MCI: Nightmare!

This has gotten to the point where it's just plain stupid. Really.

I rented a condo on the 1100 block of SW Jefferson for two years. I set up phone service there under MCI's "The Neighborhood" program. The condo had never had phone service before because the owner had a cell phone only.

Back then, you couldn't get local service through MCI in Oregon for a new line due to the crazy rules that piss-poorly govern telecommunications.. You had to set up phone service through a carrier that provided local service, and then switch to MCI after your service was established.


I did all of this though - setting up service through Qwest and then switching over to MCI - because I'd get unlimited long distance phone service on a home phone. No cell phone minutes to deal with... no five cents per minute for long distance to deal with... no figuring out who was local and who wasn't... just a flat fee for all calls, be they local or long distance.

For two years, this worked quite well. Sure, there was a time when MCI double-billed me, though a call to customer service corrected this. But then I moved to a new apartment.

I moved a distance of one freaking city block.


I set up a transfer of my phone service and phone number on November 24th. A week later, I moved one city block away from the previous place.

One. Fucking. Block.

On December 3rd, a manual order was placed by MCI to get the job done. Eh? What happened to the last ten days? Who knows... but whatever. It's only been three days without a phone. No biggie...

On December 6th, another manual order was placed by MCI to get the job done because the first one "didn't take." Eh? What does that mean? Who knows. I'm a patient guy. It's only been six days without a phone.

On December 9th, according to MCI's notes on my account, the job was supposed to be done.

Another manual order was placed by them on December 20th - nearly a month after the request for service transfer was placed, and nearly two weeks after the already delayed transfer of service was supposed to have been completed.


I started emailing MCI from their website. They write back to me stating that my problem can't be solved via their web email form, and I will need to contact them directly at insert irrelevant phone number here.

Now come on. Seriously. Is there REALLY no way to contact the phone company when your phone service is down other than by PHONE? That's ridiculous.

Dear MCI:

Can't call.
Get it?


P.S. I don't really love you. I'm just using you for phone service. Oh, and speaking of which...

Does my internet service provider expect me to email them when my internet service is down? No.

Does the electric company want me to flick my lights off and on in Morse Code to alert them when my power is out? Of course not.

Why does a PHONE company expect me to CALL when my service is DOWN?

"I have received your e-mail regarding not being able to contact us due to your not having service. I apologize for any difficulties this issue has caused. Unfortunately, this is not an issue we can resolve through our e-Customer Service team. Please call our Customer Service team at 1-888-624-5622, Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 12:00 am ET. "


It's pretty clear that MCI has a good deal and they're reluctant to disturb it: They charge me for phone service without the hassle of actually providing me with phone service.

Two bills arrived during this time when I had - and still have - no service:

Fast forward... MCI finally agreed to send out a technician to FINALLY set up service on December 28th between 1 and 5pm. A worthless call to MCI's worthless customer service number at 8pm that night couldn't even confirm that a technician had showed up. ("Can You Hear Me Now?")

A week later, I suspect he went to the previous address.

Why would I want my service transfered to and from the same address? It makes no sense people!!! Come on already...

Emails to MCI are piling up. I've heard from the following MCI representatives: Richie, Emily, Rajesh, Jennie, Lonnie, and Shannon, among others...

Phone calls are adding up. God only knows who I've talked to, though I distinctly recall speaking last week with a woman who referred to herself as "The Supervisor Of Everything." And yet, she accomplished nothing.


Now they say they're sending a technician here today between 8 and noon. Well, it's 9 and still no dialtone.

Another technician is scheduled to come tomorrow to deal with the inside wiring... which, by the way, I pay a monthly insurance fee on ...and they want to charge me $180!

I. Don't. Think. So.

::::: | Wednesday, Jan 05 2005 at 9:00 AM
::::: |


blahg gal said:

I just posted on my blog about frustrations with my cell phone company. My pain definitely doesn't match yours though. A month and still no service? That's beyong inept... I don't think there's even a word for how messed up that is. They should give you two months of free service to make up for your hassle.

::::: | January 5, 2005 10:42 AM

Betsy said:

Hey, Rob - not only does their service suck, but you're paying too much.

Qwest has a deal now that will let you cap your long distance at a flat fee per month - 20 bucks. All calls up until that are 5 cents a minute (plus a 2.99 monthly fee), and you're only charged for what you actually use until you reach that 20 dollar cap.

I'm paying 79.00 right now per month with Quest for phone service, long distance, *and* DSL. (granted, my home fees of 26 bucks per month are under some program that's grandfathered, but...)

I know, I know - it's Qwest. But it's the all new, shiny and improved Qwest. And y'know - I've had nothing but great experiences with them in the last year or so - including a move, an upgrade in DSL service/need for a new DSL modem, etc.

::::: | January 5, 2005 11:20 AM

Me! said:

Hhhhmmm... maybe I should call Qwest. Oh wait... I can't.


I'm seriously looking into these new internet phone options too. There's got to be a better way.

As for internet, I'm paying too much to Comcast. I know this, but I'm thrilled with the speed of my connection, and I'm a heavy user, so I don't mind.

::::: | January 5, 2005 11:35 AM

Betsy said:

Umm...I'm betting you can order Qwest service online. Especially if you tell them that if they can handle this in less than 24 hours, they'll win your business away from MCI, heh...

::::: | January 5, 2005 3:52 PM

allan said:

Followed Blagh Gal's link.I'm glad you can laugh at all that billing BS. Good writing about bad things...
New Year's resolve: I'm investing in carrier pigeons.

::::: | January 5, 2005 4:32 PM

lisa said:

how painful! phone trees, minimum-wage call-center peons. oh dear.

here, I'll chip in my similar story..
years ago, setting up new service during the qwest (aka, qworst) strike, I had seven different phone numbers in one month, talked to various rep's all over the country, eventually ended up with my very own phone number (wow!)... *and* ended the ordeal with some new-age-y rep in seattle asking me out (over the phone, face unknown)... little did he know my gentle laughter (after a gazillion phone calls to the phone company) was not from an easy-going attitude about the whole situation... but from crazed frustration

good luck with any of those "communications" companies, haha : )

::::: | January 5, 2005 4:38 PM

Amber said:

When I was in the middle of a shitty utilities war, my legal writing prof advised me to fax in a professional looking letter detailing the problems, along with a deadline by which time action must be taken, or you will persue alternatives (i.e. another service provider, the better business whatever, and so forth). It was amazing how fast the red tape all those telephone bozos were spinning was cut by a simple fax. Just something you might want to try.

::::: | January 5, 2005 4:43 PM

rats! said:


Go to thislife.org and do a search for "MCI." Not only is the story fucking FUNNY, plus, they give out the phone number and email address of the executive in charge of MCI's customer service at the end of the story.

Happy listening.

::::: | January 5, 2005 6:03 PM

Me! said:

Here's a link to the Ira Glass story mentioned above... "On Hold - No One Can Hear You Scream"


Thanks for the tip!
I'm listening to it now :)

::::: | January 5, 2005 6:26 PM

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