Wednesday, December 10, 2008
If you have been following my plight with Verizon and their Fios install mess and a subsequent mess dealing with their porting my number to them before they did the install, then you have only read half of the problems I have been having over the past 3 months.
The second part of my problems were with my Voip provider Packet8, owned by a company 8X8.
Packet8 Internet phone service was introduced in 2002 by publicly traded 8x8, Inc. (Nasdaq: EGHT), a 20 year old telecommunications company with more than 68 multimedia and VoIP technology patents. Since then, 8x8 has applied this expertise to the development and provision of reliable, high quality voice and video Internet phone services for both residential and business users. When you subscribe to Packet8, you can feel confident you have chosen one of the VoIP industry’s most respected and admired service providers.
I originally went to Packet8 believing that I would save tons of money on my long distance calls and the lower monthly service charges. I have been with Packet8 since 2006 and for the past two years have suffered with poor quality, poor tech support and a very poor experience with them porting my number over to them from Verizon. See the below history of problems I reported to them. Each one took months to resolve if they were resolved.
Recently I was going to switch to Verizon Fios on their triple play deal but after Verizon failed to show up for two days of appointments and a number of screw ups there, I decided to cancel my order with them and stay with Packet 8.
Unfortunately my business (second phone in my home office) number was now at Verizon and we had to now port it back to Packet8. To make a long story short, I spent over 10 solid hours and 2 months attempting to get the number back. Their customer service kept giving me the old standard answer it could take 6 weeks. I knew this was not true since Verizon seemed to get me to them in 6 days.
After 9 weeks of calling, faxing authorization forms, explaining the Verizon mess with so many of their customer reps, I decided to call it quits and had Verizon install a hard line back so I could keep my valued number. Having a good phone number and having it for 15 years and on every piece of stationary, web sites, listings etc. is a major deal, especially if you lose the number due to some dopes mistakes.
I finally found out that you can't port a number if is is not currently on a working phone. Well, after I cancelled my work order with Fios, this number went into Verizons number pool, ready to be picked up by the next customer. When I discovered this, I called Verizon in a panic, asked to speak to a supervisor and asked if I could put in a new order for a new phone line to lock up that number. We would put in an installation date a month later, to give Packet8 a chance to port the number back.
After many more calls almost daily to Packet8 on when they thought I would be whole again and my number would be back with them, each rep gave me another answer.
• It can take 6 weeks be patient
• Did you complete the request form? I will email you one, complete and and fax it back to us.
• We can't seem to locate your form. Can you fax us a copy of your phone bill? I explained I didn't have one since Verizon hadn't installed the phone line yet and was holding the number for me.
• Finally 2 months later one rep figured it out..."You can't port over a number on an installation, it has to be a working number and that is why it is not coming over"...Duh...didn't anyone know this at Packet8? After all I spend so many hours telling my grim story to each and every one of them and each time asking for a supervisor and being told "I can help you with this", but they couldn't.
Last week I spoke to a nice rep, who assured me they would issue credit for the past few months that I didn't have full phone service or wasn't able to receive any calls to my proper phone number. She would also check to see what was going on and get back to me. She never did and I had to explain this entire story over again 3 more times.
On Monday of this week, I decided I had enough jerking around. I called Verizon and asked if I could push up the install date on my work order and get the line installed sooner. To my shock, I was told for some reason that order was cancelled and not in their system...Here we go again. A new order was entered and thank god, the number had not be snatched up by someone else.
Now the new install was only two days later. I opted for the tech to come out between 10 AM and 1 PM. Why was I not surprised at 1:15 PM when no one called or showed up. Once again on the phone with Verizon and guess what, the order I placed on Monday was also screwed up and they didn't have me down for the install on Wednesday.
At last I found a guy who was kind enough to call the install center in Maryland (they handle New Jersey installations, no wonder there is a lack of communication) and promised me that someone would show before the end of the day. Better yet, the installation tech arrived and told me the number they gave him to install was not my number but another one. Just when you think you have control of a situation you find out you are out of control again. I was lucky today because I had a great installation guy who took the bull by the horns, got on the phone and got my number for me.
Finally, we got the line back in. They also allowed me a $10 per month credit for one year to help with the mess and now I would be paying just about what I paid for the Packet8 line. Of course there is no comparison with the quality of the sound and calls I make on my hard line compared to the internet phone, it is so much better.
