I had to fire my cell phone provider the other day. I can feel some of you thinking, “I wonder why?” If you didn’t, perhaps you should move on and not read the rest of this. Why should you waste your time if you’re not going to be curious about topic at hand?
Still here? Good. So, I’m in the middle of a two year cell phone contract with Cincinnati Bell. (You’ll note that since I spelled out exactly who the carrier is, I have no problem throwing them under the bus. Let the bad light shine. Bad cell phone people. Bad.) With about a year to go before the signed and agreed-upon contract is to expire, I get a letter stating that my monthly rate is going to increase in the next billing cycle.
What part of signed contract do they not understand? People sign contracts in order to lock-in an expected bill each month. Suddenly, I feel like I am dealing with an American pro athlete. Only, before my phone company demanded a new contract for more money, they forget to have a great year of performance first.
I make the call and I explained my plight. I ask to speak to their supervisor. I then ask to speak to the supervisor’s supervisor. And then their supervisor. And then their supervisor. I got to the point where my opening line was, “can I speak to your supervisor, because you either can’t or won’t help me.” Finally, I reach the top most tier of customer support accessible by someone other than the pope.
In a calm manner, I explain that raising the rates in the middle of my so-called contract is assuring that fact that there is no way that I will be signing another contract with the company that is currently keeping you (the top most supervisor) employed. Don’t you see that your company is nearing the end of its own existence?
The best that this poor soul could do is explain that this is a corporate business decision that was “hard to make” and that all of the contracts are being subjected to this same increase. And that it is included in the very fine print that the company is allowed to take this action legally.
“So I’m not alone? Oh, good. That’s makes everything better. Sorry to have bother you. Have a great day.” Not really. I told the person handling my frustration that if I could cancel this contract without any financial penalty, I would do it in a second. Ethically, what you are doing here is wrong!
The response was, “Ok. Hang on for a minute and I’ll see if there is something I can do for you.”
Great! After 55 minutes of pleading, we are finally making progress–on the road to resolve. I was then on hold for about seven minutes or so, being subjected to some very bad jazz music, when click! My call was dropped. I wasn’t even driving. I was at my desk, sitting still. What happened? Now I’m going to have to crunch through the entire wait queue and talk to 15 more people’s supervisors to get back to the person that was finally helping. Frustrated!
I go to hit redial. “Emergency calls only.” No way. But it was true. They cancelled my phone contract on the spot and disabled my ability to make calls effective immediately.
If I had asked for my family’s phones to be shut off on any other given day, it would have taken the same amount of phone calls, the same amount of debating, and it still would have needed to be signed, notarized, and hand delivered to the supreme supervisor by a leprechaun riding a unicorn. But today, click and done.
The wife and I visited the four major cell phone providers that evening. We signed a “contract” with the best we could find (they all have issues). Ironically, the new contract’s monthly bill is the exact same amount as what the increased rate would have been.
But morally, I feel so much better.