Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Prescription For Frustration - Cincinnati Bell

I think that I can safely rant about my experience with Cincinnati Bell here because...well, this is America and I'm entitled to my opinion. Also, there aren't a lot of people who read this blog, so I can't imagine that I'm gonna ruffle the ol' Bell's feathers.

So, we signed up for a "bundle" (I don't like that word for some reason) with CB, thinking that this would be awesome...wireless internet service coupled with our land phone service and it would end up costing us a whole dollar more per month than what we were paying for land alone.

Did I mention that it comes with a free voice mailbox? And that they don't send you any instructions about how you'll use it. So...like...you come home and find that your regular, old fashion answering machine has been hijacked and no longer works. You can see that you have a message waiting, but you have NO idea how to retreive it.

You also find that the Zoomtown high speed Internet service that CB promised to activate isn't activated. So when the recording for the general CB number you call (because you smartly printed it off while you were at work) tells you that you can access their Web site for all of your customer service needs, you want to scream.

Of course, after holding the line for 55 minutes, you want to scream even louder. In fact, you've resorted to talking to yourself. You talk out loud, as though you were speaking with someone in the room so that the recording of your call, "monitored for customer service purposes," documents your insanity born of frustration. You question your stupidity for choosing Cincinnati Bell, why don't they have anyone working there, what kind of party they're having while you hold for an hour, what is wrong with humanity, and why should U-Scan lanes at the grocery ever be closed?(After all, "U" are scanning, "U" are there...what's the problem?) You hang up.

You decide to dial "0," just like in the olden days, and after half a dozen prompts, you get a real live person. You ask her, kindly, "Hi. Do you happen to have Cincinnati Bell phone service?"

"No, I'm at a call center in another state. Can I help you with something?"

"I hope so. I thought if you were a Cincinnati Bell customer, you could tell me how to get my voicemail. I was on hold with customer support for an hour, and would just like to retreive my messages."

"Wow. I'm sorry...that is something. Here! Here is a number...wait...okay, have you tried this number?"
(Gives me a number I don't have...) "Try calling that and I hope it helps."

It did. It was actually the number to call to set up the voicemail settings. It asked for a password to get started. I gave it one I like to use, thinking, "Easy to remember!" Then two steps later in the process, it made me choose a different one.

After another two hours total on hold to find out why our Internet wasn't working, I learned that they hadn't connected it. The message that was waiting in our new voicemail? A cancellation of the appointments we'd made and rescheduled to have it connected. We finally have Internet access, but it's not wireless; you have to keep the ethernet cord plugged in. I would call to find out why, but I haven't had a spare three hours in the last week.

So, now we have an extra wireless unit (yeah, they sent two. One of the connect appointments they were supposed to honor? They just dropped off a second box...on our porch. In a very colorful box that read, 'wireless Internet connection!' with a picture of one on the outside of the box. It may as well have said, "Steal me!Quickly!") that I need to drop off at Cincinnati Bell's store. But you can't call the store to ask them where they're located in the mall...no! It takes you right to CB's main line, where you will wait until you die.

So, think twice before you get Cincinnati Bell! Unless you've got some extra patience you want to burn...

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