Monday, July 18, 2005

Why Earthlink sucks!

I suppose that I should start off by saying that I know that my dealings with them are probably a very small minority. Probably lots of people have Earthlink and love it... In fact about 5 years ago, we had Earthlink and loved it. But that was then and before off-shoring. And let me tell you, it's very different now, and I am mad as hell. I haven't used this blog for this kind of thing before, but I think it will be somewhat cathartic to tell total strangers why Earthlink sucks!

Before we moved to law school city, I called and set up a DSL order with Earthlink. I explained that we were moving, that I needed connection by a certain date etc... No problem, you're ordering early, so no problem. 2 weeks later, we arrive in law school city... um, they haven't mailed the router yet. So I call and

Them: there's a problem with your account.
Me: OK.
Them: Well, the phone isn't operational yet.
Me: Right, remember how I said I was moving... The phone is operational today.
Them: Well, it will take another 48 hours or so to connect your DSL.
Me: But you haven't sent my router yet, so even if you get me connected in 48 hours, my router is still 7-10 business days away!
Them: well, it's our policy to not ship a router until we have an active phone line.
Me: Well, when I called before, why didn't anyone tell me this. I explained how I needed service on a certain date, and it was supposedly no problem.
Them: well whoever you talked to was wrong.
Me: So, can you upgrade shipping on my router, so I can have it faster?
Them: No.
Me: #@$%!^%$#^%$$6

We ended the call with them saying I should call back in a couple of days to see if the line is active.

Fast forward 2 days, DH calls them:

DH: So is my line active now? And when is my router getting here?
Them: Um, we don't show your line as active yet... and we can't send the router until it is.
DH: So can you upgrade shipping?
Them: No.
DH: Because it is en route?
Them: No, because we placed an order with UPS letting them know that we are releasing a router "soon".
DH: But you haven't actually given them the "go ahead and ship it"
Them: Well, no, your line isn't active
DH: So, you can't upgrade the shipping because...
Them: Because it's our policy.
DH: Hmmm... I want to talk to a supervisor.
*holds 15 minutes*
Them: This is supervisor, what's your problem. (rather rudely)
DH: I want shipping upgraded, here's my story.
Them: Sorry can't do it.
Ends call

We call a different provider and find out that not only can they give us faster DSL, but they can also give us a honey of a deal in two weeks.

DH calls Earthlink back:
DH: Cancel my order.
Them: Why?
DH: Are you serious? Repeats story.
Them: So you want to order service (I'm so not joking)
DH: I want to speak to someone who's native language is English.
Holds for 20 minutes...
Them: What do you need (still non native English speaker... but at least seems to understand better)
DH: I want to cancel my order.
Them: we'll give you $10 off your first month.
DH: Cancel my order now.
Them: Ok, cancelled.

1 week later, we receive a router in the mail from earthlink, they charge our credit card with our first month of service. DH calls:

DH: Um, what the hell
Them: Oh, we don't show your order being cancelled.
DH *bangs head against the wall*. On x date, I called and cancelled.
Them: Oh, we must have had a glitch
DH: Well get it off now... and refund my credit card
Them: Can't refund your card until you return the router
DH: Send me a shipping label
End call

A week later, we call new DSL provider with good deal and start to hook things up only to discover that Earthlink still has a hold on our DSL loop that was activated 5 days earlier. DH calls earthlink.

DH: Why are you still holding my phone line hostage and adding service after I told you to stop?
Them: Well, we only cancel service at the end of the billing cycle.
DH: No one told me that, and we've never used your crappy service. We only had an order, that was NEVER filled before we cancelled!
Them: That's policy.
DH: I want you off my phone line, now!
Them: sorry
DH: Want to talk to manager.
Them: manager: we can't do it
DH: Bullshit, you can.
Them: we'll override it, it will take 3-7 business days.
end call

We received the return ship label Saturday. DH is calling new provider to see if line is free now. Keep in mind that each time we called Earthlink, we had to wait at least 20 minutes to talk to someone, often being transferred to several depts... always talking to someone in India.

