know, as I have called Customer Service on four occasions regarding my phone service at a summer home. Well yesterday, I canceled all services. Hurray for freedom!


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