Thumbs Down: RCN

July 26, 2007 psipsina

If you tried to call me last night, you were probably very confused.  If you dial our phone number, you get a message indicating that the number has been disconnected and you should call the following new number:  617-555-xxxx.

If you dialed that number, you got a message that it is not in service.

This is because RCN is staffed solely by dumbasses.

Because we’re moving to a different town, we had to get a different phone number.  And because RCN doesn’t provide service in Cambridge, we had to sign up with Comcast, in spite of the fact that we are moving less than a mile.  In the long run, this must be a blessing, because Comcast can’t possibly be as incompetent as RCN.  (And I’m not talking about just yesterday’s incident – I have not had a good customer service experience with RCN in the last 3 years.  I’ve kept them solely so I wouldn’t have to change e-mail addresses, and in fact I will continue to keep my RCN address for a month or two until I have a chance to notify everyone.)

In the short run, it’s a recipe for frustration, as every transaction with RCN has been.

So what happened is, the Red-Haired Boy called up RCN yesterday and said, “We know our new phone number now.  When you cut off our service on 8/1, could you please include our new number in the outgoing message?”

Last night at 8:30, I picked up the phone.  No dial tone.  I thought the phone was broken.  Picked up another phone.  No dial tone.  Picked up my cell phone and dialed our home phone number – got the “disconnected” message.  Oops.  Apparently their calendar is 8 days fast.

RHB spent at least a half hour on my cell phone last night with a rather lovely but clueless woman in tech support who was convinced that there was an equipment failure, in spite of RHB’s repeated assurances that no, we’d requested that our service be shut off, but that someone had made a mistake and done it a week early.  (You know that a tech support call is not going well when, in 2007, a rep can seriously ask you, “If your phone isn’t working, how are you able to call me?”  It is left as an exercise to the reader to come up with at least four ways to call the phone company without a working home phone.  Hint:  don’t overthink this – two of those ways were available to my grandmother.)  Then I spent a half hour on the phone with the same person, and I was sure we’d reached a breakthrough when she said, “Oh, now I understand the problem.  [picture me smiling, giving RHB a thumbs up here]  You want your service forwarded to another number.  [picture me, smile crumpling, banging my head against the nearest box].”

She wanted us to stay home to meet a technician today.  We explained that they hadn’t needed us to stay home to shut off the service, so we didn’t understand why they had to come to our house to turn it back on.  I asked her at least twice if I could speak with someone else, thinking that someone with a fresh mind, or maybe just a mind, might have a better time grasping what was essentially a very simple situation – we asked you to do x on 8/1, you did x on 7/25, please undo x today and redo x on 8/1.

Finally, she put us on hold for a long time, and since I spent so many years in tech support, I know what that means.  It means she hated us, she needed to vent to her coworkers, the clock was ticking, she was not meeting her call quota, and she needed someone to advise her on how to get rid of us.  Finally she came back and said that she’d sent an e-mail to the “Switching Department” (there’s a whole department! to turn things on and off! I want that job!  click! it’s on!  click!  it’s off!  the gratification of immediate results!) and our service should be back on tomorrow.  Which is, now, today.

We don’t believe her.  I hope that RHB is on hold with someone right now.

Oddly, our internet works fine, and though we didn’t turn the TV on, I bet the cable is working, too.  Why RCN turned off only our phone service is a mystery to me.

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Entry Filed under: bureaucracy, business, customer service, incompetent, morons, moving, phone, rant, rcn, stupid, technology, telephone

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Chris&hellip  | 

    haha. I’m having similar issues w/ their help center! Complete idiots!

    It looks like they really haven’t gotten any better.

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