Doing it right

So, now that I'm working from home, all my phone bills belong to me.

That means I'm learning just how much I was using the phone in reality, as opposed to the pittance I tended to use when I was just on my own time.

Here now, a difference between a Good Customer Experience, and a Bad One.

Example 1: Home: VoiP via Earthlink
500 Minutes per month/$18.00 per month

This was never an issue because there's no way I make 500 minutes of calls from home per month, but this was the lowest they could go. So I went with it.

Problem: I went over starting Jan. 28. Got billed for some calls, didn't get billed for others, and there seems to be no logical reason why some cost money and some didn't — in fact, I got charged mid-call for some calls, while the other half of the call went free.

How Earthlink Handled It: Just sent me a bill with extra charges in it.

How I Handled It: Called Earthlink. Got "Simon" somewhere in India. Useless. Couldn't help. Sent me to his "supervisor" who failed to pick up after 20 minutes on hold. Hung up. Supervisor "Andy" called back 10 minutes later and we had another useless conversation, during which I figured out why some calls were billed and some weren't on my own.

Message: Sucker, it's up to you to monitor your own damn bill. Eat it.

Result: I upgraded to Earthlink's Unlimited. Yes, Earthlink Customer Service sucks rocks, but it's what I have and it was easiest. In any case, it's cheaper to do that than to pay the amount I paid for last month's calls. Oh, and it won't take effect until the next billing cycle, so I've got another month I'll have to keep an eye out.

Example 2: Verizon Cell Phone
I had a special deal for a limited number of minutes/texts per month, for a low fee.

Also, never an issue: I didn't text or use the phone all that much. That changed when I went full-time freealnce.

Problem: I went over around the second week of January. Started getting charged for calls.

How Verizon Handled It: Texted me, warning that I was using more than my usual minutes, and that I'd gone over. I should call them.

How I Handled It: I called them. They were very nice and said I should consider upgrading. Discussed with me things that I didn't seem to need on the phone (like VCast) which could reduce the monthly rate, and we upgraded me to more minutes/texts per month. Also: They altered my account so that the additional minutes would apply to the extra calls, and so I would not be charged for them.

Message: We're watching out for you, and we're happy to help.

Verizon gets more money from me, I get more service and I feel attended to.

In the end, I ended up upgrading on both. But who provided the better service? Verizon. Who's the savvier company? Verizon, because they spotted an anomaly and capitalized on it. Who, if they had VoiP service, would I want to sign on with? Verizon.

That's how you do it right. Eat it, Earthlink.


  1. LeendaDLL on 2/08/09 at 11:49 am

    Verizon had Fios – voice, internet & tv over fiber optic. Too pricey for me.

    Glad your experience went well. Verizon and I do not get along – but I keep them anyway because they have the best coverage in CA… something I don’t care about now but did (and will again) when a freelance consultant.

  2. Armchair News on 2/08/09 at 12:36 pm

    Yeah, the fiber optic thing I think is the wave of the future, but the price and the glitches I’ve heard about at this point make me hold back. I’m surprised that I would be touting Verizon as doing the right thing, from what I’ve heard, but there you go. Who knew?

    Hey, I saw you got a post put on Vox’s front page area — nice work!