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T-Mobile has problems

Let’s Confuse the Customers

On May 22, 2024 this SMS message arrived on the phone from T-Mobile:

T-Mobile: For the first time in nearly a decade, we’re making a change to the price of some of our monthly service plans. Starting on 06/05/24, your rate plan(s) will increase by $5 per line per month. You’ll keep all the benefits you currently enjoy, and your rate plan type and bill due date remain the same. For more information, visit sms.t-mobile.com/NGqUR4F4

Soon after that SMS message I’m greeted with this voice message when calling 611:

Welcome to T-Mobile. Hi Bruce. I notice there are charges on your account causing your bill to be slightly higher. You have questions about that?

Charges, in addition to a rate increase? I talked with T-Mobile reps and they could not find any additional charges. Then they said the voice message really refers to the RATE increase. But, according to one rep, the rates are really charges, per the “MRC”. What is MRC I asked? “Monthly Recuring Charge”. The SMS message never used the word “charge”, instead referring to a “rate plan”.

This kind of inconsistent terminology is a great way to confuse customers and drive up the number, length, and costs of calls to customer service. Mike Sievert needs to get his act together.

And if that is not enough of a problem for millions of customers, Mike Sievert should also pay attention to this absurd T-Mobile suggestion from a supervisor.

Ask a stranger for the PIN

In the Spring of 2024 someone used one of my email addresses to start prepaid service with T-Mobile. I called T-Mobile and said there is some fraud going on using my email address without authorization.

The first rep said I needed to talk to the Prepaid Department.

The first rep in the Prepaid Department could get her brain to understand that someone used my email address without authorization, as many ways as I tried to explain it. She kept asking if there was someone I had given my email address to.

I asked for a supervisor. The supervisor had a brilliant idea so that she could get into the account and look at it. This was her idea: I should call the phone number in the account associated with my email address and ask the person for the PIN, which I would in turn give to the supervisor.

So there you have it, T-Mobile personnel suggesting I be part of a process to try to improperly obtain a PIN from a stranger. I declined to be a part of this process.

Mike Sievert really needs to get his act together.

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Interim HealthCare Might Be No HealthCare

You’ve got to wonder about the quality of health care from an organization that sends an admission form for a patient to the WRONG, completely unrelated, person.

Interim HealthCare out of Sunrise, FL did just that. An admission form for a patient in New Hampshire was sent to a person in Seattle, WA via email. The person in Seattle does not know the patient nor have any relationship whatsoever with the patient or Interim Health Care.

The bottom line is this. Patient care is probably delayed because the form went to the wrong person. Additionally, any organization that does not confirm correct contact information for the patient does not instill confidence that the health care will also be on target. Verification and attention to detail is lacking.

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The Sound of Music from Professional Management Company Kellen

The American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) has been around since the late 1940’s. This organization is a trade association of very talented and working freelance — mostly non-fiction — writers.

Until 2014 ASJA was essentially managed internally — with its own staff or direct contracts with vendors. In or about 2014 ASJA decided to abandon direct staff and hand association management over to Kellen, a professional association management company. As of this post, August 19, 2023, Kellen is still listed as the staff. See the image below captured on August 19, 2023.

ASJA’s phone number of 212-997-0947 has been with ASJA for many decades.

For any professional association — or business — it seems quite logical that callers to the organization’s phone number would be greeted with an announcement — either live or recorded — that says the organization’s name.

The phone number for ASJA is answered (August 19, 2023) with mild music — AND NOTHING ELSE. No message, no organizational identification, not even a message that says “You’ve reached 212-997-0947”. This is the conclusion any caller would have if the caller did not wait 50 seconds through the music to finally get an answering device (after business hours) saying the caller has reached ASJA and to leave a message.

What serious organization would operate like this? None. Being that ASJA is a serious organization, the only conclusion is that Kellen — the professional management association company — has down-graded, or de-graded AJSA as a serious, viable organization.

Does 50 seconds of music really support the following claim? “As Kellen employees, ASJA’s staff members bring years of expertise and an understanding of best practices to advance the ASJA mission and serve members.” The answer is rather obvious.

