Report: #767834

Complaint Review: Frontier Communications Corporation

  • Submitted: Sun, August 21, 2011
  • Updated: Mon, August 22, 2011
  • Reported By: Richard Adams — Valparaiso Indiana United States of America
  • Frontier Communications Corporation
    3 High Ridgek Park
    Stamford, Connecticut
    United States of America

Frontier Communications Corporation Frontier fails to automatically issue account credit after service outage Stamford, Connecticut

*Author of original report: Response from Midwest Region President

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Frontier Communications failed to automatically reimburse hundreds of customers due to service outage for several days. Frontier customers were without phone and/or DSL Internet service for 2 to 3 days in July of 2011. The cause of the outage was due to the negligence of a utility provider (NiSource, aka NIPSCO) who were responsible for cutting Frontier's line.

Consumers should find it troubling neither of these prominent, deep pocket corporations proved capable of acting with integrity by arranging automatic compensation for those deprived of service. Equally disconcerting was the manner both of these corporations responded to my communications regarding the service outage, not to mention misinformation provided by Frontier employees when questioned, regarding policies involving automatic account credit due to outage. During the course of a FOUR week period following the outage I interacted with a variety of Frontier personnel at the local, regional and corporate offices. One of the local field employees did not hesitate to reveal NIPSCO would most certainly be held financially responsible for the damage to the Frontier cable line but, appeared unable to speak on behalf of the hundreds of Frontier customers. What was preventing Frontier from holding NIPSCO financially responsible on behalf of Frontier customers? It stands to reason Frontier would hold NIPSCO liable for restitution to customers, since Frontier customers most certainly should not have to pay for services during the outage.

My email to Don Banowetz, President, Midwest Region on July 21, 2011 was routed to Ron Belin. My concern involved Frontier's corporate policy regarding automatic reimbursement for hundreds of customers who were victimized by NIPSCO's negligence.

Belin's responce to my first email to ........

Thank you for your inquiry about a recent Frontier service interruption. We did experience a cut on one of your large cable lines last week that caused a customer outage for 2 days. We sincerely apologize for the incident and will credit your bill as promised. I am looking into the outage so determine how it can be avoided in the future. Thank you for being a loyal Frontier customer.
Ron Belin, Area General Manager

Belin then indicated each Frontier customer must call and request account credit...............

As stated before, Frontier will offer a bill credit to any current customer who experienced a service disruption during our recent outage. According to long time company procedure, all the customer has to do is request the credit through our customer service department. If you have any additional questions, please give me a call at either of my numbers listed below so we can discuss directly.
Ron Belin, Area General Manager

The information provided by Belin was not consistent with information provided by Frontier customer service employees staffing the toll free line. Several neighbors were informed credit would automatically be applied to their account. One neighbor was told they have to request credit  after the outage. I was given different explanations by Frontier customer service employees, revealing Frontier is incapable of staffing service centers with well trained employees. One Frontier rep informed me Frontier will automatically credit accounts if Frontier was responsible for the outage, but if another party (such as a utility company) was responsible it would be necessary to pursue reimbursement from the party responsible for the outage. Several Frontier customer service reps told me credit would be automatic once Frontier is made aware of the problem. Does Frontier train personnel to mislead customers in order to bolster the bottom line, i.e., misinform customers account will be automatically credited to prevent them from requesting credit after outages? Does Frontier implement internal safeguards to insure customer service reps are properly trained, and responding to issues by providing accurate information to customers?

Why was I receiving conflicting information every time Frontier was contacted? A top level Frontier customer service employee indicated the information I received was not accurate and requested the name of the employee. It became woefully obvious Frontier not only requires customers to grovel in order to receive reimbursement for outages, they expect hapless customers to identify employees who they fail to train properly. Why was Frontier corporate telling me they do not issue credit automatically, and why were many customer service reps indicating otherwise? Was Frontier reimbursed by NIPSCO to compensate each customer, but refrained from doing so, unless a customer contacted them and requested credit?

One of the most important facts uncovered during my interaction with neighbors impacted by the was only a small percentage were inclined to contact Frontier to request credit. What was that number? 15 to 20 percent based on my sampling. Could this paltry number explain why Frontier does not issue automatic reimbursement? They must certainly be aware of the fact they are in the position to take advantage of the situation by failing to issue automatic credit. Why should Frontier be concerned with making restitution to 250, 500 or 1000 customers when they realize a small percentage will request credit due to a service outage. It stands to reason Frontier charged NIPSCO to reimburse every customer who lost service. It would appear Frontier is the position to benefit financially at the expense of victimized customers, by only reimbursing customers who request account credit.

Prior to submitting this  report I provided several corporate level Frontier employees the opportunity to respond, but none prove capable of responding to issues presented, other than robotic "each customer must request credit after an outage", and insincere lip service "thank you for being a loyal Frontier customer". 
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#1 Author of original report

Response from Midwest Region President

AUTHOR: Richard Adams - (United States of America)

Four weeks after my initial email to Don Banowetz (Midwest Region President) he responded to a copy of the RipOff Report forwarded to corporate.  Why do Frontier  executives continually avoid addressing the issues presented,   electing to focus on peripheral matters which are not relevant to the important matters.   I made it perfectly clear from day one I was speaking on behalf of all victimized Frontier customers.  It was not my intention to induce Frontier to oil the proverbial squeaky wheel,  by identifying a specific account to credit, which would then prevent me from determining if Frontier decided to do the right thing and credit every customer impacted by the outage. 

On August 22, 2010 Banowetz invited me to telephone him,  refraining from addressing the central issues.  Given the  turn of events it  is certainly understandable why  he would avoid responding via email.  I do not expect him (or any Frontier executive)  to deviate from  self serving corporate policies by responding in a meaningful manner to any inquiries, or  my final communcation with Frontier  Communications...

How can Frontier continually ignore the best interest of several hundred Frontier customers?   Equally peculiar is the number of days Frontier documented for the outage (seven) despite most  customers lacking service  for two or three days.  Is it conceivable Frontier padded the number in order to invoice NIPSCO for an exaggerated amount?

What about those values Frontier boasts at the corporate website:



These admirable goals  would seemingly obligate obligate Frontier to issue credit automatically, particularly when  hundreds of customers are inconvenienced for several days, and most certainly if  Frontier was reimbursed by a utility company  to compensate those impacted by their negligence.
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