Two weeks ago I griped about Comcast because they’re jerks about cancelling my account. I’ve switched to CenturyLink and today I’ve discovered they’re pretty bad too– just in different ways.
First, when I set up this account a few weeks ago, I was apparently assigned an account number that already existed for a different customer named Grady. This guy had shut down his account a year ago, but CenturyLink’s “account numbers” are really ten-digit phone numbers they use if you purchase their VoIP bundle. So I couldn’t create my online account because the account was “already claimed” by Grady. I called technical support and they managed to create my online account so I could at least login.
Today, my first bill is due so I logged into the account to pay it. Imagine my surprise when I saw all of Grady’s past bills (and billing information!). Wow. Thus, I can’t pay my bill because I’ll actually be paying his bill, which has $1.26 due last July.
Sigh. I picked up the phone and called CenturyLink to get this sorted out. That’s where the real fun began. They have my account in their system, so they apparently don’t see Grady at all. I patiently explained that I’m not making this up, and in fact when I’m logged into “my” account I see his. I got bounced around a few call centers: I think I was in India, then Ohio or something, and finally Idaho. I enjoyed listening to the hold music and repeated marketing statements about how important my account security is to CenturyLink, and how they never share it with anyone. Except, apparently, anyone who’s assigned a recycled account number.
Finally I got to someone who could fix the problem and dis-associate Grady’s account from mine, but she needed a four-digit security code to do so. I had never set up a security code– it’s something that CenturyLink assigns and sends to me on my second bill. Yep, that’s right: I can’t straighten out my account and pay my first bill because the security code I need to do so will be mailed to me on my second bill. Who makes up this stuff?
At this point, I’m so sick of cable/internet companies that I just throw up my hands in exasperation. I’d switch away from CenturyLink if I had any reasonable option other than Comcast (who’s worse in my opinion). The only reason these companies stay in business is because people simply have no choice but to use them. Argh.
(And yes, I wrote this entire post while I was waiting on hold for 20+ minutes.)