Cancelling an ADSL service - in writing



  • I'm moving house in less than 2 weeks from now. I'm calling all of my utilities to arrange disconnections, final meter readings and all that sort of stuff. When I get to my ADSL internet service, they tell me that there's a 30-day notice period. What? That's one service where there is nothing to do except update the database. They are charging me $50 to switch the service off.

    I check out their terms and conditions - fortunately it's online and not in a tiny scrolling window. It actually says that they require 30 days notice in writing. So I should send them a letter? No, this is not under a fixed-term contract. There would be extra fees if it was.

    The phone line that the ADSL service is on is covered by a different company and they have no trouble cutting off the phone next week. I just pray that the ADSL provider doesn't have a heart attack when the phone line disappears from under them. There's probably an extra "administration fee" for that.



  • A lot of Internet services require a 30 day (or similar) notice. Always read the contract (or just assume the worst and call them 60 days before you are going to move).

    I worked for a DSL ISP and I think we did the same thing. IIRC, it was because we had to give Verizon so much notice to disconnect the line which we'd still be paying for until it was turned off.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    A lot of Internet services require a 30 day (or similar) notice. Always read the contract (or just assume the worst and call them 60 days before you are going to move).

    I worked for a DSL ISP and I think we did the same thing. IIRC, it was because we had to give Verizon so much notice to disconnect the line which we'd still be paying for until it was turned off.

    That is typically the reason. The ISP is often "in the middle" and gets caught for fees if they dont have the right notice. Given the very slim margins some operate on, it is not suprising. And yes, I would "expect" extra fees to hit your account for failure to provide cancelation notification.



  • An ISP I was previously with required cancellation before a specific day of the month to process for that month, else you'd be hammered with the following month's charges.

    I was quibbling with the provider who wouldn't take a emailed request to cancel my account, on the grounds that email could be forged. Whilst they're correct in that statement, examining the headers of my email would have determined that it was sent by one of their customers, attached to one of their servers, routed through their network. And their stance upon the trustworthiness of email didn't preclude them using it as a method of disseminating information.

    Either way, I missed the deadline, but this information was sent to my (closed) email account so I never received it, but several months later got a letter from a debt collection agency pressing me for outstanding payments. The letter contained no email address, a fax number and phone number that went unanswered (just rang, no voicemail) so I scribbled a response requesting more details and faxed it over. The only response I got a month later was another letter demanding final settlement and I should NOT ignore it this time as it was a SERIOUS MATTER.

    I ended up calling up my old ISP, nattered to someone who confirmed all the details and explained to me about the missed deadline. As the outstanding amount was only a tenner plus VAT, I gave him a CC number and requested that he (a) send me a receipt to confirm it was clear and (b) contact the deaf hounds barking for blood, since they may have greater success.

    I month later I got a letter from the agency telling it me that it was now a VERY SERIOUS MATTER that this debt still remained outstanding and I'd made no attempt to contact them. Another phone attempt went unanswered, so I fired off a snotty fax with details that the account had been settled and they ought to try speaking to their client once in a while. Also called up the ISP and spoke to someone who confirmed that the receipt had been sent - according to their customer logs it had been emailed to my closed account - but there was no mention in the log that the bloodsuckers had been informed, although it is normally automatic so I shouldn't be receiving the letters anymore, but in the meantime she'll DEFINITELY ensure the agency is contacted. If I get any more letters in the meantime, just ignore them.

    So next month comes around, and yet another agency letter telling me that it's a VERY VERY SERIOUS MATTER and my persistent non-communication will result in a course case on a date two weeks hence to extract their pound of flesh. So I try the only other communication means yet untouched: snail mail. I wrote up a letter detailing my attempts at contacting them, the unanswered faxes, the two calls made to the ISP to clear the account, their stance on not trusting email and requiring a letter to cancel my account yet relied upon email to deliver my proof-of-payment, to an expired email account.

    I sent copies of this letter, including a redacted copy of my credit card showing the date and recipient of the final payment to both agency and ISP, with an invitation to join myself on the steps of the courthouse where myself and several technical writers will be waiting with this evidence, my colleagues anxious to report not only how a communications company can fail to communicate so badly, and how a collection agency uses ignoring tactics to scare people into paying.

