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May 12, 2009

Lets talk about something as simple as getting Internet service. Which is usually simple right.  I mean you find an ISP call them up and set up your installation date.

But when you live in a rural area (like my sister) your choices are a tad bit limited.  Your options are only dial up, which is beyond belief that options still exist.  Or you can try satellite Internet service.  As long as you have a clear view of the sky then you’re good to go.  Simple right?
This is what I thought as I tried to help her get internet service through Hughes Net.  They of course are the only satellite Internet service provider in her rural area (which I affectionately call the middle of nowhere).
So I called Hughes Net thinking okay this will take a few minutes to set up the time of installation and poof I’m done.   Hughes net gives you two different options to starting service with them.  Either you can own the equipment or you can lease it.  Being that she doesn’t plan on living in the boonies forever,  we choose to lease the equipment.  If you chose that option then have to do a credit check, probably to ensure that you won’t run off with their equipment.  That was no big deal to me since I have “good” credit (over 700).
Surprise!  They turned me down and said I had to purchase the equipment.  Of course, I knew that this had to be a mistake.  So I told the representative to try again….and this is how my few minutes phone call turned into an hour!
Round 1: First the rep. told me that my card must be at is limit and thus this was why the credit check was coming back negative.  I found that interesting since I had given him an American Express card which has no limit!
Round 2: He then asked me for another new credit card.  Surely, that has to be the reason.  I complied but I was starting to get very suspicious.  Same result.  Denied.
Round 3: Perhaps his system was “acting funny.”  He assured me that he has just approved someone else with good credit and he couldn’t figure out what the problem was with me.  He would check with his supervisor and see if there was anything she could do.  Alas she came back and said even though my credit was still denied, they would offer me a $100 mail-in rebate is I purchased the equipment.  Now, I know a thing or two about rebates (smile); like the fact that 40% of rebates are never claimed.   And even when you try to claim them, they often take forever to process, the deny your rebate because you didn’t fill in the proper box, or include the proper attachment, etc, etc.  By the time you are finished with all of the paperwork to get the $100 back, you could’ve made $500!  Thus, I told the rep. no thank you.
Round 4: The rep assured me that I would get my rebate (yeah right).  He spoke to his manager again, and now they were willing to give me an additional $50.00 rebate.  No dice! I explained to him, that I was an attorney, and in fact I knew an attorney who used to work for them.  I also understood that they were financially incentivized to get me to pay for the equipment up front so from an accounting perspective they could book a sale.  Also, the odds were that I would not get the rebate so the bottom line is more money to them today!  Moreover, that system that he kept referring to was a load of [fill in the blank].  I knew that he was just making it up.
Round 5: Just as I was ready to walk away, he decided to try the system one more time.  Shock of all shocks.  I was approved.  He claims that he transposed a number in my social security number.  Yeah right.  I don’t believe that he had ever run my credit or used this “system”.  He was reading a script designed to get me to purchase equipment that I did not want and used every excuse/trick in the book.  When he sensed I was really about to walk, he ran the credit and closed the deal.
Bottom Line: Make sure you know your rights when dealing with these companies.  You don’t have to accept anything that you aren’t comfortable with even if you live in the middle of no-where-sville  and you don’t have too many options.
6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2009 2:54 pm

    Woo-hoo. Your sister is lucky to have you! Love that story. Love sneaky people getting “caught!” Next time I’m going after an offer “too good to be true,” I’m calling you!

  2. Diamond Emory permalink
    May 18, 2009 3:09 pm

    Good customer service is so hard to find. It’s a shame consumers are inundated with bad business practices. You were calling them to SPEND MONEY! The only reason they sent you through all that junk in the first place is because they are the only game in town. Sorry, I would have had to do without it all together. What a load of crap! They were not able to pull the wool over your eyes, but just imagine how many people they have gotten over on! Terrible.

  3. May 18, 2009 3:41 pm

    Thats crazy and a scam, they should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. Erica permalink
    May 18, 2009 3:52 pm

    That is horrible and it happens all the time. Not only with smaller companies set to work with the people who live out in the middle of nowhere. But also with big companies, ie: Verizon. Customer services these days are not very customer oriented.

  5. bonniemann permalink
    May 18, 2009 4:00 pm

    Not only do I agree that the series of sales pitches were scripted, they used every trick in the book.

    Many people don’t know thier credit score or how to use it, have credit cards that are frequently near the limit, and get excited about rebates they never apply for.

    The problem is that they never ran your credit to begin with. If they had at least done that they would have known that you would not have fallen for the script. They were trying to save a few dollars by not running the check and not having the employee take the time to run the check but this case they spent even more time by trying to sell you the equipment and still having to run the credit check.

    All of this proves yet again that short-cuts and bad customer service will only cost you money in the end. Think of all the business they are going to lose when someone googles them and then reads this website before calling for service.

    Good job exposing the bad guys!

  6. May 18, 2009 4:59 pm

    This is all about customer service. As my husband always says, “be prepared to walk away.” It is hard when the options are limited. However, whenever I have problems with cs, I always politely hang up and call back. Sometimes 3-4 times. Eventually you will speak to someone reasonable and get your issue resolved. Or, as in your case, the situation may miraculously “clear up” when you get ready to walk away.

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