Dear Customer, you are being lied to, cheated, and conned. Here are five lies you’re regularly told by your ISP, along with my snarky comments-in-rebuttal.
1. We need your Social Security number… you are not legally allowed to get services without it.
Actually, anyone who DARES tell you that a private business (other than a bank – they have been legally entitled to rip you off, by law, since 1913) is required to collect a social security number to provide you a service needs to disclose the “authorizing statute”. Even the IRS is limited by law in what information can be shared – that’s why private business records are now “requiring” the social security number. If the representative tells you that “the database requires a credit check,” then encourage as many people to walk away as possible – companies are starting to feel the pain of this tactic, and more services now are being offered without the request for a social security number. You can get creative, and ask those who use a competitor to pledge not to go to the company you’re targeting. Cost them in dollars.
Consider THIS: how do you think all those undocumented immigrants get services? One ISP rep told me that the company needs it because there is a credit check done on contracts. Another rep (differant company) stated that they need Social Security numbers so they can target the poor for “deposits.” She also requested her name not be revealed, nor the name of her ISP, because she told me that the mall booth exemption to the SS number are largely hidden. She and her crew are pushed heavily to request SS numbers. One cell phone service rep actually told me that the market share demanding a no-social-provided service has cropped up and is (dangerously) increasing. I’m adding the paranthetical overtone to reflect the mood and unspoken word(s) he imparted through the tone of his voice. I am NOT an advocate for this nasty practice, which is all about taking from the poor and giving to the rich.
So – what do these companies DO with your social? Share them! Every time you see the “business purposes” or “business associates/partners” lingo in the sharing section of your contract, please insert the words “police” and “credit collectors” in your head. BUT – please – do NOT believe me – I want you to go and check for yourself, at http://www.cpclear.com. And don’t forget my favorite – intellius. Intellius enabled me to find a certain person’s Facebook page in mere moments. It also enabled me to locate a Back Due Child Support villain for a buddy. How? Through “sharing agreements.”
2. The contract is non-negotiable… you have no right to negotiate.
Baloney – all service issues essentially require a meeting of the minds, but reps are loath to deviate from the contracts and “standard practices” because their commissions might be built into the following of such. One medical provider actually told me that they are required to ask about your social life in order to get paid in full by insurers who ask your doctor(s) for this information. Customer retention departments deviate from norms all day long to keep the money flowing, and ISPs are no differant. Did THEY violate the contract? Research YOUR damages, and you will soon realize that these providers have contracts of adhesion UNLESS you are a big business with a customized contract.
Guess what? Business Class is on a separate network than Consumer Class. That’s why your connection will break for days while your neighbor might still be humming along just fine. Happy neighbors just might be open to sharing services, too. Guess what ELSE Business Class can do? Share. Yep. If asked, a few providers will not put the kibbosh on connection sharing if its limited to people in the same office or building.
3. Sure, the service allows hosting! Outbound Port 80 isn’t blocked… over the network.
This is a half-lie. Some router hardware will come with internal hardware locks on Port 80 and the end user is not allowed through software restrictions in place to edit this setting. And? They HIDE this from the up-front notices at one provider. How would I know? I encountered this restriction and then enlisted the aid of a Network Engineer who told me what was going on in less than two minutes flat. I had paid over $200 for hosting and other assorted fees that came along with was supposed to be a temporary hosting arrangement for the websites I used to host at home. If I cannot get a resolution from this company, then I will name names. Comcast is excellent and I might be moving back to them. They may charge a higher rate, but I do not accept LIES as a part of my service agreement; I was explicitly told that Outbound Port 80 hosting-related traffic wasn’t blocked over the network by a sales clerk.
4. The service is Unlimited!***
*** You cannot claim no limits and then proclaim in fine print that vague, nebulous “management” of the network happens, and then cut or reduce service speeds to “punish” heavy users.
No specific definitions or hard limits are given to customers. So, when was the last time you were given a speeding ticket for a violation of “changing whenever we choose” instead of say, 25, 35, 40, etc?
5. You are not allowed to lease a modem in your state… because we say so.
Then why am I paying a leasing fee in a state where no leasing agreements are “allowed?” If in doubt, ask around and seek out a current customer. Ask questions. Son’t settle on what the phone rep says.
It pays off to have a friend call in and request the ins and outs of a potential deal to see what you, as an existing customer, might be missing out on. Also, research and ask retail kiosks or outlet booths about all available options and deals – I discovered I could lease a modem in Georgia this way.
Some ISPs have been suffering customer retention issues – leasing customers are happy to move at the drop of a hat while customers who have bought their modems (and made a personal investment in the company that way) have enough money tied up in the modem that they are more likely to stay.
That’s five differant ways ISPs lie to you. Got any more lies or problems with your ISP? Let us all know!
The sources for this article have asked not to be named for fear of losing their jobs as soon as I disclosed that I report my findings on what is, essentially, a news source website. I have spent several hours doing research, talking to representatives, and asking Tech Support all kinds of questions.