Little background: I have been a Earthlink customer for 8 years, I started with dial-up, moved to Earthlink Broadband through my local cable company 4 years ago. This August I noticed a 1.95 access fee on my cable bill, so I called my local cable company to inquire and was told that it was a charge Earthlink was passing through on my cable bill. So I called Earthlink and after a 49 minute phone call Earthlink was able to confirm that yes they were charging the extra 1.95, but couldn't tell me why.
I asked this to be removed, and was told they would and refund all past charges (Now I know that 1.95 per month does not sound like much, but time that by the thousands of customers, you get my point). September bill comes still being charged. Called again and another 37 minutes later I am no further along than a month ago. This time I went to my local cable company's office and inquired what could be done. Nothing other than switching services, which I choose to do. Guess what. In October I get yet another bill from Earthlink, and this time I used the online chat to handle the issue.
LAKE CITY, FLORIDA -- I signed up with Earthlink for DSL internet service in August of 2005. I used the service exactly one week from the day it was turned on. I had a dispute with Bell South and requested they remove their line from my property. I decided to go with cable and VOIP. I called Earthlink and told them I needed to cancel my account. They informed me I was obligated to pay for one full year and if I canceled early I would still have to pay 240 dollars. I am such an easy target, I paid for the full year.
When the year was up I called them again and requested to cancel my account. They wanted to know why I wanted to cancel, I told them I don't have a phone line going to my house. I explained I had not used the service except for the first week. They canceled the account and gave me a confirmation number. The charge was 39.95 per month.
Six months later I just happened to check my bank account online and saw a charge from Earthlink! They had started taking out the 39.95 again the next month after I canceled! I called them again and went through the whole story and requested a refund. They credited my account for two of the five months they took. The charge stopped coming out. I did not check my account for about five months, because my husband became very ill and with everything going on with him I just simply forgot. One day while checking my account online I saw a charge from Earthlink for $39.95! They had started taking out the 39.95 again two months after I canceled the second time.
I was having a really bad time during this because I had lost my husband in June of 2007. I tried to contact them and couldn't get through. I tried again the next day same thing. Because there were so many things I had to deal with at that time I forgot to try to call them again for three months. This time when I called I got through and again told them the whole story of no phone line and that I had canceled already once. They of course were so sorry for all my trouble and again canceled the account. They were generous enough to refund two months of the five they owed me. As I said I am an easy target, so I agreed. The charges stopped again.
With the death of my husband I was having financial problems and decided to stay with my youngest son for a while and let another one of my children stay in my house and make the payment. This was in September of 2007. Although I checked my account each month I just didn't really look at it close. That is until one month a check to my doctor bounced. I knew the money should have been in the account. So I checked my account to see what had happened. WOW!
Earthlink had started taking out 39.95 in October of 2007. This was in Feb. of 2008. I called them again and was very upset. I went through the same routine again. They refunded two months. The charges stopped. Two months later in April of 2008 charges from Earthlink appeared on my account again. Only this time it was 3.95 per month.
I tried to call them I never got through. I tried everyday without ever talking to anyone. Last night I decided to go to their website. I found a live chat contact there. I started the chat with **. The only thing she could "do" was to give me a two month refund of the 3.95 and cancel the account again. I think there should be someone I could complain to. I feel I should have a full refund of all my money! I am undecided at this time as to what steps I will take from here.
WORCESTER MA, MASSACHUSETTS -- 7/4/08. Believe I tried but after numerous additional sorry excuses that never repaired the service, I refused to pay my bill anymore. They said that they were going to get me for the $140 early termination fee. I told to go ahead because it would be either a cold day in hell or a judgment on appeal decision in court with a levy on my property before they might even think about collecting for the poorest of the poorest internet service. One even told me that if they did not get my system up and running that they would terminate my contract without penalty or charge. BIG LIE - did not get the call the next day or fix as promised.
I am so happy to be back with Charter Internet which isn't perfect but feels like heaven compared to Helllink (Earthlink). Earthlink still wants me as a customer! FORGET IT. I AM THROUGH WITH EARTHLINK - no person should have to put up with this incompetence.
