You always think it’s not going to be you. Sometimes that’s the only reason you get out of bed in the morning. “It’s not me!” you say. “Bad things happen, but not to me!” And then one day you wake up and the reality of life sucker punches you and it is you, and it’s at the worst time it could happen and it’s when you’re already having an emotional low for other reasons unrelated and …
My DSL got disconnected in a weirdly twisting and turning set of circumstances, that even involved my phone line itself being down on Saturday and part of Sunday. There was nothing I could do. There was no one person I could talk to and get it fixed faster. There was no comfort, no easing of the agony of having business screwed up and work not done. There was, simply, a type A personality in the desert without a canteen, and she lost her mind.
Wikipedia defines slammming as:
Slamming is any fraudulent, unauthorized change to the default long-distance carrier selection for a subscriber’s line, most often made by dishonest vendors desirous to steal business from competing service providers.
I define slamming as being fucked over by the phone company who is, technically, doing nothing wrong. But they sure as shit ain’t doing anything right.
I woke up to find I was without DSL service. AS I was supposed to work from home, this put a monkey wrench in my ‘work in my jammies’ day. After spending 4 hours (5am to 9am) arguing with various people, I picked up the laptop and caught a $20 cab ride to the office to work, being ‘assured’ it was a modem breakdown and I’d have a new one on Thursday at 10am.
On the way home, I swung by Best Buy and scooped up a DSL modem, but it was hard-wired to work with another company so I exchanged it for some DVDs.
The new modem arrived at 10am, and I got permission to go home and test it at noon. At 1pm I determined that it wasn’t just the modem, and the hunt was on. By 1:30pm I finally got an answer. My DSL company said they could not detect a line share on my phone line.
Your phone line shares ‘space’ with your local telco, your long distance carrier and your DSL/ISDN. Hence, they call it a line share. Makes sense, right? So when Speakeasy says they can’t detect their carrier on my line, it means that someone flipped the switch to turn off my DSL from reaching my home. That falls under the ‘last mile’ provider responsibility, which belongs to SBC.
So I ask Speakeasy to put in a ‘please turn my net on, you idiots!’ request to SBC, knowing it’ll take three to five business days from the moment SBC gets the request. This generally means from the time you ask, it’ll take at least 4 days to get something done. This happened when I moved, I understand it. They have to send a guy over and make the switch.
I asked Speakeasy if they could tell me why it was off, and they couldn’t. I asked if they could say when it was off, and they said 5am on Wednesday. I asked if they could speed it up, and they said they’d do their best, but the brunt of the matter was on SBC.
Fine. I call SBC. SBC, after a hellish phone tree, a ‘press # to talk to an operator’ disconnecting me, and another number kicking me back to the start after saying I’m from Chicago, I got a person. I explain the situation. Right away SBC plays the blame game and says it’s not their fault. I tell them I’m not blaming them, but I want to know if a work order came in on my phone line on the 15th. They say (shockingly), yes! A work order was submitted on the 14th and was completed on the 15th for a DSL removal of service. Interesting. I ask who made the order, and they say they can’t tell me.
There was a pause here, and admittedly, at this moment I snapped. There’s a level to the idiocy I can cope with in a day, and this was where I’d had it. I cried. On the phone. To SBC. I’m a little ashamed about that- No. I’m a lot ashamed. More so, I’m embarrassed that I was still freaking out and sobbing when I talked to my boss later. My friend Q said I sounded really fucked up. Ipstenit told me to soak my head to cool down.
I should have, but instead I call Speakeasy back, tell them what I know and ask if they put in an accidental work order on my line. They say no. I ask if they can check with the middle man (the people who own the DSL lines) if they did, and Speakeasy says they don’t see an order for it. I’ve had good luck with Speakeasy. I trust them. I understand there’s nothing anyone can do on Thursday, and I have a small mental collapse.
Seriously, I was fucked up on Thursday night. Bitchy, moody, irrational, and taking it out on Ipstenit a little. I made it up to her Monday, but still. I was also supposed to do some night work for the office, and I had to hand it off to my boss. I felt bad about that, but mostly I was irate that there was nothing I could do to resolve the issue, and no one whose ass I could kick to make me feel better. I disliked being out of control of an out of control situation.
