Monday, January 16, 2006

Changing providers

Wherein I detail that sometimes you just have to tell your ISP that you're not that in to them anymore

When your ISP puts "Press 2 to cancel your account" on the second level of the phone menu, that isn't a good sign. Makes me think so many people are calling to cancel they created an option to quickly take them out of the normal call queue. That's what Earthlink has done, making it easy to close my account.

It should've been a harder decision to leave than it was. I had originally signed up under Mindspring in the spring of 1997. All my hardcore geek friends recommended them. Mindspring was a truly great company and the merger/buy out by Earthlink forever changed that.(Photodude has some of the best Mindspring recaps and if I had to pick one, The Last Guard Retires would be it.)

I canceled for one main reason - they say we're not eligible for DSL. Which is probably why we stayed with dialup for so long. Eventually, though, the prices came down and it was time. Switched to Speedfactory because everyone said they were like Mindspring in the good old days. Funny thing is our neighbor has Earthlink DSL. According to him the magic phrase to tell them is "we have copper from the street" and then somehow Earthlink would know what to do. No, time to switch, email is 80% SPAM and Mindspring is cold in the ground.

Overlapped services for a couple months to let email contacts catch up. Decided it was time to pull the plug when Earthlink mailed us an overdue notice for our account. According to them, we forgot to pay a month, which is odd because we're set up for them to directly bill a credit card. Turns out they forgot to bill us for November, sent us the overdue notice in December and two days later billed us for both November and December. Brilliant.

What follows is my recreation of the cancellation call. I will say the customer service guy was friendly and helpful, and there were no problems. He half-heartedly try to sell us other services, but when the customer wants DSL and you won't sell it, ain't much the company can do.
I need to cancel my account.
Wow, you've been a customer for a long time.
Yeah, back in the good old days when you were Mindspring.
"Why are you canceling?"
You won't provide us with DSL. Then you forgot to charge our account and sent us an overdue notice. We're done.
"Really...[checking]...that's correct. Who did you go with?"
"Oh, they must own the lines."
They're a local company, like Mindspring used to be, and they do require BellSouth local service.
"Oh, BellSouth is one of our partners."
Doesn't seem to help much does it.
"heh heh...You know we provide email only accounts."
Why would I want that?
"Or our Earthlink internet access..."
No we've switched ISPs and our email is taken care of, so we're done.
"ok, here's your confirmation number and thank you."

If in Georgia, Speedfactory is the way to go.


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