MARYLAND -- Earthlink afforded me the absolute WORSE customer experience of my lifetime, in every sense of the words. As of Saturday, September 29, 2007 at 12:20 am, after waiting a ludicrous TWO WEEKS from the date of service purchase until the date my service would be active.
After over 15 calls totaling over 3 hours of phone time within a 12.5 hour span of time; after me having to make over seven car trips to relatives' houses and public places to use pay phones due to me not having a home phone; after depleting the gas in my cars gas tank; after being hung-up on by TWO Earthlink customer service SUPERVISORS; and after being lied to no less than FIVE times by Earthlink with no mention of compensation of any sort, I am still without DSL or Home Phone service that was promised to be fully-active and available to me on Friday, September 28, 2007.
Please bear in mind that Earthlink started billing me for service as of Wednesday, September 26, 2007 when my True Voice phone service was supposedly activated... something that makes absolutely no sense because you cannot even use the True Voice phone service without access to the internet.
Prior to Friday, September 28th, I had been in contact with Earthlink SEVERAL times throughout the week making sure that my service would be fully-functional, per Earthlink's guarantee, on Friday the 28th. I was assured many times that the odds I would not be surfing the net with ease and making phone calls on my state-of-the-art phone service, were infinitesimally small. Surprise, surprise, it was everything but.
Once again, America, with all of our jobs from these "big name" companies being outsourced to other countries (i.e. India), this customer service was a thousand times harder than it should have been. Of the 20+ people I spoke to on Friday, September 28th, NOT ONE of those reps were of American descent. ALL of them were Indians. The language barrier was roadblock enough, added to that their sorry excuse of company product knowledge completely sealed my fate for the evening.
Finally, at 12:15am on Saturday, September 29th, I was told that after 13 hours of B.S. I had to endure, nothing could be done for me until after 10am EST because the departments that should be able to troubleshoot my issues, were now closed.
Have Earthlink not lied to me at 11am EST on Friday and again at 2pm EST and then yet again at 7:15pm EST, I might have been able to speak to a technician in the appropriate department THAT DAY and had this issue resolved. Instead, Earthlink chose to blatantly lie to me to hush me up and hurry me off the phone. Now, I am a very understandably pissed person, writing this blog in complete disgust with a company whose services, I've yet to even use!
It is now Sunday, October 6th, 2007. I finally cancelled my entire account with Earthlink last Monday. According to Earthlink when I first signed up for service with them, I had exactly 30-days to cancel services with them without incurring any early termination fees. Surprise, surprise, at 10:56pm that night, Earthlink charged me a $35.90 fee. This WAS NOT disclosed at the time I cancelled my services.
I was told everything had been taken care of and I given a confirmation number. I only found out about the fee after checking my bank account online the following day. I had a feeling it was Earthlink who was responsible for the charge that was still showing as "pending" but I couldn't be sure.
I went to my bank the next day and sure enough, they were able to conclude that it was indeed Earthlink, who was behind the unauthorized charge of $35.90. When I called Earthlink (as soon as I returned home) I was told that I had been charged for terminating the True Voice phone service, early. That made absolutely no sense considering that the True Voice was part of a dual package that included the high-speed internet. So how can they charge me for just one part of the package, even if the charge was valid?
I started to make my case to the Indian representative and sure enough he was getting ready to tell me that his hands were tied because the charge was still "pending". That's when I cut him off and told him that if he didn't reverse that charge and give me a full refund then I would report Earthlink to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC). All of a sudden, he could now help me. He put me on hold for a while and when he came back, he assured me that he had taken the appropriate measures to issue me a complete refund, and to expect a credit back to my bank account within 72 hours (3 days).
As of yesterday (Saturday) which was the third day, I had no refund posted to my account. This is messing me up because I have my rent check that is going to clear by Monday or Tuesday and there was sufficient funds in the account to cover the check... that was until Earthlink fraudulently took out that $35.90 out of my account. So now either way, I am screwed. Either the bank will honor the check and clear it but charge me a $30 overdraft fee OR the check will bounce and I will now be late on my rent for the first time in my life and have to pay a $40 returned check fee on my rent.
