Posts Tagged ‘Yahoo’


I have been using Ameritech/SBC/AT&T; Yahoo DSL for close to 6 years now. Overall I have been very happy with the service. It rarely goes down, which to me is the single most important aspect of Internet service. I get my emails as fast as Outlook will pull them down (which never taxes the line based on Outlook’s performance). I get to Web sites and the performance is very acceptable for me and the people who share it here at White Light Computing World Headquarters.

I started out with the 784kbps service, which was a big bump from the 144kbps service I had with Voyager before they decided to stop offering DSL. A few years ago I upgraded to Pro (1.5 to 3.0 mbps) and last year to the Elite package which promises between 3 and 6mbps service (readers might recall my post when I upgraded last year: AT&T; DSL Tries to Increase 25%).

When I moved up to the Pro service I tested out the DSL Speed at 1.2 to 1.3 mbps. Every time I tested it, no matter the time of day, no matter what day of the week, I always got 1.2 to 1.3mbps. I called the tech support and they told me the distance from my house to the central office was further than the recommended distance. I figured this was pretty good since the best I was ever able to get on dial-up more than a decade ago was 26kbps (yes I am serious, even with a 56K modem). According to the phone company I live in the oldest phone infrastructure in the state of Michigan despite the fact that my house was built in a new neighborhood just 14 years ago.

Over the last few years I have complained periodically about the performance of the line hoping they would move the central office closer to my house via the infrastructure, or put in some line boosters. I mostly complained around the time I renew my annual contract. Last year they promised me if I moved to the Elite version that I would definitely get better performance. Nope, still at the 1.2 to 1.3mbps speed. I complained at least twice since the upgrade. Apparently not loud enough.

A couple of weeks ago I get a sales call from AT&T; Yahoo asking me if I would like 6.25 mbps. I told them I would love to get the low end of the Elite service I have been paying for. You see, I have finally wizened up {g}. The gentleman told me the old modems were the problem. All I had to do is get the new service and purchase a new modem and I would be set to rock and roll. Hmmmm, new modem is the problem. So I decline and talk to tech support to see if I can get a replacement modem. I ask about the specs and they tell me they cannot find anything about the upper limits. They proceed to tell me it would be easy to get the latest technology for something like US$79.99. I get shipped back to sales again. I Google the DSL modem I have and the manufacturer’s site tells me it can go as high as 8mbps. Back to tech support.

Smelling the rat I get escalated to second level support. Interestingly enough it takes the second level tech about 60 seconds to have an “aha” moment. In my “record” I was still tagged at Express speed which means Ameritech/SBC/AT&T; have throttled my performance to max out at 1.5mbps. He updates my record and tells me to test the DSL speed again. Holy cow, over 5mbps!!! More than triple the speed I was getting minutes before when the first level techs told me the modem was old and I was too far from the central office one more time.

Back to sales to get my monetary adjustment. First level sales said the best they can do is two months credit because I did not complain enough to them over the three years they were throttling my speed. Two months!?!?!? How about $120 per year since this is what the difference is between the Elite plan I have and the Express plan I was throttled to get? Nope, the best I should hope for is two months, and actually I should consider this a “generous offer.” Seriously!?!?! Customer service has never been one of the phone company’s strong points. You would think the alleged competition would make them treat customers like human beings, but no, they treat them more along the line of the necessary evil people who pay to keep them in a job.

Moving to the “supervisor” offered me $100, credited to me over the next few months. This happens to cross over my contract year so if I bail to cable or another provider I will not even see the entire credit. Total crapola.

So the moral of this story is to test out your speed performance and ensure you are getting what you paid for. If you are getting the run around you can ask for level two support and ask them to check your record to ensure it is set correctly. I am still considering my options as far as if I should go after AT&T; Yahoo to get a full refund. I am normally anti-lawsuit, but this one really is something they should be called out on. If they are doing it to me, they are probably doing it to a lot of others. I have also considered giving a call to the local news station and getting one of their consumer reporters on the case just for grins. Fortunately for them I have been buried in work and have not had a moment to think about this since I got the “speed boost” a couple of weeks ago.

Another Life Lesson learned thanks to the folks at the New AT&T;.

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