Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Century Link Phone and DSL

History - 
Good old Century Link! On the Seahawks game (September 2011) they advertised high speed DSL for $19.95/mo for a 5 year commitment. When I called the following Monday they didn’t seem to recognize that deal but offered to cut my bill by $10/mo to $46 for a year then $56.45/month after taxes for both phone and DSL. And DSL would increase from 526 kb/s to 768 kb/s. They would also throw in call waiting and caller ID. Still not fast enough for good quality netflix which needs 3 mb/s. I checked my download speed and was getting right at 700 kb/s with the upgrade. Seemed a lot faster than before. Youtube items did not have to buffer. They said I could get DSL only for $29.99 per month or some such price even at an over 10 times speed improvement (10 mb/s).

Next upgrade -
Then about September of 2012 I purchased a Ooma phone from Costco which connects to the DSL for free. I have to pay $4.71 per month for taxes to use this phone. With this unit I can call anywhere in the US and Canada for no charge, anytime. You use the same phone as you have always used. It works rather well only a slight delay in speech but far better than a cell phone it seemed to me.

So I called CenturyLink thinking I would disconnect my land line and just keep the DSL for $29.99 per month. (I mentioned I now had the Ooma.) Now the rest of their story. That DSL price was only if I bundled with a phone and/or tv. I do not remember them saying it was a bundled price earlier.

After much discussion I settled on a world average DSL speed of 10 mb/s and my landline phone connection with free long distance for $50.00 per month not including taxes. This price is locked in for 5 years. My first bill was $140 so I called CenturyLink and they said since I upgraded after a bill cycle I was paying for almost 2 months. And they noticed an $18 service charge which they could cancel since no one came to the house. And they would get the bill down to $50 some for a month. The bill that came in November 2012 was $75.47 so I called them back up. The ensured me this was the correct charge. I explained it should be much lower as I was told it would be in the $50 range before taxes.

They finally agreed to give me a $10 loyalty discount which I think will bring my price down to $49.99 plus taxes. The loyalty discount is applied for one year but if I call them back November of 2013 they will extend it year by year. So it is on my calendar to make that call next year. ($120 a year in savings.) We have been with our local phone service with the same phone number since about 1974. We got by without a phone when we were first over here in Kingston for several years. Our first phone was on a 4 party line which was interesting at about $7 a month.

Way too much work to get this all straightened out. I don’t know how they could make it all more confusing. It is almost fraudulent advertising they do with their fliers with the rest of the story explained in faint, tiny print that I need a magnifying lens to read.  

10 mb/s is real nice DSL though. Nates is about 1.3 as is Jeremy’s. So for the first time in my life I have a faster internet. We are still on antenna tv though which only gets about 10 stations unless you turn the antenna then we would get 10 different stations.

Oh, there is another part to the story. With the upgrade they included a Century Link answer machine. They did not send me any information on how to retrieve the messages. I noticed after a day or so that the dial tone started pulsing. So eventually I got around to calling them with the following comical discussion.

Chat InformationPlease wait for a site operator to respond.

Chat InformationYou are now chatting with 'Charles M'

Charles M: Hello and thank you for contacting CenturyLink Residential Internet Tech Support. How may I assist you today?

Jim: I tried to set up an internet account but it did not like the 3 passwords I tried to select and then said contact you all. Now what?

Charles M: I'm sorry to hear that. I’ll be happy to assist you today.

Jim: great

Charles M: May I ask what account you were trying to set up: billing or email?

Charles M:

Jim: 30050xxxx

Charles M: Could you please verify the full name and billing address on the account?

Charles M:

Jim: James Anunson, xxxx xxxx Gamble Rd NE, Kingston WA 98346

Charles M: Thank you, what were you trying to do, set up your billing account online  or set up a email account?

Jim: I want to be able to get to my phone messages on line. So maybe billing account?

Charles M: Ok it sounds like you will need to contact our voice department to get this set up. You can contact them 24/7 at 800-788-3600.

Jim: ok thanks

Charles M: Thank you for choosing CenturyLink, have a good night.

Charles M:

Chat InformationChat session has been terminated by the site operator.

Fortunately I called the number above and was able to get everything straightened out in regards to our message service. I now have an internet account using a password that is secure enough to run a bank, I would think.

*** Whew ***