When I called Earthlink yesterday to ascertain as to why I hadn't been issued my refund yet, after being transferred to SIX different representatives and hung up on once, I was told by yet another Indian rep that as far as she could see, Earthlink made NO PROMISE to issue me a refund, citing that the fee for $35.90 was for "use of the service", even though I never used the service considering it nevered functioned! So, Earthlink had lied to me yet again.
Then, when I threatened the imbecile with a lawsuit, she stated that even if she were to issue me a refund today, it would take 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS to get the credit on my account! So we went from 72 hours to 10 business days! Yet another lie. Then the idiot had the audacity to force me off the phone by saying that she could not "help me at this time but if I called back they could handle this matter" for me. I said, "call back when?" Her response... "in a month"!
A MONTH?! Are you kidding me? So now I have been conned out of a total of $55.85 from Earthlink and still had NO access to either phone or internet services. $35.90 for the fraudulent early termination/use of services charge and $19.95 for the shipping of the DSL modem and phone modem. That funny part is, Earthlink had NO PROBLEM sending me a pre-paid return shipment label to send their modems back! Guess what, those modems are now mine. So after that idiot told me to call back in a month, I told her that I was also apologetic because Earthlink was about to pay through the ** for messing with me.
Anyway, I will also be sending this blog to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as well as filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, in addition to inundating the local news channels and newspapers about this consumer disaster that is Earthlink. I will also post this experience on as many online websites I can find.
BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA -- I had been a satisfied Earthlink/Mindspring customer for 7 years. Several weeks ago I was contacted by Earthlink marketing to sign up for the new DSL & Home Phone service. What she told me about the program sounded very good. I talked to two other marketing people and they confirmed the program (I have copy of one chat I had). They all told me that:
I would get 500 outgoing call minutes (not counting Earthlink "800" customer service or tech support numbers). NOT TRUE! I am being charged for Earthlink support. Even the website states, “You won't be charged minutes for dialing 611 from your EarthLink Voice phone”.
That my DSL line would be upgraded from 1.2 to 3.0 Mbit/s. NOT TRUE! My line remains 1.2. My account information says I am being charged $40 for the DSL line, which is $10 more than my previous service (for the same speed). I have no problem with the speed, just charge me the original $29.95 and I will shut up. Or, upgrade my speed for the upgraded price. Isn't that only fair?
I would get a new DSL modem, which I could simply swap with my old Earthlink modem. NOT TRUE! When I called tech support to resolve the issues, the tech told me he could not speak to me until I signed up for a $7/month ($84 year) Home Networking support. I hung up and finally fixed the connection problem myself.
I have spent over 4 hours with customer service and technical personnel trying to resolve the problems and not one was familiar enough with the program to give me straight answers; not one could correct the problems I raised, and ALL tried to sell me another service for more money! (And for that trouble I am being charged minutes!)
When I call Cingular or AT&T with a problem, I always get a person who understands my problem and who can do something to resolve it. When I call Earthlink, I get shuffled from person to person, all unfamiliar with the DSL & Home Phone program and all powerless to resolve the difficulties. In the past few days I have talked to **. All are very, very nice. All apologize profusely for not having documentation on the program. All try to sell me a more expensive program. All refer me to someone who is “sure” to help me.
What a terrible way to run a business: Rollout a new product with inadequate information and training to marketing, customer service and technical support personnel. Then give the customer the runaround until s/he tires and gives up. Is there anyone in Earthlink who cares about the business and customers and who can do anything about this situation? I cannot believe that Earthlink has changed that much in the last few years.
My advice: Under no circumstances port your telephone number to Earthlink, unless you don't care to get it back if you cancel your service. There are blogs all over where people report that they cannot cancel their service without a lot of pain and suffering. I wish I had read them before I signed up for the service.
