(Posted 12-10-02) I moved to the state of Arizona in the last week of November 2002. Before I moved into my apartment my wife had set up the utilities and the phone for me. I'd never heard of Qwest (phone company) before but from what I'm told they are one of the small Bell companies. They wanted $35.00 to get the phone hooked up and with taxes and the rest of it, another $26.00. All due on the first bill when it came.
Well things started to get weird when I began to receive irate calls from sexually frustrated women wanting to purchase sex toys, vitamins, vibrators and all kind of stuff from me. These calls would come at all hours of the day and night and after a while it wasn't funny anymore. The women seemed to be from the south east corner mainly around Georgia, the Carolina's and Florida. With each call I explained that this was simply my home residence and that I had no idea what they wanted or how to get in touch with the company in question. My line was obviously crossed with this companies or the link to my phone was obviously a mistake. Most of them would fly off the handle at me and go berserk.
I put up with this crap for two weeks and on Thursday 12-4-02, I called Qwest. I spoke to a lady called Dee Anna (in Nebraska) and I explained what was going on. She said that I could have a new phone number that would go into affect on Tuesday 12-10-02. That sounded like a logical solution and I thought no more about it.
About an hour or so later I called Qwest again and I spoke to a Mike. I explained that I would have to inform a lot of people about a new phone number and that I'd already sent various resumes out, some by mail only so I had no way to call them and explain. I asked if he could look into my phone number and see if he could track the toll free number that was connected to it and coming into my home.
He had a solution and that was if the toll free number could be disconnected from my phone line then I could keep my original number. He was going to look into it so after being put on hold for a while he came back and said that the error was with a company called Trans World. He'd spoken to them and within an hour my phone number wouldn't be connected to one of their toll free numbers anymore. But if I had any issues with a credit on my phone due to the harassment that I'd gone through then it was the toll free company that I had to deal with.
Now that my phone was OK and free from the harassing calls I specifically said to Mike that my number was going to change on Tuesday. He assured me that that 'order would be canceled' and that I had nothing else to worry about. I could keep my number. I asked him again to verify that with me and he reassured me of just that. He said I could keep the same number, the other was cancelled and that the toll free number was no longer a problem.
I called 1-800-530-3440 which Mike had told me was the company responsible for the link to my phone. The company was called TEL AMERICA and not the name that he had mentioned. So these were the people that I had to deal with regarding the garbage that I'd continually gone through. Debbie, who'd answered the phone put me on hold for ages and when we did talk she had the typical attitude of your everyday American company; "well you get your lawyer to contact us as we're not going to pay it!" She could quite easily have said "Oh I'm sorry about the HASSLE and HARASSMENT that you've gone through for the past two weeks, the least we can do is pay your 14 days worth of your phone bill." If I were in her shoes I'd have said "oh and by the way thank you so much for pointing out this error, it will save our company money from a bill for a toll free number that I'm sure wouldn't have been paid." Of course that was way beyond Debbie's intelligence!
So after filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau about Tel America I thought all my problems were over. Sadly, that's not the case. After sending out more resumes and going to employment agencies with the intentions of leaving my home phone number to reach me at, I wondered why I wasn't receiving any in coming calls. When I checked my email on Tuesday 12-10-02 my wife informed me that my phone line has a 'DISCONNECTED MESSAGE' to it. It didn't take me too long to figure out that my original number was now defunct and Mike at Qwest HADN'T cancelled the work order like he said he would, so now the NEW number had come into play.
I instantly called Qwest and explained to Brian my frustration. I was far, far from happy about the matter. He said I could have my old number back on by next Monday if I wished (5 days away). I'd distinctly asked Mike if the NEW phone number had been cancelled and he'd said it had. I asked Brian to put me in touch with the Mike who I'd spoken to in the beginning, (five days before.) I had Mike's operator number so I assumed I'd be connected straight through. He said to me "I have no way of knowing where Mike is, even with that operator number that you've got. He could be anywhere in the country." I replied, "Well that's convenient isn't it! You're operators screw up, make our lives a misery and then we've got no way of getting in touch with the very people that gave us incorrect information to begin with?" "That's correct," Brian replied. Isn't there a reason why operators give us these numbers?
Need I say anything more about this company. I've been told that Qwest have had many complaints filed against them recently. Also they are in financial trouble. I'm told that their ads on TV apparently say, 'Their customer service is number 1. That they are so good with their customers.' It's a shame this company doesn't practice what it preaches. My next step is the Attorney General and the Public Utilities Commission.
Thanks for your reading, Johnny Anderson.
UPDATE: The very next morning, Wednesday 12-11-02 I called Qwest at 06.00am the very minute that they opened. I got Dee Anna on the phone who ironically enough had been the same lady who'd put in my original order to have my new phone number put on yesterday. She said two things that I found interesting. Firstly it WAS on the computer to have the above order cancelled (keeping my old number as it was) so Mike DID do his job properly, something that Brian neglected to tell me. And secondly Dee Anna said that my old phone number could be back on by the end of the day if I wished to have it again. Sadly if Brian had told me that instead of his 'it'll take 5 days to get my old number back again,' I'd not have emailed over 150 people last night inform them of the change. She did take off the $35 connection charge which to be honest with you I feel should have been taken off when I was being harassed in the beginning by the sex fiends who wanted products from me that I couldn't supply. I also asked her to make sure that my old number had a forwarding message to my new number. She said that she had put that request in the system. I thought about that for a minute and then I said, "Well didn't Mike put the order in the system for my new number to be cancelled and that didn't seem to do much good did it?" To this she replied, "yes that was entirely OUR fault. I know that your forwarding message will go through as I did this myself, properly!" Well at least she admitted Qwest's error.
Again, with Brian I think this is an example of an employee who can't do his job properly. And due to that how many other customers have been fed the WRONG misleading information? I filed a complaint against him to Qwest's headquarters on the morning of Wednesday 12-11-02. And on Friday 12-13-02 I filed a complaint against Qwest sending out the relevant paperwork to the Attorney General of Arizona. I'll keep this page updated when I hear more.
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