The U.S. Attorney General's Office says three people are in custody accused of holding a woman and her child captive for more than two years.
With dropped calls, spotty service and customer service issues, telephone and Internet services can be frustrating.
“These days, communication services are the heart of our lifestyle, whether it be our phone or Internet services,” said Angie’s List founder and owner Angie Hicks. “In 2011, these categories ranked among the most complained about categories.”
Hicks said that those with service provider issues should contact providers directly but be prepared before they do so.
“Know what service you need, what you’re problem is and also check around with competitors,” Hicks said. “Lots of communication services are offering all kinds of deals these days, so know what’s out there, so you can ask for that deal, as well.”
Cell phone customer Amber Connors said that she and her husband did research about providers when their contract came up for renewal.
“We switched to a different provider after two to three weeks of constant homework and discussion, talking about it and when we got home, I couldn’t answer the phone in my own family room,” Connors said. “I had a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old at the time, and we don’t have a landline, so that was an issue.”
The couple switched back to their provider that they had for 10 years.
Common complaints with these communication services:
• Dropped calls/spotty service
• Slow Internet speeds
• Poor customer service/technical issues
• Billing disputes
• Long install/wait times
Whether you have Internet service, a landline phone or a cell phone, consumers are in the drivers’ seat these days because there is a lot of competition in these services. Do stand up for yourself if you have an issue.
Angie’s List Tips: How to get quality Internet & phone service
• Have the facts at your fingertips. Be ready with the details of what is wrong before you call. Documentation is key in winning the complaint war – if there is an issue with your bill, have a copy of the bill in front of you. Also, record the name of the person you’re speaking with and note the date and time you called. These details will increase your credibility if you need to follow up later. Finally, be prepared with what steps you would like the company to take to rectify the situation.
• Act assertive, not angry. Starting out nasty will instantly put the other person on the defensive. A great opening line is to tell the company that you have "a problem" and are looking for help in how to solve it. Explain the facts without showing emotion (lip biting permitted).
• Always, always follow the Golden Rule. Treat the company with respect, even in the way you explain your complaint. As an example, if it appears a repair has not worked, rather than accusing the company of doing the job "wrong," let them know you’re still having the same problem and are in need of their help. If a bill turns out to be higher than expected, ask for a detailed breakdown of the bill before you accuse them of "price-gouging."
• Go to the top. If the person answering the phone is not responsive to your complaint, ask to speak to the company’s consumer retention department. Don’t antagonize this person; he or she will be more encouraged to refer you to the right "higher-up." Another hint: tell that person you will be sure to explain to the manager how well you’ve been treated.
• Explain the consequences. If you’re not getting a positive response, explain what will happen if you don’t get action. If you have been a long time customer, let them know this and assert that they will no longer have your business. If you have referred others to them, point that out as well.
• Scope out the Competition: Keep an eye out for special promotions from competitors. If your provider can’t match the competition’s offer, don’t hesitate to change companies. Just make sure the price of the new plan compensates for any equipment you need to install. Be prepared to end your service if you can’t get the service you deserve.
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