The nature of the problem I'm about to relay will not be news to some of you, I'm sure. But just the telling of it will make me feel better, so I trust that you will be patient. Earthlink's euphemistically named “service” is dreadful. If it were worth the harassment I would no doubt suffer as a result, I'd cancel my contract now. Frankly, they are not worth that much of my time and trouble. But, really, the company is guilty of thievery and someone should be arrested for it. Sadly, I am not so empowered.
My latest difficulties occurred this past weekend when I was unable to connect through my DSL. I tried logging on for 24 hours, each time getting a message that the internet service was down, “please try again later.” Repeated attempts to get through to the call center resulted in a recording telling me of “unusual call volume, so we're unable to assist you now. Please try again later.” While not a logician by profession, fairly straightforward logic tells me that getting this message means a system problem. On Earthlink's end. Not mine, but theirs.
I finally reached a person on Sunday morning. ** covered his East Asian origins very cleverly by choosing such an all-American pseudonym, but that's beside the point. The point is that he did not help me. His parting “help” was that I should go and get the computer checked. No, I told him, the problem is your system. Did you do an update or something, I asked, since I couldn't even get through for a full day? Whether he couldn't understand me or was ordered not to directly answer such questions I don't know. But I do know that suddenly he couldn't spend any more time on the phone with me, that he'd have to schedule a call-back.
I have been this route before with Earthlink. I know that call-backs are fictional. No one ever calls back, and certainly not within the allegedly scheduled time. So it was no surprise to me that the call-back never materialized. It should have occurred at about 11 am (Central time) yesterday. What a shock – I'm still waiting.
I've had the “service” for less than a year and this is the third serious encounter I've had. Each has been more unpleasant and inconvenient than the last. The problem has always ended up being on Earthlink's part, though they were always reluctant to address it.
And here's what makes this scenario criminal: I have upheld my end of the contract, and they have failed to uphold theirs. I have paid each month, while they have repeatedly not provided me with the service for which I've paid. I get no credit for being without service. I never get timely attention. So I think it well within my rights to cancel our contract, but I know that Earthlink will never treat this issue so simply, directly, or honestly.
Now, I know that the best response I can expect from a complaint is a form letter composed by one of their unfortunate minions. Still, as I wrote above, it makes me feel a bit better to tell someone that the instant this contract is up I will cancel. What would really make me feel better would be to see them arrested for being thieves, for being a fraud, for violating basic consumer trust. I can't make that happen. But I can spread the word, and I will.
PHILADELPHIA -- A few weeks ago I called Earthlink and ordered wireless internet service. About 7 days later, they tried delivering the package with all installation products via UPS. Because UPS delivers only during the day while I'm working, I had to spend $30 roundtrip on a cab to pick up the package at UPS. This would not be a problem if I were getting a good product, but this was not to be the case. When I got home, I realized Earthlink sent me the wrong product; inside the box was a modem and ethernet connection, all for DSL but not for wireless service.
I called Earthlink to rectify the situation. In all, I was on the phone for more than 90 minutes that evening. It seemed that everyone I spoke to had a scripted response. It was as though they weren't hearing what I was saying. When they realized they were saying the same thing over and over and that I wasn't hearing what I needed to hear to fix the situation, they would transfer me to another representative. In all, I spoke to eight Earthlink employees that evening.
All the while I'd been transferred around from "customer service" rep to rep, I was trying to hook up the DSL to at least get that going until my wireless products would arrive in the mail. I needed internet service badly to work on school papers. I discovered (not surprisingly) that the DSL connection did not work. After being on the phone for 90 minutes I asked that they please quickly transfer me to tech support. I waited and waited for someone in tech support to answer the line. It took so long, by that time I was furious. I canceled the service altogether.
Meanwhile, I've returned the modem and all other products that were mistakenly sent to me for DSL service. Today, I noticed on my checking account that Earthlink had the audacity to charge me for shipping those wrong items! $21.35! I called this evening to demand a refund. I was hung up on by the first rep, and then when I called a second time I demanded to speak to a supervisor. I was transferred, according to the person I was transferred to, to the wrong person. He then lectured me on how "stupid" it was that I was demanding a refund. Yes, he used the word stupid.