I know, I’m obsessive. Your point? Weirdly, I handled a suicide attempt (a friends in High School) much better than this. Geeze.
Anyway, Thursday came and went.
Speakeasy was having a bitch of a time getting SBC to commit to a date, and they were still trying to figure out what happened. Interestingly, some information was back-dated into my trouble log. At first, SBC slipped and gave me the IP address my DSL order came from (which was a company I’ve told all my friends about, but I’m not naming here because I have a couple possible court cases on them and … this could become slanderous in a moment). I had that traced (I love my geek friends) to the company and promptly sic’d the BBB on them to check it out. I’ve had good dealings with the BBB before.
The ‘new’ information I get was that a second DSL ‘connect’ order was sent in when I moved, on accident. Now, it’s possible that this new order was from my DSL, but I’m not 100% sure, and it doesn’t explain the Company connection on my line that was there on the 15th. But it does explain one thing: After oopsie order #2 was sent out, they kicked back a ‘please cancel/disconnect’ order to SBC. Which SBC did on the 15th.
Interesting to note that SBC takes 3-4 days to turn on your service and 1 to turn it off.
Even more interesting, I actually hypothesized this with Speakeasy on Thursday when I found out about the dual order. Speakeasy says essentially I was slammed, but they weren’t 100% sure either. Again, Company’s info on my line? Yeah. It’s sketchy.
Since it’s the weekend, I know there’s piss all I can do, so I take up Speakeasy’s offer for Dial-Up. Oh my G-D. I forgot how much 56k hurt.
I ask for status. It’s a Bank Holiday, so I’m off work, and I have a sinking feeling so is SBC. But as it can’t hurt to try, I try. Speakeasy is waiting for an FOC from SBC. An FOC, as I’ve learned, means ‘firm order commitment’ and is as I call it the ‘drop dead date’ for getting DSL turned on. FOC is cooler than DDD I admit. Speakeasy says they should have it by end of business Monday.
I consider “Friday is a nice day to have DSL. When I go to services and don’t get home until after Shabbat starts, you assholes.”
At the office, I check on the trouble ticket. No update. So I ask ‘Any good news for me?’ and get a reply 2 hours later. Speakeasy contacted the SBC directly since there was not update on the FOC date. It appears that DSL has been re-added to the circuit.
So I have to check when I get home, which puts me at 6 hours or more of waiting.
The freaky thing that I learned is that SBC services any transfer request of any kind, other than long-distance service. For long-distance, they require your written approval. Q, who is moving as well, checked on this and asked outright if he could call up SBC, claim to be with a company and ask to modify service on an account, and SBC would just do it? The answer is a yes. That’s exactly what I was told on Thursday.
HOWEVER, SBC also told him that they ‘must be able’ to tell us who made the order. They agreed that slamming DSL was illegal, but they didn’t tell me who did it, and in fact told me they couldn’t. I wonder now if SBC was just choosign not to say, rather than being technically unable to say, which was what I was told on Thursday. Either way, by not tellign me who did it, they’re enabling slamming.
SBC confirms an order to disconnect was made on the 14th and followed up with on the 15th. I never get 1 day service on my legit requests, so that seemed a bit sketchy. Also, SBC’s ‘we already did it!’ reply on Tuesday made me think that there’s a cover up going on.
There has been some legal follow up on my end as well, which included talking to a pro-bono lawyer about this (he was bored), the BBB (who said it’s not their court but have me some leads) and a news outlet who seems interested.
But. Tuesday night the DSL, she was back. Working fine, and I sent a very nice thank you to everyone at Speakeasy. They’re phenominal and worth the price.
I also edited Wikipedia’s entry on slamming to say the following.
Slamming is any fraudulent, unauthorized change to the default long-distance carrier or DSL internet service selection for a subscriber’s line, most often made by dishonest vendors desirous to steal business from competing service providers.