Sunday, February 13, 2005

Adventures in Bad Customer Service

Wow. I just had an interesting chat with an Earthlink rep.

I've had dealings with Earthlink for the last five years or so, first as my ISP, and then just as an emergency/vacation dial-up ISP and for my Earthlink email address.

But now I don't really need the ISP stuff anymore, and I get all the email services I need from Gmail for free.

So I tried to close my Earthlink account via live chat with an Earthlink billing agent tonight. The transcript follows:

Welcome to Earthlink LiveChat. Your chat session will begin shortly.

'Polly M.' says: Thank you for contacting EarthLink LiveChat, how may I help you today?
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Hi Polly. Please close my account. I don't need it anymore.
Polly M.: Hi.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Hey. Did you get that last message?
Polly M.: At this time, EarthLink does not accept cancellation requests via email/live chat. To cancel your service you must call 888-EarthLink, 7am to 10pm EST M-F, and 8am to 10pm EST Sat/Sun or send registered or certified mail, return receipt requested to EarthLink Inc.; 1375 Peachtree Street, Level A Atlanta, GA 30309. Accounts are set to close at the end of the current cycle. We don't prorate charges. #PFR#/DUC/C-S/wecannotcancel
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Hrm. That sucks. I always thought your cust. service was pretty good.
Polly M.: Yes.
Polly M.: I apologize for the inconvenience.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Yeah. It is inconvenient, but I don't imagine you can do anything about that. What if I just told my credit card co. to reject payments to Earthlink?
Polly M.: I am sorry. I am not authorized to accept online canmcellation requiests.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Yeah, I got that. I'm asking what would happen if I made it so that my credit card didn't pay Earthlink anymore.
Polly M.: Sorry. Once your account is closed, you will not be charged for the service.
Polly M.: You can get your billing issues resolved or even dispute the charges at the time of cancellation.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Sort of feels like you're not listening. What would happen? I'd just like to know.
Polly M.: If your Credit Card Company rejects the payment, then you can send a check for the payment.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Polly, you're a hoot. How long would it be before Earthlink killed the account for no payment?

Polly M.: Accounts are set to close at the end of the billing cycle. Please note that the the due date is set for 20 days after the invoice is generated.
Polly M.: If we do not receive the payment, you will be intimated.
Polly M.: Also, your account will not be closed without prior intimation.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: Intimated?
ohbejake@earthlink.net: "Marked by close acquaintance, association, or familiarity."? Are you serious?
Polly M.: Yes, a notice will be sent to you, if there is any problem with your account.
ohbejake@earthlink.net: This is going nowhere, Polly. Work on your English. Good night.

Polly M.: I apologize for the inconvenience.

Poor Polly. When her boyfriend breaks up with her because she won't allow him to get intimated, does she apologize for the inconvenience? Must be lonely up in that ivory tower of broken English and unanswered questions.

But Polly's loneliness doesn't change the fact that tomorrow I'll have to call Earthlink and deal with someone who will almost certainly be more annoying than her, and will try to talk me out of closing my account for an hour or two, leading to the frustration of both parties.

My new mantra: "Maybe it will be easier for us both if you just go ahead and intimate my account now. Thank you."

Oh, and spammers? Go ahead; have at it!

1 comment:

Daren Scot Wilson said...

Wow, that is rotten customer service! I have had bad chats with earthlink too, canned responses as if not paying attention, though none quite so atrocious. And been on the phone with them for 2.5 hours without solving a problem. I have just closed my account (by phone) mostly for these reasons - and found your blog surfing while on hold.