The art of the (internet) deal

Published 1:57 pm Thursday, August 25, 2016

Here’s a story about customer service and how to choose between two companies for the best deal.

After moving into my apartment, I researched an internet service provider (ISP) I had the chance to try while staying elsewhere. The speed I could afford was higher than I’d had in South Carolina and not only cheaper than its competitor, but cheaper than my old, slower service.

I signed up through its website and received an email saying a technician would be out Friday before 5 p.m. They never showed up. I called. They said they were behind on installations and would be out before 1 p.m. the next day. They didn’t arrive. I called again and was told they didn’t even do those particular installations in our area on Saturdays.

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Really? Why would one customer service representative tell you they can do something only to be told by another one they can’t?

I asked when I could expect my service to be hooked up. Two weeks. Two weeks?!

I called the other company, even though I’d be paying almost one-and-a-half times as much each month as the competitor and with extra charges tacked on. They said they could come out on a Tuesday, before 5 p.m. (I wasn’t holding my breath.)

Now, here’s where the twist in the story comes. By the time I’d done this, it was after the other ISP’s business hours and I couldn’t call to cancel the first order.

Lo and behold on Monday, I received a call from a technician with the first ISP. They were at the apartment and could hook up my faster, cheaper service right then. The technician was great and I’m enjoying the service.

While I stuck with the better deal, I do expect better customer service from the start.

Martin L. Cahn is managing editor of The Farmville Herald. His email address is