WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA -- Clear Wireless service, while relatively cheap, suffers from periodic outages that last from 24 hours to up to one week. Worse, the outages appear to be part of the Clear business plan. When it works, Clear service is generally OK. It never reaches advertised speeds, has routine slow-downs and brief outages, but not too much to complain about.
What really drives a knife into the customer's back, however, are the outages. When they come, there is zero notice, zero internet, and entirely misleading responses from Clear customer support. The outages happens once every couple or few months, and can last for days. As I write this, my service has just come back after three days.
Clear is unusual among service providers in that they appear to have made the calculation that it is cheaper to rebate those few persistent complaining customers or even lose one or two in the wake of an outage rather than pay a service technician overtime to fix something.
Hence, service gaps that would doom any other company are taken by Clear as a viable cost management strategy. The bottom line is that if you cannot afford random, unannounced, and prolonged blackouts with your internet service, avoid Clear like the customer service plague that it truly is.
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA -- I went to a Clear Kiosk at the Monroeville Mall on Thursday 11/29/12 and paid $150.00 for the Clear router, activation fee and first month of service. After waiting while the representative said he needed ten minutes to handle some "baby momma drama" (took 20 mins) we asked about 1,000 questions and were finally ready to purchase. We gave the representative our address (to ensure there was service in our area) and all necessary information. We were then informed they wanted to directly debit the money from a checking account.
I informed them I had cash only. After making several calls to management the representative said I was approved for the cash transaction BUT I could NOT take the equipment with me. He stated, "Our system is not able to process the payment as quickly with the cash so we will have to send you the equipment via mail." The representative guaranteed arrival by 12/1/12 BEFORE 10 am.
By 11 am on 12/1/12 we were calling and getting no answer. Finally around noon we were informed that they could not verify our address so the equipment was mailed to the office and the representative said he would bring it to us. 2:30 pm still no router. I call the representative who is very short with me and says "I am on my way to work now. I will get the box and leave immediately to bring it to you". 4 pm, no equipment, no call, no visit. 5 pm representative continues to ignore all calls, no equipment, no call. We call his supervisor who says he will alert the representative. 7 pm NO ONE is answering calls now.
Needless to say we never received the equipment. 12/2/12 after church we go BACK to the kiosk (around 12:30 pm... mall opens at 10 am), the kiosk is empty except for someone's coat. After waiting about 15 mins the representative returns and says "I'm so sorry, management informed me that we are not allowed to deliver equipment directly to someone's house." We educate him on good customer service and let him know we understand but would have a least appreciated the call. He again says how sorry he is and gives us the equipment he states was delivered to the kiosk instead of our home.
We get the router home and for the next few hours try to install it. We make multiple calls to the representative who says "I'm busy but will call you back." By 5 pm when the mall is closed the representative nor his supervisor has called us back and the equipment cannot be registered. WE call the CLEAR toll free number and are informed by them that "your kiosk representative was probably a scam artist. I am so sorry but we get at least one call a day from upset customers."
They then inform me that I paid "way too much" for my equipment and they have NO WAY to help me with the setup because the representative failed to put our information or WAN ID number in the system. We were bounced from dept to dept with everyone saying how sorry they were but we needed to take our router BACK to the kiosk and see if the representative will put all of our information in the system OR PAY THEM (the toll free dept) $49.99 to do the activation over the phone and "see if the representative will give you a refund of that activation fee". We plan on trying again today and if they don't comply we will have to take legal action. This is ridiculous!!!
My story is not one that ends happily. On 09/24/2010 I entered Best Buy (store number 372) in search of on the go internet service. I was assisted by a young man in the CLEAR section of the store. I was told that if I were to purchase the series S 4G mobile USB paid in full (a total of $180.00) without leasing the product I wouldn't have to worry about a monthly bill.
Without hesitation I gave the gentleman my credit card. I asked the gentleman several times "Will I have a monthly bill? How much will I pay a month?" He insisted that I would pay nothing from that day forward that is if I choose to purchase the product in full. With him reassuring me that the $180.00 would be my only payment, no contract no monthly bill, I thought I had come upon a great deal.
