2009-02-23

2009: DSL Odyssey begins

I suspected it wouldn't be too easy to switch internet providers. Who am I kidding, thinking I can be done in one measly evening?

So... I got home after stopping by a bookstore today mad like a fox (we'll get to that in a separate post) and thought what better use for my ire than calling up TWC to cancel my overpriced cable internet service?

AT&T promised they will set me up in two days after the order comes in, so I figured Thursday would be fine as a cancellation date.

So far, so good. I call their 800 number, and tell to the polite robot that I am calling to cancel my account. It immediately transferred me to the "retentions" department, where a mumbling agent who introduced himself as "Kevin" took my call.

I again stated the reason for my call, and after a number of identity verification questions Kevin asked me why I wanted to cancel. I said I felt that the service was overpriced, and instead of offering a discounted rate, like they usually do, Kevin asked me whether I considered a slower, cheaper service instead. I repeated that I wanted to please cancel the service.

Kevin then did some magic and said that he has canceled my account effective Thursday, and that I'll be getting a couple dollars refund. Cool!

I hang up and go to check in my online TWC account what the status is. I discover that IS HAZ NO INTERNETS!!!

Woe is me!

Okay, I figure, I got GT I can play and there'll be a movie in my mailbox tomorrow, I will survive 48 hours somehow.

I call AT&T to order the DSL service.

This is the point where our hero discovers that online pricing and pricing you get on the phone are two different animals and differ by $5 not in our hero's favor.

No pleas and social engineering techniques known to me work, and since I am determined not to overpay for my intartubes access, I thank the nice CS rep and hang up.

Calling TWC again, now to complain about the abrupt cancellation of service and to ask to restore it until Thursday.

After a few minutes that is done. Was not too bad. The phone rep was polite and competent, and did not try to convince me I was an idiot. It probably helped that I had the name and ID of the first rep written down.

I kept the second rep on the phone until I could verify that the service was indeed restored, thanked him profusely, and rushed to order DSL from AT&T online.

First, their ordering web site told me to go to hell and not come back until I installed MSIE 5 or newer. For a second, I contemplated downloading the unspeakable, but then opted for a client ID spoofing plug-in for Firefox instead.

Equipped with spoofed shining armor of MSIE 7 on Vista (heheh) I plunged head-first into the ordering, again.

Again, to be defeated. This time, the site tried to match my address to what it already knows from the customer database. Since nobody had a land-line phone in my unit in years, the system only showed the addresses of my neighbours, units L1 through 2D, skipping mine!

When I insisted on using my address with the correct unit number, it told me to go to hell and to call another 800 number that's only staffed until 6pm. A look at the clock told me I was 15 minutes late!

So tomorrow I'll call that other number and see if I can get the online pricing. Probably not.

Wish me luck anyway.