By Karen Datko
I normally wouldn't bore most people with my tales about bad service. But remarks by Gov. Judy the other day she heartily told executives from Qwest that she'd back their effort to get into the long-distance market hit a nerve that is still raw. And I suspect I'm not the only one who has had bad encounters with Qwest, the provider of local phone service that many of us are stuck with.
I have never had such bad service from a company in my lengthy adult life.
I'll keep this brief: I ordered service and got it right away, but unfortunately Qwest connected me to my neighbor's phone line. I didn't realize I was sharing a phone line until a strange man answered the phone a few seconds after I did. After realizing the dogs would be barking if a strange man were in the house, I called a friend with caller ID and figured out the problem.
In total, I shared the neighbor's line for five or six days.
Next, I realized I hadn't gotten the free caller ID box I was promised. I called and finally got through Qwest's horrendous voice mail system. (You've been there. You go through the entire set of instructions and then you're disconnected after a recorded voice tells you that all representatives are busy.) The company rep I talked to said Qwest couldn't send a box since Qwest sends them by UPS. UPS delivers to a physical address and Qwest only had my P.O. box. So I gave Qwest my work address and UPS soon delivered the ID box.
All seemed to go well, except for the two Saturdays Qwest telemarketers woke me up at 9:30 a.m. to try to sell me some other Qwest service.
Then, about a month after I got the first caller ID box, Qwest sent me a second one. I called to find out why and was told by a yelling representative that I had ordered one box for my home address and one for my work address. He yelled that it was my fault I had two boxes. He transferred me to a person who was to arrange for me to send the new box back. She insisted that I would have to pay for it even though I was sending it back. When I asked to speak to her supervisor, she put me on eternal hold.
Luckily, when I called back I talked to two people who didn't yell and insult. Rather, I was told that I got the second box because Qwest hadn't followed its own procedures, and that I wouldn't have to pay for it. I was told I'd get a UPS envelope to send it back and to disregard the charge for it on my bill.
I did, but since about two weeks passed and I still hadn't gotten the UPS envelope (and I also hadn't paid that charge on my bill), I asked for and got a credit for the box on my new bill. I had visions of ending up in small claims court with Qwest over a box I never ordered.
The box is still sitting on my dining room table.
If you feel you've been treated poorly by Qwest, please tell our governor and the Public Service Commission.
Qwest is publicly bragging that it's quicker than it used to be at installing new customers. But what about what happens after the new connection is made. If I could never deal again with this company and get service with another local carrier, I would. And I'd be happy about it.