Well, as soon as I exited the store my bank had informed me that I paid not only the $180.00 but an additional $55.00. At that point I still felt like that was a great deal, no reason to complain. Three days later (09/27/2010) there was another debit to my account for $55.00. Two days after (09/29/2010) that another debit for $55.00 dollars. I did in fact receive a credit of $55.00 for the mysterious debit on 09/29/2010. (I must mention that the product stopped working after a short 3 weeks of having it). However on 10/25/2010 I was billed for another $55.00.
This caught my attention. I was my understanding from my visit at Best Buy that I wouldn't be billed on a monthly basis. I went back to Best Buy to get to the bottom of the situation. I was greeted by a Best Buy employee, he told me that Clear employees were not on their payroll and probably called in sick so no one could help me. He told me that I should go across the street to the mall; they might be able to help me there.
So that is what I did. While explaining my story to the gentleman in the mall, customers began to turn away. One man even said, "I am looking for internet service but I just don't have the kind of money." As soon the customer departed the Clear employee offered to let me use the phone to call customer service. I spoke with ** who said there was nothing she could do for me. I then asked to speak to a supervisor. I was transferred to ** (who was very compassionate) but I had already been in the mall for over an hour and I had to be to work so I said I'd have to call back.
** said she would look into it and have someone call me back. The next day I was contacted by CLEAR fraud department. Apparently the young man didn't even type my name in correctly. The woman went ahead and changed my information, but that is all she could do and quite frankly that infuriated me. What was the purpose of that? So she transferred me to Customer care. I told my story for the 4th time to the representative who was unable to help as well, so she transferred me to ** the supervisor on duty.
** began the conversation like this "So you mean to tell me that you thought you were actually going to get 2 years of free service? Did you accept the terms and agreement?" Her tone irritated me even more. She made it seem like I was stupid. Like how could I? I beg to differ. I only went with what I was told and now I am out of $300.00.
** then provided me with the most unattractive options. Accept the fact that I was hustled and troubleshoot with tech support and continue to pay the $55.00 monthly fee that I was unaware of. Have a friend or family member assume liability of my account. (I care and love my friends and family, why would I want to put them through something like this?). Use my computer at work being that I can't use the internet at home and try to find a buyer on Craigslist. Shell out another $62.00 dollar termination fee and receive no relief as far as the $290.00 that had already been stolen from me.
All of these options were unacceptable to me. I went back to Best Buy on 10/26/2010 with the product in hand. I repeated my story to ** for the 5th time and then asked for a manager. He told me there were no managers available and I'd have to call customer service. So here I am. A 20 something year old college student. Out of $290.00 plus the $55.00 a month for the next 2 years and no internet service to show for it. My wishes are to send this product back, receive some type of monetary relief and never ever, ever deal with CLEAR or any of its affiliates for the remainder of my life. Sincerely, an idiot who should have asked for a confirmation/receipt.
When I first used Clear Wireless internet I was impressed with it. Fast, easy, clear... just as advertised. My family used Clear wireless internet at our cabin on Bainbridge Island, Washington and it's a remote location so like I said I was very happy with the service, but here it comes...
Sometime in March 2010, our signal quickly degraded and then lost all connectivity. Clear had no explanation for this other than that a tower had probably gone down and would be fixed shortly. Fortunately we were not going to be using the cabin for the next 3 months right about when that problem occurred to we moved the account into hibernation and hoped the problem would resolve itself as Clear had suggested.
Now, when I was coming back into town to the cabin 3 months later it was VITAL to me and my business that internet would be working at the cabin, so several weeks in advance I called up Clear technical service to explain the situation where it had left off and see if I couldn't get any new information that would let me know one way or the other on the situation BEFORE I got to the cabin.
Keep in mind, I am in the communication industry and I know exactly the right questions to ask to get the answers I need. BUT as is so typical with large communications companies they insisted that it should be working and that I must be on location to troubleshoot before more aggressive measures were taken. FINE, not helpful, but not unexpected. In retrospect, 100% unacceptable...
