And Of Course, FCC Sides With Verizon In Argument With Cable Cos.

from the no-surprise-there dept

Last month we pointed out that the cable companies had filed a complaint with the FCC accusing Verizon of some shady practices in trying to get customers to stay, even after they'd already agreed to switch to cable. Since most customers want to keep their home phone number, the cable companies needed to contact Verizon to make the switch. At that point, Verizon would immediately contact those customers to prevent them from switching. As the cable companies pointed out, this gave the telcos an unfair advantage. They were using information they learned from elsewhere (the group in charge of managing number portability) to steal customers back from the cable companies. Of course, given how today's FCC tends to think that telcos are always right and cable co's are always wrong, it will surprise probably none of you, that the FCC has no problem with Verizon's practices. Perhaps the cable companies should have waited until a new FCC commish was sworn in before making this complaint.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Rick, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 1:44am

    I'm actually agreeing with the FCC for once...

    After all, the cable companies can do the same thing when people try to switch from cable's digital phone back to the telco, can't they?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Mike (profile), Apr 15th, 2008 @ 3:27am

    Re: I'm actually agreeing with the FCC for once...

    After all, the cable companies can do the same thing when people try to switch from cable's digital phone back to the telco, can't they?

    Not quite. The difference is that Verizon owns the rights to the actual telephone number -- so any changes to that number have to go through Verizon... giving them extra info and allowing them to cut in in the middle of the process, rather than waiting to an account is actually cancelled.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Mack, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 3:58am

    Qworst tried that with me when I switched to Comcast for phone service. By the time the service was offered, though, Qworst had thoroughly screwed up any chance I might remain a customer.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 5:09am

    The reverse happened to me. I had a Comcast phone and when I switched to Vonage Comcast canceled the order 3 times. In the end I couldn't keep my number because someone at Comcast kept refusing to release the number and Vonage would cancel the order.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    thane, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 5:13am

    How does this prevent a switch

    I fail to see how a call from Verizon prevents a switch. If a customer wants to switch how did Verizon "prevent them" from switching?

     

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  6.  
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    comboman, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 6:09am

    unhappy customers

    If a company finds out they have unhappy customers who want to switch to a competitor, why wouldn't they contact them and give them an incentive to stay?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    PRMan, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 8:07am

    How they prevent you...

    I tried this with AT&T. They refused to give me my number saying I had to pay $X or $Y to put it in some other format which would make it portable.

    The guy on the phone absolutely refused to do it. I told him, "You can do it now or I can call the FCC and the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) and you can do it a lot more expensively." He didn't budge.

    So, I fired off two simple e-mails saying that AT&T was refusing to release my number. This was a Thursday.

    All of a sudden, I got 4 e-mails, 2 phone calls and 3 letters from AT&T and by Tuesday, it was all switched over to Vonage.

    Just report them. It has really worked for me in the past.

    And I believe that each provider has to release the number. I have heard that some people have had trouble getting Comcast and Vonage to release numbers at certain times.

    So, yes, in theory, they could all try to woo you back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 8:20am

    Re: How does this prevent a switch

    They offer some highly discounted rate for a year, or gift cards, or free electronics.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Me, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 9:29am

    Good Policy

    If you're fed up enough to switch, don't let any deals lure you back. Temporary deals won't change their procedures in general. After some time, you'll be in the same boat again.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    TheDock22, Apr 15th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    This is actually fair

    Allowing Verizon to contact customers wanting to change isn't a "deceitful" practice at all. They simply want to offer their customers a change to stay. Some people will be wooed back and others not, so this just sounds like the cable company whining they lose some business back to the competitor. There is nothing wrong with Verizon's side of it, why should they knowingly give up a customer without a fight?

    These companies are required to release the phone numbers from what I understand, so these people saying "well they wouldn't release my number..." either have no clue what the laws are or aren't willing to fight for it. Neither of which is Verizon's or any other companies fault.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 15th, 2008 @ 9:58am

    "Winback" Programs

    #6, your question: "If a company finds out they have unhappy customers who want to switch to a competitor, why wouldn't they contact them and give them an incentive to stay?"

    I worked at the Baby Bell Ameritech in 1996, now an SBC company. We had a great deal of success in winning back customers who had left to AT&T for local phone service. This was not even a "mid process" thing. The customers had left weeks before.

    We simply had a call center contact the customers and offer them discounts on service, usually a monthly credit for a few months, and a free switching process. YES, a very high proportion came back to Ameritech.

    I was amazed at how little it took. The normal customer acquisition cost for new customers (which includes advertising, marketing, etc.) is about $300, but the Winback program succeeded with $30. Good deal for the company.

    Turns out, the customers often ONLY switched to AT&T because that company offered them $30 or so, so they gladly switched back for the same.

    One thing you should all realize, too, is that if you're leaving one oligopolist because you don't like the service quality, you probably shouldn't expect much better from the next oligopolist.

    There is a higher variability in customer support quality between two individual Call Center Reps sitting side by side for the same company, than there is between CSRs for two different phone companies. That is, your experience depends more on the individual person you speak with than on which phone company you call.

     

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  12.  
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    mallieterry, Apr 3rd, 2009 @ 4:32pm

    Does att

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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