Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Earthlink is the Devil's Spawn

Is the general level of intelligence declining, or have we always been so incompetent?

I canceled my Earthlink account on November 3rd, well in advance of the day they took their payment from my bank account on the 26th of every month. To protect myself, I also revoked their authorization at the bank. I wasn't always so smart. I learned the hard way, as is my wont, when I canceled AOL years ago but neglected to also tell the bank.

11 months later, when I actually looked at my bank statement, I noticed that AOL had continued to take their monthly payments all those months despite the fact that I canceled their services and there was no activity on the account. My bank informed me that they had never succeeded in getting money back from AOL for anybody, and would not even attempt it. (AOL conjures the forces of evil.)

Now Earthlink continues to bill me for my November payment. They have made wild threats against my credit record and good name. It is clear that they intend to disembowel me and drain all the blood from my lifeless body soon.

A person from their company even called a month ago, at first light, to demand payment. I explained the situation to her, several times, actually. I don't think she was listening. And then she said, "How would you like to make your payment?"

We went through it again. I was coffee'd up and ready to roll. I used smaller words. I spoke more slowly.

"How would you like to make your payment?" she said again. I hate talking to robots.

She said there was no record of my cancellation. I assured her that I had done so, albeit to their recording, and that I should not be penalized because THEY dropped the ball. Since it was my understanding that payments were for the coming month, not the previous one and I was not using Earthlink any longer, I owed nothing.

Despite my well-reasoned arguments, they continue to send me letters demanding payments which now include December. I tried to call them. They put me through the maze of narrowing down who, exactly, had the skills to help me best, and then played a recording that they-could-not-take-my-call-right-now-I-should-call-again-at-another-time. In a terminally perky voice, which led me to believe that they knew it was me, and were getting even.

When corporate entities become so big that they no longer employ real people with the capacity to think, we are all screwed. And that, my friends, spells Trouble. With a capital "T."

Should auld acquaintance be forgot? Yes, damnit. They should. When I'm done with a relationship, I'm done. Leave me alone. Do not call me. Do not dun me for money I don't owe.

Earthlink, you are dead to me. Stay dead, willya?

39 comments:

Bob said...

lotsa luck. I started with mindspring and was always able to get a live person. My dad started with earthlink back when they were used predominantly by Mac users and had similar personal service. I am pondering switching internet providers (I still use earthlink dial-up) to get internet via cable and I now have a new worry. Thanks a lot!

Cece said...

Oh god that sounds like my trouble with a cell phone company a few years back. After that tragic relationship it made me nervous to enter new cell phone relationships!

Good luck!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Bob,

We're Mac users, and had Earthlink dial-up, too. When we finally got DSL, AT&T/Yahoo came in considerably cheaper than Earthlink, to my surprise. Hence the switch.

Good luck with your new one, whoever you go with.

Cece,

Thank you. I don't know which is worse, speaking to a machine or to a live person who is brain dead and drawing a paycheck.

Open Grove Claudia said...

Grrrrrrr.... I've gotten to the point where I just pay it and be glad to be done with it. But I'm a middle child - what do you expect?

My site was hacked this morning by some prig putting an advert for nasty stuff in the line code....

Let's burn Earthlink and the prig. We'll dance by the pyre.

furiousBall said...

I recommend you grudge F another ISP and send pictures to Earthlink, that will get the message across.

zorak163 said...

My work has recently reached this level of insanity. In "unrelated" news... I resigned today. The two week's notice rule sucks.

Pickled Olives said...

Good job giving them the run around! Keep it going. While you are at it, let them know you offially are in "dispute" with them and therefore if they touch your credit, you lawyer will slap a suit on them faster than they can say: Yahoo

Follow it up with a letter of your cancelation with the original date and request to stop recieving harassing calls. You are not paying them anything past the official cancelation date. :o)

mist1 said...

I'm not even authorized to withdraw funds from my own account. It's for the best.

An explosive said...

I feel your pain! Sprint was the evil doer in my case! Six months of torture and aggravation! All I can say is keep very good notes when talking with idiots. I write everything down and always make sure i get there "name and whatever company number they go by"! VERY IMPORTANT! So sorry, I wish these tidbits will help but all I can tell you is that it helps with you own sanity because I swear at times I was almost believing the enemy myself! good luck! ~M

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Claudia,

Sounds like a plan. I'll bring my violin, like Nero, and fiddle while Earthlink burns.