When I called Packet8 to see what they would do for me in terms of refunding my payments for the past couple of months, their answer was I used their service, so I had to pay for it. I would think they would say, "Mr. Rapoport, we are so sorry for your problems, we are sorry to hear that that any one calling you was told your phone was disconnected. Let us do something to compensate you for the trouble" This was not the case, I spend an hour again on the phone with Eva another customer service rep who made me go through the entire story again with her, went to a supervisor and came back with a one month refund (December) and she would cancel my account with them. I tried to reason with her that it is only the 8th day in the month and I was really only getting an 8 day allowance on this account not a month.
No matter what I said, no matter how I promised to write the sales manager of the company Huw Rees, or write the story in my blog or my web site, no matter how I explained that they should compensate me for at least the few months my phone was not working, it didn't matter. I finally gave up and decided to do what I must now do to prevent others from going down this dark, dank road to Packet8.
Packet8 is either right behind Verizon or ahead of them in their inability to get things right and offer the service they promise. Both companies need to really examine their customer service issues and understand that we are in a bad economy and if you don't have loyal customers and take care of them, you will lose them forever. Didn't they ever hear about negative publicity, especially in the internet age when everyone now has a blog and a loud voice, a voice that can reach millions of people with a simple google search.
Of course I will be calling AMEX to put the past few months charges in dispute. If you are not aware, when a seller gets a dispute from a credit card company they are charged a fee, much like a bounced check fee at a bank. They then have to prove that they deserve the payment or they will be charged back the amount and the buyer will receive that as a credit. So they would rather play this game, get a charge back fee, have to assign someone to answer the complaint and hope they win...instead of giving me a $90 allowance instead of a $30 allowance. Can you imagine their thinking?
I suppose many customers threaten to do something and never follow through, but I can assure you I will seek satisfaction no matter what it takes. I am like a pit bull, once I am wronged, no matter what the financial importance, I will hang on to their pant leg like a pit bull, until I win the fight.
I wouldn't advise anyone thinking of going to Packet8 to stop, take a deep breath and read this story again. Hell, two years ago hard lines were expensive compared to the Voip providers, but now you can get Verizon for only $39.95 per month with unlimited local and long distance calling and if you need overseas, you can always use Skype at 2¢ per minute, so what is the great advantage now of a VoIP?
Frankly Verizon gave me a better deal at only $29.95 includes the extras like caller Id, etc. Now Packet8 is only $5 per month cheaper and for the first time in over 2 years I can hear people talk to me on that line. The volume and clarity is unreal compared to what I had become used to on Packet8.
Check the deals in your area with the phone company and the cable companies and stay clear of these Voip companies. They are not regulated as are the other companies and you don't want to have to depend on them if your phone is important to you.
Review the below Notes Correspondence of Case ID 578868
Note Created Date: 12/12/2008 10:48AM
Note Summary: Customer Support/Packet8
Note Detail: Dear Packet8 Customer,
Thank you for contacting Packet8 Customer Support.
Your refund for $33.04 has been processed. Please allow 5-7 days for the refund to reflect on your credit card.
Packet8 Customer Support
Note: They also allowed me another $7.37 for what I think is my toll free number. I had two accounts with them one was a regular phone line and the other an 800 number.
Considering that anyone trying to reach my business line was told the phone was disconnected for over 2 months because they never gave me the correct information about porting this line back to them and the problems dialing out on this line, I would think they might have wanted to be a bit more generous.
Packet8, Shame On You!
December 19, 2008 - Update
Today I received a call from Packet8's LPN Department to let me know they can't port over my phone number without a bill from the other company. Duh...I had to tell him the whole story and let him know I had already cancelled my service with them a couple of weeks ago and had the phone installed again with Verizon.
I also received an email stating that they first received the forms I completed on November 18, 2008 to port the number back over to them. A month after the form was faxed...and now they say that it can take 4-6 weeks to port that number. Unreal...
Do you wonder why companies in the United States are in trouble. Wonder why they are going offshore for their customer service. Verizon and Packet8 both have the worst customer service I have seen in years. There is no dedication to getting the problems fixed and no follow through to make sure the job was done and the customer is satisfied. God Bless America, if this continues we are all doomed.