So, the day comes that I arrive at the cabin and what a shocker, the internet is not working and the basic troubleshooting that was already done months before doesn't work again. HERE COMES THE KICKER. So, after all of this, I am finally upgraded to a "level 2" customer service person, or rather my representative puts me on hold to finally talk to someone who knows something. I'm on hold for about 2 minutes and my Rep. gets back to me simply telling me this, "Your service went down in March because we switched from a 3G network to a 4G network. You are no longer eligible to get service and your only option is to cancel."
This was PRECISELY the information I had needed weeks earlier, just a single nugget of information that could have settled it all and SHOULD have been readily available information for me, consumers like me, and most of all the customer service representatives, what a nightmare. How is it that I could not get this information several weeks before? How OBVIOUS does it get?! Their flawed bureaucratic approach hung me out to dry because apparently I needed to troubleshoot again before they could even so much as ask a technician if there would be any reason the tower(s) might no longer be servicing my home.
WHAT AN UTTER DISGRACE, hung me out to dry and cost me time, business, and energy. They should be ashamed. They should be forced to notify consumers when a large change that might affect service is going to take place. Their employees should be aware of said changes.
After seeing commercials for clear I decided to take the plunge. I talked to salespeople at Fry's and called the local sales representative. Although my address was NOT recognized by their coverage check their representative said the coverage check was out of date and it would work. I ordered online and all equipment arrived the next day. (I just used an address near that the coverage check DID recognize and changed the shipping address to where I live).
The home internet and phone worked exceptionally well (out of the box) and was EXTREMELY fast. I did have to locate the modem in a window though and did have to move it around to get a good signal. Note: I use a wireless router to power my laptop in the house and this works very well. You can locate the modem and router where they work well and then use wireless devices throughout your home or office.
The mobile card didn't work at first but after two calls to customer service it was fixed. They did remark they were having trouble in my area. On my follow-up call they had a record of the first call and performed a reset on their end which fixed it. Everyone I dealt with was pleasant and provided "no pressure" assistance. (Although a recording said wait time was 5-7 minutes I was connected within a few seconds on both calls. Note they are open 9 AM -10PM everyday).
The phone quality is not as good as my landline but certainly acceptable. On a scale of 1-10 I would rate the VOIP phone as a 9. I also found that the mobile card is spotty in the house. (Not totally unexpected) I bought a 15 foot USB extension cable for the mobile modem so I can place it by a window and now works great. I had the $25 DSL previously and Clear is noticeably faster.
This works for me and I plan to dump my AT&T broadband card and my home phone and DSL the savings to me will be about $60/month. I would comment though this probably won't work everywhere so test it right away, just like cell phones tend not to work everywhere. Clear claims to offer a 7 day trial so you want to test right away! The real plus is Clear's price! Also you get a slightly better price online. Clear's VOIP offers free long distance and GREAT international rates also. They offer a full features call forwarding although you have to activate and deactivate it online. They also can forward voicemail messages to you via email (cool features although not sure how often I will use).
Finally you can avoid contracts by buying your equipment. My equipment cost $150. The alternative is lease for about $10/month. It pays for itself in about 14 months and if you buy you don't have a commitment to hassle with. Pluses-price and speed - for what I used to pay for home phone and internet I now get home phone internet and mobile internet. Minuses-coverage not as good as cell phone modem (but with the USB extension cable you can move the mobile card and make it work better) for the price I will take that inconvenience. Also not in all citiesyet.
ILLINOIS -- I signed up with Clear about 10 months ago, as they came HIGHLY recommended by a friend. It was at the Southwest Center Mall in Dallas, TX, where my NIGHTMARE began. The representative at that location told me that my service would be on by the time that I made it home (GREAT), and I authorized and provided a ONE time payment using my debit card.
Needless to say, something told me to check my bank account last week, and I noticed an UNAUTHORIZED transaction and quickly made the decision to connect with a live representative at my bank to discuss this and I was informed that the transaction was from CLEAR and I was given the number 888-253-2794 to contact them.
I called and spoke with 3 representatives before being transferred to an ACCOUNT Resolution Specialist and explained my situation and was told by a ** who gave me his representative ID# number and case number and assured ME they would have my money back into my account within 3-5 business days, also that he WAS very sorry that I was NOT told that when you sign up with CLEAR and you use a debit card, CLEAR keeps this on file and deduct payments without your APPROVAL/CONSENT.
