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I live approximately half of each year in Chicago Illinois and half in Sun City Arizona. Because of a solar installation in my Sun City home I require year around internet service, but only phone and television when I am actually there. In January/February of 2014 I was shopping for a provider and the Prism infrastructure had just been installed in my community. I called about the service and prices, and told the rep on the phone that it was important that I be able to suspend TV and phone while keeping internet when I was not in Arizona. He said that that was probably no problem, but since he didn't seem certain I asked him to double-check. He put me on hold, and when he returned he said that his supervisor assured him that this was possible. In addition, while I was at the Arrowhead Mall in Glendale I saw the CenturyLink kiosk and asked the rep there the same question. He also replied that it should be no problem. In June when I called to put my TV and phone on a vacation suspension, I was told that for technological reasons I would be unable to have internet without also having the phone service. With some difficulty I made alternate arrangements for internet connectivity for my solar installation and suspended all three CenturyLink/Prism services. I mention this only as an introduction to my CenturyLink experience. My major complaint today is below.
On Wednesday, August 19th 2015, from Chicago, I contacted a CenturyLink/Prism representative via online chat to have my services restored on Friday, August 21st. I asked if I would have to call when I got to Arizona and he said that there would be no reason to call and that my services would be on.
We arrived on Friday to find the phone service working, but no TV or internet. I called technical support and, after the customary interactions with the automated system and a wait on hold, spoke to “Stan” who had an Indian accent. He did not seem to understand the issues. He went back and forth, hemming and hawing and putting me on hold, and finally said that I had to speak to Prism technical support. He transferred me. At Prism I spoke to Scott. After a period of back and forth upgrading and rebooting we finally got the TV service working. Although the WIFI was working, I was not getting an internet connection. Scott finally determined that the order had been put in to resume the internet service on Saturday rather than Friday, and that it would be working on Saturday sometime.
It was not working Saturday morning, and since I needed internet access I called again. I spoke to a woman whose name I don't recall, but she may have had a Filipino accent. I told her the situation. She also did not seem to understand. We went back and forth, and at one point when she returned she told me that the call would be recorded. After more fruitless questions and answers she told me that she would transfer me to Prism support. She put me on hold for 10-20 minutes, during which she returned to the line twice to tell me to please continue holding. Then I was disconnected.
Of course I was very angry at this point. I called back and after the customary waits I spoke to a person and explained everything I had been through, and asked to be put through to Prism support. This person was very sympathetic and transferred me. At Prism I spoke to Carolyn and told her my story. She checked the account and told me that the internet was scheduled to be turned on today (Saturday) and asked me to stay on hold while she would try to expedite the order. I was on hold for 5-10 minutes, and when Carolyn returned I had internet access. She told me that since I had been through so much she had pushed the order up. She was extremely sympathetic and apologetic.
On Sunday I was notified by a friend that she had called while I was out but she was unable to leave a voice mail. I used my cell to call my CenturyLink line and was told by a recording that I had to enter a mailbox number. On Monday morning I called support again. After the waits I spoke to someone who told me that I didn't have voice mail service. Since it was part of my service agreement I had him check further and he told me that it had been an error and he placed an order for it to be turned on effective Tuesday (today). I checked this afternoon and it was turned on and I set it up again. I had also asked the technician for an address where I could send a letter of complaint. He put me on hold while he checked and when he came back I was told that the only place was the feedback section of the web site.
I was concerned that with all the order confusion that there might be a problem with billing. I wanted to make sure that I was still paying the same amount. So today, August 25th, I called the customer service number and went through the automated phone choices and held the line for 25 minutes. At that point the recorded ads stopped and there was only a hissing sound. I waited five more minutes (I was invested at this point) and was finally disconnected. I called back, and after about 15 more minutes I spoke to Teresa. I explained my situation and asked what my monthly bill would be. She said that she could only tell that I had the same services and discounts as before the vacation hold and that the bill would probably be the same. With all the issues that I've had I wasn't satisfied with “probably” and asked for a supervisor. Teresa (who had been very nice) transferred me to Grant in Escalation. He apologized for all the trouble I had been experiencing, and told me that Teresa was correct but that the exact amount of the bill could not be determined until it is actually issued. I felt pretty confident from what Grant said that my bill would be the same as before the vacation hold. He was also very sympathetic, and when I asked him for an address for complaints, he did not direct me to the web site but gave me this one which I hope is correct.
So to recap, after giving a two day notice for my services to be restored, I have spent several days and upwards of four hours on the phone trying to get it done. I've had Cox in Arizona and Comcast and AT&T U-verse in Chicago, and nothing I ever experienced with them has come close to being this bad.
August 26th, 2015
I have unsealed my letter to you so that I can add the events of this morning.
I noticed that our on-screen caller ID was not working, although caller ID was working on the phone. I started a chat with tech support at about 9:30 AM. The first tech had me reboot the modem, which disconnected the chat but didn't solve the problem. I tried again. The second tech, Chris K in Boise, transferred me to Prism support. There I chatted with Lendell and went over all the same information. He had me reboot the set top box, which also didn't work. Then he transferred me to advanced support and Amber R. I went over the same information with her, including the fact that the Caller ID had been working up until Monday when the voice mail feature was reactivated. She felt that the problem was that the anonymous call rejection feature had accidentally been activated at the same time, and that was causing the problem, and transferred me to Customer Service. A message there said that I was 19th in the queue. By this time it was 10:47 and I had to step away to the bathroom. When I returned the chat had been terminated. I tried to start a new chat with Customer Service but had to wait for a button to appear on the web page. I finally got through to Niesha S who said she could help me remove the feature but would have to transfer me to the Home Phone Team. We're at 11:41 AM by now. Jared in Boise responded and requested all the same account info. He then told me that the chat had been misrouted and that he would transfer me to the proper department. I then got Carrie F. I explained again. I got a message that I was again being transferred. 11:55 AM. I got Amber R again. She said that she would phone Customer Service. She tried several things. At 12:29 the on screen caller ID began to work. So that's three more hours I spent with CenturyLink/Prism.