Until today, I had internet service through Qwest for years at a fixed rate of $31.99, guaranteed for as long as I maintained the account. They, in return promised the fastest speed at the time, 1.5 mb/sec. as reliable and uninterrupted. CenturyLink bought out Qwest within the last several years, but nothing seemed to change until a month ago.
About a month ago, my service went from zero problems to constant interruption of service. This would occurr during the work week and daytime weekends (when I visualized heaver demand for service). These hours and days, had not affected the reliability previously. The interruption of service always required me to re-boot the DSL modem, and would interrupt and terminate any download that happened to be in progress, requiring a full restart. For example, if I were wanting to watch The McLaughlin Group or a PBS show on the computer, I would start the download, pause it, and resume when it had completed. The interruption of service would prevent me from ever successfully watching any show at all because it would not stay connected long enough to complete unless I did it during the middle of the night.
I called the above service line last week and was told that the problem was my modem and that I needed the originally supplied ethernet cable to connect to my computer to reboot the modem. I explained that at no time had I ever possessed an ethernet cable and most definitely had never been provided one. The tech told me to call them back when I found the cable! How rude!
Over the weekend, I was able to get an independent technician to do a house call. He tested the system and said that my modem was functioning within normal parameters. Monday was a holiday, and I had no problems whatsoever with my internet connection, but come Tuesday morning and all week, terrible loss of service, other than between 10PM ans 5AM Pacific time.
I called them today and spoke with a tech who seemed to know his stuff. He said my connection was the slowest available and was based on all copper lines, and was routinely overloaded. There was mention that they were trying to solve the problem and restore reliability, but they had no solution at hand, and didn't know when it would be repaired to former levels. He continued saying that the fiberoptic system was reliable and at a faster speed, and that he could connect me to sales for info on an upgrade.
After waiting on hold, a woman got on the line and told me the price increases for the various "upgrades" of service. I explained that I didn't want an upgrade, just restoration of what I was paying for, and it seemed wrong to try to switch a customer to a higher priced plan instead of simply fixing the problem. Without notice, she put me on hold, and after 5 full minutes, I came to the conclusion that she had effectively "hung up" on me without even a word to solve the problem.
The problem seemed obvious to me: $31.99 was not enough money for their service, so they figured out a way to try to make me change the plan for more money and no longer have the quaranteed rate.
I then arranged for new service with the local broadband company, and called them back to cancel their service. When I called back, after a long menu and long hold, I spoke with a polite young man and explained that I was terminating his company's service. He asked me respectfully if I would share my reasons, which I did. He appologized and offered to put me through to the customer retention department which might find a way to offer me some level of reliability through the fiber-optic system for the same money, or that they could complete the cancellation of service, my choice. As I had during previous calls, I explained that I did not need faster service, but did need reliable service. He said again that they could help with that.
That young man patched me through to Danny, who offered me 7 mb/sec in fiber-optic at $24/month for 12 mos. as a promo, which was 1/2 price. I said that I was willing to pay the original $31.99 as originally agreed, and that all I wanted was reliability. He put me on hold and "checked with a supervisor." When he returned, he said that they would not under any circumstances change any part of my service and retain the permanent $31.99. I reiterated that all I wanted was restoration of the service I had been promised and had been paying for all these years. "Sorry, that's the best I can offer," was his reply.
Although he was polite and professed understanding, it was no consolation for believing that they had intentionally ripped me off by reducing the level of service in order to raise the monthly fee.
In my opinion, CenturyLink is behaving in a misleading, dishonest way, scamming more money by denying service, then offering to restore it at higher rates.