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July 20th, 2011

When you live in the country, you get used to certain inconveniences.   The grocery store is ten miles away.  The fire department is volunteer.  The roads don’t always get plowed.  And it’s hard to get fast internet.  Or cheap internet.  Don’t even think about streaming video.

And don’t get me started about phone service.

Wait.  Someone already did.  Frontier Communications, I have a bone to pick with you.

It’s hard to top the problems we’ve already had with our phones.  When we first moved here, Verizon tried to tell us that our hundred year old house didn’t exist.  Or at least that it had never had a phone before.  We went through two weeks of wrangling, much of it done by cell phone from the top of the nearest hill, since that service was even worse than a land line.

Finally after being told that it would be several weeks before they could tell us how many weeks it would be before they could think about getting us service, I’d had enough.  I was working in a corporate library at the time, and got out a directory of corporations.  Then I began making phone calls, starting at the top of the page and working down.   It only took one “How did you get this number?” call.  We had phone service the next day.

Now, it seems I will be having the same sorts of calls with our new company, Frontier.  A couple of months ago, they began courting me with regular sales calls, trying to get me to bundle services.

I was flattered.  Combined phone and DirecTV HD for $89 a month (for a year.  And then the price goes through the roof).  For moi?  Sign me up.  And I didn’t even bother to ask how high the roof was that the price would go through.  I am all about immediate gratification.  I could be dead in a year.  But before I passed, I could see Doctor Who with crystal clarity.

They did not offer to bundle in the internet, because there isn’t any internet.

As I said, sign me up.  So they did.  It took over an hour, and a conference call with DirecTV customer service, since I had to upgrade that first.  It was very complicated.  A couple days later the dish installer showed up, and I was watching the fat glistening on the pork on Food Network.

Shiny.

But the bundled bill never materialized.  And the TV had gone up by around $22.

Led astray by a telephone solicitor?  Live and learn.  But I was loving my HD.  And the phone still worked.  Most of the time.

Did I mention that we lose phone service every time a mouse makes a new nest?  We spend a couple of weeks a year without working phones because of these little outages.  The last totally important call that died in static was a couple of hours ago.

Some mouse must have had a blessed event in the telephone slick hut.  I will keep the cell phone charged.  But back to the story…

Three months pass, and Frontier calls again.  They have a deal for me.

Hells, yes, I still want the deal.  What happened to the last guy?  We were on the phone so long I thought we had something special.  As I said before, sign me up for that bundle discount.  Stay on the line?  Answer yes and no to the third party verifier?  My bill will be prorated?  I know the drill.  I’ve done this before.  I want to cooperate.

Months pass.  So far, my phone bill has been $70 something, $280 something, and this month $186 something.

You notice, none of these are $89.  At least, I think it was $89, because the deal, which was easy to find online a few months ago, has now disappeared from the internet.  And Nancy “No, we can’t tell you her last name” at customer service, says I was never intended to get that deal, which was for new customers only.

Yesterday, they offered me $15 off per month for 2 years.  Since 186 minus 15 does not equal 89, I refused.  Today, I suggested they unbundle and switch me back to my old $42 phone plan.  Quelle surprise, it no longer exists.  I must enjoy the new $70 plan.

Which apparently, I switched to because $70 is cheaper and more convenient than $42.

Or I can be grateful with the two year, $15 discount.  And perhaps they should give me a hammer to beat myself in the head until I believe that $55 is cheaper than $42.

Or I can enjoy the convenience of bundled billing and spending hours on hold trying to get untied.

Or, I could go on the internet and rant.  It’s a nice first step before small claims court.