Needless to say CLEAR agreed to refund 52.05, instead of the 468.05 they illegally debited and this would take up to 60 days AND they WILL send ME a prepaid VISA. It's against law to use someone's debit card without having a written authorization on file from the CUSTOMER.
OH, and to add insult to injury I spoke with a supervisor by the name of ** and asked for their address because I was going to seek legal advice and if he/she needed to write to them, if I could have their address and she refused to provide it. After pressuring her she eventually gave 181 E 9 Mile Rd Pensacola, FL 32534 (corporate office) and I'm certainly considering LEGAL.
I had Clear Wireless for over 1 yr. I always had slow or no service. When I signed up they said I would not have any problem with my service in my NJ area even though I said I lived in a basement apt. After several calls and no better service I cancelled. Since my service was so bad I figured they just zero balanced my account since my service never worked properly from day one. I did not receive any bills from them or emails other than to retry my service for a discounted rate of 20.
After eight months I just received a bill from a collection agency for $95.00. When I asked Clear why I did not receive a final bill. They explained they sent calls to my phone which I explained I never received. When I asked if they could reduce the fees they told me no since the bill was 90 days old. This is one of the shadiest companies I have ever dealt with. I will just pay this since I do not want it to affect my credit. I will make a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Clear is very bad service and billing practices.
I was sold a service that just wasn't possible. I asked this question "I live in an apartment on the 3rd floor and there are trees around my building. Will this affect my signal?" ** explained it wouldn't affect my signal at all. I have a great signal (I understand he is looking at a map).
Spent hours and hours trying the modem in different rooms with various techs. I would tell him/her "just cancel my service I can't get a signal." I would be transferred to someone else and would be required to go through the process over and over until I got really annoyed. Finally it was cancelled.
But, what really irritates me it has been 3 weeks since I returned the equipment (I couldn't return it to the store. I was required to mail it back). This was not explained at the time of sale and I have not received my money yet. I called ** asking for his help in locating my refund why it's taking so long. He told me he couldn't help me. I needed to contact CS. There was nothing he could do.
I paid in cash and this takes longer. CS was of no help to me. I was transferred again and again. First I was told the check was sent then told it wasn't. There was a problem with it (but wouldn't tell me what the problem was). So, I feel this was nothing but a scam. BUYER BEWARE!!!
BENSENVILLE, ILLINOIS -- I have been a Clear customer for about 5 months. I loved the service. Three days ago, I began experiencing EXTREMELY slow speeds. I'm talking about 4 hours to watch a 1 1/2 hour movie. That is ridiculous. But when my payment is due, I get it to them in 5 minutes. No delay. So I waited a few days to see if it would clear up. Well, it's been a week with no improvement. So I decided to call customer service. I spent 15 minutes holding for someone, then another five while they struggled to find my account, which they found stored under my first name and ** for my last name. And the wrong phone number.
No wonder it took so long to find my account. Then they transfer me to level two. I hold for another fifteen minutes, only to find out they couldn't help me. So I asked for a supervisor and they told me a supervisor wasn't available. I asked when one would be available so I could call back, and they said they weren't sure. But they assured me they would have one contact me. I'm still waiting. No call back yet. I will DEFINITELY be canceling my service before the next bill cycle. I also recommend you do not get this service from Clear.
I read bad reviews before getting it and said well maybe those people didn't know what they were talking about. Now I'm the person writing the review. Clear is laughing all the way to the bank with my hard earned money. Pay the few extra bucks and get real Internet service. It's worth it. With Clear, you get what you pay for....garbage.
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA -- CLEAR is a joke! They tell you the service is really fast, internet speed is great, and it is a lie, a big lie. It is 0.2 Mb/ sec download speed and 0.6mb/sec upload. You can't even watch YouTube videos without interruption. Plus, I cancelled the service after 10 days and send the instruments back within 30 days and they did not pay $171 back. I called them 20 times and finally they paid me only $105 back. It is not money back guarantee. They are telling lies and ripping people off. That pissed me off so badly that I am telling everyone how bad CLEAR service is. So stay far far away from it.