    Two days later I got a response from the agency thanking me for all the relevant information, that they considered the case to be settled but in closing, I could have prevented a lot of wasted time and effort if I'd have made an attempt to contact them in the first instance.

    rageface.gif.



  • @Cassidy said:

    An ISP I was previously with required cancellation before a specific day of the month to process for that month, else you'd be hammered with the following month's charges.

    I was quibbling with the provider who wouldn't take a emailed request to cancel my account, on the grounds that email could be forged. Whilst they're correct in that statement, examining the headers of my email would have determined that it was sent by one of their customers, attached to one of their servers, routed through their network. And their stance upon the trustworthiness of email didn't preclude them using it as a method of disseminating information.

    Either way, I missed the deadline, but this information was sent to my (closed) email account so I never received it, but several months later got a letter from a debt collection agency pressing me for outstanding payments. The letter contained no email address, a fax number and phone number that went unanswered (just rang, no voicemail) so I scribbled a response requesting more details and faxed it over. The only response I got a month later was another letter demanding final settlement and I should NOT ignore it this time as it was a SERIOUS MATTER.

    I ended up calling up my old ISP, nattered to someone who confirmed all the details and explained to me about the missed deadline. As the outstanding amount was only a tenner plus VAT, I gave him a CC number and requested that he (a) send me a receipt to confirm it was clear and (b) contact the deaf hounds barking for blood, since they may have greater success.

    I month later I got a letter from the agency telling it me that it was now a VERY SERIOUS MATTER that this debt still remained outstanding and I'd made no attempt to contact them. Another phone attempt went unanswered, so I fired off a snotty fax with details that the account had been settled and they ought to try speaking to their client once in a while. Also called up the ISP and spoke to someone who confirmed that the receipt had been sent - according to their customer logs it had been emailed to my closed account - but there was no mention in the log that the bloodsuckers had been informed, although it is normally automatic so I shouldn't be receiving the letters anymore, but in the meantime she'll DEFINITELY ensure the agency is contacted. If I get any more letters in the meantime, just ignore them.

    So next month comes around, and yet another agency letter telling me that it's a VERY VERY SERIOUS MATTER and my persistent non-communication will result in a course case on a date two weeks hence to extract their pound of flesh. So I try the only other communication means yet untouched: snail mail. I wrote up a letter detailing my attempts at contacting them, the unanswered faxes, the two calls made to the ISP to clear the account, their stance on not trusting email and requiring a letter to cancel my account yet relied upon email to deliver my proof-of-payment, to an expired email account.

    I sent copies of this letter, including a redacted copy of my credit card showing the date and recipient of the final payment to both agency and ISP, with an invitation to join myself on the steps of the courthouse where myself and several technical writers will be waiting with this evidence, my colleagues anxious to report not only how a communications company can fail to communicate so badly, and how a collection agency uses ignoring tactics to scare people into paying.

    Two days later I got a response from the agency thanking me for all the relevant information, that they considered the case to be settled but in closing, I could have prevented a lot of wasted time and effort if I'd have made an attempt to contact them in the first instance.

    rageface.gif.

    In the US, Federal debt collection law pretty much requires every consumer-to-agency communication to take place in writing, at least for protections to be enforced. Don't know if it's the case in Dreary Ol' England, but if you're dealing with collections in the US: do everything in writing.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    In the US, Federal debt collection law pretty much requires every consumer-to-agency communication to take place in writing, at least for protections to be enforced. Don't know if it's the case in Dreary Ol' England, but if you're dealing with collections in the US: do everything in writing.

    They should still answer the phone though. And a fax usually counts as 'writing.'



  • Once upon a day, i received a notice in my box. "your package is still waiting for you to pick it up", from a company i never heard of. Address was correct but the name on it was neither me nor the previous owner. I emailed them saying the address was probably wrong. They thanked me. Two week later, i receive the bill for the package (which i didn't pick up). I email them and told them next letters with wrong name from them will remain unopened. They apologized. One moth later, i received a reminder for the letter. I ignored it. Fast forward about 6 month. I have alread received

    • one letter from debt collection agency reminding me to pay + adminstration fee + late fee
    • three reminders from collection agency, with progressive threatening.
    • three more letter saying "this is your last chance before the court"

    and then, nothing more. No more news from the collection agency. What a shame, this was starting to get funny. I already imagined having to go to the court and say "I am sorry, Miss X won't come today, because there has never been a Miss X at given address" :)