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Not Trustworthy: Lumen, CenturyLink, Quantum Fiber

With the stroke of a simple mistake, Lumen destroyed several years of work for eldery customers. And there is no easy recourse for Lumen’s error. (Lumen also operates under CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber brands.)

Lumen’s negligence — or incompetence — took down three video surveillance systems, streaming services, and health monitoring systems used by residents in their 60’s and 70’s.

The 23+ year customers had invested lots of money and hundreds of hours to configure all these systems and services to work with CenturyLink fiber internet. The customers had a block of eight static IP numbers used for various purposes.

Combined with the fiber internet was a land line. The customers decided to port the phone number away from CenturyLink to a VoIP provider.

The customers initiated the port request with the VoIP provider. Then, the customers called CenturyLink to tell them that the port was happening and that internet and static IP numbers were not being cancelled and were to be retained. In fact, the customer called twice before the port was complete. The customers were told each time that there was no problem and there was nothing further to do. The customers were also told the amount the monthly bill would be without the phone service — clearly indicating that internet and static IPs would remain along with the cost of renting the modem.

The number was ported over to the VoIP service on Wednesday, July 26, 2023.

The morning of Saturday, July 29, 2023 all internet for the customers disappeared.

The customers tried to call CenturyLink support and was directed by robot messages to use ctlchat.com.

The customers got into the ctlchat.com system and learned that the account — meaning all internet, not just the phone service — was cancelled.

The cancellation by Lumen was a clear mistake.

The customers then spent nearly three hours in chat and on the phone. CenturyLink chat told the customers to call Quantum Fiber.

A Quantum Fiber supervisor said the problem was with CenturyLink and to contact CenturyLink.

The customers went back to ctlchat.com and was told to contact Quantum Fiber.

The customers went back to Quantum Fiber and was told again to contact CenturyLink.

After nearly three hours NO ONE at a Lumen brand was willing or able to do anything.

During the prolonged hell with Lumen and it’s brands, the customers learned that Quantum Fiber does not provide static IP numbers.

As of this post, Lumen has left the customers hanging with no solution, no recourse. Nothing. This is how a big corporation shows appreciation for 23+ years of payments.

No wonder Lumen stock has plunged dramatically. There is no value in Lumen when it treats customers like this. Can you trust a company like this? Not likely.

Any updates will be posted below.

Update August 2, 2023: Customer talked with a Lumen supervsior who said the Internet and static IPs were cancelled by the VoIP provider receiving the landline number. Not true. VoIP.ms made it clear on August 1, 2023 when asked:

Hello, The process is pretty simple, we send the number and the customer info requesting it [the phone number] to be ported. The losing carrier then checks the info and either approves or rejects it. We did not request any cancellation since we did not even knew what was on the account besides the porting number. Some carriers though, close the account automatically if the main/only number leaves; however, this depends on them and it’s beyond our control. Thank you! LNP Specialist, VoIP.ms Customer Service

CenturyLink Update: September 6, 2023

Seven days of calling CenturyLink everyday, sometimes several times a day, got me no where. Each and every customer service representative said there was nothing they could do. They said the account was cancelled, dead, and could not be restored. A couple supervisors also said this.

I did not believe it because my neighbor still had CenturyLink service and the CenturyLink fiber to a church that I manage still had CenturyLink fiber.

I took the shotgun approach: letter to the CEO, emails to media relations, about 12 complaints through CL’s unresolved issues form, communications to the legal department before court action (per terms of service) and probably a few other ways I don’t recall.

Late morning on the Friday after the Saturday outage John [not real name] called from CenturyLink and said CenturyLink had made a mistake and that he has turned our Internet back on — including the original block of static IP numbers. Then, the following Wednesday, he called to confirm that everything was working and that every thing on the back end regarding the account should be fixed.

Bottom line: CenturyLink representatives for an entire week kept telling me that restoration could not be done. In fact, it could be done and was done. It should have been done on the first call, not a week later after going through hell and wasting all my time. How can anyone trust a company with such behavior?