CenturyTel - www.centurytel.com — Stupid visit fees
When I moved to Columbia, MO I was pitched (and bit) DSL Internet service from Verizon. I was assured it was available in my area. When Verizon came out to install, I was informed that we were nowhere near close enough to the nearest switch box (or whatever node or hub in the city) to hook us up. No DSL service available, even though they double checked my address twice in the six weeks after I first called them. No service. And the local cable company had a 6 week backlog before they could install a cable modem.
Verizon sold to CenturyTel and then CenturyTel wanted to sell me DSL Internet service. I said OK, as long as I could hook up all the family's computers. Was told: "no problem." They sent out a DSL modem and instruction sheet and I spent a couple of days trying to set it up and hook it up. After spending much of a night on the phone to tech support, tech support advised that their cable modems didn't support networking. Back to the cable modem.
Now, a couple of years later (last week), CenturyTel comes back to me and says they want to sell me DSL Internet service. I say OK if it can be networked. They assure me the new modems network. They ask how many phones I have: I say 4. They say they'll include 4 splitters/filters. I say fine. I find the DSL modem box on my doorstep a few days later (unlike the cable company or DirecTV, CenturyTel doesn't install, setup and show you how to use their stuff). I open the box and start reading the instructions, and it says I need those splitters/filters for everything and anything plugged into the phone system: satellite boxes, security systems, etc. That's news to me: I'm now short about 6 of those splitters/filters.
I call tech support. They say I'll have to buy more splitters/filters at about $39 apiece, but I'll have to wait to order them until tomorrow: customer service is only open 8-5. I ask about the (CenturyTel) security system, which is hooked to the phone line, but not via a wall jack: it's wired in behind the wall ... No place for me to insert a splitter/filter. Tech support, after a hold, tells me I need a whole house filter and to contact customer service tomorrow between 8-5.
I do that. After a couple of transfers and a couple of holds, I'm told they'll need to send out a technician to do the filter ... At a minimum cost of $85. I protest that I don't pay such fees when I sign up for service from DirecTV or the cable company, not even for upgrade tech visits ... Only for repairs (and I pay CenturyTel an additional monthly fee for inside wireline protection so I don't have to pay for repairs). CenturyTel's response: we can split that $85 charge over a few months' bills. I'm not objecting because I can't afford it, I'm objecting because I feel it's a ripoff to have to pay to have new service installed, new service where I'll be paying CenturyTel more than I did before.
What I'd like CenturyTel to do is install the dang system, make sure it works, and I'll pay for the monthly service (but NOT the dang install). If the whole house filter was necessary to accommodate some other vendor's security system, perhaps I could see the charge. But it's CenturyTel's system.
My response: I'm sticking with my MediaCom cable modem. It works. They don't charge me stupid visit fees.