  • @tchize said:

    Once upon a day, i received a notice in my box. "your package is still waiting for you to pick it up", from a company i never heard of. Address was correct but the name on it was neither me nor the previous owner. I emailed them saying the address was probably wrong. They thanked me. Two week later, i receive the bill for the package (which i didn't pick up). I email them and told them next letters with wrong name from them will remain unopened. They apologized. One moth later, i received a reminder for the letter. I ignored it. Fast forward about 6 month. I have alread received - one letter from debt collection agency reminding me to pay + adminstration fee + late fee - three reminders from collection agency, with progressive threatening. - three more letter saying "this is your last chance before the court" and then, nothing more. No more news from the collection agency. What a shame, this was starting to get funny. I already imagined having to go to the court and say "I am sorry, Miss X won't come today, because there has never been a Miss X at given address" :)
    Heck, you could have even drawn out the drama further, if they did schedule a court case, by not showing up.  After all you were not the one being sued, and then the police would have gotten involved and might have come to your place with a warrant for Miss X.

    Right now I am in my own little hilarious drama.  Note that I have been living at my current address for over 4 years now, and the previous tenant did not and still have not bothered to tell the state about the change in address (which in my state you are required to update this in 3 months of moving normally done by getting a new drivers license issued).  It started out several years ago when Mrs previous tenant decided to speed past some speed cameras.  When I got the first one in the mail I thought it was for me, until I saw the picture of the car speeding and realized it was not my car, and then I double checked the addresse and realized it was not for me.  I kindly used the provided business return envelope to include a nice note with all the other stuff explaining that the person had not lived at the address in over a year (which should have raised red flags for them).  I started to get follow up mail saying to pay the amount owed along with 2 more speeding tickets for the same individual (I again used the snail mail return envolope to send it all back with a nice note explaining the person no longer lived here).  Several more months after that I get a piece of mail from a department of motor vehicles for the woman saying that her drivers license has been suspended, for unpaid tickets (Started shredding at this point since the goverment was not listening to me).  Then there was over a year of silence nothing, so I though yey they must have tried a different form of communication and got the thing resolved.  Then 3 months ago I all of a suddenly get a ton of spam mail from all kinds of defense lawyers for driving on a suspended license, (guess who it was for).  2 months ago I get a mail from the state judicial system for a resolution to the court case (did not bother opening just shredded, thinking it might finally be over).  Last month I got a follow up piece of mail from the judicial system with a nice header on it indicating that she had not bothered to pay the court fines.  I cant imagine how that could have happened, maybe if she had bothered to update her address she might have actually gotten the bill.  So I am confident that she will be back in court.  I wonder if the cops will come by with a warrant for her arrest, I think that will be funny.  On a side note I just got a piece of mail for her husband Mr previous tenant for jury duty, I would laugh hard if his wife's case lands on the same day that he does not show up for jury duty.



  • Ooo!  Ooo!  I have a story too!

    I am currently trying to cancel my accounts with Optus not through moving house but because of their inability to deliver a service.

    Bear with me....

    Optus call me up out of the blue: Hey, as a loyal customer, we want to help you out.  What do you have now?  [They should know of course] and what do you use it for?
    Me: Erm.. 10GB per month mobile modem (as you well know).  We use it for email and looking at movies of cats falling off sofas mainly.  Most weekends we go and do other stuff and I like to take my LOLCAT machine with me so I'd like some mobile capability.
    Optus: Hey!  Good news.  How about we give you a cable modem for home (120 or so GB per month) + a 2GB mobile for pretty much the same price?  A little more for the mobile.
    Me: ...[Weighs up the necessity of the mobile, given my phone has almost that anyway, but hey, no biggie.  I can work it out] Ok.
    Optus: When suits for delivery & installation?  It will be in about 2 weeks.
    Me: Ok - Monday the 14th [2 weeks time]?
    Optus: Sure.  Between 12 & 5?
    Me: Ok, I can work from home.  I have internet!
    All smooth sailing so far, but fun and games to come.
    The following Sunday I get a bunch of texts from Optus warning me I am about to go over my bandwidth allowance.  WTF?
    I check the usage and sure enough, they have applied the new mobile plan immediately (pro-rata to 2 weeks as it's mid month) while I still have to wait 2 weeks for installation of the cable modem. Doh! So I phone them up.
    Me: [The above]
    Optus: Have you tried rebooting etc....
    Me: No. Listen. [The above]
    Optus: [Penny drops]. Ok, I understand.
    Me: Great.  I need to go to work now and you need to do some homework as to how to fix this.  How about you work out what needs to happen and call me.  I'm free at 4pm-5pm and then any time after 7.
    Optus: Ok.
    Of course they never call back so I call them sometime in the evening.
    Optus: Have you tried rebooting etc....
    Me: No. Listen. [The above]
    Optus: Ah yeah - I understand..  No I can't just give you free data blocks as this plan does not work like that.  I'll give you 5GB then when your modem arrives I'll downgrade the plan and rebate the difference and any additional data charges.
    Me: Sounds pretty involved but if that's the way it has to happen then fine - I'm not that fussed.  Thank's Maria [Seriously - well done - good job]

