Telecom Vendors Suck

by john on May 5, 2003

I was the Director of IT for a smallish ($30-40 Million) software company from 1999-2001. During that time I learned to literally hate the various telecom providers I got to deal with, be it local, national or international. From my perspective nobody did it right, they were all out to screw the customer for as much as they could get and anything short of begging would result in no service. Begging didn’t always work either. Amazing considering the amount of money a company that size spends on telecom.

I particularly like Henry’s pledge:

I know you don’t make diddley-squat on my voice calls so I’ll use you for every one this company makes, local and long distance. However, I can get my data cheaper and better from other vendors. You’ll never have it, you squinty-eyed toads. May you ride into corporate America history because of your pathetic loser billing system from Hell — the figurative place where your company belongs, your assets sold at pennies on the dollar to a telecom that can actually find its ass with both hands.

Here is a real-world example of the sort of “service” that inspires such vehemence. When I took over in 1999 we had moved from another building about six months early. In 2000 during some routine audits of our telecom bills I discovered we were still being billed for an ISDN line terminated in the old building. Of course getting a credit for that was like getting blood from a turnip but we managed to dredge up a copy of a letter requesting termination of service, which was our saving grace. Without that letter we may never have gotten the credit, even though we hadn’t occupied the building for over a year by that time.

It gets better; fast forward to 2002. My company has been acquired and we close another office, this one in Rosemont, Illinois. Now fast forward again to last week. As a larger company we now have the luxury of having a person who does nothing but analysis telecom bills and deal with telecom vendors (sure wish I had had that!). Last week she discovers two lines between our old office closed in 1999 and the Rosemont office closed in 2002, that we have been billed for since 1999! And she’s having to fight with them about payment despite us not occupying one of the buildings in four years because we don’t have the record of request for termination, although clearly they do.

It boggles the mind. Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with them anymore.

{ 1 comment }

Henry May 8, 2003 at 11:22 pm

There is no greater justice I can think of than realizing that the future may bring the total collapse of most existing telecoms. Perhaps real competition and a customer-centric focus will finally hit them square between the eyes once that last mile is up for grabs. Here’s hoping for ubiquitous wireless hotspots and the systems (computer & phone) that can use them.

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