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Don't Go Here

Thursday, June 9, 2016

One hour of being stonewalled


This is what passes for customer "service" at CenturyLink: 

You are chatting with MARCOS A..

How may I help you today?
MARCOS A.: at 13:46:55

Thank you for choosing CenturyLink! My name is Marcos, how can I help you?
MARCOS A.: at 13:46:55

Michael Britton: at 13:47:19
Hi, my bill is supposed to be $34.95 but it is $38.94. I need that corrected, please.

MARCOS A.: at 13:47:58
I will be more than glad to assist you. Can you provide me your full service address as well as your account number?

Michael Britton: at 13:48:48
[INFORMATION PROVIDED]

MARCOS A.: at 13:51:51
Thank you for the information

MARCOS A.: at 13:52:42
Just to verify that I am speaking with a responsible party on this account, please provide the last four digits of the account holder's SSN.

Michael Britton: at 13:52:57
[INFORMATION PROVIDED]

MARCOS A.: at 13:53:00
Thank you for the information

MARCOS A.: at 13:53:50
may I know do you usually do long distance calls

Michael Britton: at 13:54:15
Irrelevant. Please focus on my problem.

MARCOS A.: at 13:54:25
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 13:54:37
I do show on my system that your bill is ok

MARCOS A.: at 13:54:48
This is your billing cycle

Michael Britton: at 13:55:00
"ok" how? It is $3.99 too much.

MARCOS A.: at 13:56:53
Thank you for waiting. I'll be with you in just a moment.

MARCOS A.: at 13:56:58
you have 40M internet speed $34.95 + internet cost recovery $3.99 (The Internet Cost Recovery Fee (ICRF) is a new monthly recurring charge which is applied to all consumer and business HSI lines in service. The charge will apply to all types of HSI) $3.99 = $38.94

Michael Britton: at 13:57:07
ok

Michael Britton: at 13:57:37
Hold on a moment please [I went and looked up information in this fee.]

MARCOS A.: at 13:57:37
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 13:58:37
Yeah, I refuse to pay that fee. I did not agree to it. Please remove it.

MARCOS A.: at 13:58:55
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:00:28
I understand that "This fee helps defray costs associated with building and maintaining CenturyLink's High-Speed Internet broadband network, as well as the costs of expanding network capacity to support the continued increase in customers' average broadband consumption."  But...that's what the rest of my bill is for. This is just another sneaky way to raise my rates. I object vociferously to being dealt with in this fashion. Please escalate to someone who can take care of this.

MARCOS A.: at 14:01:02
Allow me a moment please

Michael Britton: at 14:01:42
ok

MARCOS A.: at 14:02:03
Thank you

MARCOS A.: at 14:02:17
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:02:30
But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:02:33
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:02:47
What is not available?

Michael Britton: at 14:02:51
Escalation?

MARCOS A.: at 14:03:01
You have to pay that on your billing cycle

MARCOS A.: at 14:03:06
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:03:43
Really? I don't think so. If I have to pay the $3.99 fee, then I need the rest of bill lowered by $3.99.

Michael Britton: at 14:04:09
I insist on escalating to a supervisor, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:04:06
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:04:22
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:04:32
But at this moment they are not available

MARCOS A.: at 14:04:34
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:04:53
Yes. I need a supervisor.

MARCOS A.: at 14:04:57
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:03
but they are not available

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:03
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:05:29
Why are they not available?

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:37
They are busy right now

Michael Britton: at 14:05:50
Okay, I can wait.

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:43
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:44
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:58
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:05:59
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:06:07
Yes, put me in the queue for a supervisor. I will wait.

MARCOS A.: at 14:06:11
I do understand

MARCOS A.: at 14:06:12
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:06:30
Yes, put me in the queue for a supervisor. I will wait.

MARCOS A.: at 14:06:45
I do apologize for the inconveniences this is not possible right now

MARCOS A.: at 14:06:47
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:07:11
Are you seriously denying a customer the opportunity to escalate? Really?

MARCOS A.: at 14:07:38
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:08:01
But this is your billing cycle

MARCOS A.: at 14:08:11
You have to pay this

MARCOS A.: at 14:08:16
I do apologize for that

Michael Britton: at 14:09:11
I'm sure there is someone there who can reduce my bill by $3.99 to accommodate your shady business practice of adding a $3.99 fee.

MARCOS A.: at 14:09:33
I do apologize for the inconveniences but this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:09:37
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:10:38
On March 9, 2016, Marvin in the Loyalty department assured me that my rate would be $34.95/mo for 24 months. He gave me his word. Surely you don't want to make a liar out of Marvin. Surely a man's word means something to you?

MARCOS A.: at 14:10:54
I do understand

Michael Britton: at 14:11:06
I insist on communicating with a supervisor to resolve this.

MARCOS A.: at 14:11:16
but this recovery is on your bill you will have to pay this I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:11:16
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:12:10
Yes. You can credit my bill with $3.99 x 24 months = $95.76. That way, you guys aren't a bunch of stinking liars.