    .... time passes...

    Monday 14th arrives and I'm working from home.  The guy arrives to install at 2:15.  Nobody's fault, but we have to work out where stuff is going so I have to cut my 2:00 call short and start the 2:30 late. Only 2 meetings of the day.  That's nobody's fault, not even Optus' but even so....

    Yep - seems to work fine.  I get on with it.
    Tues 15th at work:

    Colleague: All good with the internet
    Me: Yeah - too easy.  Can't say I can tell the difference between this and the old mobile one though which is surprising.
    Him: Ah - try speedcheck.net [or something].  I had a similar thing and turns out someone hadn't set it up right.

    So that evening I do the check.  800 Kbits/S down, 900 up ....  WTF.
    Try old mobile connection: 2.5 Mbits/s

    I call optus at around 8pm. using the number left by the installer.

    Me: [The above] after getting through almost right away.
    Optus: You have called the mobile broadband.  You need to call 123455.
    Me: Erm, I did call that number.
    Optus:  Ok, must have been a routing issue.  Putting you through.

    .....1/2 hour or so I get someone.

    Optus:[Blah] and reboot the modem.
    Me: Ok that did it. Slightly embarassed I didn't try that but didn't really think about it.
    Optus: No worries.  Bye!

    Next day:

    hmmmmm. ... where's my superfast cats/sofa/interwebs gone?  WTF?  It's gone back to 800kbs.

    Me: [The above.  INCLUDING THE BIT ABOUT CALLING THE WRONG NUMBER!]
    Optus: Ok, reboot etc.
    Me:  Ok but I have 4 devices all running slow.  Fix this problem please.
    Optus: [more stuff]
    Me:  It's still slow.
    Optus:  Transferring you to Netgear.
    Me: oh fuck....

    Netgear: Hi, how can I help
    Me: [The above]
    Netgear: Ok, change this, this and this.  (Including setting a new password and giving it to the engineer.  WTF).
    Me: Ok done.  All seems to work. 
    [Fatal mistake - didn't check the actual speed]
    ...later....
    Fuck - 10Mbits/second.  I know this can go to 25.  I've seen it!  I've paid for it!  Puts it all back again.

    Now at this point I'm unsure if I should just suck it up and live with 10mbs.  Even so, no saying it might revert to 800kbs.  In any case - I didn't feel good about 1/2 speed and someone else having my password.
    It's also gone midnight, so I've had enough.
    Next day I call Optus again.

    Me: [The above. INCLUDING THE BIT ABOUT CALLING THE WRONG NUMBER!]
    Optus: You have called the mobile broadband.  You need to call 123455.
    Me: I'm begining to lose it now....I give a fairly rational and calm description of the course of events, though clearly through gritted teeth.

    So I get transferred and wait on hold.  We get nowhere...
    It's gone midnight again so I ask to cancel my account.  Fuck the 2 year contract, fuck the mobile internet and fuck the fairly recent mobile phone renewal.  I want to deal with one telco and Optus is not it.  They've had my custom for 7 years and if they cannot do this, I'm done.

    Optus: I can't help you with that.  you will have to call the sales desk tomorrow.
    Me: fffffffffffuuuu...
    Gets onto the Optus website (which is an abortion of gargantuan proportions in itself, stuffed full of adverts, double menus, random crap everywhere....the mind boggles.) and send sales an email through "Contact Us" explaining the above in abridged terms.