He insisted that I be charged until the modem that I never ordered is returned. Then, he said, they'll refund my money. How much do you want to bet the money doesn't get refunded and I have to spend another hour sometime next week trying to resolve the problem?
MIAMI -- Be aware of EarthLink!!!! Back in September, we call EarthLink about the bundle package of high speed internet with VoiP phone service bundle to upgrade our dial-up internet service from another carrier; we were satisfied with the options we were offered and decided to sign up for the service. After all the information was provided and about 25 minutes of discussions over the service everything was set for then to mail the DSL modem, along with the VoiP adapter for the phone service, a day later it was discovered that EarthLink did not provide high speed internet service in this area; so everything was cancelled and nothing was ship to us from EarthLink.
2 months later we notice some unknown charges in our credit card, and put those charges in dispute, since we did not know where they came from. Then we received emails and threading letters from EarthLink for not paying for the dial up service; I tried to contact them immediately, and I was put on hold twice, once for over an hour and 15 minutes in which I gave up and decided to call them back the next day.
After 50 minutes of waiting time, I had a very hard time trying to communicate with the person representing Earthlink, since her English was very limited. I tried to explain that I never signed up for dial up service, and they were charging my credit card illegally since we never had an agreement for dial-up service; I kept arguing with her but apparently she did not understand or simply was just playing dull. She claimed to transfer me to another department and very conveniently the line was disconnected.
Later on I called again and was able to speak with a supervisor and offered to credit me with $21.95 for late charges which I found ridiculous since there was no such thing as late charges, since they charged my credit card $65.85 illegally and gave me a speech about their policy on refunds within 30 days; my answer was your company has committed a tort against me and is fraud charge me for a service I'd never agreed to and you will refund my money in full. He agreed to refund $43.90 which still is not the full amount charged to my credit card, and I will still disputed with my credit card so this thieves won't get away with it.
I came to Knoxville, TN in October of 2005, where I signed up for BellSouth DSL. It took a couple of months before the system worked consistently (and two visits from BellSouth guys). Exactly 3 days after my contract expired so did my modem... I called BellSouth and was told I could send them $59.99 and they would gladly replace said modem. I DON'T THINK SO. I figured Knoxville was a big enough city that I could get another phone company AND another DSL provider so I called and found a really "good deal" on phone service from MCI, but they don't offer DSL. So, I called and got a "deal" with Earthlink to provide my DSL.
Guess what? Earthlink will only provide DSL if I am a BellSouth customer!!! I stayed with BS (appropriate acronym, I think) and ordered Earthlink. Then my old Compaq router wouldn't work with their modem, so at the advice of one of Earthlink's "senior techs" (not sure what makes them senior) I went out and bought a Linksys wireless router. Everything worked great... for a month. Ten hours of "tech support" later, they tell me what I knew when I called them the very first time. The modem will not, for some unknown reason, stay in the bridging position so my router won't work. Feb. 12 I am assured they will send me a new modem, which will arrive in 3-5 business days.
Feb. 15 I receive not one, but two return shipping labels for the modem I have but no replacement modem. Feb 20 and still no modem so I call back to have the nice Indian or Pakistani guy tell me "Oh we're so sorry. We'll get that right out to you." Feb. 28... no modem. I call back. (At this point I should tell you that if you want to talk to anyone at Earthlink, you must have at least an hour of free time.) "Oh, we're so sorry. There was some confusion. We'll get that LABEL right out to you." NO! I don't need ANOTHER label!!!!
I am finally transferred (again) to a "senior representative" who assures me he is seeing to it that my new modem will be sent to me ASAP and I will have it no later than Mar. 4. March 7... no modem. I call back. Only THIS time, I select the option for cancelling my service. I get a new ** on the line who tells me they have sent me the wrong label (an RMA instead of an EMA) but he will be shipping me a modem overnight and refunding two months worth of payments. Well, we'll see if it actually arrives. I'm not holding my breath, as I look horrible in purple. A word to anyone who is considering Earthlink. DON'T!!!