SOS: First TDS, then Frontier provide hassle for unlucky telecom customer
It’s been a frustrating few months in the quest for reliable and accurately billed television and internet service for Sauk City resident Leo Schweiss.
Schweiss, 56, contacted SOS in the fall after TDS refused to refund his $25 registration fee to sign up for service — despite the company’s inability to provide the service on time and, more importantly, by the time Schweiss’ contract with competitor Charter Communications expired.
SOS was able to secure the refund, and Schweiss said that on Nov. 27 he called DirecTV to get satellite TV, and that DirecTV in turn directed him to Frontier Communications for internet service. Neither Schweiss nor Javier Mendoza, Frontier vice president of corporate communications and external affairs, was able to explain Friday why DirecTV might have made that referral.
But it was in taking it that Schweiss contributed to his hassles later.
“I received the router from Frontier on 12/7 and told them I had decided to stay with Charter and called Frontier to tell them I wasn’t taking their service,” Schweiss emailed SOS on Jan. 14.
Schweiss said he reneged on Frontier because he was able to negotiate a better deal with Charter.
What followed will be a familiar story to readers of SOS: Schweiss got a bill for Frontier services anyway — for $46.41, in December — and he and his wife spent many hours speaking to many customer services representatives in an unsuccessful attempt to set things right.
Included in those conversations, Schweiss said, was a promise of a box (never received) to return the router in, a confirmation number assigned to his problem, a formal dispute lodged against his bill, a disconnected call, being told that the company had no record of Schweiss ever having one of its routers, and an allegation from Frontier that Schweiss was actually a business and needed to speak with a Frontier representative in Alaska.
He also said that in early January he received another bill from Frontier for the router and internet service he wasn’t using, this one for $57.99, including his past-due balance.
SOS contacted Frontier on Jan. 25 to lay out the situation, and after a bit more pestering by phone and by email, Mendoza reported on Jan. 30 that the company had zeroed out Schweiss’ balance.
Mendoza said the company would send Schweiss a prepaid box to return the router in. As for what led to the mix-up, he said that when you work for a large organization with thousands of customers, “occasionally things happen.”
“We’re regretful for the miscommunication,” he said, “and we’re glad we could work it out for him.”