    Next day:
    Optus:  Hi this is Maria [the good one].  How's it going?  I've applied the rebate to your account and put you back to 2GB/month plan.
    Me:  Thanks but I'm now tring to cancel.
    Maria: Oh that's so sad.  How can I help?  What can I do?
    Me: [The above].  So can you fix it?
    Maria: No. Sorry.  I want to help but I am support.  If you have to cancel then you need to call sales.
    Me: You've been great.  Thanks for all your help, sorry Optus is not all like you.  Can they call me?
    Maria: No.

    Anyway, my "contact us" email comes to nothing.  Nobody calls or replies.

    So I try again and this time (because it's not fucking 1am) I notice the "we will not answer account specific enquiries") so I put it through as a technical enquiry.  I do actually get an email acknowledgement this time, though it's classified as a mobile issue.

    So, still waiting for a reply (though I've got a bill which apparently is overdue) and still rebooting the router every now and then to get decent speed.


    Sigh.....

    I might give the tech support another go.  They're not really that bad, but why do I need to reboot my modem every few hours to get a decent speed?  FFS?!?



  • Ah for the good old days when simply tearing/punching a bunch of holes in a Hollerith card could get the phone/electric/gas company to call you...



  • @LoztInSpace said:

    <Long painful story>
    And this is why you should never change, upgrade, or downgrade your plan with a company when it is already working.  Even though you could always stop paying them and go through extra stories of dealing with the debt collectors, which would probably be less painful.



  • @Anketam said:

    @LoztInSpace said:

    <Long painful story>
    And this is why you should never change, upgrade, or downgrade your plan with a company when it is already working.  Even though you could always stop paying them and go through extra stories of dealing with the debt collectors, which would probably be less painful.

    Yeah you're probably right but I figured I was running out out of capability with the mobile-only 10gb plan, 70+% of which is at home anyway so why not?

    Update:

    I get the option of

    a) waiting at home for a technician to turn up and I get to pay for anything that isn't provably Optus' fault.

    b) waiting at home for a new modem to be delivered.

    I prefer a) but seeing as I am not a fucking Netgear/network guru I can't guarantee I'm going to be able to either defend myself or not dig myself into a deeper hole.

    b) has the advantage that I can just swap the gear and follow the instructions, though they can then subsequently claim I must have done something wrong.

    And even though I pointed out that I was a new customer to their cable modem service and and old customer of theirs for every other service, maybe, just maybe they should make an effort to accommodate me.  I even told them I would not be available at home (no offsite delivery of course) on the projected week but I somehow doubt that will stop them nominating that week.

    I just told them I don't care any more.  If the sales guys get my cancellation request first then so be it.  If the modem arrives and it's convenient then so be it.  If they deliver it and I'm not there, so be it.  He seemed a bit miffed by that.

    Fuck.  All I ask is that they give me something that works and they can take my money!  It's not like they're trying to rip me off.  The people have been great, but they obviously have to work within a process created by idiots.  It's also surprising that given the numbers of these things they must sell, they have no idea how to deal with the odd thing going wrong.



  • @Anketam said:

    And this is why you should never change, upgrade, or downgrade your plan with a company when it is already working.

    Okay, I utterly HATE the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!" crowd... but for that statement, in the contect of interwebz, I'm in full agreement. Not because it can't be improved, but that I get the distinct impression ISPs globally are completely inept and a working model is acheived more by luck than intention.

    @LoztInSpace said:

    Fuck.  All I ask is that they give me something that works and they can take my money!  It's not like they're trying to rip me off.  The people have been great, but they obviously have to work within a process created by idiots.  It's also surprising that given the numbers of these things they must sell, they have no idea how to deal with the odd thing going wrong.

    Ditto with my current provider.

    Initially the sales droid cocked up but made amends by (a) upfront confirming that he definitely remembers submitting my request but it must be their SNAFU so kindly have a few months' free to cover that, and (b) the technical girl listening in on the call confirmed that my request would be accelerated, given the situation - and I was connected within 3 days.

    Their upfront honesty and attempts to rectify the situation have resulted in my loyalty for the past 3 years - despite the recent sales bod I contacted being a utter knob. Also I have a static IP plus my own RDNS record which other ordinary home-consumer ISPs won't provide unless I quadruple my monthly tariff for exactly the same service.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to What the Daily WTF? was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.