Is there anything I can do?

May bill from Frontier
Bill for Frontier FiOS (formerly Verizon FiOS)
June bill from Frontier
Now that's just unreasonable

| A few years ago I switched my internet provider from Time-Warner Cable to Verizon FiOS; they were offering a sweet rate and blazing fast speeds, both uploading and downloading. I couldn't resist. Then Verizon was forced to sell its California FiOS business to Frontier as a condition for allowing a merger to go through (I think it was buying AOL).

Frontier offered internet only service over FiOS for $45/month with the same speeds up and down — 100Mbps. But of course that was only an "introductory rate" and after a while they jacked the price up substantially. I complained loudly and they offered me a big discount in return for dropping my speed to 50Mbps both up and down. OK, 50Mbps is still really fast, so that was a trade-off I was willing to make. And in fact, my actual speeds were in the neighborhood of 65Mbps rather than 50. However, as time went on the upload speeds started to get a little sluggish.

recent Frontier speed tests
Recent Frontier speed tests

I was a generally happy camper.

Apparently my discount ran out and it never occurred to Frontier to warn me, so I was very shocked when I received the last bill (above). In the meantime, Time-Warner Cable has become part of Charter Communications and goes by the name Spectrum. Let's see what they have to offer.

The current special offer for Spectrum internet is $45/month with advertised speeds of 100Mbps. Hey! That's twice my current speed for the same amount that I have been paying. I took care to find out what the price would be after the introductory offer ended, and I was quoted $65/month. That's less than $80. Sign me up.

The technician came yesterday to do the install. One of the very curious things was that he insisted that he had to cut the connectors off the ends of my existing coaxial cable running from the wall to the modem because Spectrum would only allow their own connectors to be used. Good grief!

He got everything connected up but could not complete the job because there was an "outage" in my "area" (which from his description was quite large). He would therefore waive the installation fee and assured me that the modem would reset itself when the outage was cured and everything would be hunky dory. Well it wasn't. I eventually had to reset the modem myself and then reboot everything connected in my network. But it worked.

And, surprise, surprise, the speeds are fast but not what is advertised. The kicker is that the fast speeds apply only  when you are downloading!

Spectrum speed test
Rather a disrepancy don't you think?

And the test above is not an anomaly. I've tested the speed several times and uploads are always much, much, much slower.

Spectrum speed test
I've had faster dial-up!

Cancelling Frontier

Then it was time to cancel my Frontier account.

First attempt. After navigating an extended voice menu I was finally connected to a person who said she would be happy to help me. But alas, "All our systems are down and I can't do anything right now. Try again in a couple of hours." Fine. Be that way.

Second attempt. I called back the following day and again navigated the voice menu. It tells a lot about Frontier's business model that when you get to the final menu for customer service, the very first thing you hear is "If your promotional rate has expired or is about to expire, press 1." The final item in the menu, to actually cancel your account, is "press 6."

How can I help you today?

[Duh! I pressed 6 to cancel] I want to cancel my account.

May I ask the reason?

My bill jumped from $45 to $80, without warning, so I am dropping the overpriced service.

Is there anything I can do, to make it less expensive for you?

No. Y'all should have thought of that before jacking up my rate. It's too little, too late. I've already switched to a new provider.

I'll put in the cancellation order.... Please be patient, I'm waiting for a confirmation number.... I have your confirmation number, it's [dead line] ...315. Did you get that?

No, the phone cut out. You'll have to repeat it.

And there you have it. Gouge the customer and mollify those who object with short-term discounts so they won't switch. Calling to cancel is treated as the beginning of a negotiation, rather than an action to be completed.

Last updated on Jun 28, 2018

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