I still get a lot of penile enlargement ads, as I've posted about in the past. I hate subjecting people (and myself) to the alphabet soup to comment, but every time I remove it, the penis people ooze through the cracks, so to speak.

Furious,

It may come to that. I need to put them out of my misery.

Zorak,

Congratulations! This means that you are still in charge of you, and that a much better job is right around the corner.

Nature abhors a vacuum, so you had to create one in order for the better new job to come along.

It takes courage to quit before finding another one, but sometimes it's necessary for your self-respect. Good luck!!

Olives,

I'm not giving them the runaround. I canceled. They didn't turn it off. I owe nothing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Mist,

I'm sure it is. Do you carry a lot of mad money for new shoes, then?

My heart,

I do take notes. Carefully. But then I misplace the notebooks. I should make a file and try to remember where my file box is next time.

Lee said...

Oh I have paid an extra month to both AOL and Earthlink AND Olympus gym. They all suck and yes, they are all the personification of the devil. They are probably all Scientologists.otr

I am not Star Jones said...

you should also post this at consumerist.com.

when my gym (crunch) didn't cancel my membership when I told them to do so, I posted it on my blog and emailed consumerist.com.

Then emailed the post to Crunch.

Got a full refund immediately.

Michael C said...

I guess that they're so proud of their new anti pop-up software that they hadn't noticed you broke up with them. THOSE FOOLS!!!

Kevin said...

Yeah. Good luck with that.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Lee,

I'm sure you're right. It's all a plot to make Tom Cruise King of the World.

Not Star,

Way to go! You sound like a star to me.

When companies piss me off enough, I write to their presidents. I pretend I'm a rational person and set forth my grievances, and I usually get results. I think this is because the person at the top cares a lot more about the company's image than lower level employees do.

Thanks for stopping by.

Michael,

Breaking up is hard to do. They usually notice when I stop making payments.

Kevin,

Thank you! I'm sure the best is yet to come.

Pendullum said...

Not good, Not Good...

Aisby said...

my dad bought me some stock back when it was Mindspring...ELNK has screwed me over...I'm down to about $2/share.

Gym memberships will do this to you, too. I hate when someone wants automatic withdrawals from your account. I'd rather just pay the bill myself.

Nicole said...

I've had experience a time or 2. I won't back down either. Not when I KNOW I'm right! Stand your ground!!

Crankster said...

I think this is the point at which you have a lawyer friend send Earthlink a little letter.

Odat said...

They all suck! Is all I can say.
My sympathies!
Peace

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Pendullum,

Nope. Nope.

Aisby,

I couldn't agree more. I do not like anyone having access to my funds. Our DSL is with the phone company, so it's included in our monthly bill. Much better.

NIcole, Crankster and Odat,

I just learned that they took a double payment for Nov. and Dec. out of my account, although I revoked their authorization. When I called the bank, I learned that the revocation order only applies to the exact monthly payment, so they were able to get it.

My bank has temporarily credited the money back to me while they investigate. I'll have to change my debit card so it can't happen again.

They're more evil than I thought.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I called Earthlink (again) to apprise them (again) that we cancelled our service. After a long wait, I spoke with someone whose English is at best a third language, and she told me that Eathlink does not support cancellations made to their recording.

So why do they offer that option, I asked.

She repeated that they Do Not Support such cancellations. She transferred me to their cancellations department 10 minutes ago. I'm still waiting. This is time out of my life I will never get back.

I can't decide if I'm in a Franz Kafka or Lewis Carroll novel, but it is definitely a rabbit hole. And I am morphing into the bitch from hell as I wait and wait through maddening repetitions of the same abrasive advertisements.

SEND HELP.

Dave said...

I could swear I wrote this blog! Well not exactly ... but I have had an almost EXACT experience with my FORMER cell phone company... All the best!

Crankster said...

Talked to my wife about this today. She says that it took two nasty letters from her lawyer friend to get her out of the clutches of the demon Earthlink.

However, it's worth noting that she did, indeed, escape.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Dave,

Are you channeling me or am I channeling you? Either way, I wish Earthlink would fall into the English Channel and be swallowed by sea demons.

Crankster,

Misanthropster is my light at the end of the tunnel, then. Thanks for the encouraging words.

thethinker said...

I don't know what's worse, the robots or the outsourcing to foreign countries. Some companies just can't be bothered to provide real service anymore.

Good luck with your situation.

Nihilistic said...

AOL...I hate AOL...ptoo ptoo ptoo! I spit on aol!

urban-urchin said...

this sounds a lot like my stupid ass insurance company and all the medical billing companies we deal with- they're all the spawn of satan.