In the meantime, we still have no internet connection at home and I have been working this whole month from law school city's public library. God bless their wireless internet.

My company does tons of offshoring... and in short it's a pain in the ass. It's slightly better than it was two years ago, but still totally inefficient... and it tends to piss people off who are already on the edge. Offshoring sucks!

Earthlink! You suck. --- End rant. and I feel a little better now.


Lady Elizabeth said...

I had the same experience with AOL .. I tried their 15 "free" hours a couple years ago. Those "free" hours eventually totalled $230.00 of credit card charges. I originally cancelled my account after only 5 hours... even got confirmation # for my cancellation. Imagine my surprise when my Visa bill arrived with AOL charges! Called AOL again and again. I was told my cancellation confirmation number didn't exist...that I was using my AOL account (that's because you cannot delete AOL software without cleaning your hard-drive completely...and as long as they can detect AOL software on your computer...they continue to charge you. Visa kept taking the monthly charges off my bill...only to have them re-appear the next monthly with interest charges. Finally, Visa suggested I close my existing account and apply for a new number. Since by now AOL thought I owed them $230.00...that's exactly what I did. But you thought that would be the end of it...oh, no. Somehow they had my checking account number (I never gave it to them) A month after cancelling my credit card, they withdrew $240.00 from my checking account. I notified the bank and they reversed the charges. AOL did this for 3 months when I went to the bank, closed that account and opened a new account. It cost me $25.00 for new checks and peace of mind. AOL SUCKS!

PapaCool said...

Had bad experiences with both AOL and Earthlink - now moved to Yahoo and love it.

Kelly said...

What a story. Enough that I'll never do business with Earthlink. I don't think my blood pressure could take it.

Anonymous said...

I'll be cancelling my Earthlink account soon due to outsourcing. When I moved, I experienced a sharp drop in my dial-up service. In my previous city, I could almost download faster than my high-speed connection at work. That is, once I started using a laptop that was never infected with Earthlink's accelerator, toolbars, and such.

This wasn't too much of an issue, but when I changed banks, Earthlink could not verify my address. Even when I called and talked to one of their outsourced support staffers and read them my address **as it appears on my bank statement**, they could not verify it. I had to use my credit card instead of my bank card.

The thing that really stung was trying to talk with someone that has no real grasp of American addresses, banking, or credit systems. The person was very nice, but could not make a leap of intuition beyond the prepared answers they're provided during whatever miniscule prep training they're given. I have nothing against foreigners, but it is a definite disadvantage to be forced to deal with employees who don't quite know how things are set up in America. On top of which, most offshore help staff I've ever dealt with seem to be unwilling to "go the extra mile" as it were and use a little innovation to try and reach a solution.

So, after being politely, but repeatedly told they cannot verify my billing address... even though I'm giving it to them verbatim from my bank's information... I was fed up. Their outsourcing has created a tech support department that cannot operate outside the bounds of prepared answers any more than an automated system can. On top of which, polite customer service seems to be treated as a luxury rather than a standard in some countries. It's like they feel you're lucky to even be given patented answers, and if you're expecting some creativity, intuition, innovation, AND politeness... well, you might as well be asking for the moon delivered to you on your doorstep.

Of course, you may have more luck getting the moon delivered than your router.

And that's the sad thing. It's not a tech issue. It's not some giant blow up over REALLY bad service like you got. It's the simple fact that some lady in India can't tell me anything more than my bank must have my address wrong and she doesn't know what else to tell me. Granted, she was very polite about it... but if all your employees can do is tell the customer that THEY must be the ones with the problem, and not Earthlink itself.. it doesn't make for happy customers.

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Anonymous said...

I have had a similar DSL nightmare and just want OUT.

As far as I am concerned; the company should have whatever licensing revoked from the FCC and any other regulatory agencies. Earthlink has no business doing business in the United States.