Would You Order Broadband From A Company That Can't Even Figure Out How To Let You Sign Up Online?

from the figuring-out-the-basics... dept

Frontier Communications has been growing rapidly as other large broadband providers offload their unwanted DSL customers on the company that seems happy to gobble them up. The company doesn't have a particularly good reputation wherever it goes -- especially on the customer service front -- but it's quite astounding to see that it has now, apparently, stopped offering a way to sign up for service online, forcing anyone who wants service to call or do live chat:
Frontier is so out there on the... frontier of the internet, that apparently it can't even figure out how to use the web for ordering service, as noted by a source who shared this info with StopTheCap:
“This company can’t manage to figure out how to build a website that supports ordering of products, so they are just going to kill that function,” the source added. “Customers will be able to see what products they can get within a specific zip code, but that’s it. If they want to order, they are going to be forced into the already overloaded call center.”
And, of course, the end result is that already over-burdened customer service is even more over-burdened:
“I’m sure our former Verizon and AT&T customers as well as our future Verizon customers will enjoy going back to the Stone Age when they couldn’t do what they needed to do online and would have to pick up the phone to call into a Contact Center,” the source said. “We might as well just have a Frontier Wikipedia page for crying out loud.”
That same article notes that Frontier's disclaimer about how you won't see the speeds you're being promised takes such ridiculous disclaimers to new heights of ridiculousness. Traditionally, it was the slimey "up to" notation for speeds that you'd never see. But many broadband companies have gotten much better about actually living up to promised speeds. But Frontier flat out tells you there's no way in hell you're getting the speeds they promote:
“Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Performance metrics based on Frontier lab validation under ideal network environment simulating “best case scenario” without network congestion, other factors cause by consumer behavior, or factors caused by third-party providers’ behaviors. Consumers may not be able to replicate the performance shown in the performance metrics.”
Isn't it great that as AT&T and Verizon are looking to shed their DSL customers, they're handing them off to such a tech-savvy and customer-focused company?

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  • icon
    Matt (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 6:26am

    Unfortunately it's my only choice. Technically I have cable in my neighborhood but the nearest cable terminates somewhere in my yard and in addition to tripling my internet costs I'd have to pay for them to dig up my lawn to try and find it on top of an installation fee.

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

  • identicon
    5UpMushroom, 6 May 2015 @ 6:34am

    Frontier is the one telecom company that makes me thankful that I have Comcast. I have family in rural parts of the Midwest that are stuck with Frontier and their unreliable, and slow service.

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

  • identicon
    mcinsand, 6 May 2015 @ 6:46am

    well that explains it!

    >>Isn't it great that as AT&T and Verizon are looking to
    >>shed their DSL customers,...

    That certainly explains a lot. I had to work very hard to become an AT&T DSL customer some years ago. It took them three months and countless calls to make the connection; my initial request went in November of 2010, and they didn't manage to get my internet going until months later. During the process of Moe, Larry, and Curly working on my DSL, they tried issuing several numbers to my residence (I don't have, need, or want a landline phone). When they finally got my DSL working, I got a chance to show my slow wit by taking a month or two to catch onto the fact that I was getting more than one bill/month. They were billing me for one of the numbers that failed, as well as the number that worked.

    Last year, I got the brilliant idea of giving them a chance to give me a better offer than TWC. They gave the same cost/month, but this would include a landline phone. Once more, I don't want or need one, but the person taking the call was not hearing that. She kept telling me how they were giving me such a better deal by including the phoneline, and she kept pushing me to set up an installation time.

    Okay, so overall, maybe I did get mixed messages. They sort of wanted my DSL business the second time around, but only if I let them push a service on me that I did not want.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 7:31am

      Re: well that explains it!

      That's kind of the point of removing the online signup I think.

      If you allow the customers to sign up online, they will JUST get the service they want and the company loses the chance for the hard upsell. Therefore you cannot allow online signups because customer might... you know... actually get what they want at the price they expect. Can't have that!!!!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re: well that explains it!

        This.