I do agree with the others who suggest nasty lawyer letters and documenting everything so they can't mess with your credit (evil bastards).

Thailand Gal said...

All of those darn places (and I am an Earthlink customer and used to do tech support for them back in a previous era of my life) deliberately frustrate customers, hoping they'll give up. It's slimey and unethical. Commerce is evil. :)

Peace,

~Chani

kim said...

Yep youre now doomed to forever be harrassed by Earthlink as I am by Pacific Bell. 7 yrs ago mind you ...SEVEN... I moved from my house to an apartment and didnt transfer my DSL because it wasnt available in the apt I moved in to. After being billed for 6 months for service I NEVER HAD they abruptly sent me to collections. This of course was after my millionth phone call (one of which resulted in being transfered to janitorial) *sigh* they are still chasing me and are on my credit report because I refuse to pay them to this day!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Thinker,

The outsourcing would explain why most of the customer disservice representatives don't speak English.

Nihi,

That's good. Could you spare a few globs for Earthlink now?

Urchin,

They are evil leeches. I HATE them. They should all die. Horribly.

Chani,

You've confirmed my suspicions. After I was transferred to the cancellations department and left hanging for over 20 minutes, I realized it was a dead end number and hung up. Then I attempted to call customer svce again, but there was a long queue.

Dealing with such dirty tricks day in and day out makes me want to live someplace where I won't have to be constantly vigilant or be stolen blind.

I know you can relate to this.

Kim,

Your story is horrible and all too believable. Unscrupulous companies should not be able to ruin our credit by what is, in effect, blackmail. I feel so helpless when logic has no effect, but I, too, refuse to pay what I do not owe for services I never received.

It really is the principle that makes me refuse to give it up to terrorists.

Jay said...

I think we've all been there before. How does such stupidity not send these companies tumbling down, as is rightly deserved?

Dan said...

I used smaller words. I spoke more slowly.

You are too funny with all of these consumer problems! I think these people have you on a list and are in cahoots to make your life a living hell ... alas, I'm on that list too! ;)

Happy New Year! Really nice meeting you in the blogosphere in '06!

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jay,

I think stupidity, not love, makes the world go 'round.

Dan,

They're on my list, too. You know which one.

It's been a great year for new friends. All the best to you in the new one.

velvet girl said...

Someone I know was just telling me yesterday about his father having some billing or connection problems related to Earthlink, I think. What a coincidence.

I don't think that you are alone in having all these problems with customer service. In many places and with many companies, it's abysmal.

Good luck in settling your dispute!

-velvet

Le Nightowl said...

I guess EVERYONE can relate to this kind of kafkaesque situation, unfortunately.
I hope this will be eventually settled (to YOUR advantage).
You have all my sympathy
Marie

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Velvet,

Well, it's true, then. Misery does love company. Just not the Earthlink Company.

Marie,

It's hard to remember the good times when the breakup is so bitter.

Anonymous said...

(Date)
Notice of termination of service contract

Let it be known on (date)____/____/____ that I (your name)______________________ have formally terminated all contracted services received with (said organization)_____________________ to terminate on (termination date)___/___/____ at midnight per said companies terms of service agreement. This notification has been made by telephone to your organizations representative agent (agents name or I.D.#)_________________ with cancellation number____________________. Payment for contracted services has been paid in full up and to termination date therefore your organization in no longer authorized to make electronic withdraws on my behalf from my listed account. Please mechanically or electronically destroy any confidential information held on record or database pertaining to my account as soon as possible. I also request that your organization please remove my phone number_______________ from any solicitation lists. Thank you for your time regarding this matter.

Best regards,

(You’re Signature)
(Your name)
(Address)
(Phone Number)

(CERTIFIED LETTER SEAL)

This template can be useful & adapted for ones individual needs. When terminating a contract by phone make sure you get the agents name or ID and a cancellation code or at least a reference call number. Its a great idea to inform your financial institution of the change & to follow through by sending notification by certified USPS mail to the organization you are canceling the contract with. Just remember to keep a certified copy for your records PERMANENTLY. This can be your salvation in a legal dispute.

RJS said...

Don't get me started! The mindless mechanization of modern society, makes me (more) meshuganah. Remember the good old days, when humans actually answered phones, and assisted us WITHOUT an asshole attitude?

I've never used Earthlink, and now, never plan to. I appreciate the warning, but am sorry that you had to endure such corporate crap.