Let me invite you all to share my pain.
For the last two weeks, my digital phone service with Time Warner has sucked. In the middle of conversations, my calls drop. People try to call me and although it rings forever on their end, it doesn’t ring at all on my end. Christopher has even gotten a recorded message when he’s tried to call that my phone is not accepting calls.
So… it was evident, that since I’m paying for this fabulously reliable phone service, I would eventually have to call Time Warner’s customer service and let them know. I knew it would be painful, but until today… I had no idea what kind of agony a VOIP provider was capable of.
Here’s how my 49 minute trip through hell (yes, 49 minutes) went.
I dial Time Warner’s customer service number, go through the menu until I reach a customer service agent. Tell him the problem. He tells me that he can’t do anything except transfer me to “Third Level” Tech Support. Oooh… lucky me. I get to skip the incompetent retards at level 2 and go straight to 3. For a moment, I think I’m lucky…
EXCEPT. The brilliant folks at level three don’t pick up the call. I’m on hold for 44 minutes before picking up my cell phone and calling Time Warner customer service again. I go through the menu. Reach a customer service rep… and then it gets worse.
Me: Hi. I’ve been on hold for 44, ooh, no, now it’s 45 minutes waiting for third level tech support. And I don’t understand why it’s taking so long.
Rep: Ma’am, I’m sorry for your wait time.
Me: Is that a normal, acceptable wait time to keep customers on hold at Time Warner?
Rep: Let me check. Can I put you on hold?
Me: Sure. By all means.
I wait about 1 minute.
Rep: Ma’am the customary wait time is anywhere between 10 minutes and 45 minutes for tech support. At this time of year, there’s a high volume of calls.
Me: What? Everyone’s phone breaks around Christmas? That doesn’t really make sense.
(Have I ever mentioned that I have no patience for idiots?)
Rep: Hehe. You’re right… it doesn’t seem to be connected to the time of year.
Rep: I understand that you’ve been waiting a long time.
Me: Other customers are okay with waiting that long?
Rep: I’m sure they probably are not. I do apologize.
Me: It’s not your fault.
Rep: I know, but on behalf of Time Warner, I’m required to apologize.
Me: So what should I do? Continue to wait? It’s going on minute 47 now.
Rep: Well, maybe I can help you. What problems are you experiencing?
Me: My phone is having problems that started about two weeks ago. Calls are being dropped after about 25 minutes. People try to call me and it just rings forever for them, but my phone doesn’t ring at all… and some people are even getting messages that I’m not accepting calls, but my phone isn’t ringing.
Rep: Okay… I’ll get my troubleshooting guide. Can I put you on hold?
I wait for about 1 minute.
Rep: Okay… so you said you’re not getting a dial tone, right?
Me: Uh… no, I never said that.
Rep: Oh yeah… it’s the quality of the voice when you’re talking, right?
Me: Um, no. Are you the same person I just described the problem to?
Rep: Yeah… um… what was the problem again?
I repeat it AGAIN.
Rep: Hrmm… yeah, I can’t help you that. Only third level tech support can help you with that.
Me: Yeah… I’m on hold with them. 49 minutes now. Maybe there’s a supervisor I could talk to.
Rep: Well no… anyone you talk to will do what I’m doing.
Me: Which is… basically saying there’s nothing you can do?
Rep: I can only transfer you to third level tech support.
Me: And I’m already on hold with them.
Rep: Yeah. I could send a complaint for you.
Me: Okay. Let’s send two. The first one can be about the problems I’m having with my phone. And the second one can be that I think being on hold for 49 minutes is too long.
Rep: Alright. I’ll send those.
Me: Then what happens? Someone responds?
Rep: Well… uh… I guess it takes 45 minutes after I send it for someone to receive the complaint.
Me: That’s less time than I’ve been on hold.
Rep: I believe someone will call you then.
Me: Yeah, that’d be good because I’m not convinced anyone will ever answer my call. Thanks.
Rep: No problem. Is there anything else I can do?
Me: I think we’ve both come to the conclusion that there isn’t, right?
Rep: Yes… well, you have a happy holiday and thank you for being a customer at Time Warner.
Me: Thanks. Bye.
A few minutes later, Third Level Tech Support did answer. After explaining my problem again, he told me that there seems to be a problem in “my area” and other customers are experiencing the same thing. Despite that, he can’t do anything unless I call him the next time it happens and let Time Warner know right away that someone has tried to call me, but my phone’s not ringing.
Me: So… if my phone doesn’t ring… how…
Tech: Tell everyone that if it happens when they call the land line, they should call your cell phone, and then you can call us and tell us exactly what time it happened so that we have a call sample to look at and then we can figure out what the problem is.
At this point I’m thinking, if you know it’s happening to other people “in my area,” why haven’t you already obtained a call sample and fixed it? But I don’t say that.
Then he gives me a secret phone number to call with a secret pin number and once I get through, a secret ticket number so that they can update their tech support order. I write all the numbers down feeling like maybe it would just be a lot less hassle and a lot fewer secret numbers to just switch from Time warner to some other provider.
But I believe in second chances, and apparently when it comes to Verizon (my piece of shit cell provider) I believe in seventh and eighth chances. So surely I can give Time Warner a chance to fix this. Right???