        When I attempted to setup a TMobile account online, it failed to authorize my credit card - when I called them to set it up over the phone, I got several extra services I did not want nearly doubling my bill and it took 3 billing cycles before they finally removed them.

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

        • identicon
          PRMan, 6 May 2015 @ 12:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: well that explains it!

          I tried T-Mobile very recently as well.

          The only problem I had was that if you "brought" an existing phone over, it would throw out all the new phones. And if you bought a new phone, it would throw out all the "bring across" phones.

          Apparently, their system couldn't conceive of a situation where a family might have some of both.

          But when I called, I got exactly what I wanted and they didn't even try to upsell me much (just a kind offer if I wanted more data, I said, "No thanks.").

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

  • identicon
    spodula, 6 May 2015 @ 6:53am

    Call center traffic?

    "If they want to order, they are going to be forced into the already overloaded call center"

    I wouldn't worry too much about that.
    I'm sure if your trying to get through to actually pay them money, there will be a priority queue into the call center, unlike those poor suckers who have already signed up to them of course :)

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

  • icon
    DOlz (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 7:03am

    Fair is fair

    “Actual payments may vary and are not guaranteed. Payment metrics based on Frontier lab validation under realworld network environment simulating “normal case scenario” with network congestion, other factors cause by consumer behavior, or factors caused by third-party providers’ behaviors. Frontier may not be able to replicate the payment shown in the performance metrics.”

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 7:15am

      Re: Fair is fair

      You, as a common person and not a large corporation, are not allowed to get away with the same stunts.
      One-Thousand Years dungeon for you.

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

    • icon
      blah (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 11:07am

      Re: Fair is fair

      I made this exact argument to Comcast at one point. They didn't seem to understand the concept of pro-rating services not received.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 7:27am

    Would You Order Broadband From A Company That Can't Even Figure Out How To Let You Sign Up Online?

    Do you have a choice?

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

  • identicon
    RD, 6 May 2015 @ 7:27am

    Hey, isn't this GREAT?!?

    Isn't an utter lack of competition and barriers to entry so complete that you only have a single (if that) provider for the service you want in any given area?

    Capitalism. Its what's for monopolies.

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

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 7:32am

    They had phones back then?

    Strange turn of phrase...

    I’m sure [customers] will enjoy going back to the Stone Age when they... would have to pick up the phone..."

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

    • icon
      MrTroy (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 10:08pm

      Re: They had phones back then?

      What, you don't think Grug could be bothered walking all the way over to Arg's cave to see if he had any spare hunting spears?!

      I mean seriously, it's a long way, and they didn't have shoes or pavements back then, and stepping on a sharp rock hurts!

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

  • identicon
    Bengie, 6 May 2015 @ 7:56am

    Live Chat

    Isn't the live chat option "online"?

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 8:34am

      Re: Live Chat

      Technically, but it still funnels you through their overworked sales reps. The point of an online signup form is to avoid the wait and dealing with upsells (and 'mistakes' on the part of the rep, which always seem to increase your bill)

      So lets adjust the question. Would you buy broadband from a company that can't even figure out how to process a sales form? A process that's been around for at least a decade?

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 9:49am

      Re: Live Chat

      "Isn't the live chat option "online"?"

      Technically, perhaps, but that's not what is usually meant by online signup. Live chat is no different than using the phone: you still have wait for, and talk to, a sales rep.

      One of the huge advantages to being able to sign up for things online is that you don't have to talk to a sales rep.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 8:13am

    I tried to get service from Frontier last year. I wanted to dump Time Warner. I called orderd 22Mb service and set up the install

    Nobody showed to install my service. I called back and was told they had no record of my appointment. I set up another appointment and the day before my install they called me and told me they could only offer 6Mbps because they had no high speed ports left in my

    And now they keep stuffing my mail box with flyers advertising 22Mb speeds!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 8:17am

    Maybe...

    Maybe Frontier should hire the guys who built the on-line ordering module for the pizza delivery chain who that lady texted to the other day when her boyfriend was holding her hostage.