MARCOS A.: at 14:12:23
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:12:31
I would appreciate it if you did not use inappropriate language. If you continue to do so, this chat session will end.

Michael Britton: at 14:13:21
Sorry. I meant to say "malodorous speakers of untruths."

MARCOS A.: at 14:13:36
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:13:52
Yes, I need my problem resolved.

Michael Britton: at 14:14:01
I can do this all day. Please escalate me now.

MARCOS A.: at 14:14:38
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:14:38
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:15:04
There is no such thing in customer support as a rep who is not empowered to escalate to a supervisor. Please escalate me immediately.

MARCOS A.: at 14:15:26
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:15:30
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:15:43
Look, Marcos, I'm not trying to make your life hard. I just want to be treated like the paying customer I am.

Michael Britton: at 14:15:53
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:16:11
I do understand

Michael Britton: at 14:16:50
I don't think you do understand.

MARCOS A.: at 14:16:43
I do apologize for the inconveniences but at this moment is not possible to give you this credit

MARCOS A.: at 14:16:43
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:16:55
Anything "else"? You haven't helped me at all, yet!

Michael Britton: at 14:17:01
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:17:44
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:17:58
Uh huh.

Michael Britton: at 14:18:23
I saw that macro the first 30 times.

Michael Britton: at 14:18:32
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:19:31
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:19:46
Funny, Marcos.

MARCOS A.: at 14:19:40
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:19:49
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:19:55
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:20:05
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:20:43
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

Michael Britton: at 14:20:56
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:13
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:14
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:21:22
Put me in the supervisor queue; I will wait.

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:24
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:24
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:21:38
Escalate me, please.

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:41
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:21:42
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:22:36
This is the last ninety-five bucks that you crooks are going to steal from my family! I will post this chat transcript on social media to help expose the corruption of CenturyLink. This is the most appalling customer service ever.

MARCOS A.: at 14:23:04
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:23:26
Where are you located, Marcos?

MARCOS A.: at 14:24:14
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available give information

MARCOS A.: at 14:24:21
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:24:39
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:24:43
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:24:43
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:25:00
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:05
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:05
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:25:15
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:23
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:24
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:25:36
When will a supervisor be available?

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:41
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:25:41
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:26:11
WHEN will a supervisor be available? Simple question.

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:14
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:19
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:26:29
Got that. So, when?

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:30
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:30
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:26:43
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:42
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:26:43
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:27:18
Don't you even have a desire to help me?

Michael Britton: at 14:27:27
Do you just not care?

Michael Britton: at 14:27:36
Are you a human?

Michael Britton: at 14:27:42
Or a robot?

MARCOS A.: at 14:27:45
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:27:45
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:28:04
Ha! Robot!

Michael Britton: at 14:28:07
Knew it.

MARCOS A.: at 14:28:11
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:28:21
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:28:28
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:28:30
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:28:40
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:28:46
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:28:47
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:29:35
Yes, you can help me to figure out the best way to make sure CenturyLink regrets this.

Michael Britton: at 14:31:06
You know, just yesterday I was talking with some guys at work about how some companies are so big that they truly do not care about customer satisfaction. Here's a perfect example.

MARCOS A.: at 14:31:18
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:31:19
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:32:12
Now it's clear that you're just multi-tasking. Hitting macros. Not even reading my responses...a multi-tasking robot...

Michael Britton: at 14:32:18
How pathetic.

Michael Britton: at 14:32:44
Well, at least you guys can continue to abuse your customers with impunity.

MARCOS A.: at 14:32:42
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:33:02
Right.

MARCOS A.: at 14:33:03
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:33:13
MIchael do you need something else?

Michael Britton: at 14:33:27
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:33:36
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:33:36
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:33:48
Yes. Escalate me.

MARCOS A.: at 14:34:28
I do apologize for the inconveniences But this is not available at the moment

MARCOS A.: at 14:34:31
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:35:21
Yes. Say something to prove you are not a robot.

MARCOS A.: at 14:35:49
Yes I am a human

MARCOS A.: at 14:35:52
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:36:15
Sorry I accused you of being a robot.

MARCOS A.: at 14:36:25
hahahahahaha

Michael Britton: at 14:36:36
From one human to another...will you please help me?

MARCOS A.: at 14:36:32
That is ok

MARCOS A.: at 14:36:50
I do apologize for this inconveniences Michael

MARCOS A.: at 14:36:59
But this is not possible right now

Michael Britton: at 14:37:17
When might it be possible?

MARCOS A.: at 14:37:16
Is not a way to fix this

MARCOS A.: at 14:37:42
I do apologize for the inconveniences but that information is not available

Michael Britton: at 14:38:55
No way to fix this, eh? This is just the way it is...I must accept it. I must roll over and be abused. Hmm. I will remember this when my contract is up, and you will lose a customer. Over $95. That is not a smart business move.

