Monday, April 26, 2004

Mein Kampf (with Qwest, that is)

It’s been just over a week since we moved into this apartment, and we’ve already had two problems with the utilities. The second one was a minor issue with the power company. They sent us a bill for March, even though we requested that our service start on April 1st. The bill is only for five dollars (plus our setup fees, which are even more), but we don’t want to pay it on principle.

The first and biggest problem was with the phone company. They started our service on Thursday, the 15th just as they said they would, but we didn’t have any dial tone and no one could call in. We called to complain, and they blew us off (saying that they had until 5 pm to get it right). The next day, we got married, and for fairly obvious reasons, we were busy until Tuesday, at which point we still didn’t have an operable phone service. So, we called again and this time, they agreed to sent out a repairman. He could come between 9 am and 7 pm the next day, and if the problem was found to be with the building’s phone system, we would be charged $85 for the repair.

That next day, the repairman showed up shortly after noon, which was long before we expected to see anyone. He was a young guy who patiently explained the concept of demarcation and why the phone company wasn’t responsible for our non-working phone. And then, since he was there anyway, he came in and plugged a little device into our phone line, and then went to the switch box and found that the wires weren’t even connected. He fixed it, and then came back to explain just what he had done. In all, we found him to be very nice and helpful, and he almost made us forget the awful treatment we had received up to that point from the phone company. We almost didn’t mind getting charged $85 (added to the normal setup fees, it cost us $110 to get a phone line here).

So, I’m done with them. I will avoid anything that will put money in their coffers. The local cable company will be offering internet service in about a month, and so we will have no DSL. I will avoid getting any extra services like call waiting, caller ID, or anything like that. When we move, we’ll find another company to do business with. I doubt that our boycott will hurt this monopolistic company in any way, but we’ll make our point anyway, and if they survive, we will only take comfort in knowing that the kind repairman may still have a job.

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