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

  • icon
    ItsAllWeGot (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 8:37am

    We have lived in the boonies for years and in various locations throughout the State, but always the only option for phone and DSL was Frontier. So, I am guessing they are pretty much only interested in zero-competition locales. Well, except for even worse providers like satellite.

    That said, they charge what they think the market will bear and that is kinda OK for Capitalism, but what irks me the most is the service they provide. Or, make that "don't provide."

    Our DSL contract does not state ANY minimum speed. It does not state "broadband," it does say, "ADSL Internet" and they live well within that promise. On a good time of day we can get 6M-down but mostly it is barely above 1M-down.

    After 8:30pm, the Netflix test videos will struggle to climb to 640 x 480 so fuzzy movies with sound drop-outs, is a constant way of life unless you are watching at 10:00am over morning coffee.

    Providing such "service," it comes as no surprise that they are forcing customers to call. They want more of the good stuff ($$$) to erode those speeds even farther. But, when they have a captive audience, that's their prerogative.

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

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 9:57am

    Just targetting their key demographic

    Sounds like good business practice- they're mostly going to be signing up people who aren't already online, and thus have not read any reviews about the company.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 11:28am

    From the "so, how would I do that?" department...

    > "Would You Order Broadband From A Company That Can't Even Figure Out How To Let You Sign Up Online?"

    ... er, yes: because if I need to order Broadband, chances are that I can't get online to access the online signup.

    A more pertinent question is: "would you order broadband from a company whose tech support requires you to be online to access it?"

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 12:09pm

      Re: From the "so, how would I do that?" department...

      "if I need to order Broadband, chances are that I can't get online to access the online signup."

      You must be very lucky indeed to not have a Starbucks anywhere hear you! ;)

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

      • icon
        ItsAllWeGot (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 12:23pm

        Re: Re: From the "so, how would I do that?" department...

        Even in our small local (35-miles away) town of fewer than 3000, there are 9 free wifi hotspots. Tire place, Supermarket etc.

        Plenty of opportunity to throw (not willingly) good money after bad, but if you need DSL, you need DSL and with just one provider, options are one-to-none.

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

    • icon
      ltlw0lf (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 1:14pm

      Re: From the "so, how would I do that?" department...

      ... er, yes: because if I need to order Broadband, chances are that I can't get online to access the online signup.

      Much as I'd like to agree, internet is available on your phone (in most cases,) at work, or down at the internet cafe or local library by now. Getting access to the web isn't as difficult as it used to be.

      A more pertinent question is: "would you order broadband from a company whose tech support requires you to be online to access it?"

      I had that argument with my ISP once. They used to have a good website to go to in order to see upcoming scheduled outages, as well as unscheduled outages, so if my home network couldn't get out, I could go and check on my phone if they knew about it before calling (you know, troubleshooting 101.)

      They took it down, because if you didn't have access to the internet, it wasn't all that useful. When I called to let them know their internet was down, and then had to run back and forth between half a dozen techs before someone who knew it was down would tell me so, and I asked them where they moved the website, and they told me it was pointless to have the website up when the internet was down, I asked them if they sold smartphones (yes, they are a reseller of Verizon phones,) and if the internet on their smartphones was the same internet that they use for their home use, and they said no, whether it dawned on them that I could use their smartphone to check to see whether their home internet was down for my area.

      Sadly, my ASP is far more intelligent and responsive. I wish they could do home internet, because they seem to handle my servers far better than my ISP does.

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

  • icon
    twinkiekat (profile), 6 May 2015 @ 11:49am

    endorsed by Marley and Haring

    On their facebook page they state:
    "Yes, we were happy to have the endorsement of the Keith Haring Foundation and the Bob Marley Foundation for the 2015 World IP Day theme"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 May 2015 @ 2:12pm

      Re: endorsed by Marley and Haring

      Interestingly, both are reliant on the copyrights that they inherited from new deceased people, rather than being content creators in their own right.
      Why are the non creators of the world are the one that support strong copyright?

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


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