MARCOS A.: at 14:39:20
I do apologize for the inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:39:35
But, you will retain millions of other customers who are equally abused, so I guess I don't matter.

Michael Britton: at 14:40:02
And that's exactly what I meant about companies getting so big that their customers don't matter. We matter in aggregate, but not individually.

MARCOS A.: at 14:39:59
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:40:15
I do understand

Michael Britton: at 14:40:32
You're still going to lose me as a customer.

MARCOS A.: at 14:40:43
I do apologize for that inconveniences

Michael Britton: at 14:41:03
Because I may not matter to you (CenturyLink collectively), but my own self-worth matters to me.

Michael Britton: at 14:41:17
Self-respect.

MARCOS A.: at 14:41:19
I do understand

MARCOS A.: at 14:41:23
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:42:07
Can you provide me the DIRECT phone number to the Loyalty department?

MARCOS A.: at 14:42:54
I do apologize for the inconveniences, but this is not possible right now

Michael Britton: at 14:43:11
Ha ha! I should have guessed.

MARCOS A.: at 14:43:32
I do apologize for that

Michael Britton: at 14:43:43
Never mind, I found it in my notes from the other (many) times I have had to deal with you folks. It's 877-348-9004 in case you're wondering.

MARCOS A.: at 14:43:36
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

MARCOS A.: at 14:44:11
I do apologize for the inconveniences

MARCOS A.: at 14:44:16
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:44:49
Yes...enjoy a nice dinner after work today. Relax. Talk about this chat exchange with your wife or girlfriend. Appreciate your life.

Michael Britton: at 14:45:04
Be glad you are not a CenturyLink customer.

Michael Britton: at 14:45:31
Sorry for giving you such a hard time. I am not one to take no for an answer.

MARCOS A.: at 14:45:27
Thank you Michael have a good night and take care you too take the life easy

MARCOS A.: at 14:45:36
I do understand

MARCOS A.: at 14:45:45
That is ok no problem

MARCOS A.: at 14:45:56
I'm here for assist you on what I can

MARCOS A.: at 14:45:58
Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Michael Britton: at 14:46:15
Yes. Escalate me.

Michael Britton: at 14:46:17
Just kidding.

Michael Britton: at 14:46:20
BYE

MARCOS A.: at 14:46:28
Hahahahaahahaha

MARCOS A.: at 14:46:34
Good By Michael

MARCOS A.: at 14:46:38
Bye*

MARCOS A.: at 14:46:42
Have a nice day

MARCOS A.: at 14:47:01
Based on the chat transaction with me today, there will be a post chat survey. I hope you rate me a 10-10. Have I earned that score from you today?

**************

Survey: Please provide comments or suggestions regarding your experience.
Me: The chat agent was friendly and patient, but unable to help me at all. He refused to escalate me to someone who could help me. I spent an hour trying to get him to escalate me. You have lost my business forever, and I will be spreading the word.

**************

UPDATE:

So, I complained on Twitter, and CenturyLinkHelp Team responded to me the next day. We engaged in a private message:

ME: On 3/9/16 Marvin in the Loyalty department promised me 24 months at $34.95/mo total. You've added $3.99 in bogus "ICRF." You need to reduce the rest of bill by $3.99 to offset this, or credit me $95.76 for the 24 months to offset it. Either way, you must keep your word. 

BRIAN: Your internet is $34.95 a month. The $3.99 is a Internet Cost Recovery Fee, you've been paying that for some time now. We can't remove that charge or credit the account.

ME: I was promised a total bill of $34.95, regardless of the sneaky fee you've added. This is shady business practices.

BRIAN: Your monthly bill is $34.95 before taxes and surcharges.

ME: We seem to have differing definitions of the word "total." So, what is the limit to the quantity and value of bogus surcharges that you can unilaterally add to this agreed-upon "total" bill? You don't think I'm going to miss a hundred bucks a year? Just because of the way you present it on the bill?

BRIAN: Sorry, but we can't credit the account.

ME: Yeah, that's the same line I kept getting from your chat support guy. It's clear that CenturyLink is not interested in doing honest business or keeping individual customers satisfied. My request to be treated honestly is not unreasonable. I will not renew my contract when it comes due, and I will be sure to spread the word to my extensive personal and professional network. I will also file a formal complaint with the appropriate regulatory agencies. I know this isn't your fault, Brian, but if customers keep rolling over for this kind of abuse, it won't stop.

BRIAN: If you need help with anything else please let me know.

ME: Nope. Decency and integrity was the only thing I was hoping for. Foolish, I know, but hey, I'm an optimist at heart.

******************

UPDATE:

I started the FTC complaint process, but abandoned it. Instead, I studied the CenturyLink agreement. By using their services I automatically consented to the terms of the agreement. The agreement states that I have no recourse regarding their unilateral changes to the agreement (in this case, the addition of sneaky fees). My only legal recourse, therefore, is to cancel, pay a $200 early termination fee, and change providers. Next time, I will red-line any contract before "agreeing" to it.