Revolve Around Or Runaround? ...
I signed up during a promotion, for some reasonable sum for the first six months and then $39.95 a month thereafter. That was a couple years ago.
Since then, I'd see commericals from time to time for other DSL providers and think about making the switch, but I really had no inclination to change my e-mail address in a million different places.
But I thought it was worth a call to Earthlink to see if it couldn't do a little better by a long-time customer. If other companies had such low rates, I figured, surely Earthlink must have lower rates, too.
In order to compare apples to apples, though, I needed to know my connection speed. So I called an Earthlink number and spoke with Lester. Of course, we can be reasonably sure that his name's not really Lester. In this day and age of outsourcing phone centers to India and points east, everyone seems to have an Americanized alter ego. Lester Not Lester told me that my connection speed is 1.5 Mbps. I asked him about billing plans and he told me that the current rate for my speed of service is $29.95 a month.
OK, so I how do I start paying $29.95 a month? Well, he'd have to transfer me to Installation and Service Upgrades. So he did. And I spoke with Stacy Not Stacy. I explained my story again: Current customer, currently paying too much money, would like to pay less money.
Stacy Not Stacy told me that there's a new promotion of $12.95 a month for the first six month and $29.95 thereafter. But I'm not a new customer, I reminded her. Am I eligible for that plan? No, she told me. She'd have to transfer me to Billing. So she did. And I spoke with Steven Not Steven. He told me that he could give me the $29.95 rate for three months, but that if I wanted the lower rate for longer (i.e. permanently), he'd need to transfer me to a senior agent to approve that. So he did. And the phone was quiet and then I was blasted by a high-pitched tone, a la fax machine, at which point I hung up and called back.
I spoke with John Maybe John. I gave him the Reader's Digest version of my spiel. I was getting tired of repeating myself. John told me that indeed I needed to speak with a senior agent. He asked permission to put me on hold and told me that he'd relay my request to an agent before putting my call through. He came back on the line and connected my call to Joanne Maybe Joanne. She was very pleasant. I relayed my story again, mentioning that I was, at that moment, looking at AT&T's web site, wondering why, since AT&T already supplies the phone line that carries my DSL, I shouldn't just go with AT&T as my DSL provider and pay much less per month.
Joanne said the $29.95 rate didn't apply to me. My rate will be $24.95 with one month of free service. I had to commit to a 12-month term, but should I decide to cancel, my early termination fee is equal to one month of service. So I'm now paying $15 a month less and my next invoice won't hit until August 24. And I don't have to change my e-mail address in a million different places.
When all was said and done, I was on the phone about 45 minutes, talking to five different people. But Joanne was very apologetic and when I received an e-mail survey from Earthlink about my experience, I gave her high marks across the board.
So if you feel like you're paying too much for your Earthlink service, give 'em a call. The number is 888-829-8466. The Billing Department is available M-F 7am-midnight ET and Sat-Sun 8am-10pm ET.